Romain Grosjean topped the timesheets again on the final day of testing at Mugello, the Frenchman out-pacing Sebastian Vettel and Fernando Alonso as the teams prepared for Barcelona and beyond.
Having shared the top spot with Kamui Kobayashi yesterday, today's the French youngster's programme again included aerodynamic work, setups, suspension configuration & evaluation, high and medium fuel runs, data collection and correlation.
"After looking at the data from yesterday, we ran further back-to-back tests on our suspension configurations," said Trackside Operations Director, Alan Permane. "Track conditions were better today as a result of yesterday's running. We stopped early for lunch so that we could change the suspension and be out running straight away in the afternoon session. In the afternoon we also assessed some new floor updates applicable for Barcelona, as well as a rear suspension update fitted late in the day.
"After the rain on the first day, it's been a valuable two dry days of testing. Mugello is quite hard on the tyres; not in terms of degradation, but through the high speed loadings generating heat. This has taught us some interesting lessons applicable to the rest of the season. Mugello is also an excellent circuit for doing aerodynamic evaluation, so it has been time well spent here."
"It was another nice day today so I have been lucky with the weather here," said Grosjean. "We continued to work on the car and have gained more valuable data. We made a big change to the car at lunchtime and everything went according to plan. Mugello puts high demands on the driver so it's been a very good experience for me - and quite a workout! We were conducting a specific programme of evaluating components, so to be quick relative to our opposition even when we were not looking specifically to try to top the times is satisfying. I'm happy at the progress we've made here in Italy and looking forward to seeing how well this translates into lap time when we get to Barcelona."
Like yesterday, Red Bull focused largely on aerodynamic testing. Having amassed a vast amount of data over the past three days, the team will now return to its Milton Keynes base where analysis can take place in the run-up to next week's Spanish Grand Prix.
"It's been a useful couple of days and I've enjoyed the track a lot," said Vettel. "As usual we now have a lot of data to get through and that will take some time. We tried a few things and the results look encouraging; it's always difficult to tell whether we improved and by how much, but we got some good laps and some good information."
For Ferrari today's programme centred on experimenting with the new aerodynamic components introduced for the F2012, as well as a study of the behaviour of the Pirelli tyres. However, an off mid-morning caused damage to the front wing and the left front corner, which took two and a half hours to repair.
Daniel Ricciardo was back on duty for Toro Rosso the Australian's running on Wednesday having been limited as the Faenza outfit allowed teammate Jean-Eric Vergne to complete his full programme. The day was spent evaluating new components, and general development of the car.
"A good day with a high mileage," said the Australian, "getting through all our programme, which is always your first target at a test. With new parts you always hope they will deliver a big improvement, but the reality is that we must now look at the data to see where we really are. Certainly, from the cockpit I was happy with the feeling I had from the car and I really enjoyed driving this beautiful circuit again."
"Another full day with plenty of running and over a hundred laps completed in ideal conditions," added Chief Engineer, Laurent Mekies. "Overall this has been a very productive test for us and we managed to make up for the time lost through bad weather on Tuesday, so we have effectively had two and a half days of testing, during which we got through plenty of work, testing several new components, with both drivers completing a high mileage.
"The team worked hard here in Mugello," he continued, "but now that work must continue in the factory, as it is up to us to choose the best configuration and set-up specifications for the upcoming races and the right path to follow in terms of car development. That will involve carrying out a careful study of all the useful data we have gathered here."
It was another productive day for Sauber with Sergio Perez taking over from yesterday's joint pace-setter Kamui Kobayashi. Once again, the focus was on evaluating new aero parts for the C31 and testing the package for the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix.
After the usual installation laps in the morning, Perez started his programme with some base line running and basic set-up work. Once this was done he continued with aero measurements. While struggling with the car's balance he also went off twice before the lunch break, but without any major damage to the car.