NICO ROSBERG/No.16 Williams continued to dominate Albert Park in Melbourne during the third practice for the 2009 Formula 1 ING Australian Grand Prix Saturday morning. His lap was 1:25.808/138.243 mph/222.482 kph.
Saturday’s weather was sunny, clear and mild.
JARNO TRULLI/No.9 Toyota was second, followed by JENSON BUTTON/No.22 Brawn GP. They all have the controversial diffuser, and all seven of the cars which have it were in the top ten.
As had occurred Friday morning, cars went out initially, and then everyone waited in the garages for some time before again venturing out.
Rookie SEBASTIEN BUEMI/No.12 Toro Rosso was sixteenth overall, right behind his teammate, SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/No.11 Toro Rosso. With the same initials and first name spelling, how does the team not get occasionally confused?
The top car with the new optional KERS was FELIPE MASSA/No.3 Ferrari in fourth place, while three others were at the other end of the chart. The system weighs about 77 pounds/35 kg, which had some drivers losing weight over the off-season to compensate for the additional weight and ballast distribution.
Massa’s teammate, KIMI RAIKKONEN/No.4 Ferrari, stopped on course after five laps, with hydraulic problems which kept him off track the remainder of the session. He finished last.
Friday Red Bull driver, SEBASTIAN VETTEL twice got picked up by a Boundary Rider for the trip back to the pits after his car gave out.
The Australian Grand Prix Corporation had its AGP contract with FOM (Formula One Management) renewed through 2015. This weekend there had been some talk, political posturing, about local unhappiness over the contract details, but not much has been made of it.
There also has been some talk of transport tycoon and local Phillip Island race promotor, LINDSAY FOX, wanting to build a world class racing facility in the vicinity of Avalon Airport, southwest of Melbourne. This is the airport used by Bill Gibson Freight Services for moving in and out all the Formula One equipment. Avalon is also home to the Royal Australian Air Force and JetStar Airlines. Some say Fox wants it to be a replacement or alternative to Albert Park as a venue for AGP.
BILL GIBSON told me that the plans have been drawn but until there’s a call for their use, nothing will go forward. Gibson had his contract renewed through 2015 along with AGP.
SATURDAY PRACTICE THREE
JENSON BUTTON/Brawn GP
RUBENS BARRICHELLO/Brawn GP
MARK WEBBER/Red Bull
ROBERT KUBICA/BMW Sauber
NICK HEIDFELD/BMW Sauber
SEBASTIAN VETTEL/Red Bull
ADRIAN SUTIL/Force India F1
SEBASTIEN BOURDAIS/Toro Rosso
SEBASTIEN BUEMI/Toro Rosso
GIANCARLO FISICHELLA/Force India F1