Massa tops test opener at Silverstone

Fresh off a one-two sweep at Magny-Cours, Ferrari deemed it necessary to find new aerodynamic and mechanical "solutions" in testing at Silverstone, England, on Tuesday. In testing these, France race winner and new drivers' championship points...

Fresh off a one-two sweep at Magny-Cours, Ferrari deemed it necessary to find new aerodynamic and mechanical "solutions" in testing at Silverstone, England, on Tuesday. In testing these, France race winner and new drivers' championship points leader Felipe Massa drove 71 laps and worked on setup for the next race in the Formula One series, the British Grand Prix, to be held at this former wartime airfield July 6. Massa set fastest time of the day. He covered the 3.194-mile course in 1 minute, 20.118 seconds.

Ferrari conceded some little thing went less than perfectly, preventing completion of the day's planned work. As can be expected from the constructors' points leader, the scuderia didn't relate details to the masses, who swarmed through the paddock under clear, sunny skies in pleasantly warm temperatures. Traditionally a tire test, this Silverstone occasion provides fan access during low-key activity. The race weekend is sold out.

Heikki Kovalainen posted a 1:20.477 in the McLaren Mercedes with Robert Kubica following at 1:20.995 for BMW Sauber. No other driver reached the 1:20s. McLaren is introducing new bits to try to close the competition gap to Ferrari. BMW Sauber worked on setup and aero performance without problems.

Test driver Kamui Kobayashi was fourth-quickest for Toyota, followed by Nico Rosberg in the Toyota-powered Williams, Mark Webber for Red Bull, Nelsinho Piquet for Renault, Jenson Button for Honda, Vitantonio Luizzi for Force India, and Sebastian Vettel for Scuderia Toro Rosso.

Williams and Red Bull reported no problems. Things went so well for Red Bull that Webber was able to complete more miles than planned. He focused on preparing for the race with aero and mechanical development.

Honda are testing a new aero package regarded by team principal Ross Brawn as "considerable."

Force India worked on a "major aero update" that included new front wing, bodywork and diffuser. The change rated full marks for performance. Liuzzi, who completed 108 laps, also tested a new fuel system and worked on race setup. Chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne said further major aerodynamic and suspension updates are still to come.

"We covered a lot of miles and did some quick laps and the balance of the car felt better," Liuzzi said. "The new package is working well so far, and hopefully in the next two days we will improve the speed as well."

Vettel's day ended early as the Toro Rosso STR3 conked out, ending the day's test before the morning ended. Vettel returns to carry on Wednesday before Sebastien Bourdais steps in Thursday.

Off track, talk ahead of Wednesday's FIA World Motor Sport Council is that FIA president Max Mosley will seek to increase F1 team entry fees by about 150 percent, from 300,000 euros to 740,000 euros. An increase would fund pit-lane communications systems, a light signaling system, data recorders and a weather prediction system.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mark Webber , Felipe Massa , Sébastien Bourdais , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Mike Gascoyne , Sebastian Vettel , Kamui Kobayashi
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Force India , Toro Rosso , Williams