Testing winds up at Barcelona

The first test of the winter at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya came to a close on Friday, and it was Toyota test driver Ricardo Zonta who was at the top of the times. The Brazilian set a best of 1:14.975 and racked up 147 laps, the most of the day by a single driver.

Ricardo Zonta.
Photo by Toyota Racing.

Tyres were Zonta's focus: "On Friday I put in some long runs to see how they perform over long distances," he said. "We have to be able to do more than 270km on one set of tyres, so that's what we've been looking to achieve today."

Mark Webber was second fastest for Williams, just a couple of tenths behind. As well as continuing to familiarise himself with the car, the Australian worked on tyres and chassis development. Antonio Pizzonia was also on duty and focused on traction control, although he was hampered by gearbox problems.

Jacques Villeneuve made his debut for Sauber and was a respectable third on the time sheet. "We worked on the set-up mainly to further adapt the C23 to the Michelin tyres," he commented. "We have a good basis and I am confident that we can continue this work in a positive way during our next test in Jerez."

McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa and 2005 racer Juan Pablo Montoya were fourth and fifth respectively, while Christian Klien was the quicker of the two Red Bull Racing cars in seventh. His fellow driver of the moment, Vitantonio Liuzzi, was ninth.

Marc Gen? was the sole Ferrari present and clocked eighth fastest over all. The Spaniard concluded the Scuderia's tyre and electronic programme and covered 112 laps. Andrea Bertolini was at work for Ferrari at Fiorano and set a best of 57.861 while testing new components.

Team tester Franck Montagny was 10th on the time sheet at Barcelona for Renault and Giancarlo Fisichella was 11th. Chief test engineer Christian Silk was pleased with Fisichella's first test for the team.

"He and Franck complement each other well in their feedback and this factor will help us make good progress during our pre-Christmas test programme with these two drivers," Silk commented.

A trio of BARs completed the times, Takuma Sato leading Jenson Button and tester Enrique Bernoldi. The 05 Concept Car had its first outing this week and despite some teething troubles, the results were positive according to test team manager Andrew Alsworth.

"Jenson and Enrique completed the running in the Concept car, evaluating next year's rear end installation in conjunction with the new engine from Honda," he said. "Both drivers completed a total of 759 kms over the three days with only minor reliability issues interrupting the planned programme."

Although the scheduled test time at Barcelona is finished, Michelin will carry out a wet weather tyre programme on Saturday, with Sato, Montagny and Webber on duty.

At Misano, Minardi concluded its five-day schedule with both the two-seater cars and the race chassis on track. Jos Verstappen, Zsolt Baumgartner, Nicolas Kiesa and Robert Doornbos drove the F1x2, while Patrick Huisman and Jeffrey van Hooydonk tried their hand with the Minardi F1 for a few laps.