F1

Honda ends Jerez test on top

Honda ends Jerez test on top

The week's test at Jerez came to an end on December 8th and it was a Honda one-two at the top of the time sheet on the final day. Rubens Barrichello set a best of 1:19.981 and team test driver James Rossiter was a tenth and a half behind. After...

The week's test at Jerez came to an end on December 8th and it was a Honda one-two at the top of the time sheet on the final day. Rubens Barrichello set a best of 1:19.981 and team test driver James Rossiter was a tenth and a half behind. After an initial delay due to heavy rain the pair completed Honda's tyre programme.

Rubens Barrichello.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"The car has felt better and more balanced this week than in Barcelona," said Barrichello. "We have repeated some of our work from last week, alongside some new evaluations, so we have a good conclusion for which direction to take the new car. I had a good two days this week, covering a lot of laps yesterday in particular and the car has been very reliable."

The McLarens followed the Hondas, Lewis Hamilton third fastest and tester Pedro de la Rosa fourth. Aside from the overall tyre testing, this week Hamilton's programme included set up and rear suspension while de la Rosa worked on front and rear wings for aerodynamic evaluation.

"The main focus for the test team continued to be developing our understanding of the Bridgestone Potenza tyres," said McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh. "The wet weather conditions have also allowed us to run on wet weather tyres, which has proved useful in gaining valuable intelligence of this track condition."

Ralf Schumacher was the lead Toyota in fifth and Young Driver Programme member Kamui Kobayashi was 11th. Their tyre programme was delayed until the weather cleared up. "This morning it was quite difficult to drive because of the rain -- there were rivers running across the track and the car was aquaplaning," Schumacher explained.

"It was not really possible to use dry tyres until later in the afternoon as the track was still drying and there were too many wet patches. It would have made it difficult to compare our results to the information we got earlier this week. The car balance was better today so I think we are making progress, but there is still a lack of grip at this track and with these tyres."

Heikki Kovalainen and Giancarlo Fisichella were sixth and seventh respectively for Renault. They collected data on wet tyres early on and later switched to dries. Kovalainen also worked on set up but was hampered by a mechanical failure in the afternoon, while Fisichella put more mileage on the 2007 gearbox.

"It was a difficult but interesting session this week, because we ran in every kind of conditions," said Kovalainen. "There was a lot of data collected and once we have analysed it, we will be able to make even more progress next week. We worked very hard, and we know where we are with the programme; I am feeling confident, and happy with what we have done this week."

Nick Heidfeld was the lead BMW Sauber in eighth and the team had Timo Glock back in the other car, 10th. They ran on extreme wets initially and progressed to dry tyres. Both drivers ran the new gearbox; Heidfeld also worked on set up and Glock on dampers. BMW reported a trouble free day.

Anthony Davidson concluded Super Aguri's test with ninth fastest. He ran what the team described as a comprehensive chassis programme this week and, of course, learning more about the Bridgestone tyres. Teammate Takuma Sato will be in the car next week for his first test since the Brazilian GP.

"This has been another positive week for the team," Davidson commented. "Jerez is a circuit I know very well and so I was able to get of a better feel for the 2007 Bridgestone Potenza tyres this week than I did in Barcelona. We made improvements to the car all week and ended with a good balance at the end of day three so I am happy with our progress."

Test driver Michael Ammermuller was 12th for Red Bull and David Coulthard was 15th, and the team, like everyone else, was focused on tyres. "Yet again, the main item on our test agenda was evaluating the Bridgestone Potenza tyres," said chief test engineer Ian Morgan.

"We were provided with a different, one-step softer tyre than the one we tried in Barcelona, but in addition, rain on Wednesday and again today, meant we were also able to try the Standard and Extreme wet weather tyres. We can be happy with the work we did, as both cars ran trouble free and we completed our programmes."

It was a difficult day for Ferrari, with Felipe Massa and tester Luca Badoer 13th and 16th respectively. They completed their technical programme of engine endurance testing, new components and set up, although both suffered car problems and stopped out on track.

Scott Speed was the sole Toro Rosso and was 14th on the time sheet. He and teammate Tonio Liuzzi shared the duties this week. "Because of the weather, we effectively tried three types of tyre," said chief engineer Laurent Mekies. "Both Tonio and Scott did a good job and apart from the tyre work, Tonio did some brake material testing, while Scott worked on mechanical set-up."

Williams' new test driver Kazuki Nakajima had his first full test day and rounded off the time sheet in 17th. He too had problems, with an engine failure in the afternoon. No other information was available from Williams at the time of writing.

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