Michael Bailey , Formula One correspondent
Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Hingham-backed Caterham recovered some lost time on the opening day of Formula One’s second winter test in Barcelona.
After losing most of the morning to a mechanical failure Heikki Kovalainen, who will also take the wheel on the fourth and final day at the Circuit de Catalunya, did manage to clock 31 laps with a best of one minute 26.035 seconds – little more than three tenths behind the Williams of Bruno Senna.
“That obviously wasn’t how we wanted day one here to go, but that’s what testing is for – pushing everything to the limit to make sure we get rid of the problems before we get to the first race,” said the Finn.
“It’s hard to learn a lot from limited laps, but I’m back in the car on Friday and I’m sure we’ll be able to push on with the program between now and then and make sure we get as much as we can out of the next three days on track.”
Norwich-born chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne: “We had a rear track rod failure on Heikki’s third run this morning which brought him to a halt on track.
“As soon as we had the car back in the garage we identified the issue and managed to fix it on site, and we have more parts coming out tonight to make sure we don’t have the same problem again.
“We know that this car is fundamentally reliable, so the aim for the next three days is to complete the plan for this test and put ourselves back on schedule.”
Newly signed Vitaly Petrov gets his first taste of the CT01 on Wednesday and Thursday, having been confirmed as Jarno Trulli’s replacement for the new season at the end of last week.
The familiar sight of Sebastian Vettel’s Red Bull topped the first day’s time sheets, with a best of 1:23.265, while Charles Pic in Marussia’s 2011 ex-Virgin chassis and the McLaren MP4-27 of Lewis Hamilton wre the two cars to top the 100 laps mark with 121 and 114 respectively.