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As it happened: Test day four
By Pablo Elizalde, Matt Beer, Jonathan Noble and Mark Glendenning
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
07:55 Good morning from a sunny Barcelona and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live's coverage of the penultimate day of winter testing for 2011.

07:56 It's a clear and bright morning with an air temperature of 7.2 degree and 15 on track.

07:56 We can already hear wheelguns going off in the Toro Rosso pits.

07:56 And McLaren has its wheelguns laid out, looks like it's preparing for pitstop practice and possibly a race simulation.

07:57 Mercedes is carrying its full update package today - we'll bring you news and pictures as soon as we can.

07:57 With only five teams running tomorrow and the HRT F111 making its debut this afternoon, today is the only time all winter when all 12 teams' 2011 cars will run together.

07:58 It now looks like we'll get through today with dry weather, @radarguruf1: "Dry during the track action at #Montmelo today. Sunny this morning, becoming o'cast by late afternoon. Rain tonight. Max 14c"

08:01 We're underway, and Jaime Alguersuari is first out in the Toro Rosso.

08:03 Yesterday Renault team boss Eric Boullier had to send his apologies as he was caught in meetings and had to cancel his appointment to answer your questions on AUTOSPORT Live.

But the good news is he'll be with us shortly and we've kept hold of your questions to put to him this morning.

08:03 Heikki Kovalainen (Lotus) and Jerome D'Ambrosio (Virgin) have done their installation laps now too.

08:03 Alguersuari stayed out for a second lap.

08:04 Alguersuari now comes in, as Kamui Kobayashi does his installation run in yesterday's pacesetting Sauber.

08:05 Eric Boullier is now up here with us, and later today it's the turn of Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug to answer your questions on AUTOSPORT Live.

So anything you want to ask Haug, email to

08:05 Nick Heidfeld's Renault and Adrian Sutil's Force India do their installation laps as well.

08:06 Fernando Alonso is out in the Ferrari and already doing a constant speed aero test down the main straight.

08:06 Sebastian Vettel's Red Bull and Rubens Barrichello's Williams are the latest to complete installation runs and pit.

08:07 Michael Schumacher is doing a constant speed test as well. The Mercedes, like the Ferrari, will complete two installation laps before pitting.

08:09 Schumacher stays out for a third lap and gives us our first time of the day - but it's only a 1m43.593s as he conducts the aero analysis.

08:10 Jenson Button completes his installation run in the McLaren, so that's all 11 cars that we expect to see this morning. HRT joins in after lunch.

08:11 Schumacher completes that run and pits.

08:14 Renault team boss Eric Boullier is getting started on your questions now.

08:16 Guillermo Fernando Pezzetto asks: We could see in the last time sucessful team managers like Eric and Horner coming from lower categories like F3000/GP2, and being straight away ready for the challenge, where some with a lot of experience in F1 are still finding their way. Why is this? Being not so much influenced by the F1 world makes you think differently? More common sense?! What are the main areas where a lower category manager needs to develop in F1?

Eric Boullier: That is a tricky one. I think there is no special secret. F1 clearly in the 2000s was clearly led by manufacturers who needed a more marketing face and political face, rather than a technical one. With the change now that F1 is facing, also with downsizing companies – you need to get back to the primary focus which is racing. So you need to have people who understand racing more than marketing. And the main area we need to develop is in politics.

08:17 We'll keep you informed with what's happening on track while Eric is with us, and right now Barrichello brings the Williams back out.

08:17 Tom Goodall asks: Where were you when you first heard about Robert's accident and what was your initial reaction?

EB: I was in London actually. I was preparing for a meeting and a lunch with one of our sponsors. I remember receiving a call at 9.08am UK time from Morelli, which was informing me of the accident. At that stage it was not that bad, it was just a couple of fracture of the leg and arm. Then two hours later it became obvious it was much worse.

08:18 Sutil comes out again in the Force India as well.

08:19 Edwin Schimmel from the Netherlands asks: What if Kubica will recover faster than predicted and will be able to return to F1 during the second half of the season, and Heidfeld has more points than Petrov? Is Heidfeld still the one to step aside for Kubica or will Petrov be the one to move over in that case?

EB: I will just say that all scenarios are open! You see I have learned about the politics of F1...

08:20 Krzysztof asks: From what you have seen so far, how do Nick Heidfeld's car set-ups and preferences compare with Kubica and Petrov who both were said to have similar driving styles and prefer similar settings?

EB: Actually Nick is quite similar to Robert. He is very good in saving the tyres, which is very important with the Pirellis. And he is close to Robert. They work in a very similar way – and you feel the same thing from them. He has a lot of experience, and the way he is bringing his experience on the table is very similar to the strong wish and commitment to that which Robert has.

08:20 Barrichello sets the first representative time of the day, lapping in 1m26.779s.

08:21 Here's what Lotus is up to, courtesy of @MikeGascoyne: "Installation lap done and going for first runs. Doing some aero mapping runs as we have the new front wing on"

08:21 Sutil sets a time as well, lapping in 1m30.846s.

08:22 Barrichello improves to 1m25.582s. Kovalainen comes out as Gascoyne promised.

08:23 @JensonButton tweets the thoughts that many are thinking this morning: "Devastating news from Tokyo and Sendai in Japan. My thoughts go out to everyone effected.. Try and be strong and pull together.."

08:23 Sutil improves to 1m28.824s in second place.

08:24 Karol Z asks Eric Boullier: Are you planning to test more new parts during last days of testing? Please tell us also if there will be any upgrade package for Australia. Thank you

EB: We have some new parts coming. This week was a case of gradual updates for the car, and we should have upgrades for Australia. And we have some more coming at later races – big steps! We will have similar development rates to last year, and we have two strong packages coming.

08:24 Barrichello is back in after that quick run, while D'Ambrosio is coming out in the Virgin.

08:25 Kovalainen starts with a 1m30.360s to go third fastest.

08:26 Kovalainen improves to 1m29.249s.

08:27 One of our readers asks Eric Boullier 'have you ever been mistaken for Ricky Gervais?'

Eric is now looking up who Ricky Gervais is on Google...

08:27 EB: Hmmmm. No!

08:30 There's plenty of interest in the upgraded Mercedes among our readers, and we know it's carrying a package featuring a new wing and turning vanes.

Our vantage point is at the wrong end of the pits to get a close look and obviously details are hard to spot when the cars are at speed. But we'll try and get down there for a proper look if Schumacher does pitstop practice, and we're eagerly awaiting the first close-up images.

08:31 Laurence Thorn asks Eric Boullier: Hi Eric, previously you've obviously worked for DAMS in GP2 and A1GP, where you had perhaps a dozen employees to manage and where everything (budgets, cars) are far more equal. Now you find yourself as team principal of an F1 team with hundreds of employees in an environment which is constantly changing. What would you say are the largest challenges you faced when you went from your managerial role with DAMS to your team principal role at Renault?

EB: The largest challenge is clearly to step into a very well organised, established organisation and get the trust of the people – because I have to lead them and represent them. That is definitely the biggest challenge.

08:31 Kovalainen is the only car on the track at present.

08:32 Alonso sets out now too.

08:32 Peter T asks: With McLaren's form looking a bit down, how confident are you that Renault can slot into their gap and fight Red Bull Racing and Ferrari for victories this year?

EB: I am not the kind of guy who will publicly say I am confident. I know far too much how it can be tricky to do this. Let's see in Australia because here – even though teams have brought their final updates, some teams like McLaren or Mercedes – they have a huge resource potential and then can change dramatically between now and Australia. So let's see in Australia. But clearly we are in a better position than one year ago.

08:33 Kovalainen improves to 1m28.754s to go second.

08:33 Phil Carr asks: How do teams go about allocating testing time evenly to both of their cars, or don't they? I'd assume that they'd want to arrive in Australia with both cars having roughly the same amount of wear and set-up time.

EB: It is not very scientific to be honest with the drivers. With drivers is mainly due to PR commitments and their personal life commitments before the season starts. With the cars, we run most of the tests with one chassis, and we have run the second one here for a shakedown. So both drivers have shared both cars. These are the chassis that will go to Australia.

08:34 Alonso goes straight to the top of the times with a 1m25.071s in the Ferrari on his first flying lap. That's half a second ahead of Barrichello.

08:34 Kobayashi comes out to join the Ferrari. Kovalainen has pitted the Lotus.

08:35 Gilbert asks: When will Enstone have a simulator similar to what McLaren and Ferrari are using – and do you believe it is vital for F1 teams to go down that route?

EB: The green light for this project was given last Christmas, so we should have it at the beginning of 2012. For me it is vital for an F1 team now because some drivers are more enthusiastic to use simulators, but even for the teams it is an important tool now.

08:35 Kovalainen and Schumacher are back out.

08:36 Geoff Thomas asks: If RBR are THAT quick out of the box and the Renault appears to be pretty competitive too, have the French engine builders been able to do anything to their power plants over the winter, as both teams were complaining about a comparative lack of power last year?

EB: The rules are quite strict – so the engine units are frozen. They can only work on the integration of the engine and the chassis, so I would say that it is more or less thanks to the good integration of the engine/chassis, rather than just being the engine itself.

08:36 Alonso improves the day's best time to a 1m24.775s.

08:36 Kobayashi goes third with a 1m26.023s on his first flying lap.

08:37 Button is out, as is Heidfeld, and the McLaren is the latest to do a constant speed aero test down the straight.

08:37 No improvement from Alonso on his third flying lap, the time goes up to 1m25.9s.

08:37 Time for one last question to Eric Boullier before he has to go.

08:38 Heidfeld's first time is a 1m28.324s, appropriately enough as we talk to his boss.

08:38 Olsson Niklas asks: Do Lotus Cars support LRGP with more than money? Are Lotus Cars or Engineering and LRGP 'co-operating'? Are these connections planned for the future?

EB: It is more than money. It is co-operation at every level and on every aspect. We have actually a secondment programme with Proton bringing into the team a number of engineers. But we also have some strong support from Proton itself, and Malaysia, via Lotus. We hope to grow these links even further. We don't know yet this will go but definitely we are working more together. It is more like a partner rather than simply a sponsor.

08:39 Eric Boullier is getting back to work now. Thanks to him for giving us his time during this busy test, and to everyone who emailed us with questions for him.

08:39 Now start getting your questions in for Mercedes' Norbert Haug - he'll be joining us on AUTOSPORT Live this afternoon.

08:39 And with very good timing, Mercedes goes fastest. Schumacher does a 1m24.676s to beat Alonso by 0.099s.

08:40 Schumacher then improves to 1m23.948s on his next lap.

08:41 Heidfeld goes quicker than before in the Renault with a 1m26.807s.

08:41 Alonso has stayed out and his times are now in mid to high 1m25s.

08:42 A 1m24.1s from Schumacher on his third lap, as Alonso goes up to a 1m26.0s.

08:43 As usual, you can email with any other questions you have for our testing coverage team as well as questions for Norbert Haug.

We do get a huge volume of queries, and a lot of them need more analysis and fact-hunting that we can do right away, but keep them coming and we'll get through as many as we can.

08:43 Alonso backs right off with a 1m35s, as Schumacher does a 1m24.4s and Barrichello comes back out.

08:44 Significant news from Williams: "We won't be running KERS for the rest of the test in Barcelona"

08:44 Button does a practice pitstop.

08:45 Back to Williams and KERS, the team has had various problems with the device in testing so far, and yesterday Barrichello admitted that there was a possibility it might have to be removed for Melbourne. Not running it in the rest of the test makes that seem more probable.

08:46 Alonso backed off for two data-gathering laps in 1m34s and 1m35s at the end of his stint before pitting.

08:47 Schumacher comes in too. He did a five lap run averaging 1m24.3s, with time progression as follows: 24.6, 23.9, 24.1, 24.4, 24.4

08:47 Alonso's pace ran 25.0, 24.7, 25.9, 25.6, 25.6, 26.0 before he backed off for the two slow laps.

08:48 Just two cars on track now: Barrichello and Sutil.

08:48 Sutil has just improved his time to 1m26.815s in sixth place, as Barrichello does a 1m25.160s and stays third.

08:49 Barrichello improves to 1m24.9s, which still keeps him third.

08:50 Red Bull is revving in the garage ready to go.

08:50 After the tiny crowds of earlier in the week, it is looking slightly busier today - Alonso in the Ferrari already brings the fans out.

08:50 Sutil has pitted after a four-lap run averaging 1m27.7s.

08:51 Barrichello continues round in low 1m25s.

08:54 Kovalainen is coming back out as Barrichello's run of low 1m25s continues.

08:55 Barrichello completes that first five-lap run, which averaged 1m25.2s and ran as follows: 25.8, 25.1, 24.9, 25.1, 25.1

08:55 Alonso is coming out again and Kovalainen is circulating in mid 1m29s in the Lotus.

08:58 As we approach the end of the first hour, it's still Schumacher fastest on 1m23.948s, with Alonso 0.8s slower in second, then Barrichello, Kobayashi and Heidfeld.

08:59 Alguersuari, D'Ambrosio, Vettel and Button are the drivers yet to set a time, though all have been out for installation runs - and Button has completed seven laps via aero checks and pitstop practice.

08:59 Highest lap count so far is Kovalainen with 16.

08:59 Vettel comes back out again.

09:00 Schumacher is now back out.

09:01 As is Kobayashi on the Sauber.

09:03 Alonso has now done four laps on his current stint, all in mid to high 1m26s. Could be the start of a longer run.

09:03 Schumacher has just completed his first lap of this run with a 1m25.4s.

09:04 It's starting to get hazy and cloudy here, so looks like the temperatures have peaked for now. It's 16.7 degrees on track.

09:04 Vettel sets his first time of the day, but it's a data gathering run and a 1m36.271s.

09:05 Schumacher does a 25.1 on his second lap, Alonso a 27.2 on his fifth.

09:05 Vettel shown 'L1' on the Red Bull pitboard.

09:05 He improves to 1m30.424s with that lap.

09:05 RBR has sometimes confused us this winter by using a pitboard that counts up, not down, but we've just seen this one go from 'L2' to 'L1' so we think we've got this one figured out...

09:06 Alonso has now backed off to a 1m37.5s as he cruises down the straight on a constant speed aero test.

09:08 Alonso now comes slowly into the pits.

09:08 Vettel ends his run too, and the mechanics rush over to cover the rear wing.

09:08 Schumacher's pace has gone up to 1m26s. We'll bring you the full times from his run when he ends it.

Michael Schumacher09:09 Here's a look at the updated Mercedes package from earlier this morning.

09:10 Schumacher now comes in, so the track is empty.

09:10 Alonso's last stint ran as follows: 26.3, 26.2, 26.4, 26.8, 27.2, 27.4 then he backed off for an aero test.

As we know a light Ferrari can do 1m22s, that would've been a run in more race than qualifying configuration.

09:11 Schumacher's stint was five laps again, and it went as follows: 25.4, 25.1, 25.9, 26.2, 26.2

09:11 Only a few seconds of empty track before Heidfeld comes out again in the Renault.

09:11 If you're just joining us, you might not know that Mercedes' Norbert Haug will be our special guest on AUTOSPORT Live this afternoon. Email your questions for Norbert to

09:12 Button and D'Ambrosio set off as well.

09:14 D'Ambrosio returns to the pits without setting a time.

09:15 He has a full four days of running as his team-mate Timo Glock recovers from having his appendix removed. The German has not enjoyed being a spectator, @realTimoGlock: "One day in Barcelona visiting the Team realized watching is nothing for me!!! Now on the way to Dr Peil taking the stitches"

09:15 Button sets his first time of the day with a 1m32.768s.

09:17 Button now improves to 1m27.232s.

09:17 That time puts him seventh.

09:17 Kobayashi and Heidfeld are the other men on the circuit.

09:18 Button now up to sixth with a 1m26.806s.

09:20 Heidfeld comes into the pits after a three-lap run that averaged in a quiet 1m27.0s.

Jenson Button09:21 Button goes a bit quicker with a 1m26.339s, but stays sixth.

09:22 Kobayashi does two laps in 1m27s then pits.

09:23 Button stays out lapping in mid 1m26s, and Barrichello comes out for Williams.

09:23 Now Button pits and Kobayashi resumes.

09:27 Barrichello jumps to second place with a 1m24.544s.

09:30 That was a two-lap run for Barrichello. He started with a 26.0 then did the 24.5 that put him second, though we know from yesterday that the Williams will get into the 1m22s in a more qualifying-style spec.

09:31 Just Sutil on the circuit now. The Force India is running in the 1m27s and 1m28s on a more heavy fuel pace.

09:31 Alonso and Heidfeld come out again.

09:32 Sutil does another low 1m28s then comes in and does a practice start style acceleration burst in the pitlane.

09:33 Alonso shoots to the top with a 1m22.588s.

09:33 Now to see how long the Ferrari stays out and what sort of pace it can sustain. Red Bull and Ferrari have done those kind of times early on 4-5 laps runs this week.

Fernando Alonso09:34 For now, Alonso is 1.3s ahead of Schumacher.

09:34 Heideld takes second from Schumacher with a 1m23.651s, a second off Alonso's pace.

09:36 Alonso's second lap is a 1m23.2s, Heidfeld's a 1m23.8s.

09:36 Now a 1m24.1s from Alonso.

09:37 Barrichello goes fastest with a 1m22.412s.

09:37 That lap is 0.176s quicker than Alonso and 0.2s faster than Barrichello's best time from Thursday. And remember Williams is without KERS for the rest of the test.

09:38 Heidfeld has come in after his 23.6 and 23.8.

09:39 Alonso has now backed off to do a fairly slow speed constant run down the start/finish straight.

09:39 Up to then, his lap times were 22.5, 23.2, 24.1, 25.3

09:39 Schumacher and Kobayashi are back out.

09:40 D'Ambrosio does Virgin's first time of the day with a 1m29.990s.

09:42 Schumacher starts his run with a new personal best of 1m22.747s. He stays third.

09:43 The Mercedes' next lap is a 1m24.6s.

09:46 Something a little different - Red Bull technical director Adrian Newey is to drive a Ford GT-40 around the track at lunchtime to promote a new 'Spirit of Montjuich' event.

09:46 Also in a busy lunchbreak, HRT will reveal its F111, the last 2011 car to be launched.

09:47 After that 22.5, Schumacher's times immediately dropped into 1m24s and now 1m25s, but he's still out five laps on.

09:48 Barrichello improves his time to 1m22.233s, taking him 0.3s clear of Alonso at the front of the field.

09:49 That was another one-lap qualifying-style blast from Barrichello, who now pits.

09:49 We said earlier that the fans were turning out for Alonso today, but don't underestimate the support for Alguersuari.

09:50 There are big banners for the Toro Rosso driver today, including one from his official fan club, and one saying 'ALGUERSUARI: FINS LA VICTORIA SEMPRE!'

09:51 Schumacher is now back in. His times from that run: 22.7, 24.6, 24.6, 24.8, 25.6

09:51 Alonso improves his time, but only by 0.006s. He stays second to Barrichello.

09:52 A 1m22.9s from Alonso on his second lap.

09:53 Heidfeld shaves 0.6s off his time with a 1m23.008s, staying fourth.

09:54 A 1m23.3s from Alonso on his third lap of that stint.

09:55 No need to look up to see it's Heidfeld coming down the pitlane. The Renault and its radical exhaust have a very distinctive sound.

Kamui Kobayashi09:57 Kobayashi makes a big improvement with a 1m23.845s. That's 2s quicker than his previous best time, but he stays fifth.

09:59 Alonso again backs right off at the end of a stint.

10:00 Here's how Alonso's stint ran: 22.5, 22.9, 23.3, 24.8

And to compare to Schumacher's similar run a few minutes earlier: 22.7, 24.6, 24.6, 24.8, 25.6

10:01 A recap two hours into the session: Barrichello is fastest ahead of Alonso, Schumacher, Heidfeld and Kobayashi.

10:01 No time yet from Alguersuari, everyone else has been out, but only a quiet seven laps of data gathering from Red Bull.

10:02 Current lap counts: Barrichello 22, Alonso 34, Schumacher 24, Heidfeld 21, Kobayashi 24, Kovalainen 23, Button 14, Sutil 19, D'Ambrosio 17, Vettel 7, Alguersuari 2

10:03 Kovalainen improves to sixth place with a 1m25.678s.

10:05 Slightly faster from Kovalainen with a 1m25.587s, then a 1m25.9s on his third lap of the run.

10:08 Cheers from the gathering crowd in the grandstand as Alonso comes out of the pits.

10:09 Alguersuari is setting off too, he hasn't set a time yet today.

10:11 Alonso retakes the top spot from Barrichello with a 1m22.104s.

10:12 That's 0.129s faster than the Williams.

10:12 Alguersuari comes back in without setting a time.

10:12 Schumacher and Heidfeld come back out.

10:13 That was a single flying lap from Alonso, whose returns to the pits.

10:14 We've got Mercedes' Norbert Haug coming up to join us on AUTOSPORT Live this afternoon, so email your questions to

10:15 Schumacher knocks Alonso off the head of the times with a 1m21.268s.

10:15 That Mercedes lap is 0.836s quicker than the time Ferrari just did.

10:16 It's half a second quicker than anyone has gone in Barcelona testing so far.

10:16 That will be a low-fuel run from Schumacher, who comes straight back into the pits.

10:16 But whatever the specification, that time will be very encouraging.

10:17 It's not as if everyone else has been on race fuel loads - today's top five times so far have all been on short runs.

10:20 Jag has emailed to ask "do you guys believe Mercedes has made up the gap to the fronrunners with the new updates? And how is Michael Schumacher looking these days, has he got a GP win in him?"

AUTOSPORT's deputy F1 editor @m_glendenning replies: "The boring answer is that it's still too early to really say. The slightly less boring answer is that it appears that the upgrades have delivered a very real step forward, but I suspect it would be a bit optimistic to suggest that they've done enough to put the team wheel-to-wheel with Red Bull and Ferrari in Australia.

"What the developments have done is move the team forward among that gaggle of cars fighting it out to be best of the rest in terms of outright performance at the opening races. So if you're a Mercedes fan then you can probably feel confident that the team is in better shape than it looked at the last test, but the number of question marks everywhere else along pitlane makes it hard to pick who exactly they might have leapfrogged.

"And how is Michael looking these days? Fit, slightly tanned, and pretty happy, judging from his press briefing a couple of days ago. I asked Norbert Haug what sort of shape he thought he was in, and his opinion was that Schumacher is ready to go."

10:22 Alguersuari finally puts in his first lap of the day with a 1m27.721s.

Rubens Barrichello10:23 Ed ("working hard or should that be hardly working...?") has asked if we could post a side-on picture of the Williams so he can see how reminiscent of the mid-1990s its new livery is. Here you go, Ed.

10:24 Alguersuari now goes up to seventh with a 1m26.014s.

10:27 Renault is doing a lot of one-lap runs this morning, all in low 1m23s. Heidfeld has just done another 1m23.1s, slightly off his fastest of the day.

10:29 Mark Harrison asks via "If the teams invent a new idea, like the F-duct or double defusse can they copyright it or patent it and then do the other te ams have to licence it from them?! Just wondering how the world of IP works in F1 with so many new ideas and inventions going on!"

AUTOSPORT deputy F1 editor @m_glendenning says: "Most of these ideas are not so much 'inventions' as extremely clever interpretations of the regulations. Once a team has found a tweak, other teams can and do freely apply the same interpretation if they think it is of sufficient benefit. This is how both the F-duct and the double diffuser filtered along the pitlane.

"It would be a different story if a team came up with an entirely new technology or something with commercial applications. A good example of this is the flywheel hybrid technology being developed by Williams (which is different to the battery-powered system used in its race cars)."

10:30 Just one car on the circuit at the moment. Barrichello seems to be on a heavy, long run now. His pace started in 1m30s and he's now onto a high 1m31s on his sixth lap.

10:31 Sutil brings the Force India out.

10:33 Sutil improves to 1m23.921s and sixth place. Vettel and Kovalainen are coming out.

Flo-vis10:33 Looks like McLaren has been running the special flo-vis aero paint on its airbox section this morning.

10:36 Vettel sets his first significant time of the day, a 1m23.012s that puts him fifth.

10:36 Kovalainen improves at the same time with a 1m23.437s, which puts him sixth.

10:38 William asks if we've seen any evidence that the new HRT is actually here...

Well William, they've announced a launch for 1pm so it's going to be a bit embarrassing if we all turn up and there's no car...

The motorhome is there, the trucks are there, and we've also seen Narain Karthikeyan and Tonio Liuzzi. So we'll find out in less than two hours.

10:38 Vettel does a 1m23.4s on his second lap of that run.

Heikki Kovalainen10:40 Kovalainen's recent improvement to 1m23.4s came on a one-lap run, possibly a qualifying simulation.

10:43 Lots of people at the track following the frightening events in Japan today, and here's a Live reader who's actually there.

Lindsay emails to say: "In Tokyo having a few after-quake pints and following Live. Not great cell coverage, and after letting my girl in NZ and my family in Hawaii know I was alive, I had to see how the action in Catalunya has been.

"Good excuse today though, we had to evacuate work because of the quake(s)."

10:47 Paul from Melbourne in Australia emails to say: "I remember when Williams and Keke Ropsberg foxed everyone in the 1980s with their testing... it all looked slow,.. then come the first GP, they blew people away. Okay, maybe 'blew people away' is a slight exaggeration.

"How much foxing goes on in F1 testing these days? Are Red Bull and
Ferrari going to dominate the first set of GPs this year - as it looks like?"

AUTOSPORT deputy F1 editor @m_glendenning replies: "A question from my home town!

"'Foxing' is not really a proirity for the teams here. We haven't seen a lot of low-fuel, super-soft tyre runs yet, so when they come, they tend to stand out. That was how Sergio Perez was able to go quickest yesterday - it wasn't because Red Bull and Ferrari were sandbagging; it was because the Mexican was finishing his programme with a qualifying simulation, whereas most of the other teams were still running around working on other things.

"With some of the teams wrapping up their pre-season testing today, don't be surprised to see a few more quick runs in the last couple of hours of running this afternoon.

"And I'm not sure whether I'd say that Red Bull and Ferrari will "dominate" at Albert Park, but they certainly look set to be the two teams that everyone else will be most worried about."

10:47 AUTOSPORT group F1 editor @nobleF1 has just popped outside. He reports that it "definitely feels chilly - not quite the T-shirt weather of Thursday."

10:49 Barrichello is continuing with a long run. The Williams did 10 laps, starting in 1m30.7s and stretching to 1m33.5s at the end, then pitted.

It emerged with fresh tyres and started with a 1m31.3s. Barrichello is still in mid 1m31s five laps into this next stint.

10:52 Schumacher is back out and does a 1m21.7s on his first lap, half a second off his earlier pace

10:52 Temperatures are going down at Barcelona - now 18.3 degrees on track and 11.5 air.

10:52 Barrichello's times continue to hold up in consistent mid 1m31s.

Michael Schumacher10:52 That was another single-lap run from Schumacher.

10:53 Barrichello is now the only man on track.

10:54 Latest Tweet from @HispaniaRacing confirms all is on course for the F111 launch at 1pm local time.

10:56 An interesting onlooker in the pits: former Minardi technical director Gabriele Tredozi.

10:56 Heidfeld and Alguersuari come out.

10:56 Incidentally, although Schumacher's last 1m21.714s lap was off his earlier pace by half a second, it was still the second-fastest lap of all of 2011 Barcelona testing so far.

10:57 Barrichello doesn't seem to be having any tyre drop-off at all on this stint. He came out of the pits with a 1m31.309s, 10 laps later he's done a 1m31.414s and the slowest he's been at any stage is a 1m32.0s.

10:59 Kovalainen heads back out.

10:59 An improvement from Heidfeld on the first flying lap of this stint - he does a 1m22.341s but stays fourth.

11:00 Top of the hour recap time: Schumacher fastest on 1m21.2s, 0.8s ahead of Alonso, then Barrichello, Heidfeld, Vettel, Kovalainen.

11:00 Lap counts so far today: Schumacher 32, Alonso 44, Barrichello 48, Heidfeld 36, Vettel 13, Kovalainen 43, Kobayashi 32, Sutil 26, Alguersuari 16, Button 22, D'Ambrosio 25.

11:02 Mark, who is off work with a viral infection, emails to say: "What do you think the current situation is with McLaren - have they brought any major updates to barcelona and do you think perhaps they are decieving everybody with not showing true pace as Hamilton set times in 1m22s the other day and now they seem to have backed off?"

AUTOSPORT's deputy F1 editor @m_glendenning gives his assessment: "It's a bit early to say much about how McLaren's situation has changed since Wednesday - remember, they didn't run yesterday - because as I write this, Jenson Button has only completed 22 laps since first heading out this morning.

"Pretty much all teams brought updates to Barcelona, and McLaren is no exception - the car has a new front and rear wing, revised bodywork and engine cover, new front wing endplates (which were daubed with aero paint this morning to check the airflow) and a new diffuser are among the more significant changes.

"As for the question of whether they are decieving everybody with their pace... as much as the team's fans might wish otherwise, the answer is no. McLaren's developmental prowess is such that the MP4-26 could evolve into a title contender during the season, but all the signs from the team are that they do not expect to be setting the pace in Melbourne."

Kamui Kobayashi11:03 Kobayashi moves up to fifth with a 1m22.354s in the Sauber.

11:05 Button sets his fastest time of the morning on his first lap out, a 1m25.848s. He is currently ninth.

11:06 Current slowest man D'Ambrosio also improves with a 1m27.570s.

11:09 Barrichello just made a pitstop during what is looking very much like a race simulation.

On that last stint, his times only went up from 1m31.3s to 1m32.3s across 14 laps - that's one of the kindest tyre degradation rates we've seen.

He's now back out and has kicked off this run with a 1m30.864s.

11:10 Heidfeld is up to second with a 1m22.073s, 0.8s behind Schumacher.

11:11 That was a one-lap run from Heidfeld, he now pits.

11:11 Quick reminder that Mercedes motorsport boss Norbert Haug is joining us to answer your questions so keep them coming to

11:12 Vettel has recently started a run that has been into low 1m26s so far. He's onto lap three.

11:13 Vettel is picking up speed, his last two laps were into 1m25s.

11:14 Kobayashi has just done a 1m22.579s on his first lap of this run, 0.2s off his earlier best of 1m22.3s.

11:14 Alguersuari jumps up to seventh with a 1m23.363s. That will please his fan club in the stands.

11:15 Some upbeat news from @MyTeamLotus: "Our new front wing has improved aero efficiency and given more forward aero balance to cope with developments on blown diffuser. More changes to come on front of car for Melbourne!"

11:16 That was just a single lap run from Kobayashi. Barrichello is continuing in 1m30s in another consistent long stint, and Alguersuari followed his 1m23.3s with a 1m23.9s.

11:17 Here comes Schumacher again.

11:17 As Vettel and Alguersuari come in, STR's Franz Tost is pacing outside the pits wearing a woolly hat.

11:18 Don't expect anything lightning from Schumacher this time, he does a slow constant speed run down the straight.

11:18 Alonso is on track now too.

11:21 Alonso's latest run starts with two laps in mid 1m24s.

Fernando Alonso11:22 Ferrari is getting ready and Alonso comes slowly down the pitlane.

11:22 An update on Barrichello's 'race': 10 laps on this stint, he started in 1m30.8s and is now doing 1m30.9s. There have been a few high 1m31s in the middle, but the consistency remains impressive.

11:23 Button comes out in the McLaren.

11:25 Another message from Japan, a country we're all thinking of this morning.

Tsuyoshi says: "Hey guys, thanks for the live coverage. I enjoy it every test, however I can't follow you today. The earthquake was massive. I could hardly stand even though my hometown is about 300 kilometres away from the epicentre. There are so many aftershocks following. Here comes one again... I have never felt like this before. Well, I have to go. Keep up the good work."

11:26 Alonso goes out again, greeted by a cheer from the grandstands.

11:26 Alguersuari improves to sixth place with a 1m22.865s.

11:28 Vettel gets 'L5' on the Red Bull pitboard, which is counting him down.

11:29 This is the start of that particular run.

11:29 Alonso improves to second place with a 1m21.614s, 0.3s off Schumacher.

11:30 That was a swift single-lap run from Alonso, who is now back in the pits.

11:31 Kobayashi goes 0.039s quicker than before with a 1m22.315s, which keeps him fifth.

11:32 Vettel is lapping in mid 1m24s again on this run, while Barrichello has just made another pitstop and begun a new stint with times in high 1m29s and low 1m30s.

11:32 His previous run was 12 laps in which his pace only faded by a second, from high 1m30s to high 1m31s.

11:32 Schumacher leaves the pits again, while Vettel gets an 'L3' board.

11:35 Kovalainen is four laps into a run that's getting quicker as he goes - from mid 1m30s to low 1m29s.

11:36 Another very quick lap from Schumacher: a 1m21.412s.

11:36 Slightly off his earlier best, but still quicker than second placed Alonso.

11:37 Straight back into the pits for Schumacher, so that was another qualifying-style run.

11:37 Red Bull mechanics are getting ready for Vettel to come in - sat down on pit wall with their cooling fans.

11:39 And Vettel is in.

11:40 Alguersuari starts a new run with his best time yet - a 1m22.675s - but stays sixth.

11:41 Looks like McLaren is using its 'porpoise' measuring device on the nose again today. @TheFifthDriver supplies a picture.

11:42 Alonso is back out, will there be a response to Mercedes before lunch?

Jerome D'Ambrosio11:44 D'Ambrosio does his best time of the day, 1m27.375s. He remains at the foot of the times.

11:47 No times yet from the Ferrari on this run. Alonso is running through the pitlane - but not stopping - at the end of each lap.

11:47 Schumacher and Alguersuari come out again.

11:48 Barrichello completes another 12-lap stint and pits. His times only went up from 1m29.952s to 1m31.000s on that one.

11:49 Barrichello sets off again for what should be his final stint of that simulation as he's done 48 laps so far. Vettel is leaving the pitlane too.

11:50 The sun has broken through again and the track temperature returns to 25.6, with the air temperature 12.2.

11:50 Schumacher starts this run with two laps in 1m24.1s.

11:51 Vettel's pit board counts down from L2 to L1.

11:51 Barrichello's latest stint begins with a 1m29.7s.

11:53 Ferrari has a man with a big yellow cover that hangs over the rear wing when the car comes in.

11:54 After three laps averaging 1m24.1s, Schumacher is back in.

11:55 A man jump in pace from Barrichello, after two high 1m29s, he does a 1m28.2s on lap three of this stint.

11:55 Vettel is shown the in-board after a 1m26.8s.

11:56 Adrian Newey's Ford GT40 is being readied at the end of the pitlane. The Red Bull technical genius will be doing some laps in it at lunchtime to promote a 'Spirit of Montjuich' event.

11:57 Also at lunchtime, the unveiling of the Hispania F111. We'll be heading that way very soon, look out for pictures and the full story on the site.

11:58 A lap-count update as the break nears: Schumacher 42, Alonso 61, Heidfeld 43, Barrichello 85, Kobayashi 41, Alguersuari 32, Vettel 33, Kovalainen 67, Sutil 26, Button 36, D'Ambrosio 35.

12:00 Chequered flag comes out.

12:00 The cars will now filter back to the pits at the end of a morning session that saw some very encouraging pace from the updated Mercedes.

12:00 Schumacher ends the session on top, ahead of Alonso, Heidfeld, Barrichello and Kobayashi.

12:01 Keep an eye on the site over the break for the new Hispania.

12:01 And we'll be back in an hour. Remember this afternoon we're joined by Norbert Haug of Mercedes, who'll answer the questions you're sending to

Hispania F11112:55 Five minutes to the start of the afternoon session.

It has been an interesting lunch break, with the unveiling of the new car from Hispania.

12:56 The car, however, may not be on track much today, as some parts are still stuck in Spanish customs

12:57 Also, Jenson Button will be in the pits for some time, as McLaren is making a precautionary engine change

12:59 Norbert Haug will be answering your questions from the start of the afternoon session

13:01 The green flag is out and the session gets underway

13:01 Kobayashi is the first driver to head out of the pits in the Sauber

13:03 Norbert Haug will now be answering your questions

13:03 As Kobayashi is still the only driver on track

13:04 Zoltan Szollosi has asked two questions.

The first one is: We have seen that for various reasons Mercedes has been quite late in producing the final specification of the W02, and the news is the wind tunnel data correlates with actual track data which must be a relief. hat can Mercedes fans expect in terms of in-season development? Is there more to come?

NH: Yes, definitely more will come. But for now I would like to thank everybody inside Mercedes Grand Prix and Mercedes High Performance Engines for all the hard work that they put in. It will pay off, I'm sure.

13:04 Kobayashi returns to the pits

13:05 The second question from Zoltan is: I know that you love Aerosmith, would you take the opportunity to sit behind the drums again?

NH: I am afraid it would sound awful - and the band would throw me out.

13:06 Alonso delights his home fans by heading out of the pits

13:06 Steve asks: Have the new updates delivered much more than you expected, and what do you say to us Mercedes GP fans who have got excited about Michael Schumacher's pace-setting time from the test this morning?

NH: We have a good step and Michael drove a good lap. I don't think this will be the fastest time we see during this last Barcelona test before the season opener in Melbourne and we certainly do not get excited now.

Norbert Haug13:07 Varun Madhuranat asks: With Daimler/Aabar now having finished acquiring the remaining stake in the Mercedes GP F1 team, is there more pressure from Dr. Zetsche and the board to start winning races this season?

NH: No, our board is fully committed and Dieter wants the same results as we do. Together, as one team located in Brackley, Brixworth and Stuttgart we will achieve that, but this will - as with all the other teams - take some time.

13:08 Kobayashi is back out, joining Alonso

13:09 Paul di Resta is now at the wheel of the Force India for his first lap of the day

13:10 Kevin Miller also sent two questions: Do you think it's realistic to expect you to be challenging for race wins this year or is this a year of consolidation and development establishing the team as a regular podium contender before pushing for wins next year?

NH: One step after the other. It would be a surprise to jump over the winter from four to one. But of course this is our target over the next couple of seasons and hopefully we will get grand prix wins rather sooner than later.

13:11 Second question: And as it's been a hotly discussed topic on Autosport Live, can we have your opinion on the canteen food at the teams Brackley HQ?

NH: It's excellent and very healthy.

AUTOSPORT adds: We encourage Mercedes employees to continue to keep us informed about this subject

13:12 Di Resta's first time of the day is a 1m27.717s, followed by a 1m27.015s

13:13 Carol Treurnicht asks: Please ask him when he's going to start tweeting.....

NH: Never, that's a promise.

13:14 Only di Resta is out on track, and he is also the only driver to have completed a timed lap in the afternoon so far

13:15 Dino Baraba asks: Will Mercedes be going for qualy run today?

NH: Some kind of.

13:15 Alonso is scheduled to do a race simulation this afternoon, according to Ferrari

13:17 Williams is also changing the engine of Maldonado's car

13:17 As the track is left empty

Michael Schumacher13:19 Uchit Parekh asks: What's Michael's state of motivation currently as you may know from working with him. After accomplishing so much in the sport and suddenly seeing such a down season, is he as motivated and confident? Does he look really hungry for his 8th title or is he here purely to race and care less for the championship?

NH: Michael definitely is. He is a great asset to Mercedes GP Petronas and we are happy and prod to work with him. Michael's presence is not only good for us but for Formula 1 in general.

13:20 As we posted that, Schumacher joined the track

13:21 Gerhard Rautenbach asks: Mr Haug, I see that the new front wing on the Mercedes is still a two element wing with a slot in the bottom of plane. Why aren't Mercedes looking at the three element front wing as the front runners do because as from what one could pick up last year, the two element produced more understeer through faster corners than the 3 element.

I mean, the frontrunners like RB and Ferrari use it, why not try and follow that path as it clearly works for those top teams. Did Mercedes look into this or do you really want to make the 2 element work. As far as I know, Michael likes a responsive front end, and understeer is not his game.

NH: We are not dissatisfied with our front wing philosophy. Quite the opposite is the case, frankly. But of course some competitors have other ideas which is the name of the game in Formula 1.

13:21 Three more questions left

13:22 Schumacher completes a lap of 1m28.916s

13:22 @WilliamsF1Team: We had an oil leak so the team are changing as a precaution it's a high mileage engine

13:23 Martynas Venskus from Lithuania asks: Personally, I support Mercedes GP and wish you best of luck in 2011. However, after the previous season and news like "Mercedes GP team now a second off the top pace" this year, I would like to a ask you: isn't the Mercedes GP destiny going to be similar to the Toyota F1 one? Could you assure us, Mercedes GP fans, that your future will not be the same? Thank you for the answer and best of luck once more.

NH: We do not have the biggest budget in Formula 1 and Daimler is spending today 65% less per year in Formula 1 than five years ago. In terms of delivering: Out of the last 243 grands prix we won 73 races with our partners McLaren and Brawn GP since our first win with McLaren Mercedes and David Coulthard in Melbourne 1997.

Statistically that means one victory in less than every fourth race in the last 14 seasons. Four drivers' world championships and two constructors' championships in that period of 14 years is a very respectable score in my view in that period of time.

13:24 Alonso heads back out for what is probably the start of his race simulation

13:24 As Schumacher posts a 1m24.112s

13:24 The penultimate question is from Clive Rose, who asks: Rumour has it, when Prof Sid rode shotgun in the medical car, it was fitted with a non-standard humidor for his cigars. A) Is this true? and B) Does the current medical car have any "interesting" non-standard features?

NH: Secrets are secrets, but the Formula 1 Medical Car is a car that you can buy for street use, a fantastic Mercedes C-class AMG C63, arguably the sportiest and best station wagon in the world.

13:26 Alonso returned to the pits, so so much for the start of the race simulation..

13:26 Kovalainen is now out on track and Lotus is planning long runs on high fuel for the afternoon

13:27 The final question is from Andy Hallbery: Who is the best driver who has driven for him and Mercedes in DTM, sportscars or CART that should have made it in F1?

NH: Most of them, really.

AUTOSPORT's Matt Beer says: "Greg Moore"

13:29 A big thank you to Norbert Haug for having joined us today, and for having insisted on typing the answers himself!

Thanks also for your questions.

13:31 Now it does look like Alonso has started his race simulation, completing his first timed lap of the afternoon: a 1m29.322s

Hispania F11113:33 We are getting more pictures from the Hispania F111, which is not expected to run today

13:34 Four consecutive laps in the 1m29s for Alonso at the start of his run

13:35 Only di Resta and Kobayashi are sharing the track with the Spaniard

13:37 Alonso running like clockwork so far. All his laps have been within less than three tenths of each other

13:39 Alguersuari heads out of the pits now. Will this be the start of another pitstop practice programme for Toro Rosso?

13:39 On the sixth lap of his run, Alonso's times drop into the 1m30s

13:40 We have spoken with Hispania's Colin Kolles, who is very happy with his new car:

"I think the car looks fantastic, not only aerodynamically but also the look. It is completely different to everything that went before in Formula 1, everything that is now in Formula 1.

"I think we have a very visible car, very visible for sponsors. This is my opinion - I think it's a great looking car. Obviously tastes are different, maybe people think it's an ugly looking car, I don't know. To me, it looks nice."

13:42 1m30.1, 1m30.0 and 1m30.4 are Alonso's last three laps

13:44 Heidfeld is also out on track now

13:45 Kovalainen seems to be at the start of a long run, his fist lap of the stint a 1m32.024s

13:47 Today's pace-setter so far, Schumacher, goes out for another run

13:49 Alonso pitted after eight laps and returned to the track. He is now lapping in the 1m28s

13:54 After two laps in the 1m29s, Alonso is again in the 1m30s on the 14th lap of the run, the sixth since he pitted

13:55 We got some questions about whether Hispania will be able to qualify within the 107 per cent considering the lack of running with the new car.

Well, last year its quickest car in Q1 in Australia was 5.752 off the pace over a lap of 1m24s.

Let's say this year's laps will be around two/three seconds slower (if that), which means the Hispanias would have to be within some six seconds off the fastest time again to be able to qualify.

Of course, Australia was the second race of the season last year, so the team had the Bahrain experience behind it already.

But then again this year's car is expected to more developed than last year's F110.

In short: let's wait and see..

13:57 Nine laps so far for Kovalainen, who is mostly running in the 1m31s

13:59 Heidfeld posts his first time of the afternoon: 1m29.638s

13:59 There are no new news on Button. He is still in the pits waiting for his engine to be replaced

14:02 Jim Devereaux asks: Some of the sets of Pirelli tyres the teams are running have their markings in white instead of yellow, is this going to be the indication of which compound a driver is running when we get to the races?

Pirelli has been experimenting with different markings since the last test in Barcelona, but the final markings will be announced next week, so there is nothing final yet.

14:02 Alonso is on the 20th lap of his race simulation, and on the 11th since he pitted for the first time

14:04 Kovalainen, meanwhile, is on the 14th lap of the stint, lapping in the 1m31s consistently, and not having stopped

14:05 Schumacher drives his Mercedes out of the pits once more

14:06 @OfficialLRGP informs: The plan is still to simulate a race distance before the end of the day in BCN. Expect a few long runs from Nick.

14:07 And some info from Team Lotus too: Review from this morning: we did some performance runs, worked on balance, some set-up and aero work to characterise the latest aero package and set up the car around that. In the background we also worked on engine mapping to improve driveability, and launches

14:08 Alonso makes the second pitstop of his race simulation 13 laps after his first

Fernando Alonso14:08 All of the Ferrari's laps have been in the 1m28s, 1m29s, and 1m30s. None slower than that

14:10 A 1m27.255s marks the quickest lap of the run for the Spaniard

14:10 Kovalainen has done 18 laps so far and has dropped into the 1m32s

14:11 Unlike Alonso, the Finn has not stopped yet

14:13 Some news on Hispania's hopes for the season:

Kolles: HRT can take early chances

14:15 Kovalainen has stopped after a 20-lap run during which he averaged a 1m31.929s

14:16 Ninety-nine laps for the Finn, who is currently topping the laps chart from Alonso, on 97

14:17 Kobayashi is also on a longish run so far, having covered eight consecutive laps

14:19 Except for a 1m30, Alonso has been running strongly in the 1m27s and 1m28s since his second stop

14:20 Once again, Ferrari goes over the 100-lap mark. The Italian team will be on top of the mileage classification by some margin when testing ends

Sebastian Vettel14:22 Vettel finally heads out of the pits. He has managed just 33 laps so far

14:24 Then again it could be that Red Bull has nothing else to test..

14:24 Kovalainen has returned to the track to completed his 100th round of the day

14:26 Alonso is on the 33rd lap of his stint and on the 11th since he stopped

14:26 @MikeGascoyne on Lotus's programme: Tried to last 20 laps for a stint but drop off was big at the end. Repeating that run with some setup changes.Out again, 100 lap done so far

14:27 Alonso pits for the third time, 12 laps after his second stop

14:29 Schumacher's day is over, and Mercedes will now be preparing the car for team-mate Rosberg

14:29 He will also get to test the Mercedes upgrades

14:32 Lindsay Ross, a resident American F1 fanatic in Tokyo, has sent us an interesting update from Japan, where bigger things than F1 are happening:

"Unbelievable amounts of damage to the north, mainly from the tsunamis. Tokyo is gridlocked, most trains are still not working and almost ever motorway is shut down. Made it home finally an my apartment is a wreck, but even broken guitars and everything else isn't too bad when I'm watching videos of HOUSES being swept to sea... ON FIRE.

"Related to F1: Kamui Kobayashi is from the south and everything down there is totally fine, I've confirmation from my friends. So, while he's most likely be worried, he probably won't need to fear for his family."

Our thoughts are with all the people affected by the tsunami.

14:33 Back on track, Alonso is on the 36th lap of his stint, but that round has not gone too well, as he has posted a 1m49s

Kamui Kobayashi14:34 Kobayashi has managed 17 laps during this sting. He pitted after ten laps, then continued

14:35 Alonso followed his 1m49s with a 1m56s

14:36 Now the Spaniard is back on the pace, with a lap of 1m27s

14:37 We are still getting tons of questions on what McLaren is up to, but there is nothing new to report. Button was having an engine change and is expected to be out as soon as that is done

14:38 Another update from @MyTeamLotus: First results from new front wing are positive. We'll be doing more work to maximise the benefits it brings. Also tried the DRS in race mode, sent Heikki out into traffic to make sure he's familiar with the system

14:39 On the 37th lap of his race simulation, Alonso has posted his fastest too: 1m27.205s

14:39 Kobayashi and Kovalainen are the other men on track, both on long runs too

Narain Karthikeyan14:42 Some more news from the unveiling of the new Hispania car:

Karthikeyan sure he will quickly settle

14:44 @OfficialMGP responds to the angry Schumacher fans: To answer the queries! We expect rain tomorrow so switching now gives Nico the chance to run the upgrades in the dry and give his input.

14:45 Alonso pits, but this time he has stopped

14:46 And now he keeps going again

14:46 That's the fourth stop for the Spaniard during his 43-lap run so far

14:47 Kovalainen is on the 15th lap of another long run, while Kobayashi is on the 25th, having stopped twice already

14:50 Red flag

14:50 Kobayashi's Sauber has stopped at Turn 3

14:51 That's the first red flag of the day, and the stoppage came on Kobayashi's 26th lap of the run, having pitted just five laps earlier

14:52 The truck is on the scene to lift the Sauber

14:53 We are asked why McLaren didn't change Button's engine yesterday.

The answer is that the engine was probably fine yesterday.

14:57 Button has managed 38 laps in total today. Luckily for McLaren, there is another day of testing tomorrow, although unfortunately for the team, rain is on the cards

14:57 The track is clear and the green flag is out

14:59 Alguersuari heads out of the pits

15:01 Rosberg is now out in the Mercedes for his first lap of the day. He will have a little less than an hour to test the team's new upgrades

15:02 Alguersuari has "L31" on his pitboard. Looks like a long run for him

15:03 Curt says: You probably won't answer me as usual , but are McLaren really really struggling this year? Doesn't look good from fans point of view at all.

Well, leaving pace aside, there's been a clear lack of running that is obviously affecting McLaren's preparations, and today is another example of that.

It would be a be surprise for everybody is McLaren in on top in the first races.

See, we answered you.

15:04 Rosberg's opening lap is a 1m27.078s

15:05 Followed by a 1m22.709s that puts him in seventh

15:05 Could Mercedes be the first team to finish 1-2 during winter testing?

15:06 Vettel back on track now

15:06 Kobayashi stopped because of a drive-shaft problem. Sauber is now looking at what caused it

Jaime Alguersuari15:08 Alguersuari has completed four laps averaging 1m28.442s before returning to the pits

15:10 Vettel posts his best time of the day: 1m23.005s

15:11 @MyTeamLotus updates us on its programme: The programme this afternoon is to concentrate our work on the hard tyre. This will be the Prime for the first three races and we think everybody will do a lot of laps on it because of the consistency it has shown throughout testing

15:12 Maldonado has completed his first installation lap of the day in the Williams

15:14 Rosberg is on his sixth lap of the day already

15:14 While Red Bull is waiting for Vettel to return to the pits

15:16 We apologise to the fans who believe we jinxed the possibility of a Mercedes 1-2 by mentioning it.

But as they say, it's just testing..

15:17 Rosberg seemed to be on a lowish fuel run and pushing hard, but his tyres looked as if they were past their best

15:18 A 1m23.4942 in the end for the German

15:19 Forty minutes left and still no sign of Button coming out

15:20 This is his final day of testing before the start of the season, so he will not be too pleased

15:21 Alonso is alone on track

Nick Heidfeld15:24 Nick Heidfeld has not been out for some 90 minutes now, but there are no news on any problems. We will try to check for those of you who are asking

15:25 Button finally heads out of the pits

15:26 Vettel, Rosberg and di Resta are out on track too

15:27 Alonso pits and changes tyres

15:27 But cuts his engine and is wheeled back into the garage

15:28 The Mercedes 1-2 is closer, as Rosberg jumps up to third with a 1m21.788s

15:29 Alonso's stop was probably the end of his race simulation, although that was interrupted by the red flag 10 laps before the end of it

15:29 Rosberg pits after his flying lap

15:30 Di Resta posts a 1m24.721s to jump ahead of Button, who is still on track and lapping in the 1m28s

15:32 Heidfeld is back out now

Jenson Button15:33 Button has managed five laps since he jumped onto the track

15:35 Rosberg drives out of the pits for another run

15:37 On why Heidfeld was in the pits for so long, Renault says the team was "sorting something out".

So there you go.

15:38 A 1m22.369s for Rosberg

15:40 Rosberg pits as Alonso comes out. Button also stopped after a five-lap run and returned to the track right away

15:41 132 laps for Alonso today. Kovalainen follows on 126 and Kobayashi on 98

15:43 Vettel's pitboard says L1

15:45 Maldonado goes out again after having completed just an installation lap

15:46 Another update from Lotus: We're concentrating on long runs to better understand the tyre, try a couple of settings for tyre preparation, some mechanical set-up solutions, and different approaches to tyre characterisation

15:49 Razia and Valsecchi have been confirmed as third drivers at Lotus

15:50 Vettel does a simulated getaway from the pit box and is pushed back in

15:51 Maldonado has registered a 1m24.108s to move up to 11th

15:51 Heidfeld rumbles into the pitlane

15:53 Some people are asking if we are covering tomorrow's session.

The answer is yes, although the updates may be slower considering there will be only five cars on track and rain is expected.

15:54 Button has managed 52 laps so far, but he has only outpaced D'Ambrosio

15:55 Five minutes of the session remaining. Surely there is a red flag coming up...

15:56 For tomorrow, Hispania, Mercedes, McLaren, Ferrari and Williams are scheduled to run

15:56 There are eight drivers on track, but no one seems particularly fast at the moment

15:57 Rosberg pits

15:58 Red flag

15:58 We don't like to brag, but... we told you so.

15:59 We are waiting to see who caused it. It may be Vettel

15:59 Yes, there is a Red Bull stopped at the exit of the pitlane

16:00 That is the second red flag of the day following Kobayashi's stoppage earlier this afternoon

16:01 Trucks and marshals around the Red Bull car

Michael Schumacher16:02 The red flag brings the penultimate testing session of the winter to an end

16:02 Michael Schumacher has made good use of the Mercedes upgrades to finish the day on top with the fastest time at Barcelona so far

16:03 We will be back tomorrow to cover the final day of testing before the season kicks off in Australia.

Thank you for tuning in!

P Driver Team Time
1  SchumacherMercedes 1m21.249s
2  AlonsoFerrari 1m21.614s  +0.365
3  RosbergMercedes 1m21.788s  +0.539
4  HeidfeldRenault 1m22.073s  +0.824
5  BarrichelloWilliams 1m22.233s  +0.984
6  KobayashiSauber 1m22.315s  +1.066
7  AlguersuariToro Rosso 1m22.675s  +1.426
8  VettelRed Bull 1m22.933s  +1.684
9  KovalainenLotus 1m23.437s  +2.188
10  Di RestaForce India 1m23.653s  +2.404
11  SutilForce India 1m23.921s  +2.672
12  MaldonadoWilliams 1m24.108s  +2.859
13  ButtonMcLaren 1m25.837s  +4.588
14  D'AmbrosioVirgin 1m27.375s  +6.126
All timing unofficial. Updated: 16:02 GMT
Rain High Temp: 12°C / 54°F
Track: Very wet
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