A car bearing the Red Bull logo was clearly the thing to have on day two of the Barcelona group test, as Sebastian Vettel got his relationship with the factory team off to the perfect start - and headed not two, but three, Toro Rosso drivers.
Running the sole RBR car on show at the Circuit de Catalunya, Vettel posted a best time of 1min 19.751secs in the course of 70 laps to eclipse Takuma Sato's pace-setting effort from Monday, and also push the Japanese ace back into second spot on the day.
While the extreme range of aerodynamic configurations on display in Spain - as teams show their varying stages of readiness for the 2009 rule changes - meant that no-one was taking too much notice of the times, that did not hide the fact that Vettel managed to carry his 2008 form over to his new team. Once settled in to the RB4, the German carried on with the programme begun on day one by WRC champion Sebastien Loeb, which centred mainly on tyre data acquisition, running the softer of the two types of Bridgestone slicks available.
A brake problem meant some track time was lost in the morning, but the programme was back on schedule come the end of the day, allowing Vettel to head Sato, former STR team-mate Sebastien Bourdais, and potential replacement Sebastien Buemi on the timesheets as Red Bull Technologies annexed the top four places on most unofficial lists.
Buemi drove all day for STR, while Sato handed over to Bourdais at the lunch break. The two hopefuls covered some long runs to gather data on the new slick tyres, with the Swiss driver having an off-track excursion on his first set of new rubber. However, he recovered well to complete another high mileage day to underline his physical
Bourdais, no stranger to slick tyres after his time in Champ Cars, noted that Bridgestone has made a step forward in performance and consistency since testing earlier in the year. However, it was evident that the softer of the two types of tyre had a clear advantage over the harder one.
Gary Paffett proved to be the best non-Red Bull driver, claiming fifth place in the first of two McLaren chassis that he was assigned for the day. The Briton completed 31 laps in MP4-23K - the team's KERS test car - but his workload was cut short by a minor oil leak that prompted a switch to the vacant MP4-23, which he used to complete aero and slicks evaluations.
Robert Kubica was joined by regular team-mate Nick Heidfeld for the second day of BMW Sauber's test, which again concentrated on the development of its interim car featuring a lot of parts destined for 2009. Kubica and Heidfeld completed 76 and 81 laps respectively, with tyre checks and reliability being the main focus.
"Of course, we lose a lot of downforce compared to the 2008 car," Kubica explained, "but, because we are back from grooved to slick tyres, we have substantially more grip in slow corners. So, with some more development, I don't think there will be too big a difference between the 2009 and 2008 cars."