Kovalainen sets the pace at busy Barcelona

Kovalainen sets the pace at busy Barcelona

It was a busy day at Barcelona testing on April 12th with all bar one of the teams represented by 18 drivers, MF1 being the absentee. Renault test driver Heikki Kovalainen was at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:14.955 and Fernando...

It was a busy day at Barcelona testing on April 12th with all bar one of the teams represented by 18 drivers, MF1 being the absentee. Renault test driver Heikki Kovalainen was at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:14.955 and Fernando Alonso was also at work, although hampered by an electronic problem, third fastest overall.

Heikki Kovalainen.
Photo by LAT Photographic.

"We made good progress today with Heikki's car," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "We confirmed the set-up improvements we had found in previous tests, and he got through a lot of tyre work. Fernando was also very productive in the laps he was able to run."

On a day when the top 11 drivers were separated by less than a second -- and the next three only fractionally over -- the Honda of Rubens Barrichello was second quickest. He was just under two tenths off Kovalainen and team tester Anthony Davidson was fourth overall.

Test driver Ricardo Zonta was the quicker of the two Toyotas present in fifth and fellow team tester Olivier Panis was 17th. They followed a busy programme of electronics, aerodynamics and tyres. "This is the first time that I have driven the 'new' car in Barcelona, since it was released in Vallelunga," said Zonta.

"It was very difficult with so many drivers on the track to get a clean lap, but in the end, we had a good time and were happy with the results. The car is showing potential and we still have a lot to do, but we are definitely moving ahead well."

David Coulthard led Red Bull's two cars, sixth fastest, and teammate Christian Klien was a couple of places behind in eighth overall. Williams also had both its race drivers at work, Mark Webber seventh and Nico Rosberg 12th. They focused on mechanical and aerodynamic parts and also ran a tyre programme.

Tester Pedro de la Rosa was the lead McLaren in ninth and Kimi Raikkonen was 13th, both working on set up. De la Rosa's day ended when he had an engine failure late in the afternoon, while Raikkonen didn't get going until after lunch -- the Finn's car was the spare in the early races and had to come from Woking after being rebuilt.

Ferrari's Felipe Massa recorded the 10th fastest time and Scuderia tester Marc Gen? was 16th. In a 248 F1 chassis each, Massa focused on tyres, aerodynamics and set up, while Gen? continued the endurance work he started on Tuesday and also tyres. Michael Schumacher is scheduled to join Massa on Thursday.

Nick Heidfeld clocked 11th on the time sheet for BMW Sauber and team test driver Robert Kubica was 14th. Brakes, set up, tyres and aerodynamics were their programme for the day and tomorrow the tyre work will continue, when Jacques Villeneuve takes over from Kubica.

Tonio Liuzzi took over at Toro Rosso and was 15th. "With this being the final test at this track before the Spanish Grand Prix, we worked on set-up for that race and Tonio also did a brake system comparison and he was able to run on tyres very similar to those we will use in Imola at the next race," said chief engineer Laurent Mekies.

Takuma Sato was behind the wheel of the single Super Aguri on track and rounded off the times in 18th. In the first full test for the SA05 chassis, Sato focused mainly on set up work. He will continue on Thursday and teammate Yuji Ide is due to take over for the final day of the team's test on Friday.

"The team is very satisfied with the content and results from today which have provided a number of avenues for us to investigate in pursuit of car balance," said chief race engineer Graham Taylor. "We are looking forward to a full program with Bridgestone tomorrow."

MF1, meanwhile, is at home at Silverstone in a private test this week, which includes straight line work. Christijan Albers set a best time of 50.670 over 124 laps and his focus for the day was aerodynamics and tyres.

Note: Test times are unofficial and may vary

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Takuma Sato , Pedro de la Rosa , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Olivier Panis , Nick Heidfeld , Ricardo Zonta , Anthony Davidson , Fernando Alonso , Christijan Albers , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Yuji Ide , Robert Kubica
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams