Coulthard ends Barcelona test on top

Coulthard ends Barcelona test on top

The week's testing at Barcelona came to an end on May 3rd, once again in mixed weather conditions, with seven drivers from seven teams taking advantage of the agreed upon extra day. Super Aguri, Spyker and Toro Rosso concluded their scheduled ...

The week's testing at Barcelona came to an end on May 3rd, once again in mixed weather conditions, with seven drivers from seven teams taking advantage of the agreed upon extra day. Super Aguri, Spyker and Toro Rosso concluded their scheduled programmes on Wednesday and Williams also called it quits the same day after Nico Rosberg's car was badly damaged when he crashed out.

David Coulthard, Red Bull Racing.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Mark Webber did well earlier in the week to put his Red Bull second fastest and today teammate David Coulthard went one better and topped the times with a 1:21.066, the best time of the week. "It's always good to produce quick lap times and to be fastest, but let's wait and see how the situation evolves when we come back here for the race in two weekends' time," chief test engineer Ian Morgan cautiously commented.

Second quickest was McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa, two tenths off Coulthard. De la Rosa spent some time in the garage waiting for rain showers to pass but managed 58 laps as he completed the preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix. Fernando Alonso was on track earlier in the week and was happy enough with the work done ahead of his home race.

"On Tuesday there were difficulties with the weather, so we lost a little bit of track time on that day, but on the other three days we managed to cover a lot of mileage," he said. "We were looking at how the car has improved from the last race to now, looking at the developments and checking everything is ok and we completed what we needed to do. So I am happy with how the car is doing, and now we will have to wait and see in the race here next weekend."

Thursday was the only day this week that there wasn't a Ferrari at the top of the times -- Felipe Massa was back behind the wheel for the Scuderia's final day but was hampered by a technical problem in the morning. He managed less than 30 laps of dry running working on set up then went out for a few laps in the wet to check the balance of the car. Tester Luca Badoer will shakedown the cars for Spain at Fiorano on the 8th.

Giancarlo Fisichella was on duty to wrap up Renault's week and was fourth overall. With the rain showers interrupting in the afternoon, the Italian worked on general set up and tyre comparison. "Giancarlo was pretty happy with the car straight way, and to a large extent this reflects the good progress that we had made earlier in the week," said chief test engineer Christian Silk.

Robert Kubica finished up for BMW Sauber and was fifth on the time sheet. He concluded the preparations for the upcoming race, including wet weather set up and tyres. BMW has, for the moment at least, abandoned the idea of running test driver Sebastian Vettel during Friday practices at race weekends, which will no doubt be good news for Kubica and teammate Nick Heidfeld, who were unhappy with the arrangement.

Ralf Schumacher was sixth fastest for Toyota and worked on aerodynamics and suspension before the weather turned. After that he did some limited runs for systems checks. "Today I spent the morning working on some comparisons on aero parts and some suspension set-up," he commented. "We had no technical problems and we made it through most our programme."

Rounding off the times in seventh was Honda test driver Christian Klien. Much as McLaren did earlier in the week, Honda attracted attention for running an unusual front wing addition -- two sculpted winglets rising vertically from the top of the nose cone. Klien worked on 'various aero configurations' and a short wet-weather programme before a heavy downpour bought the day to an early end.

"It was great to be back in the car this week after my last test in Sepang, which was over four weeks ago, and I had a good day testing," said the Austrian. "The track was dry this morning so we evaluated different aero specifications. The weather changed for the afternoon but it was good practice for me to drive the car in the wet."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Ralf Schumacher , Pedro de la Rosa , Luca Badoer , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Fernando Alonso , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Christian Klien , Robert Kubica , Sebastian Vettel
Teams Ferrari , Red Bull Racing , Sauber , McLaren , Williams