Montoya tops first day of Jerez test

Testing resumed at Jerez de la Frontera in Spain on December 7th with six drivers from three teams on track, and better conditions than last week's test. Juan Pablo Montoya's McLaren set the fastest time of the day, 1:16.535, and team test driver Pedro de la Rosa was third on the time sheet.

Juan Pablo Montoya.
Photo by David Lopez.

McLaren will be at Jerez for five days but those hoping to see Montoya and Kimi Raikkonen go up against each other will be disappointed. Montoya is at work only today and Wednesday, then Raikkonen will take to the track for the first time this winter from Thursday onwards.

Jarno Trulli was second quickest for Toyota, over six tenths down on Montoya. Teammate Ralf Schumacher was also on duty, fourth fastest, and the two Toyotas were separated by a couple of tenths. Test driver Ricardo Zonta will join the action later in the week.

The Ferrari test duo of Luca Badoer and Marc Gen? were fifth and sixth respectively to round off the times. Their programme continued with last week's work on tyres and new components and they completed over 200 laps between them.

Williams, Red Bull Racing, Renault and BAR are expected on track from Wednesday. Nick Heidfeld will be behind the wheel for Williams again, while BAR is reported to be trying out Nelson Piquet Junior. Piquet is already confirmed to race in GP2 next year.

Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi will continue for Red Bull and despite the rumours, there has been no announcement from Red Bull in regard to David Coulthard testing. In other news, Williams will give Andy Priaulx a try out in the future as a reward for winning the 2004 ETCC championship with BMW.

Still on the testing topic, it seems that the other teams have rejected Ferrari's proposals on how to reduce in-season testing. The Scuderia suggested a limit of 15,000 km for car development plus 15,000 km for tyre work but the idea was not well received. So it looks like the impasse between Ferrari and the rest still stands.