Testing resumed on December 7th and 15 drivers were on track at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain. Renault tester Franck Montagny topped the times with a best of 1:19.453 and Heikki Kovalainen, who replaces Montagny as official test and third driver for 2006, was third fastest. Both used the restricted V10 engine and worked on set up, tyres and suspension.
In between the Renault duo was Ferrari tester Marc Gen?, a couple of tenths off Montagny, using a V8 engine, and fellow Scuderia test driver Luca Badoer was 11th on the time sheet. Badoer, who ran the V10, had a suspected front suspension failure which resulted in an impact with the barriers, but he was unharmed.
Test driver Anthony Davidson was fourth quickest for Honda and the team also fielded young development driver James Rossiter, who clocked 12th overall. Davidson worked on set up, tyres and engine, while Rossiter shook down a new chassis and worked on aerodynamics and tyres.
Narain Karthikeyan, who raced for Jordan in 2005, tried out for Williams and was fifth fastest. Nico Rosberg was one of the few race drivers on duty and was ninth for the Grove squad. "Today in Jerez, Nico concentrated on stabilised temperature runs, mechanical and aero set-ups," said technical director Sam Michael.
"It was another productive day during which we gained valuable mileage with the mechanical components on the interim FW27C. Narain also drove for us today, spending some time familiarising himself with the car, carrying out long runs, systems checks and calibration work."
McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa was sixth quickest and the team had DTM champion Gary Paffett back behind the wheel, 10th. Tyres and the Mercedes V8 engine were the focus of the work. McLaren's other test driver, Alex Wurz, is scheduled to join Paffett on Thursday.
Ralf Schumacher led the pair of Toyotas on track in seventh and Ryan Briscoe piloted the second car to 13th. Briscoe, who has not tested for the team for a year, replaced Olivier Panis who was unwell. Christian Klien was the sole representative of Red Bull and clocked eighth with a V10 engine.
MF1 Racing had FIA GT racer Thomas Biagi (V10) and Christijan Albers (V8) rounding off the times in 14th and 15th respectively. It was the first run of the interim car with the V8 engine for Albers and it was a productive day without any major problems.
"We have run the V8 car for the first time today and we did not have any major issues with it which is positive," said technical director James Kay. "The installation that we did for the interim car has been good, the engine has performed as we expected and hoped and has proved reliable."