Alonso fastest as testing closes

Alonso fastest as testing closes

Testing wound down at Jerez at the end of the week and 10 drivers from six teams were at work on January 13th. In mixed weather conditions Fernando Alonso put the Renault R26 V8 at the top of the times, his best of the day a 1:18.508. Teammate ...

Testing wound down at Jerez at the end of the week and 10 drivers from six teams were at work on January 13th. In mixed weather conditions Fernando Alonso put the Renault R26 V8 at the top of the times, his best of the day a 1:18.508. Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella worked on tyres and was third fastest in the R25 restricted V10.

Fernando Alonso.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"I think we had a good week. We wanted to do lots of miles, and we did it without any big mechanical problems," said Alonso. "I feel good in the car, and I am looking forward to getting back in, at Barcelona in ten days. We will work again on the reliability, and hopefully we can start to look at the performance too. We should have some new things to test already, so it will be very interesting."

Tester Anthony Davidson was the lead Honda V8 in second and new race driver Rubens Barrichello was sixth overall. Davidson focused on set up and aero evaluation while Barrichello continued to familiarize himself with the V8 car on the last day of the scheduled programme.

"It's been a fantastic time for me this week," said Barrichello. "Everyone has been really enthusiastic and the relationship has been good so I hope that keeps going. We couldn't do as many laps today as I wished because of the weather but it's looking good."

"Any laps that I can get with the V8 engine prior to starting with the new car in a couple of weeks will be very, very important. So I'm happy as even with only 39 laps and the experience that I have with the car, we moved forward today. I know I will be very happy here."

McLaren's two test drivers Gary Paffett and Pedro de la Rosa were fourth and fifth respectively. Once again both used the MP4-20 chassis with the restricted V10 engines and worked on tyres. The pair suffered some electrical problems that caused on-track stops but nothing major.

Nick Heidfeld concluded BMW Sauber's test with seventh on the time sheet. The German worked on systems and software checks, as well as tyres and brake specifications. The car has been running a plain white interim livery during this test and BMW will reveal its 2006 colours at the Valencia launch next week.

Mark Webber was eighth quickest in the Williams V8 and team tester Alex Wurz was one behind in ninth. Webber conducted tyre work but Wurz suffered reliability problems that restricted him to only 12 laps. Generally the Austrian was happy with his first test with Williams.

"For me, this was a very useful test to meet and get to know the team and to start learning their working philosophy," he said. "Although I was busy familiarising myself with the way everything operates, as well as the new engineers and technicians I am working with, we immediately started with our programme and it ended up being a positive first test for me overall."

Christian Klien rounded off the times in 10th for Red Bull. Aerodynamic evaluation and systems checks were Klien's focus but a spin on the damp track caused him to end his day after 24 laps. However, the team was pleased with the week's work.

"That all went very well," said head of race and test engineering Paul Monaghan. "Christian was quite encouraged by the car's performance today, but unfortunately, an off-track excursion meant we had to bring this session to a premature end to repair the damage prior to tomorrow's Michelin wet track test."

On Saturday Michelin will conduct a wet tyre test on an artificially dampened track.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Pedro de la Rosa , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Nick Heidfeld , Anthony Davidson , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Gary Paffett , Christian Klien
Teams Sauber , McLaren , Williams