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Page last updated at 16:21 GMT, Tuesday, 8 March 2011

F1 testing - as it happened

FORMULA 1 TESTING IN BARCELONA, DAY FOUR (all times GMT)

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By Mark Orlovac

1629: It's time for me to depart. Thank you very much for your company and all your messages. Sorry I couldn't use them all. Awesome ideas for taking F1 forward. I wonder if any will be deployed? David Ornstein will be your host tomorrow and I'll see you all again either on Saturday for the Six Nations rugby, or in the early hours of the 25 March for the opening weekend of the F1 season. Not long now!

Twitter
Force India on Twitter: "End of day 1, Paul completed 38 laps with 6th best time. Used KERS for the first time - no major issues and looking forward to day 2."

MacLaren on Twitter: "McLaren, w/the most radical car, are using testing to collect data for simulation-based development. So, times, miles don't matter."

1621: Here we go then: Webber (1:22.544), Button (1:22.910), Petrov (1:22.937), Perez (1:24.117), Heidfeld (1:24.735), Di Resta (1:25.039), Valsecchi (1:25.406), Buemi (1:26.004), Hulkenberg (1:26.030), Razia (1:26.723) and D'Ambrosio (1:32.060).

1616: Put the Blue Nun back in the fridge. That Perez time is struck from the records so he returns to fourth, leaving Mark Webber as the day's fastest man. I'll give you a full run down in a second.

Twitter
BBC 5 live F1 on Twitter: "Confirmation on Perez cutting the chicane as he loses his fastest time! Webber back on top!"

1609: Hold on, it seems as if Perez's time has not yet been confirmed so Sauber will have to keep that Blue Nun on ice for a bit longer yet.

Chequered flag
1603: That is indeed your lot from the opening day in Barcelona. Perez leads the way for Sauber, Webber second, Button third and Petrov fourth. Didn't see that one coming.

1559: There's a red flag right at the end of the session, the Lotus of Luiz Razia has stopped. That will probably be that.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Mark 'staring at a calculator' in Inverness via text: "It is slightly worrying that McLaren don't seem to have the pace but we have to remember that this is a completely new car in all areas so getting it all to come together at once is going to take time, but when it does - there's a fast McLaren in there somewhere!"

1554: Hello. There's a little surprise late doors, Perez tops the timesheets with a 1:21.176. Smashed it. Felipe Massa's quickest time in the first of the tests at Barcelona last month was 1:22.625.

1550: Perez, who only had a couple of flying laps there when setting that time, Webber and Di Resta all come out again after pitting. Petrov and Razia are the others out and about with 10 minutes to go.

1548: I've been asked for a run down of the times, and here we are: Webber (1:22.544), Button (1:22.910), Perez (1:24.117), Heidfeld (1:24.735), Di Resta (1:25.039), Petrov (1:25.119), Valsecchi (1:25.406), Buemi (1:26.004), Hulkenberg (1:26.030), Razia (1:29.121) and D'Ambrosio (1:32.060).

1545: ... and Di Resta is fifth with a 1:25.039. Only 15 minutes to go now.

1543: Here's a bit of info about some of the leg work done by a few of the drivers today. Webber - 84 laps, Button - 74, Heidfeld - 20, Petrov - 22 and Perez - 81. Perez joins Webber on the track and the Mexican quickly posts a 1:24.117 to move up to third.

Twitter
SoxanPance on Twitter: "Just don't know where McLaren will be in Oz. Could be pole, could miss Q3. Intriguing."

Twitter
McKenzie94x on Twitter: "I'm certain that it is going to be all about Red Bull, McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari again this season! But come on Lewis and Jenson!"

1537: Everyone is in the pits now... apart from Mark Webber. Maybe some of the teams are thinking about getting to the Nou Camp for the football. Or catching the Neighbours repeat. Just a thought.

Twitter
mc00per on Twitter: "I wouldn't write off McLaren just yet. It is a new car that's teething. Red Bull are fast because it's the 2010 car + some mods!"

1526: Razia moves above D'Ambrosio into 10th after a 1:29.121. Webber did not improve his fastest time on that last stint which was in the teens. He posted a 1:30.416 on his final lap.

Twitter
kuttyb25 on Twitter: "Button is doing good times in Barcelona testing... second place, behind Webber... this is more promising."

1521: Webber is clocking some more miles in that Red Bull of his, Razia is also on track while Button pits after a short stint.

Twitter
markthurman1967 on Twitter: "Maybe teams can play a 'joker' card and if they put in a hot lap they get seconds knocked off their finishing times?"

1513: Now it is Petrov's turn to improve. He posts a 1:25.723 and is up to sixth. Hold up, the Russian is now fifth with a 1:25.275.

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John in Oxford via text: "Sat at my desk watching the times. Come on Australia, not long now, gutted about this weekend."

1505: Di Resta is now in eighth place after a 1:26.785. Webber and Petrov are also out on track.

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Jon Webb in Tunbridge Wells via text: "Here's another idea for Bernie: how about sections of the track crossing over one another? Worked wonders on my Scalextric* track."
* other electronic car racing games are available

Twitter
mwhitcombe on Twitter: "'Force India have been told by Paul di Resta that it is raining at Turn One.' Confirmed: Bernie's down there with a watering can."

1457: Just over an hour to go now. Sauber driver Sergio Perez moves up to fourth with a 1:25.269 while Buemi in the Toro Rosso sets a 1:26.004 for sixth place. In the office, I'm trying to stop my colleagues from congregating at my desk. They've found the cakes. Doh.

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Matt, London via text: "Bernie could go the whole hog and allow teams the full range of Mario Kart weapons, like three spinning heat seeking red turtle shells, mushrooms to make the cars faster or lightning bolts that make the front-running cars half size."

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From John, bored to tears on a computer course in Manchester, via text: "Still think McLaren are holding some performance back. Jenson now into the 1:22s though. Red Bull will be the team to be again I think but Lewis and Jenson will be right on their tails. Keep the faith!!"

Twitter
McLaren test driver Gary Paffett on Twitter: "Some good things coming out of our simulator work today at McLaren. Also car on track at Barcelona with @JensonButton. Keep it up mate."

1449: Petrov improves to a 1:28.200 and is ninth ahead of D'Ambrosio and Razia. Force India have been told by Paul di Resta that it is raining at Turn One. Two cars on the track - Perez and Buemi.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "Here's something I have in common with Nick Heidfeld, we both have a horrible cough. Heidfeld handed his Renault over to Vitaly Petrov for the afternoon because he has a cold. 'I did not feel good in the car,' Heidfeld explained. On the bright side, the German, who is standing in for the injured Robert Kubica, believes Renault have taken another step forward. 'We have a new floor and a new rear wing and yes, it's a lot better. It's a good balance to have so early in the season.' And where does he think Renault will fall in the pecking-order when the season opens in Australia ? 'Everyone will be surprised as it's difficult to know,' he mused. 'Red Bull are still leading the pack at the moment.' Orlo, you too might have something in common with Heidfeld as before he spoke to the media he was watching a Premiership rugby union match between Gloucester and Bath. Does he like rugby then? 'No, I think it looks more dangerous than F1.'"
He's right. That's why I never played it properly, too busy shouting 'not the face!'

1441: And Petrov sets a time for Renault. His first time is a 1:34.467. Meanwhile, Holty has grabbed a word with the poorly Nick Heidfeld, more details follow...

Twitter
jameswrees on Twitter: "Yet another idea for Bernie: Racing with variable speed limits depending on volume of traffic - a la the M40."

1433: Webber has been out for a longer stint but did not threaten his fastest time. He leads the way with a 1:22.544 with Button closing the gap to 0.366 with a 1:22.910. Heidfeld is still in third position (1:24.735) and he is followed by Valsecchi (1:25.406), Perez (1:25.443) and The Hulk (1:26.030). Only Button, Di Resta, D'Ambrosio and Petrov are out on the track.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "Lotus say they were impressed by Davide Valsecchi after giving him a run out this morning, despite the fact the Italian ended his session in the gravel. Valsecchi completed 50 laps - which was a big boost for the team considering their pre-season testing has been hampered by reliability problems - and he was only 2.862 seconds off Mark Webber's top time for Red Bull, which is where the team expect to be. Valsecchi caused a red flag just before lunch when he went off track but the team said he was just finding his limits. The car was undamaged and his AirAsia GP2 team-mate Luiz Razia has taken over this afternoon. It is worth keeping an eye on both Valsecchi and Razia as Lotus are pondering whether to give them more experience in place of Jarno Trulli and Heikki Kovalainen during Friday practice sessions in 2011."

Twitter
seperatesunsets on Twitter: "Re: Simon in Lancs. I thought that too after he [Paul Di Resta] signed up with F1 and was on 250/1 after the second test, that car is too slow though."

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Simon in Lancashire via text: "Am I the only person tempted to put an outsider bet on British debutant Paul di Resta?? I'm sure it's worth a cheeky punt."

Twitter
Roger Spencelayh on Twitter: "Another idea for Bernie - Night race at Sepang, and the lights go off at random intervals."

F1 season preview - part one

1420: Silly me, I totally forgot to point you in the direction of the first of a series of video clips featuring our F1 telly team talking about the 2011 season. In this one, the subject is what we have learnt from pre-season testing. Also, the story on that Bahrain GP deadline is also up on the site. Think that will prevent me getting told off by my bosses.

1414: Webber and Buemi are out on track at the moment and they are joined by Paul di Resta, who is taking over the Force India this afternoon.

Twitter
philtaylortv on Twitter: "They'd have to move that Malaysian GP date or start the race late. At current it rains like clockwork around 5.30pm!"

1406: Mercedes are one of the quartet of teams not running today, starting their four-day test tomorrow, and they will be aiming to close the gap on the front runners between now and the start of the season. Last week, team boss Ross Brawn admitted Mercedes were "about a second off where we want to be". Read more here.

Twitter
Pengumile on Twitter: "Re: GopherX's comment. There's no question of Lewis's talent, it's getting the head in gear and the car perfect."

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Matty in Leeds via text: "Last season's hope of having a championship-winning McLaren is fading every practice session. I am beginning to think their season will echo last year's with the added pain of unreliability to add. Here's to optimism in the hope I am wrong! Hip hip... "

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Andy, working hard in Oldham, via text: "Forget Red Bull, Ferrari and McLaren. I am seriously looking forward to seeing Toro Rosso's pace at the first race in Melbourne. It looks like they're really responding to the perceived pressure that Team Lotus is putting them under. I just hope they can keep bolting new bits to their car in the inevitable 'tidy rear end' development race. It's good to see underdogs improve and shows that it's not impossible to achieve in F1."

GopherX on Twitter: "Anyone have odds on Lewis Hamilton never winning the world championship again? I think it's a good bet!"

1354: There's only one car out on the track at the moment - that's the Virgin of Jerome D'Ambrosio.

1349: Razia improves to a 1:34.467 during that stint but is still ninth. Meanwhile, here's some news from organisers of the Malaysian Grand Prix. Sepang International Circuit chairman Mokhzani Mahathir says he is interested in hosting a night race at the venue in an attempt to increase audiences. "I think a night race will be interesting," he said. "The F1 race at night will be cooler." Thoughts?

Twitter
jambohazell on Twitter: "New idea for Bernie Ecclestone - when a buzzer is pressed randomly during race all drivers must swap positions with their team-mate."

1344: A press release has just landed in my inbox from the FIA World Motor Sport Council. It has given organisers of the Bahrain Grand Prix until 1 May to say if they want to stage the event this year.

1339: GP2 driver Luiz Razia is in the Lotus and posts a 1:41.227 first up which puts him at the bottom of the standings.

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Jay via text: "Two weeks ago I was Depressed in Fuerteventura on holiday, now Depressed in Hospital in Leicester with pancreatitis. McLaren what are you doing? You have two world champions, Red Bull and Ferrari are streaking ahead, cheer me up with some good news."

1332: I mentioned earlier the problems for Toro Rosso this morning, well here's more from Sarah Holt: "Toro Rosso say the reason for Buemi's absence was because a piece of the car broke & damaged his front left wheel."

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Mark from Titchfield via text: "I think the drivers should be presented with a different Top Gear challenge each race before the parade lap."

1325: It's probably time to update you with the scores on the doors so far. Here we go: Webber (1:22.544), Button (1:23.782), Heidfeld (1:24.735), Davide Valsecchi (1:25.406), Perez (1:25.443), The Hulk (1:26.030), Buemi (1:26.087) and D'Ambrosio (1:32.060). Vitaly Petrov is in the car for Renault this afternoon as Nick Heidfeld is not feeling well.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "I have a bit more for you from McLaren. The team have confirmed the supported bulge in the centre of the car's front wing is a piece of measuring kit. Fear not, there's no danger of them racing with the front wing in that guise. McLaren say there was also an exhaust problem with the car this morning - and after a lack of spare parts in Jerez and reliability problems last time out in Barcelona the team won't want any more technical glitches. Button has also spent some time doing practice pit-stops. I hope that helps."

1317: Button sets a 1:23.782 and is now in second place. Seems to be a short stint for the McLaren driver. A lot of you have been asking about the bump on the front of the McLaren, well our very own Sarah Holt has more...

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Josh in Bath, Somerset via text: "I hope to see the McLaren and Mercedes pace get better soon. It is too early to tell but I think Ferrari and Red Bull are the team to beat unless McLaren and Mercedes find something."

1310: Hope you are fully refreshed for the final push of the day. There's been some movement early doors, with Toro Rosso's Sebastien Buemi setting a 1:28.231 to move up to sixth fastest. Buemi had very little running this morning after his car stopped in the first hour.

1303: Hello again. Welcome to the afternoon session of the first day of the final pre-season test in Barcelona. Snappy isn't it?




1210: Right then, it's time to sign off. I'll be back at 1300 GMT to take you through the afternoon session. Keep your ideas for spicing up racing coming in, they've been superb. See you in a bit.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Lewis, very bored at work in Birmingham, via text: "Apparently Bernie wants to use an ice cream van as the safety car. Would come in handy in some of the hotter countries."

Twitter
QPerkinsQ on Twitter: "I hope the McLaren boys can pull it out of the bag. It does seem that it will be a Red Bull vs Ferrari season again though."

1203: Here we go then. Webber (1:22.544), Heidfeld (1:24.735), Valsecchi (1:25.406), Hulkenberg (1:26.030), Perez (1:26.443), Button (1:28.971), D'Ambrosio (1:33.502).

Chequered flag
1200: The chequered flag drops. It's lunchtime. A run down of the times will follow...

bugeye58 on Twitter: "Who is Led Zeppelin?"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Jonathan in Belfast via text: "I think the idea of racing bin lorries would be a load of rubbish and fake rain would only put a damper on F1 as a whole. With that said I'm very concerned with the performance of these McLarens. With a bit of luck they have us all fooled and will unleash the pace at the first race!! Unfortunately Adrian Newey works for Red Bull and he is the man to beat!!!"

1156: Orange cords. Ace. I must have a pair I bought from C&A still in my wardrobe somewhere. Anyway, we are back to green - four minutes left before lunch.

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: "I'm getting a sense of deja-vu at the Barcelona test. I arrive to find a Red Bull at the top of the timesheets thanks to a best lap of one minute, 22.544 seconds from Mark Webber and the chap who connects me to the internet is wearing the same trousers (a splendidly unforgettable pair of orange cords). McLaren are hoping things will be different at this second and final pre-season test in Barcelona after a difficult four days here at the last testing session. The word is that McLaren have been experimenting with their front wing this morning. An international colleague colourfully described the front wing as though the 'car had a pimple on its nose' while others believe it could be an aerodynamic measuring device. Sounds intriguing, I will do my best to find out more."

1145: Whoops, and we have our second red flag of the day. Valsecchi's Lotus comes off between corners 11 and 12 and is parked in the gravel.

1143: Red Bull's Mark Webber is the man to beat as he posts a 1:22.544. That beats the 1:22.625 set by Felipe Massa in the first Barcelona test last month. Heidfeld is second, Valsecchi third (1:25.406), Perez fourth.

Twitter
Renault F1 on Twitter: "Nick [Heidfeld] has a cold so will not be driving this afternoon. Vitaly will jump in the car for the rest of the day."

1129: Perez sets a 1:25.443 for Sauber and moves above The Hulk into third. Our F1 gossip page is now up with stories from around the world, including a statement from Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo, who is confident his team will have a good season.

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Erik in Edinburgh via text: "Road works section that appears overnight between qualifying and the race with nobody working on the road works and an average speed camera."

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Stiggy in South Wales via text: "What next? Cut costs by dropping pit crews & add excitement by getting the drivers to do the pit stops. Climb out and run around with a jack and air gun."

ElizabethStr on Twitter: "Would I be the first to point out that the 'fake rain' idea is Bernie having some fun at the media's expense? Re: Fish. Not viable. Would require a re-design of brakes, fuel tank and all high-stress components - for one race? No team'd bother."

Rachie_D_18 on Twitter: "Maybe they should race in bin lorries, seems to be all the rage."

1114: There's a bit of a lull in Barcelona at the moment. Valsecchi posts a 1:29.436. He's still sixth. Meanwhile, I've cracked open a very large box of chocolate fairy cakes baked for my daughter's third birthday. Would it be wrong to scoff the whole lot and not tell anyone else in the office? It would, wouldn't it?

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Claire from Malvern via text: "I would just like to say I'm all in favour of the fake rain idea. Anything which may help improve the safety when actually racing in the rain is a plus for me, maybe the FIA would allow more racing and less safety cars then!"

Twitter
Patel_1991 on Twitter: "27th March is my birthday so can you ask Lewis a favour and give me the best birthday present and start the season with a win."

Twitter
Autosport on Twitter: "Warming up nicely here now. Track temperature is 22.8 degrees, although air temperature is 12.7."

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Fish in maths lecture via text: "Would love to see an endurance race on the calendar, see how reliable these cars really are. Two cars per team, three drivers (two main + reserve). Viable?"

Twitter
openVds on Twitter: "We have to wait longer for the start of the 2011 season, but this time, I'm sure it'll start with a bang, unlike last season."

1100: I'm getting the sneaking suspicion that you don't like the fake rain idea. It's just a feeling I'm getting. Anyway, there's an hour to go before the lunch break. Belgian driver Jerome D'Ambrosio, who is testing all four days for Virgin this week as Glock recuperates, sets his first flying lap of the day - a 1:33.554.

herbie180 on Twitter: "Can't wait for this season to start. I hope to see Robert kubica back before the end of the season."

Twitter
lukesteggles on Twitter: "I like the Mario Kart idea - each driver has a bunch of bananas they can throw at the other drivers."

Twitter
Force India on Twitter: "27 laps of the track for Nico so far, and the engine's being fired up for some more!"

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Phil from Cambridgeshire via text: "F1 is brilliant because it is unpredictable, by introducing fake rain it will take away that factor meaning teams will be prepared for the rain, which will make races dull."

Twitter
Renault F1 on Twitter: "13 laps completed so far for Nick and he is currently P2 on the time sheets."

BBC Sport's Sarah Holt in Barcelona: Hi Orlo, after a very early start I have arrived in Barcelona. I've got a feeling there is another sporting contest going on in the city judging by my fellow travellers; a man with a beanie hat covered in football badges, a chap with 'Gooner' tattooed on his neck and a London cabbie talking Arsenal tactics... Surely it's all about five days of Formula 1 testing? The good news I have managed to cadge a lift from a friendly McLaren face and we are on our way to the circuit."
As an Arsenal fan, I don't know what you're talking about!

Vettel ready for tough 2011 campaign

1043: Red Bull have had a productive pre-season campaign so far in 2011 and are regarded by many as the pacesetters, along with Ferrari. Sebastian Vettel set the fastest times on day one and two of the first Barcelona test, as well as in the opening day of Valencia. That's tees me up nicely to promote a nice video of the world champion being interviewed about the new season. Seamless.

1038: Webber tops the timesheets with a 1:23.085. Then it's Heidfeld, Perez, The Hulk, Button and Valsecchi. Button was on a longer run but is back in the pits now.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Robin via text: "Ideas, like introducing 'rain', while intended to make races more exciting, may in fact make all races more predictable. Nature, the cars and the drivers already do a good job at making races exciting. It's only the dull circuits that need to be removed from the fixture list."

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Steve at home looking after a sick son via text: "Just had to wiki* to find out who John Bonham is! And yes, I am old enough to know better!"
Nooooooooooooooooo!
* Other online encyclopaedias are available

1025: The teams started out on a damp track this morning and here's more on the Barcelona weather situation this week from BBC weatherman Ian Fergusson: "Re: McLaren's strategy of not running on Thursday. Well, they might come to regret it; unless they're keen on some wet running tests! After a few showers at times today, Wed/Thurs then look essentially dry (but still rather cool - low to mid teens celsius in all likelihood), before low pressure heads for NE Spain into Friday and Saturday, bringing an increasing prospect of showers on Friday and then more extensive rain through Saturday. Yuk!"

jadhamizan on Twitter: "Re: 1004. No."

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Matt via text: "Bernie's missed a trick. He could get the public to text in votes as to when (or if) it should rain! If you're reading this Bernie, I want a cut... "

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Tim, ex-Dennis bin trucks, via text: "Bin trucks handle better power on. You get lift off understeer. Especially if the diff locks are on."

1012: The Hulk moves above Button in the timesheets after a 1:27.878 puts him in fourth place. Meanwhile, Virgin Racing's Timo Glock is not taking part in this test as he recovering after having his appendix removed. It's not great being on a sick bed is it? Watching the Jeremy Kyle show and Cash In The Attic, drinking lots of Lucozade and eating galloons of tomato soup. That's what everyone does, right? Glock says on his Twitter feed: "Please update me with lap times, I am bored."

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Dave in Swansea via text: "It's Massa's year! Fake rain or not, he'll storm to victory!"

Twitter
Team Lotus on Twitter: "Halfway through the morning session - Davide's completed most laps so far (26) best time 1.31.040."

1004: More on the sprinkler idea. US Grand Prix promoter Tavo Hellmund told the Statesman in America last week that the plan was "brilliant". Hellmund says it could help ticket sales, saying it would be spectacular and add a compelling element for fans, adding that true talent always shines in the wet. Is it really a goer?

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Andi, Cornwall via text: "Let's make it a triathlon. 1500 metre swim (blindfold), two laps of the track on a unicycle, then into the cars for the race with random rain, snow, fog and badgers."
Badgers. Love it.

Twitter
Sam England on Twitter: "I hope watching the test updates on my phone for the next two hours will give me the will power to get through this lecture."

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Yolanda in boring lectures from Nottingham via text: "I don't think the artificial rain is a good idea. Why make the races fake, we had the most exciting races last year thanks to mother nature! Also, it could put the drivers at risk."

Twitter
NotTHESteveNash on Twitter: "As long as Kimi brings the right attitude, he can be a world beater!"

0950: There's not a lot of movement times-wise at the moment, although Valsecchi in the Lotus improves to a 1:32.865. He's still the slowest of the six drivers to have posted a time so far today.

Twitter
SteveRHopkins on Twitter: "What will be Ecclestone's next idea? One lap must be completed on a unicorn?"
Awesome. You could be onto something there...

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Alex, bored at work, London via text: "John Bonham is not really grounds for divorce, Neil Peart on the other hand... "

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Justin in Daventry via text: "Dan, tell your bin man to move some rubbish, I mean ballast forward and take off a bit of wing at the rear. That should sort it!"

Twitter
Force India on Twitter: "Still looking gloomy down here but rain has stopped. The Hulk has done 13 laps so far."

0940: Just in case you missed it, there was a suggestion last week from F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone that to spice up races, sprinklers could be deployed to make tracks artificially wet. When asked if the sports needed this and whether he agreed with the plan, Webber said bluntly: "No and no." What do you think? Let me know.

0936: Webber is out and about and moves up to third with a 1:27.411, pushing Button down to fourth. A bit more from the Australian coming up...

Twitter
Team Lotus on Twitter: "17 laps completed - 1:33.551. Davide's running a number of aero tests for us this morning so it's not all about pace yet... "

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Jon, Liverpool via text: "Just think if the Bahrain GP was going ahead this weekend. I would not now be thinking of an excuse to get me out of visiting the in-laws this weekend. Thanks a lot Bahrain!"

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Dan, still at Heathrow via text: "Duncan, you think your bin lorry is bad, my bin man was complaining of a lack of front end grip mid corner!"

0929: I have had a few questions in regarding McLaren's testing programme this week. Although they are not on the track on Thursday, as the track is open for five days, they are still testing for four days.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Jason in a freezing office in Aylesbury via text: "John Bonham - divorce is the easy option, you should accept the challenge and educate her in the finer art that he was indeed the master of."

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Nick in Haverfordwest via text: "I want to see where Toro Rosso are. I reckon they'll improve a lot after a dismal 2010 campaign, consistent points?"

0920: Heidfeld has been gradually improving his times during his run and a 1:26.465 puts him top of the standings. Button is currently third after a 1:28.971.

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Pritch from Solihull via text: "I think being asked who John Bonham is, is seriously grounds for divorce! Roll on Australia."

Twitter
Mercedes GP on Twitter: "Our driver line-up for the week is: Nico - Wednesday/Saturday, Michael - Thursday/Friday."

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Duncan from Chippenham via text: Come on McLaren, get out on track and give us a sign! The most exciting thing at the moment is watching the bin men out of my window. Mind you, their truck looks a little skittish on the corners, let's hope that's not an omen (no, I'm not seriously comparing the McLaren to a rubbish lorry...at least not until after the first race!).

0913: Nick Heidfeld is in the Renault today and helpfully, his team have spelt out his plans on their Twitter page. "Nick's programme is for lots of short runs. We have development items to assess, suspension work, new tyre runs and general set-up work."


0909: And we are back to green in Barcelona. By the way, I was boring my wife with some drumming chat the other night and during the conversation she asked me: "Who's John Bonham?" Is that grounds for divorce?

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
From Mark in Dundee via text: "Just wish Kimi would come back to where he belongs. F1 - not world rally."

Twitter
McLaren driver Jenson Button on Twitter: "Morning from a cold windy Circuit de Catalunya! We've been doing some pit stop practice this morning and the boys seem to be on form!"

0859:And we have our first red flag of the day, the Toro Rosso of Sebastien Buemi stops near the pit exit and a crane lifts the stricken vehicle out of harm's way.

0850:Just in case you didn't know, this final test wasn't supposed to be taking place in Barcelona or at this time. It was scheduled to start on 3 March in Bahrain but was cancelled because of unrest in the country. The season-opening Bahrain GP, planned for this weekend, was also called off with Australia now starting the season on 27 March.

0842: And we have some times now. Sauber rookie Sergio Perez sets a 1:26.789 with Red Bull's Mark Webber second fastest after a 1:29.080. Force India reserve driver Nick Hulkenberg is third (1:30.457) while Team AirAsia GP2 driver Davide Valsecchi, who is in the Lotus, posts a 1:38.936.

Text in your views on 81111 (UK)
Danny Stroud from Thame, via text: "What are the odds on Nico this year? I think I fancy a punt seen as Ross Brawn can always produce a competitive car."

RubberGoat on Twitter: "Alright, so who has those pre-season butterflies at the moment? Can't wait for Melbourne & I hope McLaren do well!"

McLaren have work to do - Hamilton

0830: All eyes will be on McLaren this week to see how they get on as their testing programme has not been plain sailing so far. They have suffered reliability problems and are believed to be struggling compared to Ferrari and Red Bull. Here's Lewis Hamilton speaking last week: "When we see our times a little bit off we know we've got a bit of work to do to catch up. I still don't know where we stand."

ToroRossoSpy on Twitter: "So here we are in Barcelona! Few drops of rain, cloudy, but not too cold. [Sebastien] Buemi completed his installation lap and back in the garage now."

0821: So how are you then? Remember that this is your commentary, so get involved. There's Twitter (via hashtag #BBCF1 ), you can message me direct on @markorlovac or you can text in via 81111 (UK). Magic.

0815: There are no times on the board at present as the teams testing today complete their installation laps. Eight teams are in action on Tuesday, with Williams, Ferrari, Mercedes and Hispania not expected to run today, going from the 9th to the 12th instead. McLaren's Jenson Button is in the car today, with Lewis Hamilton taking over tomorrow. They will not run on Thursday, but will be back again on Friday and Saturday. Clear? No, me neither.

Twitter
Force India on Twitter: "Nico [Hulkenberg] back in after his install lap. Track very slippery he reports. Tried KERS on the back straight, no issues to start."

0809: And a very good morning to you on this fine Tuesday morning. It's gloriously sunny, and cold, in west London but it has been raining in Barcelona as F1's great and good dust themselves down for the final pre-season test ahead of the start of the 2011 campaign. Welcome.

0805: I was watching that Brian Cox fella on the telly the other night. He was talking about the death of our sun and the end of the earth. It was a bit unnerving really. On a brighter note, Cox is pretty sure that it is not going to happen for a while so I think there will be just enough time to squeeze in the final F1 pre-season test from Barcelona. Hurray!





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see also
Bahrain given deadline for new GP
08 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Ferrari settle on 2011 car name
04 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Webber dismisses 'fake rain' idea
03 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Mercedes off the pace, says Brawn
03 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
McLaren duo admit to car worries
02 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Glock may miss test after surgery
01 Mar 11 |  Formula 1
Bahrain GP off after civil unrest
21 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Massa leads way in Barcelona test
21 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Rosberg topples Hamilton at test
20 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Barcelona F1 test photos
20 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Vettel sets searing pace at test
19 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Vettel beats Alonso to set pace
18 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Barrichello tops Jerez test times
13 Feb 11 |  Formula 1
Kubica sets test pace for Renault
03 Feb 11 |  Formula 1


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