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Monday, November 17, 2008

Goodbye 2008, hello 2009!

Formula 1 kicked off the winter season Monday with the first day of a three-day session in Barcelona.

Little can be made of times at this point, but Takuma Sato topped the charts in his extended audition with STR. He was followed by another Toro Rosso, in the hands of Sebastian Buemi, in what may likely be the 2009 lineup for the Faenza-based squad.

Seventeen runners participated in the test, which was held in cool, dry conditions at the Circuit de Catalunya.

Other drivers looking for possible 2009 rides were Bruno Senna and Lucas di Grassi for Honda, who finished 15th and 17th respectively.

“The first day of my first Formula One test has been just as big a moment as I
expected it to be,” Senna said.

Meanwhile, Rally ace Sebastian got a taste of the RB4, finishing eighth.

“I don’t think I’d like to take this much horsepower into the forests!” ITV reports Loeb joked.

Testing takes on an added urgency this year, as teams attempt to adjust to the radical new 2009 aero specs in what many see as an opportunity to level the grid.

Check out photos, including a couple of early 2009 wing designs (and slicks!), at the BBC Web site.

Unofficial times:
  1. Takuma Sato, Toro Rosso, 1:20.763
  2. Sebastian Buemi, Toro Rosso, 1:21.071
  3. Alexander Wurz, Honda, 1:21.198
  4. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:21.417
  5. Gary Paffett, McLaren, 1:21.956
  6. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:23.264
  7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.341
  8. Sebastian Loeb, Red Bull, 1:22.503
  9. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:22.560
  10. Christian Klien, BMW Sauber, 1:22.883
  11. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:23.467
  12. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:23.794
  13. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:23.832
  14. Marc Gene, Ferrari, 1:24.177
  15. Bruno Senna, Honda, 1:24.343
  16. Giedo van der Garde, Renault, 1:24.908
  17. Lucas di Grassi, Honda, 1:25.512
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