This morning the three day practice session for the nine Formula 1 teams started at the Catalunya circuit, near Barcelona. Today 17 drivers went on the track, while there were also some new entries and a couple of guests. Amongst unusual names in Formula 1 were also the one of Rally ace Sebastian Loeb, behind the wheel of a Red Bull, and Bruno Senna, Ayrton's nephew, with a Honda.
For the Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Luca Badoer and Marc Gené sat behind the wheels of the red single-seaters. The two test-drivers have different programs but also different set ups of their F2008s. Luca started a very important reliability test as far as engine and gearbox are concerned, driving a slightly modified car in terms of aero package to simulate the downforce of the 2009 season, furthermore there were weights added to the car, to simulate the situation when the KERS is employed, which was only partially on the car today. Marc is using an unmodified F2008 and will test different set ups. Both Ferraristi are using slicks, which will be used in the upcoming season.
Considering the different configurations of the cars on the track, today's lap times are no indicator at all and the tests after the end of the season are usually completely about experimenting with new solutions and not about performance.
At the end of the day the twoToro Rosso drivers were the fastest on the track: the Japanese Takuma Sato with a lap time of 1.20.763 ahead of the Swiss Sebastien Bümi (1.21.071). The two drivers with from the Prancing Horse drove the eighth fastest (1.23.515 - Badoer) and 13th fastest lap times (1.24.521 - Gené).