F1 teams may have been feverishly beavering away on crucial last-minute developments for their cars over the past week or so, but after pacing the opening day of the final pre-season group test in Barcelona today (Tuesday), Mark Webber revealed that in truth, 'not much has changed' – and that is good news indeed for defending double world champions Red Bull Racing.
Conventional wisdom goes that if a car is quick around the aerodynamically-demanding Circuit de Catalunya, it will most likely be quick pretty much everywhere else, too – and Red Bull's RB7 was more than just quick today.
Towards the end of the morning, Webber fairly blitzed his fellow competitors with an outstanding effort faster even than the best time from the previous four-day Barcelona outing – and notwithstanding a subsequently disallowed lap from Sauber rookie Sergio Pérez that fleetingly supplanted him at the top of the order, the Aussie was never again threatened. Praising a largely trouble-free outing following 97 laps in the cockpit and before he hands over to team-mate Sebastian Vettel for day two, Webber acknowledged that all is looking positive for RBR.
“It was a pretty good day and not much has changed since last week,” the 34-year-old reported. “We got some good laps in today. I think everybody is limited by tyres – we don't have unlimited sets of tyres these days, so the mileage is a bit controlled by how many you have at your disposal – but all-in-all, we had a good afternoon and got some good information.”
“Today was the first proper test for Chassis 02, and I'm happy to say everything went according to-plan,” added the Milton Keynes-based squad's Head of Race Engineering, Ian Morgan. “We had a mixture of things to get through today, concentrating on some short runs in the morning and then longer race-distance type runs in the afternoon.
“The only difficulties we encountered were the slightly low ambient temperatures and some windy conditions. It would be nice to get the chance to test in hotter conditions, and we hope for a bit of increase as the week goes on – but that was a small problem really on a pretty useful day for us.”
'Junior' outfit Scuderia Toro Rosso, by contrast, suffered a rather more stressful time of things, with an early component failure for Sébastien Buemi first time out in STR6 Chassis 3 causing damage to the car and one of its tyres. That kept the young Swiss ace garage-bound for the remainder of the morning session, before he returned to the track after lunch to conduct aero measurements and front wing evaluation with the hard Pirelli tyre.
Buemi posted the sixth-quickest time at the close of proceedings, three-and-a-half seconds adrift of Webber. The 22-year-old will remain behind the wheel tomorrow, before team-mate Jaime Alguersuari takes over on Thursday and Friday.
To see Tuesday's testing times, click here