F1

Klien fastest as Barcelona testing gets busy

Klien fastest as Barcelona testing gets busy

Winter testing started in earnest at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya this week and after only three cars were present on Monday, 10 drivers were on track on November 29th. Red Bull and the debuting Scuderia Toro Rosso, formerly Minardi, ran ...

Winter testing started in earnest at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya this week and after only three cars were present on Monday, 10 drivers were on track on November 29th. Red Bull and the debuting Scuderia Toro Rosso, formerly Minardi, ran restricted V10 engines while McLaren, Toyota, Williams and BMW Sauber all worked with V8s. It was also Toyota and Williams' first trip out with Bridgestone tyres.

Christian Klien and Robert Doornbos.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Christian Klien was at the top of the times for Red Bull with a best of 1:17.567. The team also had newly-signed official test and third driver Robert Doornbos at work. The Dutchman, who most recently raced for Minardi this season, was eighth quickest.

McLaren, who were fastest yesterday with DTM champion Gary Paffett, fielded testers Alex Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa. They were second and fourth on the time sheet respectively and both drove an interim MP4-20B chassis. McLaren will take a scheduled break on Wednesday and return on Thursday with Juan Pablo Montoya and de la Rosa behind the wheel.

Toyota's new TF106, the first of the 2006 challengers to be unveiled, took to the track for its maiden outing. Team tester Ricardo Zonta was third fastest and Jarno Trulli was fifth overall. Ralf Schumacher is also scheduled to be at work this week, then Toyota will move to Jerez for two more test sessions in December.

Toro Rosso, running a Red Bull RB1 chassis with Michelin tyres, had Tonio Liuzzi sixth on the time sheet. He will continue on Wednesday before Scott Speed takes over on Thursday. Red Bull has yet to confirm its driver allocation but Liuzzi and Speed driving the cars of the new squad this week increases speculation that the pair will race for Toro Rosso in 2006.

Toro Rosso was initially thought to be continuing Minardi's partnership with Bridgestone but it now seems the team will run on Michelin tyres. Along with Williams and Toyota, Ferrari and MF1 Racing, formerly Jordan, will be the teams on Bridgestone rubber.

Recently elevated from tester to race driver at Williams, Nico Rosberg was seventh fastest. The car was liveried in the interim winter colour scheme of dark blue with white detailing. The team also had World Touring Car champion Andy Priaulx behind the wheel and he rounded off the times in 10th. Williams has yet to announce an official test driver and Priaulx will assist Rosberg and Mark Webber in the meantime.

BMW Sauber was the other team at work and Nick Heidfeld was ninth on the time sheet in the B spec C24 chassis. Data acquisition was the main task of the day, focusing on the BMW P86 V8 engine. Heidfeld completed 26 laps but a fuel leak meant his running was halted in the afternoon. He will continue tomorrow with engine and system evaluation.

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