F1

Alonso takes over at Monza test

Alonso takes over at Monza test

Testing continued at Monza on August 29th with 12 drivers present and McLaren had both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on track, in the morning and afternoon respectively. They occupied the top of the times at the end of the day, Alonso...

Testing continued at Monza on August 29th with 12 drivers present and McLaren had both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso on track, in the morning and afternoon respectively. They occupied the top of the times at the end of the day, Alonso fastest with a 1:23.155 and Hamilton three tenths behind. Their programme included aerodynamics, tyres, set up and mechanical work.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Nick Heidfeld was best of the rest for BMW Sauber in third, just under three tenths down on Hamilton. He focused on mechanical adaptations and tyre comparisons for the Italian Grand Prix at this circuit in just over a week's time. Teammate Robert Kubica is scheduled to take over on Thursday and the programme will depend on the weather.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli was fourth overall. "We had a good day and improved many aspects of the car," was his summary, "I was much happier with the braking stability and we also made strong progress with the aerodynamic set-up. We improved our lap time, which is positive, and I am now confident of a strong race here at Monza in next week's Italian Grand Prix."

Fifth on the time sheet was the Ferrari of Kimi Raikkonen and he continued with development of aerodynamic and mechanical solutions. Heikki Kovalainen, sixth, was on duty for Renault and after tester Nelson A. Piquet worked on the 2008 ECU yesterday, Kovalainen started preparations for the Italian GP with focus on the low downforce package.

"We had a good day, and the car got better with every run," Kovalainen said. "We worked hard so that by the end of the day, the R27 was well-balanced. I think this will be a good baseline to work from on Friday at the Grand Prix and at that time, we will focus on fine-tuning the set-up to extract the final tenths of a second for the race."

Sebastian Vettel continued for Toro Rosso and was seventh quickest. Working on aero evaluation with new front and rear wings, Vettel racked up the most laps of the day with 101. Alex Wurz took over at Williams and was eighth fastest; the team was satisfied with progress and wasn't hampered by the occasional periods of light rain.

"We completed the majority of our planned programme, despite having a couple of showers today and a small technical problem in the afternoon," said test team manager Dickie Stanford. "Nico (Rosberg) joins us for tomorrow's running, although with 80-85% humidity today, we are anticipating some wet weather tomorrow which may not allow us to complete our full programme."

Honda tester Christian Klien was ninth and Red Bull's Mark Webber was 10th. Red Bull reported a trouble-free day as the Australian worked on aerodynamics, tyres, brakes and suspension geometry. Super Aguri's Takuma Sato was 11th overall and he, unsurprisingly, also worked on aerodynamics. His day was twice interrupted by hydraulic problems but the team said progress was made.

Spyker's B-spec car did not appear in Turkey due to failing the rear impact test but has now passed and completed its first day of running with Adrian Sutil behind the wheel. There was a gearbox problem in the afternoon but Sutil managed 76 laps while working on preparations for the upcoming race, including the downforce package and tyres. He rounded off the times in 12th.

"We worked on finding a good set-up for the race and understanding how the car behaves in low downforce configuration and also tried out the soft and harder tyres, which seemed to work well for us," Sutil commented. "It is difficult to say where we are with the new car; Monza is a very special track unlike anywhere else with less grip, but I think it was a good start."

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