Alonso fastest at Valencia test

Alonso fastest at Valencia test

After the previous day's rain the conditions at Valencia were better on February 1st and 15 drivers from eight teams took to the Spanish track. Renault's Fernando Alonso topped the times in the R26 with a best of 1:11.229, while team test driver...

After the previous day's rain the conditions at Valencia were better on February 1st and 15 drivers from eight teams took to the Spanish track. Renault's Fernando Alonso topped the times in the R26 with a best of 1:11.229, while team test driver Heikki Kovalainen was sixth fastest on is first run in the new car. Alonso had an electrical gremlin but it didn't hamper his tyre work.

Fernando Alonso.
Photo by LAT Photographic.

"We had a good day today, in spite of the electrical problem this morning," said the champion. "It was not really serious, and in one sense, it allowed us to wait for the track conditions to improve because the circuit was damp this morning. We spent the afternoon working on tyre development with Michelin, and we were pleased with how the car performed on the tyres."

Jenson Button took over from tester Anthony Davidson and was second quickest for Honda, just over a tenth down on Alonso, and teammate Rubens Barrichello was fifth. Button worked on aerodynamic evaluation and tyres while Barrichello concentrated on set up and also did some tyre work. Davidson is due to take over from Barrichello tomorrow.

Michael Schumacher was third fastest in the Ferrari 248 F1 and he focused on development of the new car. MotoGP champion Valentino Rossi completed 53 laps in the F2004 after his abortive attempt yesterday and was 11th on the time sheet. Felipe Massa is due to join Schumacher and Rossi at the test on Thursday.

Juan Pablo Montoya, who took over from Kimi Raikkonen who was unable to drive today due to a bad cold, was fourth quickest in the MP4-21 and team tester Gary Paffett was 13th in the MP4-20 V10. Montoya worked on long runs and set up, while Paffett continued with tyre work in the interim chassis. Pedro de la Rosa is scheduled to take over from Paffett tomorrow.

Jarno Trulli was the lead Toyota in seventh and team test driver Ricardo Zonta was eighth on the list. Set up and tyres were the focus for the duo. "This has been an enjoyable day of running here at Valencia," said Trulli. "The conditions were very difficult in the morning because the track started out damp and it was also very cold."

"It's always difficult to drive in such conditions but we were still able to do some set-up work and to do a tyre comparison. We kept going with set-up and tyre work throughout the day, putting in a lot of useful mileage in preparation for the new season."

BMW Sauber fielded Jacques Villeneuve in the F1.06, ninth fastest, and tester Robert Kubica in the interim C24B, who rounded off the times in 15th. Villeneuve focused on set up, tyres, practice starts and aerodynamics and Kubica worked mainly on tyres along with some practice starts. The pair will continue with a similar programme tomorrow.

David Coulthard was on duty for Red Bull and clocked the 10th best time. The Scot managed 36 laps of chassis work until the team realised the V8 engine, which was nearing the end of its lifespan anyway, required a change. Christian Klien will be back in the cockpit on Thursday.

Williams has tester Alex Wurz 12th and Mark Webber 14th. "This morning's running was wet and although Mark managed to put more mileage on the FW28 we had to stop mid afternoon with a known gearbox problem," said technical director Sam Michael.

"Alex was undertaking some tyre testing for Bridgestone in the FW27C and also stopped mid afternoon with a fuel pump failure. Tomorrow, Nico will drive the FW28 and Alex will continue his programme in the FW27C."

Note: Test times are unofficial and can vary, depending on where you look. The driver order on the timesheet as reported here is based on times given by the individual teams.

Circuit Ricardo Tormo
Circuit length: 4.005 km
Lap record: 1:09.005 (Kimi Raikkonen, 2005, McLaren)
Best V8 time to date: 1:11.200 (Fernando Alonso, Renault)

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams