Villeneuve's turn at top of test times

It was another busy day's testing at Jerez on Thursday and there was another Sauber driver at the top of the times. 17 cars were on track, in similar conditions to yesterday, and Jacques Villeneuve took over from Sauber teammate Felipe Massa to post 1:22.071 for the fastest of the day. The Canadian worked mostly on tyres, as his scheduled programme of aerodynamic and mechanical set up was compromised by the weather.

Jacques Villeneuve.
Photo by Sauber Petronas.

On his second day behind the wheel of a Williams, Nick Heidfeld upped his pace to second on the time sheet. He was four tenths down on Villeneuve but a second quicker than Antonio Pizzonia in the second Williams. The pair worked on set up and Pizzonia was sixth fastest.

"I'm really happy with the two days I've had in the car," said Heidfeld. "It's a very nice car to drive, and I was getting more familiar with it lap by lap. I think I would have benefited from some more time, and better weather to get a proper feel of how the car handles in the dry. Overall though, it's been a very productive and satisfying test."

Heidfeld was followed on the time sheet by the Red Bull Racing duo of Vitantonio Pizzonia and Christian Klien, third and fourth respectively. BAR continued running young talent and Alan van der Merwe was fifth fastest, with James Rossiter 16th. Race driver Takuma Sato was 7th and tester Enrique Bernoldi 17th. The regular drivers worked on tyres and aerodynamics.

Renault had limited running in the changeable conditions, with Giancarlo Fisichella eighth and tester Franck Montagny ninth quickest. The team took the opportunity to evaluate software development and Fisichella got used to Michelin tyres in the wet. McLaren had its test driver duo at work, Alex Wurz 10th and Pedro de la Rosa 13th.

Ralf Schumacher was the sole Toyota present, 11th, and was followed on the time sheet by Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer. The Scuderia's second tester Marc G?ne was 14th and the pair continued work on tyres and new components. At Fiorano Andrea Bertolini also worked on new components for Ferrari, as well as electronics. He completed 91 laps but was not timed.

Robert Doornbos was on duty for Jordan at Jerez and was 15th fastest. The Dutchman swapped between two cars, one with 2004 spec aerodynamics and one with 2005 spec set up. The team's test programme focused on tyres.