Spain has habitually been popular as a Formula 1 testing venue for its sunny climes and warm weather, but in the build-up to the 2009 campaign that has rarely been the case – and it was no different on day two at Jerez de la Frontera this week, as the elements continued to play havoc with teams' and drivers' pre-season preparations.
With the heavens opening early on to pave the way for a cold and persistently wet day in the south of the country, Timo Glock led the way for Toyota as the young German conducted a full programme of wet weather work, winding up more than three tenths of a second clear of nearest challenger Robert Kubica.
“It tends to be difficult to carry out meaningful testing when there is so much rain,” bemoaned the 26-year-old former GP2 Series Champion. “The conditions made things tricky again today, but at least it stayed consistently wet so we were able to go through some work on set-up and tyres.
“It also gave me a chance to get used to pushing the TF109 in these conditions, and we put more mileage on the car. It felt good again, just like in Portugal last month, so I'm happy with the day.”
“Wet weather usually makes it hard to carry out comparative testing,” reflected the Cologne-based concern's senior general chassis manager Pascal Vasselon, “but today was a very interesting day because the track stayed consistently wet throughout the sessions.
“That allowed us to do some useful work on set-up and tyres, so we made the most out of the running time. The TF109 continues to be reliable and we were able to carry out a full day's work, collecting some helpful data.”
Second-placed Kubica concentrated on set-up work for BMW-Sauber, the Munich and Hinwil-based outfit able to take advantage of the wet conditions for the first time in 2009, having henceforth run largely in Bahrain. A water-activated false electrical alarm caused the Pole to stop out on-track at one point, but he nonetheless went on to complete 70 laps in all without encountering any further issues, in addition to conducting several practice starts.
“Because of the reduced downforce, the F1.09's behaviour in wet conditions is quite different to last year's car,” revealed the 24-year-old. “There's less grip, which makes the car slide more.”
Third-fastest at the end of the day – a tenth of a second further adrift still – was Williams' Nico Rosberg, who focussed his efforts on set-up, tyre comparisons and aerodynamic testing with the new FW31 ahead of the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne at the end of the month.