Kovalainen fastest at Paul Ricard

Kovalainen fastest at Paul Ricard

Renault, BMW Sauber and Toyota joined McLaren at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in France on March 22nd, where six drivers were at work. After McLaren's solo wet day on Tuesday the conditions were better on Wednesday, although running was ...

Renault, BMW Sauber and Toyota joined McLaren at the Paul Ricard High Tech Test Track in France on March 22nd, where six drivers were at work. After McLaren's solo wet day on Tuesday the conditions were better on Wednesday, although running was delayed slightly until track conditions improved after overnight rain.

Heikki Kovalainen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen topped the times with a best of 1:04.466 on the 3E SC configuration of the track. Renault's focus was on the upcoming European races after Melbourne and Kovalainen worked on tyres in a new R26 chassis.

"I think we found some good directions, and we need to check these tomorrow before recommending them to the race team," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "The car ran very well today, and we found a good balance straight away. It was certainly a very positive day for the team."

McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa was second quickest, four tenths behind, and the team's second test driver Gary Paffett was fourth on the time sheet. De la Rosa continued putting mileage on the latest MP4-21 chassis, which he shookdown on Tuesday, while Paffett, who did not run yesterday, worked on tyres.

The sole representative of BMW Sauber was tester Robert Kubica and the Pole was third fastest. He practiced starts then aerodynamics and a long run for cooling data in the morning, followed by tyre work in the afternoon. Nick Heidfeld is scheduled to take over tomorrow.

Toyota had test driver Ricardo Zonta fifth and Ralf Schumacher rounded off the times in sixth. Tyres were their focus, although they were also slightly hampered by a late start due to the cool conditions. Jarno Trulli will join Zonta on Thursday in place of Ralf.

"I was driving the old car trying different compounds, different temperature settings on the tyres, and balance set-ups," said Zonta. "We will continue to work on some different items and tomorrow should be better as the temperatures are supposed to rise."

At Fiorano Ferrari began its testing week with similar overcast conditions and occasional rain. In the 248 F1 tester Luca Badoer worked on the development of rain tyres and competed 62 laps with a best time of 1:03.198.

It was the second day for Honda at Vallelunga, where the weather conditions were also mixed. Anthony Davidson was the quicker of the two drivers, 1:16.040, and fellow team tester James Rossiter was a second and a half behind. Both worked on chassis evaluation.

At Valencia two teams were in action; David Coulthard was behind the wheel for Red Bull and tester Narain Karthikeyan was on duty for Williams. Coulthard was the quicker of the two, 1:12.917, with Karthikeyan just under a second behind.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Pedro de la Rosa , Luca Badoer , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Ricardo Zonta , Anthony Davidson , Narain Karthikeyan , Heikki Kovalainen , Gary Paffett , James Rossiter , Robert Kubica
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams