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.

"Despite the wet conditions and a red flag temporarily halting proceedings this morning, Nico still managed to complete a race distance," remarked the Grove-based outfit's test team manager Dickie Stanford. "We then spent the afternoon on general wet weather set-up work. We've had a good day and haven't come across any problems with the car."

A promising fourth-fastest - on only its second day of running this year - was Force India's recently-launched, Mercedes-powered VJM02, again in the hands of Giancarlo Fisichella. Despite covering the fewest laps of any driver present with just 54 on the board, the Italian veteran was close to the pace, less than a tenth shy of Rosberg and barely half a second away from Glock's marker.

The 36-year-old accumulated important data and evaluated both Bridgestone's extreme wet and standard wet weather rubber, though he found his progress hindered somewhat by the intervention of fuel system woes mid-morning.

"Considering the amount of laps we did today, it is quite encouraging again," affirmed the Roman, who will hand over to team-mate Adrian Sutil for the remainder of FIF1's test on Tuesday and Wednesday. "It is a reasonable time, six tenths off the fastest, so I am quite pleased.

"Unfortunately we had a problem with the fuel pressure again and didn't run enough. Then I was struggling a little bit to find the right set-up with the full wet tyres, but at the end of the day the circuit was getting better and, as with several other people, we tried the standard wet and I felt much more comfortable with the balance. Hopefully tomorrow Adrian can do more laps and make sure we are fully ready for Barcelona."

"Again, difficult weather and we missed some of the better conditions in the morning as we had a few technical issues," rued the Silverstone-based squad's technical director James Key. "It was the same problem with the fuel system, but we found a solution from mid-morning onwards that allowed us to do some more running.

"Other than this problem the car has been very good, and we ran through a programme of systems checks and balance comparisons between the extreme and the standard wet tyres. We're confident we're on top of the issues now and can get on with the programme tomorrow, where we will look at some more set-up options."

Fifth-quickest on Monday was the previous day's pace-setter Sebastian Vettel for Red Bull Racing, whose original plan of development testing of the RB5 in the morning followed by a race simulation in the afternoon went out of the window when the heavens did their worst. That saw F1's youngest-ever grand prix-winner focus his efforts instead on pit-lane procedures and practice pit-stops - marking the first time that the pit crew due to be in action Down Under had worked through all the pit-stop permutations together. Vettel successfully completed a race distance later on, before team-mate Mark Webber takes to the wheel for the final three days.

Heikki Kovalainen ended up in sixth position of the seven drivers in attendance in the new McLaren-Mercedes MP4-24. The luckless Finn - who seems to bring the bad weather with him wherever he tests - spent the day evaluating different brakes and set-ups as well as KERS (Kinetic Energy Recovery Systems) development in wet conditions, whilst the rain similarly enabled the Woking-based concern to sample Bridgestone's new compound wet (intermediate) tyre - even if the day admittedly offered limited insight into its performance, as the persistent rain meant most of the time was spent running on extremes.

Bringing up the rear of the order, finally - and for the second day in succession - was Nelsinho Piquet, who concentrated on endurance work and adding further mileage to Renault's troubled R29 as the anticipated technical programme fell by the wayside due to the weather. A reliable run allowed the young Brazilian to get through 66 laps, before he is replaced by former double F1 World Champion team-mate Fernando Alonso on Tuesday.

"The wet weather today meant we had to change our programme," the 23-year-old explained, "and we simply worked on getting miles on the car and using the wet weather tyres. Because it continued raining throughout the day, the track conditions remained pretty consistent and so we were still able to learn some interesting things about the car."

"The weather conditions made it difficult to keep to our programme today," concurred the R?gie's chief test engineer Christian Silk, "and instead we worked on the endurance of the car and gave Nelson some wet weather running.

"With the start of the season so close, it's a shame to have a fully wet day, but all the teams are in the same position. As the week goes on the weather should improve, and we will hopefully be able to make up for some of the track time we lost today."

To see the testing times in full, click here



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