It was another busy day at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo on February 2nd, where 16 drivers from eight teams were on track to continue winter testing. Once again it was Renault's Fernando Alonso who topped the times, his best a 1:10.890, and...
It was another busy day at Valencia's Circuit Ricardo Tormo on February 2nd, where 16 drivers from eight teams were on track to continue winter testing. Once again it was Renault's Fernando Alonso who topped the times, his best a 1:10.890, and team test driver Heikki Kovalainen was seventh fastest. Alonso completed a race distance and worked on tyres while Kovalainen tested brakes despite some hydraulic delays.
"We carried on putting mileage on the new package," said Alonso. "It was a positive day, but a bit frustrating too because of the number of red flags today. Even so, we managed to complete our programme without any major problems, which is a good sign. The tyre development this afternoon gave some interesting directions to explore, so I am pleased with the day."
Second on the time sheet, and less than a tenth behind the lead Renault, was Honda's Jenson Button and tester Anthony Davidson was fourth quickest. The pair rounded off the team's test week running race distances and working on tyres; Button suffered an engine failure early in the afternoon but returned to the track later on to finish his programme.
"It has been another very good test for us this week with the new Honda Racing F1 Team RA106 cars," said chief engineer Mark Ellis. "We have again had to contend with poor weather and track conditions however the cars have proven to be fast and consistent in all conditions. Despite a couple of small issues, we are happy with the reliability of the new car."
Splitting the two Hondas in third was Ferrari's Felipe Massa, driving the F2004 fitted with the V8 engine. Michael Schumacher ran the new 248 F1 and was fifth on the time sheet while Valentino Rossi continued his test in the F2004 V10 and was 12th. Massa worked on tyres, Schumacher on the same and car development and Rossi continued to acclimatize himself to the car in between trips into the gravel.
Christian Klien was the sole Red Bull present and posted the sixth best time on his first dry test day since the end of last season. "The car ran reliably with no major problems," said chief test engineer Ian Morgan. "As Christian had never driven the car in the dry, we started by just getting the set-up to his liking, before carrying out a programme centred on aero work, brake development and a Michelin tyre test."
BMW Sauber had Jacques Villeneuve and tester Robert Kubica at work again, eighth and 16th respectively. Villeneuve drove the F1.06 and worked on set up while Kubica continued in the interim C24B and focused on tyres. Nick Heidfeld is due to be in the cockpit of the new car on Friday to run a system analysis programme.
Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli were on duty for Toyota and were ninth and 15th fastest respectively. Tyres, data collection and set up were their priorities. "Today we have been able to carry out a lot of tyre testing," Ralf commented. "We didn't have any technical problems and we put in some long runs so it was a successful day."
Williams test driver Alex Wurz was 10th and teammate Nico Rosberg 11th. "Today Nico and Alex continued our testing programme driving the FW28 and FW27C, respectively," said technical director Sam Michael. "Both worked through some tyre tests for Bridgestone while we worked on improving reliability. Tomorrow, Nico will run for half the day before the test team head off to Jerez. Jo?o Paulo de Oliveira will also drive 20 laps in the FW27C."
McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa was 13th in the MP4-20 V10 and Juan Pablo Montoya was one place behind in the new MP4-21. A minor electrical problem lost Montoya some time in the afternoon but aside from that he worked on car evaluation and long runs. De la Rosa continued tyre testing and the pair will be back in action on Friday for the final day.
Circuit Ricardo Tormo
Circuit length: 4.005 km
Lap record: 1:09.005 (Kimi Raikkonen, 2005, McLaren)
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:10.890 (Fernando Alonso, Renault)