A third day of torrential rain welcomed the Formula 1 teams on the fourth and final day of pre-season testing at the Algarve Motor Park in Portugal – only this time the downpour was heavy enough to wipe out the running altogether.
With the heavens remaining open day-long and poor visibility on-track, most of the five teams present completed no more than an installation lap, as mechanics took shelter in the garage for the entire session and the Portimão circuit was ultimately closed by officials on safety grounds when the medical helicopter was unable to take off due to the mist.
“From a testing point-of-view, the weather was a problem, with only a bit of time on slick tyres on Wednesday,” confirmed Scuderia Toro Rosso new boy Sébastien Buemi, who had set the pace on each of the first three days.
“On Tuesday, there was such a heavy hailstorm that it was even hurting my hands – by the time I got back to the pits I was just driving on ice, and the car was going all over the place! I still have a lot to take on-board, in terms of learning all the different procedures on the car, such as how to manage the starts, but everything is going in the right direction.
“Being confirmed as a race driver for next year doesn't change anything once you're alone at the wheel, but in terms of working with the team, it brings an added sense of confidence, as the engineers and mechanics know they will be working with me all year.”
The young Swiss rookie even drove two laps of the track in a road car in the afternoon to judge conditions, but with no proper running possible the Red Bull 'junior' concern now looks ahead to its next test at Jerez in southern Spain, beginning on 10 February, where Renault will also be present.
“A very wet day!” quipped the Régie's
double F1 World Champion talisman driver Fernando Alonso. “It's a shame we couldn't get anything done today, because at this stage of the season you need to maximise the track time available.
“Still, I was pleased to have a full day in the dry yesterday and we learnt a lot and have some valuable data. I will be in the car for the next test in Jerez, where hopefully we can make some good progress with the performance.”
“Although it has been a wet week, overall it has been an encouraging first test with the new car,” added the French squad's chief test engineer Christian Silk. “At the moment the main things we are concentrating on are reliability and safety, and in those respects the car has been excellent.