Jerez, Tuesday: A new Formula One all-time record was shattered yesterday by the McLaren-Mercedes team, when Heikki Kovalainen took to the wheel of the team’s 2009 car in testing at Jerez.

The test, the first of the year to feature all ten teams set to participate in the new F1 season, ended with Kovalainen completing 87 laps, the fastest of which clocked in at one minute, 22.948 seconds – 2.6 seconds behind session leader Nick Heidfeld in the BMW Sauber, and last in the standings.

Shortly after the flag fell at the end of testing, however, all previous records were broken as McLaren sources almost immediately began to distribute excuses onto the Internet, explaining why the team had been so slow.

Excused: 2009 McLaren not really that slow
Excused: 2009 McLaren "not really that slow"

A spokesman from record-keepers Guinness confirmed the achievement this morning: “The test session ended at 17:00, Jerez time, and by 17:06 reports were already circulating on the Internet that Kovalainen had been driving deliberately slowly to avoid being caught out by ‘unexpected blizzards,’ which McLaren apparently believed was a serious threat yesterday.”

The new world record in excuse-making blitzes the previous benchmark of twenty-one minutes, set by Ferrari at the 2007 Italian Grand Prix when trying to explain why Kimi Raikkonen had surprisingly driven into a wall in practice.

Later “explanations” for Kovalainen’s sluggishness also made their way onto the World Wide Web in subsequent hours, ranging from the driver “using alternative racing lines on purpose to clean the circuit for the other cars” to allegations that the Finn “stopped off at Turn One every lap for a cup of tea and a chat with the marshals.”

In contrast, the suggestion that the 2009 McLaren “might just be a bit slow” was not made until an hour and seventeen minutes after the session ended, though this idea has widely been dismissed by several commentators as being “very silly.”

Kovalainen himself was unable to comment, as he was still trying to get the car back to the pits as The Runoff Area went to press.