Testing resumed on February 8th with 17 drivers from eight teams on track at Jerez, Minardi and Jordan being the two absentees. With the start of the 2005 season drawing closer, race drivers outnumbered testers as work on new cars continued. Early conditions saw the track still damp from overnight rain, which hampered some teams' programmes.
Sauber's Felipe Massa set the pace on day one. The Brazilian clocked 1:17.506, while teammate Jacques Villeneuve rounded off the times in 17th. The pair worked on wet tyres in the morning, then set up, and Massa also rolled out the second new chassis. Brake and further tyre work were postponed until tomorrow.
Toyota had Jarno Trulli and test driver Ricardo Zonta second and third respectively, and they were followed by McLaren's Juan Pablo Montoya and team tester Pedro de la Rosa in third and fourth. Both drove an MP4-20; Montoya carried out systems checks and set up work, while de la Rosa focused on tyres over distance runs.
Montoya's car featured an unusual pair of wings mounted on the engine cover as the team experimented with aero configurations. "I felt that today went really well," said the Colombian. "We did very little running in the morning as the track was still damp and with a new car it is best not to risk any damage, however I managed to do some extended runs in the afternoon and feel very comfortable in the car."
Fernando Alonso led the two Renaults, sixth, and teammate Giancarlo Fishichella was 12th. The damp track forced the team to change its planned programme from set up development to distance work for tyre testing. Alonso had a trouble free day but Fisichella was hampered by several minor problems.
Nick Heidfeld was seventh fastest for Williams, followed by teammate Mark Webber in eighth. Tyres, set up and system checks were the focus of the day for the pair. "Mark and Nick were on testing duty today at Jerez, our first visit here with the FW27," said test team manager Tim Newton.
"We experienced a minor technical problem on Mark's car early on in the session which we soon rectified, allowing Mark to continue his day's programme of tyre testing and fuel system checks. Nick, meanwhile, was in a new car today so spent the session completing set-up work. Both drivers will continue testing tomorrow."
Rubens Barrichello was ninth on the time sheet for Ferrari and team tester Luca Badoer was 11th. Badoer was behind the wheel of the F2004 and Barrichello drive the F2004M as they worked on tyres, set up and engine. The two scarlet cars were split by Red Bull's David Coulthard in 10th and the team also had Christian Klien on duty, 13th.
BAR had three cars on track, tester Anthony Davidson leading the trio in 14th. Takuma Sato had a heavy accident at the first corner, caused by a rear wing failure, but after checks at the medical centre he was declared unharmed. He was 15th overall but sat out the rest of the day. Nelson Piquet Junior was trying out for the team and also crashed, although his was a minor effort. He was 16th on the time sheet.