Villeneuve fastest at Paul Ricard

Villeneuve fastest at Paul Ricard

After two days preparing for Monaco on the 2D SC short track layout at the Paul Ricard HTTT, the teams swapped to the longer 1E SC variation on Thursday as they looked ahead to Canada. BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve set the fastest time,...

After two days preparing for Monaco on the 2D SC short track layout at the Paul Ricard HTTT, the teams swapped to the longer 1E SC variation on Thursday as they looked ahead to Canada. BMW Sauber's Jacques Villeneuve set the fastest time, 1:25.379, and test driver Robert Kubica was fourth to conclude the team's working week.

Jacques Villeneuve.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Tester Heikki Kovalainen was the lead Renault in second, three and a half tenths off Villeneuve, and Fernando Alonso was fifth quickest. On the team's final day Kovalainen worked on tyres while Alonso finished his programme of set up and tyres at lunchtime -- the Spaniard heads to Seville at the weekend with the Renault Roadshow.

"We only had one day of testing on Montreal configuration but the results are good and we recorded useful data to continue working on the preparation of the Canadian GP," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "Once again, we can be pleased by the excellent reliability of our engine on this track which is really demanding."

McLaren had its two test drivers present, Pedro de la Rosa third on the time sheet and Gary Paffett eighth. De la Rosa focused on tyres for Canada while Paffett had his first taste of the MP4-21 chassis. Both are scheduled to conclude McLaren's four day test on Friday.

David Coulthard was sixth for Red Bull and team tester Robert Doornbos was ninth. "Over the three days, we learnt quite a bit about the car which will serve us well over the next couple of races, however, problems with engines and some development parts on the gearbox meant we did not complete as many laps as we would have liked," said chief test engineer Ian Morgan.

Sister team Toro Rosso's sole representative was tester Neel Jani, 10th, and he concluded the Italian squad's three day programme. "It was encouraging that, after a couple of reliability problems in Spain, the car ran trouble-free here in what was virtually a two race distance simulation," said chief engineer Laurent Mekies.

The Toyota race drivers were replaced by testers Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis who were seventh and 11th respectively, working on development of the upgraded chassis. Ferrari's Felipe Massa was also at Paul Ricard but only managed three laps due to engine problems and did not set a time.

At Ferrari's home track of Fiorano Michael Schumacher continued with set up and development work for Monaco in the 248 F1. He set a best time of 57.173 and completed 97 laps. Massa is scheduled to take over on Friday for the last day.

At Vallelunga Honda led the times with Rubens Barrichello setting the best of the day, 1:01.465. Teammate Jenson Button was second quickest, just under half a second down. Barrichello carried out aerodynamic evaluation and chassis set up while Button also did set up work and ran through a tyre programme.

Mark Webber led the two Williams cars on track in third and team test driver Narain Karthikeyan was fourth. "Narain started the day with back to back cooling options for oil and water before comparing different brake materials in the afternoon," said test team manager Mike Condliffe.

"Mark continued the work started yesterday on the set-up options for Monaco, including aero changes to affect the balance of the car. This was followed by the conclusion of tyre compound tests which will assist with the final choice for the race."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Pedro de la Rosa , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Jacques Villeneuve , Ricardo Zonta , Fernando Alonso , Narain Karthikeyan , Felipe Massa , Robert Doornbos , Heikki Kovalainen , Gary Paffett , Neel Jani , Robert Kubica
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams