F1

Massa back at the top of test times

Massa back at the top of test times

Testing was back in full swing on December 1st at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, with 15 drivers on track for the day. The weather was not as kind as Barcelona testing last week, with sun and rain showers, which was a minor disruption to the ...

Testing was back in full swing on December 1st at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain, with 15 drivers on track for the day. The weather was not as kind as Barcelona testing last week, with sun and rain showers, which was a minor disruption to the schedule.

Felipe Massa.
Photo by Sauber Petronas.

Felipe Massa, who topped the times last Thursday, returned to the head of the field and set a best of 1:17.498 in the Sauber while working on tyres and aerodynamics. Jacques Villeneuve will take over tomorrow.

Toyota's Jarno Trulli was second on the time sheet, nearly two seconds slower than Massa, although Felipe had better track conditions when he set his time. Toyota also had Ralf Schumacher on duty, eighth quickest. Mark Webber's Williams was third and it was Nick Heidfeld's first day trying out for the team. The German was 10th and completed 101 laps.

"Mark worked on wet tyre testing for Michelin, electronics and reliability running," said Williams technical director Sam Michael. "He was joined today by Nick Heidfeld who did a great job in the other car and also did some work on traction control. Tomorrow, Antonio is driving again with Nick."

BAR had an improved time from Barcelona, with tester Enrique Bernoldi fourth fastest and Takuma Sato sixth. The team also tried out newcomers to F1 from its young driver programme. Alan van der Merwe, British F3 champion in 2003, was 12th quickest and British F3 runner up this season Adam Carroll rounded off the times in 15th.

Luca Badoer headed the pair of Ferrari test drivers on track, fifth, while Marc Gen? was 11th. They worked on tyres and new components and Andrea Bertolini was at work at Fiorano. He focused on mechanical parts for the Scuderia and his best time was 1:03.951 over 55 laps. The trio continues at the same circuits tomorrow.

Vitantonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien were back behind the wheel for Red Bull Racing, seventh and ninth respectively at Jerez. The R5 and the R5C were the chassis' scheduled for use, alternating between drivers if necessary. The team will also try out Neel Jani this week, who was an occasional tester for Sauber this year.

Jordan started its winter test programme with Christijan Albers and Robert Doornbos on track. Albers, who has been successful in the DTM the last couple of years, made a good start in his try out and was some eight tenths quicker than Doornbos. The pair were 13th and 14th respectively.

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