F1

Massa leads at Barcelona test

Massa leads at Barcelona test

The first winter test session continued at Barcelona on November 29th with 18 drivers from 10 teams at work on the Spanish track. Ferrari's Felipe Massa was once again at the top of the times, his best lap a 1:16.403, and team tester Luca Badoer...

The first winter test session continued at Barcelona on November 29th with 18 drivers from 10 teams at work on the Spanish track. Ferrari's Felipe Massa was once again at the top of the times, his best lap a 1:16.403, and team tester Luca Badoer was third fastest. The pair continued a programme of long runs on set up and new components.

Felipe Massa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Nick Heidfeld was the lead BMW Sauber in second, seven and a half tenths off Massa, and teammate Robert Kubica was 14th. Heidfeld carried on with transmission work and tyre tests while Kubica also worked on tyres. Tomorrow former Jordan tester Timo Glock will join the team for his first stint behind the wheel of the BMW.

Test driver Pedro de la Rosa was fourth quickest for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton was sixth. They assessed tyres and evaluated brakes and aerodynamics. Hamilton was hampered by a mechanical issue on the right rear wheel assembly but managed to continue later in the afternoon. Former McLaren double-champion Mika Hakkinen will be on track for the team tomorrow.

Tester Olivier Panis was fifth fastest for Toyota and he was joined by Young Driver Programme pilot Kamui Kobayashi. Panis focused on tyres while Kobayashi, winner of the 2006 F3 Euro series Rookie Cup, acclimatized to the car during his first test. He rounded off the times in 18th.

"Kamui did well today because he had to learn the circuit as well as the handling of the car," said test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer. "He put in a lot of laps and he was very careful in the car and always aware of the other competitors on the track. Both he and Olivier put in mileage on the gearbox and engine and they looked at different weight distributions and software."

Rubens Barrichello was the lead Honda in seventh, while new test/reserve driver Christian Klien had his first day behind the wheel and was 11th on the time sheet. Tyres and chassis set up were their programme for the day and ex-Red Bull man Klien was happy with his initial foray for Honda.

"After some initial familiarisation with the car I basically got straight down to work helping the team to start developing our partnership with Bridgestone and looking at how we can get the best out of the new tyres," the Austrian commented.

"I did quite a lot of running for my first day -- 79 laps -- and I worked well immediately with the team and engineers. It's a very positive atmosphere and I think I have made a good contribution. I'm very happy and looking forward to more of the same tomorrow."

Mark Webber was eighth fastest on his second day with Red Bull and teammate David Coulthard was 12th. Sister team Toro Rosso was also at work, Scott Speed 16th and Tonio Liuzzi 17th.

Renault had test driver Nelson A. Piquet and Heikki Kovalainen on duty, ninth and 13th respectively. They carried out various tyre tests in regard to air intake pressure and the effects of set up changes. Piquet also worked on reliability of 2007 components, including the gearbox.

"This was a very positive day for our reliability testing," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "We completed a substantial programme and collected a lot of data, particularly about the Bridgestone tyres. There is still a long way to go with our work, and we are aware of that, but that is the whole point of coming testing at this stage of the winter."

Alex Wurz was the sole Williams on track and was 15th. "Alex continued testing today and completed more work on front wing comparisons and new front suspension components," said test team Manager Mike Condliffe. "Behind the scenes, the telemetry systems continued to be tuned. Tomorrow, Narain (Karthikeyan) will take over the testing programme."

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