F1 News: Webber Tops Jerez Day 3, Carbante Takes Over Campos


What Happens When the Jury is Still Out

12:01am EST — A Red Bull driven by Mark Webber set the fastest lap time of all 2010 testing at Jerez, and Jose Ramon Carbante officially took over Campos Meta for 2010.

Webber Tops First Fully Dry Session at Jerez: (to see my full analysis at F1B, click on this headline link)
The spirits in of everyone in Jerez seemed to be much higher Friday, with a nearly completely dry day of testing.  In fact, no complaint was to be found on Twitter about the conditions, even with a torrential rainstorm Thursday night that flooded some of the garages.  With spirits high about the weather, the times were also the fastest of this session, and Mark Webber’s fastest time (1:19.299) was the fastest of all testing at Jerez this year, so far.  Following him were Fernando Alonso, Jenson Button, Nico Hulkenberg, and Michael Schumacher, with just over 2.3 seconds covering the top five lap times.  Here are the unofficial times from the official Formula1 website:
1. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:19.299, 115 Laps
2. Fernando Alonso, Ferrari, 1:20.115, 132 Laps
3. Jenson Button, McLaren, 1:20.394, 101 Laps
4. Nico Hulkenberg, Williams, 1:21.432, 138 Laps
5. Michael Schumacher, Mercedes GP, 1:21.437, 79 Laps
6. Robert Kubica, Renault, 1:21.916, 100 Laps
7. Adrian Sutil, Force India, 1:21.939, 69 Laps
8. Kamui Kobayashi, Sauber, 1:22.228, 28 Laps
9. Jaime Alguersuari, Toro Rosso, 1:22.564, 120 Laps
10. Lucas di Grassi, Virgin Racing, 1:23.504, 34 Laps
11. Heikki Kovalainen, LotusF1, 1:23.521, 68 Laps
What does all this mean?  Yet again, it’s hard to say.  This is the first day run at Jerez with not rain falling during the session.  The times are still slower than those posted by the drivers at the young driver’s test late last year, but the fuel loads and race-inspired set-ups are likely quite different than the set-ups used then.  All that can be determined is that the Ferrari looks to be a solid engine for this season, with all the laps put on it by Ferrari, Toro Rosso, and Sauber, and some of them quite quick.  The Mercedes engine also seems to be doing well.  The Renault fluctuates, and Red Bull have already had to change one of theirs.  The Cosworth, on the Williams, is doing pretty well, but floundering a bit with the new teams who are still working out the kinks in the design and spare parts lockers.  Saturday is the final day of testing before most of the teams move on to Barcelona.  Look for a final analysis of this four day session tomorrow, along with the times posted in what looks to be another drier day in Spain.

Carbante Takes Over Campos to Prep for 2010:
As was previously reported as speculation here at On Any Sunday, These Days yesterday, Jose Ramon Carbante has taken over Campos Meta in order to prepare the team for the season opener in Bahrain.  According to an article at the official Formula1 website, “Spanish businessman Carabante has appointed former Force India boss Colin Kolles as team principal and says they fully expect to make their race debut at next month’s Bahrain Grand Prix.”  Carbante himself thanked Bernie Ecclestone for working “tremendously to support our efforts to keep the team viable.” He also noted that, “the whole rescue operation has been a race against time with the goal of always having the team run two competitive cars at the first Grand Prix of the F1 season.”
Speculation continues as to who the second driver (likely alongside already announced Brazilian Bruno Senna) will be, with many believing that Jose Maria Lopez, who has also been recently meeting with Ecclestone, has jumped ship from USF1 and will join the Spanish team.  It is believed (as reported by F1 journalist Adam Cooper on his personal site) that Carbante and Kolles will soon bring in the money required to ensure chassis delivery from Dallara and that much of the operation will be run from Dallara for the near future.  Cooper spoke with Kolles on Friday, and Kolles reported that things at Campos were “basically nothing, only chaos. The only department which is basically existing is a software department, with eight guys who never saw an F1 car in their lives, and who are doing software simulation programmes. And then there are two or three engineers with F1 experience, and that’s it. The real story is a crazy story, you understand.”  That feels like a most excellent final word, at least until more information is available.

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