Kovalainen still top at Paul Ricard

Kovalainen still top at Paul Ricard

Testing continued at four circuits on March 23rd and once again the Paul Ricard HTTT in France was where most of the action was, albeit only six drivers from four teams. Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest man for the second day in a...

Testing continued at four circuits on March 23rd and once again the Paul Ricard HTTT in France was where most of the action was, albeit only six drivers from four teams. Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen was the fastest man for the second day in a row, with a best of 1:04.400. The Finn racked up a huge 213 laps working on tyres.

Heikki Kovalainen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

"Our work centred around developing yesterday's tyre programme, and we made more good progress," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "Heikki was very pleased with the car, and the entire team worked very hard to make sure we got the most out of every run."

Nick Heidfeld took over at BMW Sauber and was second quickest, half a second off Kovalainen. Heidfeld worked on set up and electronics in the morning until a mechanical problem delayed him. In the afternoon he continued with a tyre programme, which will be his focus again on Friday.

McLaren had its two test drivers on duty, Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett third and fourth on the time sheet respectively. De la Rosa continued with the development programme of the MP4-21 while Paffett worked on tyres in the MP4-20.

Toyota rounded off the time sheet with Jarno Trulli fifth and tester Ricardo Zonta sixth. Set up and tyres were their programme. "Today was a good day as we got through a lot of test items for the coming races," said test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer.

"With both drivers we focused on gaining data for the tyre choice in Australia. Yesterday we worked with new constructions, whereas today we tried some new compounds. Tomorrow, we will do some long runs and work more with the new compounds."

Honda wrapped up its three day test at Vallelunga, where Rubens Barrichello joined test driver Anthony Davidson for the last day. Davidson was the quicker of the two with a best of 1:15.937 but the day was disrupted by rain. Late in the afternoon the drivers managed some wet tyre work.

"The weather has not prevented us working through a comprehensive programme with the electronic systems and we have made good progress with both the control systems and the chassis set-up in dry and wet conditions," said chief engineer of vehicle performance Mark Ellis.

Ferrari continued at Fiorano with test driver Luca Badoer behind the wheel of the 248 F1. On a damp track in the morning Badoer worked on wet tyres before switching to tyres for Melbourne in the afternoon. His best time of the day was 58.369 over 120 laps.

At Valencia Red Bull's David Coulthard set the quickest time of the two drivers present, 1:11.758. Alex Wurz took over from fellow test driver Narain Karthikeyan at Williams and was just under a second slower than the Red Bull.

"Alex initially concentrated on tyre compound choices for Melbourne and then completed the session with some systems checks in conjunction with Cosworth," said test team manager Mike Condliffe. "Alex will complete the test for the team tomorrow."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jarno Trulli , Pedro de la Rosa , Luca Badoer , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Nick Heidfeld , Anthony Davidson , Alexander Wurz , Narain Karthikeyan , Heikki Kovalainen , Gary Paffett , Mark Ellis
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams