Fernando Alonso and Renault finally brought an end to Brawn GP's dominance of the latter stages of winter testing ahead of the 2009 Formula 1 campaign on day two at Jerez - but the former Honda outfit and drivers Rubens Barrichello and Jenson Button were never far behind.

Following more than 100 laps of the southern Spanish circuit, Alonso wound up just over five hundredths of a second clear of Barrichello in the leading BGP001, on his last day in the cockpit before heading Down Under to begin the season next week.

In hot and sunny conditions - similar to those expected in Australia at the end of the month - the man from Oviedo concentrated on the R?gie's aerodynamic programme and final developments that will be taken to Melbourne, before he hands over to young team-mate Nelsinho Piquet for the remainder of the test.

"I'm happy with the day," enthused the former double F1 World Champion, "as we did more than 100 laps, which was our target for my final day of winter testing. This has been the first time we have run on a really hot track, and the information we have from today will be very useful for the first few races, which are usually very hot.

"I'm also a bit sad that this is the final test of the year with my test team, but I will see them at the factory soon. I have to say thanks for the amazing job they have done this winter, because we are really well-prepared for the new season. We can go to Australia knowing that we have maximised the time we had available."

"We had a good day with lots of work to get through," added the Enstone-based concern's chief test engineer Christian Silk, "and we ran to programme pretty much all day. The conditions were good for testing today as it was hot - which leaves us well-prepared for Melbourne - and overall we we're happy with the results that we've got.

"I just want to say a big thanks to Fernando for the excellent job he has done; he's such a good test driver, and has worked hard all winter to leave us well-prepared for the start of the season."

In second and third places respectively, Barrichello and Button were separated by just under half a second, with the experienced Brazilian continuing the programme begun on the opening day behind the wheel of Brawn GP's new, Mercedes-powered challenger and looking at a series of set-up and tyre evaluations over the course of the 62 laps he completed in the morning session.

Button took over driving duties in the afternoon, but a planned race simulation had to be shelved when a gearbox problem stranded the British star out on the circuit and brought his running to an early conclusion after just twelve laps. The former Hungarian Grand Prix winner will be back in the car on Tuesday for the Brackley-based squad's final day of pre-season testing.

McLaren-Mercedes arrived at the test today, with defending F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton working his way through 87 laps as the Woking-based outfit took full advantage of the blue skies and warm and sunny conditions to begin its final preparations for the curtain-raising Australian Grand Prix in less than two weeks' time.

The 24-year-old focussed his efforts on the evaluation of a number of subtle aerodynamic modifications to the troubled MP4-24, adding to that with a series of longer runs after lunch in order to assess the new aero package's effectiveness on tyre degradation.

Bringing up the rear, finally, 1.4 seconds adrift of the leading pace, was Williams' Nico Rosberg, with the Grove-based concern's test team manager Dickie Stanford commenting: "Nico had his final two days of testing the car today before the first race in Australia. We completed a very full programme, with the majority of laps spent on set-up work. Nico will carry on testing tomorrow."

Leading performances - Jerez (15 March):

1. Fernando AlonsoRenault1min 18.343secs 103 laps
2. Rubens BarrichelloBrawn GP-Mercedes1min 18.398secs 62 laps
3. Jenson Button Brawn GP-Mercedes1min 18.892secs 12 laps
4. Lewis HamiltonMcLaren-Mercedes1min 19.513secs 87 laps
5. Nico Rosberg Williams-Toyota1min 19.783secs 123 laps

Track/weather conditions: Maximum air temperature 25.6?C, track temperature 43.4?C. Hot and sunny all day.

all times unofficial - courtesy of McLaren-Mercedes



Loading Comments...