It was another busy day of testing at Barcelona on November 14th, with a total of 21 drivers working at the Spanish track. As he was on Tuesday, Ferrari's Michael Schumacher was at the top of the times, his best of the day a 1:21.489. Felipe Massa was alongside the German and was fourth overall and the pair continued with development of new components and electronics.
McLaren again had test driver Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett behind the wheel and they were second and fifth respectively, de la Rosa just over three tenths off Schumacher. Their focus was preparations for 2008, specifically working without driver aids. Both are scheduled to continue on Thursday, the last day of this week's programme.
Mixed up with the Ferraris and the McLarens was the Renault of Heikki Kovalainen in third. The Finn carried on work with the reliability of the 2008 standard ECU, including set up, brakes and evaluating the car's reactions to the new procedures. A minor electronic gremlin in the afternoon was the only issue the team reported.
"The mechanics did a really good job to allow us to cover the maximum number of laps," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "Heikki made good progress. He's found his marks and he feels comfortable in the car, which has proved reliable over the last two days. Tomorrow, we're hoping to take full advantage of our last day here to complete our programme."
Nico Rosberg clocked the sixth best time for Williams and teammate Kazuki Nakajima was ninth. "Continuing with our scheduled programme, the drivers worked through systems checks and evaluations of the new electronic control units," said test team manager Dickie Stanford. "The pair will return for tomorrow's final day."
David Coulthard was the lead Red Bull driver in seventh and Karun Chandhok had his second day in the cockpit, posting 11th fastest. Coulthard focused on evaluation of mechanical and aerodynamic components, while Chandhok continued with work on the 2008 electronics. Former team driver Robert Doornbos will partner Coulthard on Thursday.
Nick Hiedfeld was the quicker of BMW Sauber duo in eighth and Robert Kubica was 14th. Mechanical parts and other components for 2008 were on their testing schedule, as well as the ECU and some aero work. Kubica was hampered by technical problems on the new parts and only completed 37 laps, but the team hopes to rectify them for the last day.
Toro Rosso again fielded Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais, 10th and 16th respectively. Vettel drove with the ECU while Bourdais ran 2007 spec electronics without traction control and engine braking. They traded cars in the morning so Bourdais could try the new suspension fitted to Vettel's chassis, then swapped back for aero and brake work.
Jenson Button was in the Honda cockpit and managed 12th fastest, while the team continued to try out GP2 youngsters in the other car. It as the turn of 22 year-old Italian Luca Filippi today and he was 17th on the time sheet, about four tenths behind Button. Mike Conway, a member of Honda's young driver programme, should get his chance on Thursday.
Anthony Davidson was again the sole representative for Super Aguri and was 15th overall. He had a varied programme including control systems, engine and gearbox in the morning then suspension and aerodynamics in the afternoon. He completed 80 laps, the third most of the day -- Force India's Adrian Sutil did 105 and Schumacher 90.
Toyota had a day of mixed fortunes; Jarno Trulli evaluated parts for next year while running without traction control and had a "positive and productive" time for 13th quickest. Team tester Franck Montagny, 18th, was not so happy as he was delayed after a spin in the morning and then a software glitch lost him more time in the afternoon.
"We made good progress on Jarno's car, working on set-up comparisons and we are pleased with the results, which are very encouraging," said chassis manager Pascal Vasselon. "Franck again worked with 2008 development parts and the new standard ECU and, even though he suffered some delays and was not entirely happy, he was able to bring back some information which will help our understanding."
Force India had three drivers in two cars: regular racer Sutil was joined by ex-Toro Rosso man Tonio Liuzzi and former Honda tester Christian Klien as they try out for the team. Klien previously tested for the squad in its Spyker incarnation back in August but it was Liuzzi's first time behind the wheel.
Klien was the quicker of the trio, completing 56 laps in the morning which gave him 19th place at the end of the day. He then handed over to Liuzzi, who did 55 laps and rounded off the list in 21st. Sutil was in between them in 20th -- just over a tenth covered all three. Sutil carried out long runs while the other two familiarized themselves with the car.
"We had no major problems and were work through to get through the unsolved issues, with both cars completing over 100 laps each," said chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne. "It was also a chance to test Christian and Tonio, who had their first runs in the car to make themselves comfortable."