It’s only week one of the 2009 season, but already BMW has its nose in front. By choosing to go to Valencia this week, the expected challengers for the world title have managed to get some serious dry running in, 99 laps yesterday and 116 laps today.
Ferrari got over 100 laps in today on slicks after covering a similar distance yesterday in the wet, while the teams who went for the new Algarve Portimao circuit have struggled to do much all week and have been watching the rain drilling off the tarmac. Today was a total wash out for Williams, Renault, McLaren and Toro Rosso (still with the 2008 car). Yesterday was the only day they really were able to get anything done on slicks!
BMW has two more days with Nick Heidfeld in Valencia. It’s a bit windy over there on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, but the forecast is fine for the remainder of the test.
It may not seem very significant at the moment, but with only a handful of tests before the season starts in March and then no testing allowed until the season ends, this has been a very positive start by BMW, with very impressive reliability. McLaren and Renault have both had minor early teething problems.
Ferrari has made solid progress with its KERS system and is making more positive noises about using it from the start of the season.
Ideally, the teams who’ve suffered this week in Portugal would like to add some days to their schedule to make up for lost time. But the new testing rules for 2009 mean that they cannot. The days are lost. Advantage BMW.
It’s still too early to say who’s quick. That picture will not emerge until well into next month.