Honda's Jenson Button took over at the top of the Barcelona time sheet on February 23rd, on a day where the top three were separated by less than a tenth of a second. Of the 14 drivers present, Button's best was a 1:13.920 and in second and third...
Honda's Jenson Button took over at the top of the Barcelona time sheet on February 23rd, on a day where the top three were separated by less than a tenth of a second. Of the 14 drivers present, Button's best was a 1:13.920 and in second and third fastest the Renaults of Giancarlo Fisichella and Fernando Alonso were hot on his heels.
Rubens Barrichello completed the two-team line up at the front with fourth quickest for Honda. The Brazilian worked on chassis set up and aerodynamics while Button focused on tyres, brakes and aero evaluation. Team tester Anthony Davidson is scheduled to join Button on Friday.
It was a fairly problem free day for Renault; Fisichella carried out a major set up programme while Alonso covered a race distance and also worked on set up and tyres. "My performances were good and the directions we are taking regarding the car development especially seem to be very satisfying," said Fisichella. "It was a very good day of testing".
Juan Pablo Montoya outdid teammate Kimi Raikkonen on the final day of McLaren's week, the Colombian fifth and the Finn just under a second behind in sixth. "We've done a lot of good work this week, there have been a few problems with the wet weather and a couple of small glitches with the car, but generally it has been a productive week," said Montoya.
"It has also been quite cold here in Barcelona, which means that you aren't getting the full performance, and also everyone is testing different things. So it is difficult to compare the performances of the teams testing here during the week."
Nico Rosberg was the lead Williams in seventh and Mark Webber was 11th overall. "Today, Mark and Nico were both on duty in Barcelona," said technical director Sam Michael. "Both drivers concentrated on long runs, working on set-up, brake and tyre development. Nico will be joined by Alex for tomorrow's final day of the four day test."
Ralf Schumacher was eighth on the time sheet and Toyota teammate Jarno Trulli clocked 10th fastest. After a delayed start while waiting for the track to warm up, working on a tyre choice for the season opener in Bahrain was the focus for the drivers and they completed over 200 laps between them.
"Although I had a small spin this morning, this test is giving me the chance to come to grips with the new car, to understand it better and to adapt my driving style," said Schumacher. "So far I am pleased with the new aerodynamics on the car and eager to see how things develop before the first race."
In between the two Toyotas was the Red Bull of David Couthard and his teammate Christian Klien was 12th. After the engine and gearbox difficulties of yesterday the pair had a better time and worked on aerodynamic evaluation, tyres, set up and suspension.
"Christian managed to complete some longer runs, which is what we wanted, as he was using the race spec engine - gearbox package," said chief test Engineer Ian Morgan. "Despite a few minor problems, he got through most of his programme, as did David."
MF1's Christijan Albers was 13th on the time sheet to conclude the team's test week. A fuel rig problem hampered Albers and he was unable to complete his scheduled race distance but he carried out some tyre work. MF1 will round off its winter programme at Silverstone next week.
"Unfortunately, we encountered some problems with the fuel rig, which cost us some track time," said Albers. "We had originally planned to cover a race distance in the afternoon but by the time we solved the problem, there just wasn't enough time left. So we finished up the day with a medium-length stint, which went well."
The Super Aguri of Takuma Sato rounded off the times, and the team's week at Barcelona, in 14th. The first full test of the SA05 was described as encouraging and both Sato and teammate Yuji Ide were satisfied with the work done. Super Aguri is scheduled to join MF1 at Silverstone next week.
"These three days have helped to gel the team together, and that includes both the Super Aguri Formula 1 and Honda personnel, who have been central in our getting to this test," said chief technical officer Mark Preston. "The engine performed faultlessly, which is a good indicator of our reliability for the first race."
BMW Sauber and Toro Rosso continued at Imola, where the weather was not much improved from the last couple of days. Jacques Villeneuve led the way for BMW with a best of 1:30.866 and team test driver Robert Kubica was second fastest, a second down. Intermediate and extreme wet tyre runs were their programme.
Due to the conditions Toro Rosso decided to use just one car on the last day of its last winter test, and Scott Speed was third quickest. Rather than try for performance runs in the wet, the team focused on pit stop practice. Next time Toro Rosso is on track will be for its Grand Prix debut in Bahrain.
Barcelona: Circuit de Catalunya
Circuit length: 4.627 km
Lap record: 1:15.641 (Giancarlo Fisichella, 2005, Renault)*
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:13.920 (Jenson Button, Honda)
*According to the official F1 website