F1

Ferrari tops first Valencia test day

Ferrari tops first Valencia test day

Ferrari solidly topped test times as Formula One teams assembled for preseason testing in Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday. Working in sunny and dry conditions, Brazilian Felipe Massa drove 97 laps and posted the best of three sub-1 minute,...

Ferrari solidly topped test times as Formula One teams assembled for preseason testing in Valencia, Spain, on Tuesday.

Working in sunny and dry conditions, Brazilian Felipe Massa drove 97 laps and posted the best of three sub-1 minute, 13-second times, a 1:12.182 on the 4.005-kilometer (2.488-mile) circuit named after motorcyclist Ricardo Tormo. Massa's teammate, World Champion Kimi Raikkonen, followed in 1:12.721 posted during 105 laps as testing on the F2008s continued.

Felipe Massa, Scuderia Ferrari.
Photo by xpb.cc.

German Nico Rosberg, shepherding the debut of the Williams Toyota FW30, turned a 1:12.838 to separate the two Ferraris from the McLaren MP4-23s of Raikkonen's fellow Finn Heikki Kovalainen and Spanish test driving veteran Pedro de la Rosa of McLaren. Raikkonen (105), Kovalainen (104), and De la Rosa (114), were the only drivers to amass more than 100 laps each.

Double world champion Fernando Alonso, late of McLaren, put his Renault R28 behind the McLarens with a quick time of 1:13.315. He was followed by Kazuki Nakajima in a Williams FW29B (1:13.473).

Sam Michael, Williams technical director, pronounced the FW30 shakedown problem-free.

"After completing some further systems checks and mapping in the morning, (Nico) progressed onto long runs in the afternoon to check stabilized temperatures on the new cooling systems," Michael said. "No major problems were encountered, so it was a successful initial run. Meanwhile, Kazuki continued the reliability program with the FW29B."

BMW Sauber, too, reported a productive data-gathering day as Nick Heidfeld put the F1.08 through aerodynamic comparisons and suspension settings while test driver Marko Asmer ran the F1.07B-06 concentrating on systems checks and the standard electronic control unit (SECU). Heidfeld's top time was a 1:13.779, Asmer's a 1:13.669.

Also working through early testing in preparation for the March 16 opening race at Melbourne, Australia, were Sebastian Vettel (1:13.627) and Sebastien Bourdais (1:13.675) of Scuderia Toro Rosso, Jarno Trulli (1:13.820) and Timo Glock (1:14.096) of Toyota, David Coulthard of Red Bull (1:13.944), and test drivers Vitantonio Luizzi of Force India (1:15.095), and Alex Wurz of Honda (1:15.440).

Wurz, who retired from Williams last year only to reappear as a Honda test driver, drove the Honda RA107 in a so-called reference program before the new RA108 makes its track debut this week ahead of a launch ceremony Jan. 29 at Honda's United Kingdom headquarters in Brackley, England.

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