Massa tops Barcelona test times

Massa tops Barcelona test times

Testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya got busier on January 25th and 13 drivers from eight teams were testing at the track. Ferrari's Felipe Massa clocked the best time of the day, a 1:15.679 in the F2004 fitted with the V8, working on...

Testing at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya got busier on January 25th and 13 drivers from eight teams were testing at the track. Ferrari's Felipe Massa clocked the best time of the day, a 1:15.679 in the F2004 fitted with the V8, working on engine development and tyres. Michael Schumacher is due to arrive with the new 248 F1 on Thursday.

Felipe Massa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Champion Fernando Alonso and teammate Giancarlo Fisichella were second and fifth respectively, both driving the new Renault R26 which will officially be launched in Monaco on January 31st. Alonso was about half a second down on Massa and development of the new car and tyres were the focus for the Renault pair.

Honda debuted its new RA106 with both Jenson Button and Rubens Barrichello having a chassis apiece. They were third and fourth fastest respectively and after installation laps they worked on set up and tyres. Both will continue on Thursday.

"The cars performed well; it was pretty cold in the morning which limited our running however we did a good number of laps throughout the day with no problems and some competitive times," said technical director Geoff Willis. "We've got plenty of work to do over the next few weeks but it's been a positive first day."

Nick Heidfeld was on duty for BMW Sauber and was sixth overall in the F1.06, working on set up. Tester Robert Kubica had his first drive of the interim Sauber C24B and spent his day acclimatizing to the car systems and making some set up adjustments. He rounded off the times in 13th.

"I took it easy today, it's just the beginning, and I have a lot to learn," said Kubica, who enters his first season in F1. "It's fun to drive in a Formula One car on the Barcelona track with its fast corners where you can really feel the G forces."

The Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and tester Olivier Panis were seventh and eighth respectively. Tyre testing and set up work were the programme and the drivers were happy with the day's work. "It was a very productive day with both cars doing a lot of laps and running reliably," said technical director Mike Gascoyne.

"Both drivers were concentrating on Bridgestone tyre work, running a mixture of casing and compound tests. We managed to get through all the work, both drivers are very happy with the car and there are some very clear tyre directions to work on."

Juan Pablo Montoya was again behind the wheel of the McLaren MP4-21 and was ninth on the time sheet, continuing with system checks of the new car. Team tester Gary Paffett drove the MP4-20 V10 and was 12th. Kimi Raikkonen makes his return to track action on Thursday and will have his first run in the MP4-21.

David Coulthard was the sole Red Bull driver present and was 10th quickest. He focused on engine mapping initially, then aerodynamic evaluation. "We also ran some different types of tyre, but the need for consistency for the aero work meant we did not run an actual tyre test programme," said technical director Mark Smith.

Sister team Toro Rosso had Scott Speed on duty and he was 11th fastest. In a busy day the American completed 85 laps working on aerodynamics, including assessing ride heights and wing settings, and set up. Teammate Tonio Liuzzi is scheduled to take over on Thursday.

Circuit de Catalunya
Circuit length: 4.627 km
Lap record: 1:15.641 (Giancarlo Fisichella, 2005, Renault)
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:15.679 (Felipe Massa, Ferrari)

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso