April 14th saw the end of the week's testing at Barcelona and Renault had its two cars at the top of the time sheet. 16 drivers from 10 teams were on track for the close of the last test session before the San Marino Grand Prix, with Renault...
April 14th saw the end of the week's testing at Barcelona and Renault had its two cars at the top of the time sheet. 16 drivers from 10 teams were on track for the close of the last test session before the San Marino Grand Prix, with Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen the fastest man. He set the quickest time of the week with a 1:13.928.
Giancarlo Fisichella was second fastest, just under four tenths off, and tyres and set up were their focus. "It was a successful conclusion to our test," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "We worked well with good progress on the tyres in particular. The team did a great job throughout this session and worked all the hours needed to get the job done."
Toyota's Jarno Trulli, who was quickest on Thursday, was third on the time sheet and Ralf Schumacher was 14th. They focused on long runs, collecting data on set-ups, aerodynamics and tyres. "We are consistently making progress and getting quicker in comparison to the first races," said Trulli, in regard to the handling of the car.
"In general, I feel more comfortable about the car fitting my driving style, especially now when we are heading into the next race. Imola was never really kind to the team, but nevertheless, our times show that we can get more out of the car and we are ready to show our potential."
Honda had three drivers at work: Jenson Button fourth, Rubens Barrichello eighth and tester Anthony Davidson 12th. Barrichello sat out the afternoon session due to a trapped nerve in his shoulder and Davidson took over. Set up, tyres and aero work was their programme.
"A fairly straightforward test this week with a lot of test items to get through before we go into the European season," said Button. "We focused mainly on aero developments and tyre testing for the next few races and I feel that we've made a positive step forward with our aero package and also on the tyre warming work."
Michael Schumacher was the lead Ferrari in fifth and Felipe Massa was 10th fastest. They concluded the team's week with tyre work and completed 151 laps between them. In preparation for San Marino, Ferrari tester Luca Badoer will shakedown the cars at Fiorano next week.
The McLarens of Kimi Raikkonen and Juan Pablo Montoya were sixth and seventh respectively on the time sheet. The day for both drivers was not without interruptions: Montoya had a visit to the gravel, although the car was undamaged, and later suffered an engine failure an hour before the end of the session.
Raikkonen had a mechanical failure but overall he was happy with the work done this week. "It has been good to get back to testing this week in Barcelona, and continuing the work that the test team has been covering over the past few weeks since the start of the season," said the Finn.
"When you see how close the times are between the top few cars in testing, when you are focused on your development programme rather than times, it shows how much of a competitive season we have ahead of us this year!"
Jacques Villeneuve led the two BMW Saubers on the time sheet in 10th and team test driver Robert Kubica was 13th. Villeneuve worked on aerodynamics, set up, systems testing and traction control, while Kubica did set up in the morning and dedicated the afternoon to tyres.
Mark Webber was 11th for Williams and tester Alex Wurz was 15th. Webber had an early crash but he was unharmed, although the car was badly damaged so he switched to the spare to carry out tyre tests. Cosworth's Simon Corbyn was happy enough with the engine data gathered for Imola.
"Cosworth has gathered a lot of data in Barcelona as we completed a significant amount of running on both 'race specification' Series 2 and 'development' Series 3 CA2006 engines," he said. "Cosworth is confident in the performance of the CA2006 engine. The challenges in Barcelona this week only make us more determined to ensure we have a successful season."
Takuma Sato rounded off the times for Super Aguri in 16th and it was a difficult day for the Japanese squad. Hydraulics were one of a "number of issues" that interrupted the work. Sato only completed 12 laps and Yuji Ide, who was due to get some track time before Imola, did not get to drive.
"We have been able to gain a better understanding of the car, which is very positive, but unfortunately our running was cut short on the last two days, mainly because of hydraulics problems," said Sato. "I have mixed feelings leaving this test, but the good part is that we have a much greater understanding of the SA05."