Day three of testing at Jerez saw the third different driver of the week at the top of the times. Renault's Fernando Alonso was the fastest of the 16 drivers on track and clocked 1:15.727. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella was third quickest, so it was a good finish for the French squad's three-day test. Both drivers worked on set up and long runs for tyre evaluation.
The McLaren of Juan Pablo Montoya split the two Renaults in second quickest. The Colombian worked on tyres but his day was bought short by a clutch problem shortly after lunch. The team aims to have him back at work tomorrow. Kimi Raikkonen was scheduled to be on track today but suspension damage to his car prevented him taking part in the session. He too should be at work tomorrow.
"We think the tyre testing we have done today will ensure we have the good rear stability and high speed consistency that is suited to the demands of the Sepang circuit," said Montoya. "It was unfortunate that we had to stop today's testing programme early, however I am looking forward to getting back behind the wheel tomorrow."
Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher were fourth and seventh respectively for Toyota and Sauber's Felipe Massa was fifth fastest. The Brazilian worked on tyres in preparation for Melbourne and teammate Jacques Villeneuve, 15th, focused on tyres for Sepang. Villeneuve also ran damper tests but suffered technical problems late in the day.
David Coulthard led the trio of Red Bull cars on track in sixth, with Christian Klien in 13th and Vitantonio Liuzzi rounding off the times in 16th. Mark Webber was the faster Williams in eighth and teammate Nick Heidfeld was 14th as the pair worked on practice pit stops and set up.
BAR had race drivers Jenson Button ninth and Takuma Sato 11th on the time sheet respectively. Sato managed not to crash today but Button did -- eight runs into his day he went wide at turn 10 and spun off, hitting the tyre barrier. He was unhurt and although the car suffered front end damage, Button was able to return to the track later in the day for tyre work.
Ferrari also had both race drivers behind the wheel, Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello clocking the 10th and 12th times respectively. Both drove and F2004M as the second chassis is now updated to 2005 spec aero regulations. The pair continued with set up, engine and tyre work. Luca Badoer will take over from Barrichello tomorrow.
Meanwhile, Jordan continued its initial test programme at Silverstone with Narain Karthikeyan behind the wheel of the EJ15. Heavy rain made the track conditions poor and after some wet weather tyre work and pit stop practice the team decided to finish early. Tiago Monteiro is scheduled to be on duty with Karthikeyan tomorrow.