Kovalainen and Schumacher top test times

Kovalainen and Schumacher top test times

The main testing action on April 5th was to be found at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in France, where eight drivers from five teams were at work. Most of the work on Wednesday fell to the test drivers and Renault's Heikki Kovalainen topped...

The main testing action on April 5th was to be found at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in France, where eight drivers from five teams were at work. Most of the work on Wednesday fell to the test drivers and Renault's Heikki Kovalainen topped the times with a best of 1:04.927.The Finn swapped between two chassis and focused on tyres and the new spec engine.

Heikki Kovalainen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"We had a few small problems today but they did not delay our programme," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "We worked on interesting directions for the first European races. We completed an important programme of tyre testing today and Heikki seemed quite happy with it."

McLaren had Pedro de la Rosa second quickest, a tenth off Kovalainen, and fellow team tester Gary Paffett was fifth. De la Rosa was behind the wheel of the MP4-21 and worked on front suspension, dampers and tyres. In the interim MP4-20 with the restricted V10 engine, Paffett concentrated on tyres for the upcoming San Marino GP at Imola.

Robert Kubica was the quicker of the two BMW Saubers present in third while Jacques Villeneuve was the sole race driver on track, seventh. Kubica worked on set up, tyres for Imola and electronics while Villeneuve's engineers made special data measurements on his car then he carried out tyre tests in the afternoon.

Toyota fielded Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis and they were fourth and sixth respectively. Set up and tyres for the next European rounds were their basic programme, along with assorted scans and data acquisition. "I am really happy with today's results," said Zonta. "We worked on aerodynamic scans and tyre tests."

"From this, we learned a lot and showed that we had a good lap time, which is the best we have done at Paul Ricard. Therefore, in my opinion this was the best day of testing this year because we found some really positive results. Tomorrow we will work on the tyre programme more extensively for Imola to be able to make the tyre choice for the race."

Robert Doornbos was at work for Red Bull and rounded off the Paul Ricard times in eighth. At Vallelunga, where they started yesterday, Ferrari and Honda continued with their week's work and were joined by Williams. Michael Schumacher set the best time of the five drivers present, 1:13.816.

Schumacher piloted the Ferrari 248 F1 and focused on new component development and engine endurance testing. Team tester Luca Badoer, fourth on the time sheet, worked in the F2004 fitted with the restricted V10 and his programme was tyre development.

Second fastest was Honda tester Anthony Davidson, just over nine tenths slower than Schumacher. He worked on tyres and Jenson Button had his first test at the Vallelunga circuit. He spent his time acclimatizing to the track and working on set up, finishing with the third fastest time.

Williams test driver Alex Wurz rounded off the times in fifth, also making his first visit to Vallelunga. In the morning he tested parts on both the front and rear suspension and carried out tyre comparisons for Imola in the afternoon.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Pedro de la Rosa , Luca Badoer , Michael Schumacher , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Ricardo Zonta , Anthony Davidson , Alexander Wurz , Robert Doornbos , Heikki Kovalainen , Gary Paffett , Robert Kubica
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams