MICHELIN SETS PACE AS F1 BURSTS BACK INTO LIFE Pedro de la Rosa (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) set the quickest time on the opening day of the 2005 Formula One season. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 25.376s towards the end of the second free...
MICHELIN SETS PACE AS F1 BURSTS BACK INTO LIFE
Pedro de la Rosa (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin) set the quickest time on the opening day of the 2005 Formula One season. The Spaniard lapped in 1m 25.376s towards the end of the second free practice session, 0.300s clear of team-mate -- and closest rival -- Kimi Räikkönen.
All seven of Michelin's partners featured in the top 12: Nick Heidfeld (BMW WilliamsF1 Team) was third on aggregate, ahead of Vitantonio Liuzzi (Red Bull Racing, fourth), Juan Pablo Montoya (Team McLaren Mercedes, sixth), Felipe Massa (Sauber, seventh), Fernando Alonso (Renault, eighth), Jenson Button (B*A*R-Honda, ninth), Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault, 11th) and Ricardo Zonta (Toyota, 12th).
Italian rookie Vitantonio Liuzzi (Red Bull Racing/Michelin) had the distinction of setting fastest time during this morning's free practice -- the first official Formula One session in which he has taken part. RBR's test and reserve driver lapped in 1m 25.967s, more than half a second clear of Pedro de la Rosa (Team McLaren Mercedes/Michelin). He spun off at Turn Three during the afternoon session, however.
Minardi missed today's free practice sessions. The Anglo-Italian team needs special dispensation to run its existing PS04B chassis, which does not comply fully with the latest F1 regulations. Minardi can only take part if the other nine teams agree -- and that has yet to be resolved. Minardi's 2005 challenger, the PS05, is still under development.
Jordan newcomer Narain Karthikeyan -- India's first F1 racer -- collected the first fine of the 2005 season. He was penalised $6,750 for speeding in the pit lane when the new season was just two minutes old.
Pierre Dupasquier, Michelin motorsport director:
"We have had two productive sessions and consistent weather conditions enabled us to gather plenty of vital data. Tyre wear has been quite significant, as is customary on the opening day here in Melbourne, but the track has evolved in the manner we anticipated."
"Despite the latest regulation changes, which were designed to cut average speeds, lap times are not too far away from those achieved in Melbourne last year. Without these changes, it is clear that speeds would have escalated considerably, so the FIA has done a good job."
"The 2005 rules have also given us a whole new range of parameters with which to work and Michelin thrives on such challenges. So far, I am very happy with our progress."