Button fastest as Jerez test winds up

Button fastest as Jerez test winds up

The week's testing at Jerez came to a close on February 11th for most teams and for the fourth day in a row it was a different driver at the top of the times. Jenson Button set a best of 1:15.662 for BAR, while team test driver Enrique Bernoldi...

The week's testing at Jerez came to a close on February 11th for most teams and for the fourth day in a row it was a different driver at the top of the times. Jenson Button set a best of 1:15.662 for BAR, while team test driver Enrique Bernoldi was 11th of the 12 drivers on track. Button will stay at the circuit on Saturday for wet tyre testing.

Jenson Button returns to pitlane.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.

"After three average days, today was a much needed improvement and we were able to complete some good tyre testing," said Button in regard to the team's difficult week. "The car felt great and was also extremely consistent which will be important for the new regulations."

Second fastest was the McLaren of Juan Pablo Montoya and teammate Kimi Raikkonen was fifth on the time sheet. McLaren concluded its five day test working on qualifying runs and endurance work. A few problems over the test week included radiator damage and suspension and clutch issues but nothing that McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh was worried about.

"We have had a productive test this week in Jerez where we ran two MP4-20s for the first time," Whitmarsh said. "It is important to say that it is not unusual for problems to occur during this stage of the testing process and it is better that these issues are resolved now and do not happen over a grand prix weekend."

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was third fastest and team test driver Luca Badoer at the bottom of the time sheet, both driving a F2004M chassis. They ended their programme of tyres, engine and set up work and covered over 200 laps on the final day. The Scuderia announced today that it will launch its 2005 challenger on February 25th at Maranello.

Red Bull's David Coulthard was fourth fastest and Vitantoino Liuzzi, who had a visit to the gravel trap, clocked seventh over all for the team. Mark Webber and Nick Heidfeld concluded Williams' week with sixth and ninth respectively. Webber ran a race simulation and worked on set up while Heidfeld focused on tyres.

"The car has proved particularly reliable over the four days, allowing both drivers to clock up an impressive total of 3,259kms," said Williams test team manager Tim Newton. "This has provided us with invaluable data to work with in the weeks leading up to Melbourne."

Ricardo Zonta was the faster of the two Toyotas at work, eighth, and Ralf Schumacher was couple of places behind the team's tester in 10th. Jarno Trulli was also at work earlier in the week and Toyota's four day test included tyres and set up work, long runs and traction control development.

"Obviously any progress we can get and anything that makes us go quicker is always appreciated," Ralf commented. "Still, I must say while we seemed to struggle at times at Valencia last week, here at Jerez the package we already have looks a bit better and closer to the other teams."

Zonta will continue at Jerez over the weekend for wet tyre tests. "I will be doing two more days of wet tyre work here at Jerez over the weekend," he said. "We have done quite a few of those tests this winter and I can already feel some improvement in Michelin's wet tyres."

Jordan wrapped up its Silverstone test with Tiago Monteiro and Narain Karthikeyan on duty. Damp conditions limited the running but the pair worked on set up and pit stop practice. Mexican Mario Dominguez joined the test today but only had one lap before the weather prevented any further track time.

"We had a late start but so much has progressed in the last three weeks," said Jordan sporting director Trevor Carlin. "We're ready to go with two cars and looking forward to getting through a lot more of our test plans next week in Barcelona."

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