Winter testing resumed on December 6th at the Spanish circuit of Jerez and 17 drivers from nine teams at work. Ferrari led the way, Felipe Massa's best of 1:19.448 two and a half tenths up on team test driver Luca Badoer. They focused on a technical programme of endurance testing, new components and set up.
Best of the rest behind the Ferraris was McLaren's Lewis Hamilton in third, half a second off Badoer. Team tester Pedro de la Rosa was seventh and in the early damp conditions they worked on wets tyres and continued on dries when the track improved. Hamilton also evaluated suspension and de la Rosa front and rear wings.
Honda test driver Christian Klien was fourth overall and the team's second tester James Rossiter was eighth. They mainly concentrated on tyres, wets being the initial work until the conditions got better. Then Klien worked on balance while Rossiter focused on set up. Jenson Button is expected to sit out this test due to cracked ribs but Rubens Barrichello is scheduled to join tomorrow.
Toyota had a new test line up on duty, 2007 official third driver Franck Montagny making an early appearance and Young Driver Programme pilot Kohei Hirate having his first F1 test. Montagny, fifth, continued to familiarize himself with his new team while Hirate, 15th, had some cockpit adjustments and the team reported his performance improved steadily.
"Kohei had a very good first day I would say, he made no mistakes and he set quite a good lap time which we are quite pleased with," said chief race and test engineer Dieter Gass. "Frank was back in the car for the first time since September and as expected he did a solid job and set a competitive lap time in the afternoon."
Anthony Davidson was the sole Super Aguri driver present and was a notable sixth on the time sheet, a second off the pace of Massa. The team continued with the tyre programme started at Barcelona last week and commented that "Anthony has continued to integrate well with the team and provide valuable feedback."
Heikki Kovalainen was the lead Renault in ninth and teammate Giancarlo Fisichella was 14th. Kovalainen worked on chassis set up, with a focus on comparing tyre characteristics from last week's Barcelona test with data from this circuit. It was Fisichella's first day of winter work and he began getting used to the Bridgestone tyres.
"We lost a lot of running time this morning because it took a long time for the track to dry out properly, and we didn't see any point in running when the track wasn't ready," said Kovalainen. "In spite of that, we did some important tests that help us better understand our conclusions from Barcelona, and that is a good step."
Williams was represented by Nico Rosberg and the German racer was 10th fastest. Red Bull had Mark Webber and tester Michael Ammermuller on duty and they were 11th and 13th respectively. Sister team Toro Rosso had one car on track, Tonio Liuzzi 16th. No information was available from those teams at the time of writing.
BMW fielded Robert Kubica and tester Sebastian Vettel. They too tested wet tyres early on and Kubica, 12th fastest, ran the new SSG gearbox, while Vettel, rounding off the times in 17th, used the standard transmission. The team reported a productive day, although Kubica had a minor off in the morning due to an oil leak. Nick Heidfeld is due on track tomorrow.