De la Rosa leads Jerez day three

De la Rosa leads Jerez day three

Testing continued apace at Jerez de la Frontera on February 9th, with 14 drivers from eight teams present, and McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa led the times with a best of 1:17.454. De la Rosa was behind the wheel of the MP4-20 V10 and worked on...

Testing continued apace at Jerez de la Frontera on February 9th, with 14 drivers from eight teams present, and McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa led the times with a best of 1:17.454. De la Rosa was behind the wheel of the MP4-20 V10 and worked on tyres, while Kimi Raikkonen piloted the MP4-21 and was ninth fastest.

Pedro de la Rosa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Raikkonen managed 41 laps in the morning but gearbox troubles and an oil leak prevented him making it out onto the track in the afternoon. The Finn will resume work in the new chassis on Friday and Gary Paffett will take over from de la Rosa in the interim car.

Quickest V8 of the day was Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella in second, just a few hundredths behind de la Rosa, and team test driver Heikki Kovalainen was seventh on the time sheet. Renault is still investigating the rear wing problem encountered by Kovalainen on Wednesday so the pair alternated on track, working on set up and tyres.

Mark Webber was the quicker of the two Williams present in third, while teammate Nico Rosberg was eighth. Test driver Alex Wurz will join Webber tomorrow. "Today Mark and Nico continued tyre testing and set-up work on the FW28s," said technical director Sam Michael.

"We had a problem with the steering rack hydraulics on Nico's car in the morning, which, unfortunately, delayed the programme while we changed it. Otherwise, we are making steady progress on reliability and set-up items. Tomorrow, Mark and Alex will be driving and will conclude the Jerez test."

Jenson Button was the sole Honda driver on duty and clocked fourth fastest on the last day of the team's test. He worked on tyres and set up and covered 119 laps. Honda will test in Bahrain next week and Ferrari will also be at Sakhir, but it remains to be confirmed if any other teams will present.

"We've had two great days for putting mileage on the car, covering 139 laps on the first day and 119 laps today," said Button. "There have been a few small issues over the test but we have solved these today. It's been good to get so many laps in before the Bahrain test next week which will probably be the most important test of the year for us."

Jacques Villeneuve and Nick Heidfeld were fifth and sixth respectively for BMW Sauber but their day was not without difficulties. A 'foreign object' damaged Villeneuve's cooling system while Heidfeld had a fuel problem and both had to stop running. However, they had completed over 170 laps between them.

Jarno Trulli was 10th on the time sheet and teammate Ralf Schumacher was one behind in 11th to finish Toyota's testing week. "We completed more than 100 laps with both cars today and at this stage of proceedings, with the new season ever closer we have to be very pleased with the level of reliability that we are seeing," said test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer.

"In the morning we experimented with the weight distribution and suspension and then we made some good progress with the tyres in the afternoon, when temperatures were more suitable. Next week we will have more performance parts for the car in Italy."

Toro Rosso's 2006 challenger, the STR01, made its debut with Tonio Liuzzi behind the wheel and posted the 12th best time. The car bears a resemblance to last year's Red Bull, albeit currently bare of sponsor logos, and the Italian was fairly happy with the shakedown, which was troubled only by a brief electrical gremlin.

"Of course, with a new car there is still quite a lot to do with set- up and the engine definitely felt different," said Liuzzi, who completed 79 laps. "It makes a strange noise, has less power and the power band is in a different place to what I had been used to."

MF1 rounded off the times with Christijan Albers 13th and Tiago Monteiro 14th. The pair took turns in the new M16 chassis and the interim EJ15B and worked on a varied programme of set up, tyres, aerodynamics and engine. "I spent the first half of today in the new car and I am pleased that we are making good progress," said Albers.

"I have now driven both cars and I am still positive about the changes that have been made over the winter. I am still looking forward to the start of the season and getting as much as possible out of the new car before then."

Circuito de Jerez
Circuit length: 4.423 km
Lap record: 1:15.650 (Michael Schumacher, 2004, Ferrari)
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:16.960 (Fernando Alonso, Renault)

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Pedro de la Rosa , Michael Schumacher , Mark Webber , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Christijan Albers , Tiago Monteiro , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Gary Paffett
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams