Busy first day of winter testing

Busy first day of winter testing

Teams were eager to get back on track today as testing resumed after the winter break and a total of 17 drivers were split between the Spanish circuits of Valencia and Barcelona. At Valencia it was a Williams one-two-three, with Juan Pablo...

Teams were eager to get back on track today as testing resumed after the winter break and a total of 17 drivers were split between the Spanish circuits of Valencia and Barcelona. At Valencia it was a Williams one-two-three, with Juan Pablo Montoya topping the time sheet with a 1:10.081 ahead of Ralf Schumacher and team test driver Marc Gen?. The focus for the Grove squad was running the FW25 in preparation for the launch of the FW26 in January.

Juan Pablo Montoya.
Photo by Greg Gage.
"Our winter testing programme kicked off today, after a seven week break, at the Valencia circuit in Spain. Both Ralf and Juan Pablo were on hand to perform duties, as well as the team's official test driver, Marc Gen?," said test team manager Tim Newton.

"The day started relatively slowly but soon picked up by mid-morning. The team spent the session testing chassis set-ups and evaluating tyre compounds with Michelin. We also successfully ran our new gearbox. By the end of the session, our drivers had recorded the fastest times of the field and completed a total of 163 laps."

McLaren had tester Alex Wurz fourth fastest in the MP4-17D while David Coulthard, ninth quickest, shookdown the new MP4-19. The test programme focus this week for the new car will be systems, aerodynamics and components evaluations. Kimi Raikkonen is due behind the wheel at the beginning of December.

Renault had new test driver Franck Montagny and Jarno Trulli on duty. Montagny drove the R23B for the first time, working on setup and chassis systems development and was fifth on the time sheet. Trulli, seventh fastest, concentrated on brake development and aerodynamics in the morning and installation runs in the afternoon after a routine engine change.

Jaguar's Mark Webber was sixth quickest while the team tried out Christian Klien and Townsend Bell. Austrian Klien set the eighth time of the day and American Bell was tenth, the drivers racking up 54 and 63 laps respectively. Last time of the day was Toyota test driver Ryan Briscoe, the Australian clocking a 1:12.660.

Over in Barcelona, Ferrari had three test drivers on track and Luca Badoer set the best time of the day, 1:17.799. He was followed by Felipe Massa, who continues to test for the Scuderia despite returning to a race seat with Sauber for 2004, and Luciano Burti was fifth of the six drivers present. All three Ferrari men used the F2003-GA chassis and the programme focused on tyre, electronic and engine development. Burti's running was curtailed by mechanical problems.

Third quickest was Giancarlo Fisichella, in the Sauber for the first time. Despite minor problems with set up and seat positioning in the morning, Fisichella was happy with his 99 laps for the day. The Italian continues at Barcelona this week and Massa will be behind the wheel at Jerez in December.

The BAR pair of Takuma Sato and Jenson Button made up the compliment of drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya. Sato was fourth fastest in the 2003 spec chassis but Button had a troublesome time with the so-called '04 Concept car and was bottom of the times with only five laps.

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