Massa fastest at Monza testing

Massa fastest at Monza testing

Testing resumed on August 29th and 14 drivers from eight teams made up the time sheet at the Autodromo di Monza in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix. Usually testing at a track in the run up to a race is not allowed but Monza is a special...

Testing resumed on August 29th and 14 drivers from eight teams made up the time sheet at the Autodromo di Monza in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix. Usually testing at a track in the run up to a race is not allowed but Monza is a special case due to the characteristics of the layout. Teams have unique set ups for the high-speed, low downforce circuit.

Felipe Massa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Fresh from his maiden F1 victory in Turkey, Ferrari's Felipe Massa topped the times on day one, his best a 1:22.359. Team test driver Luca Badoer was second fastest, just under two tenths off, and the pair's technical programme focused on set up, engine and aerodynamics.

The Williams of Mark Webber was third quickest and tester Alex Wurz, who will replace Webber in the race seat next season, was 11th overall. Williams is focused on its new aero package specifically designed for Monza and also tyres. Nico Rosberg is scheduled to join Webber on Thursday.

Renault had Giancarlo Fisichella and test driver Heikki Kovalainen on duty, fourth and sixth on the time sheet respectively. Tyres and work on the specific Monza aero package were the main focus. A mechanical problem cut short Fisichella's running but Kovalainen was apparently untroubled.

"It will probably be a tough race here next week but our first day of testing has been encouraging and we know that the track will develop a lot before next week end, therefore it's a good basis for the rest of our programme," said chief test engineer Christian Silk.

Separating the two Renaults was Honda tester Anthony Davidson in fifth and the team also had development driver James Rossiter at work, ninth fastest. Aero and tyre evaluation were their programme -- racers Jenson Button and Rubes Barrichello are scheduled to take over tomorrow.

Jarno Trulli was the quicker of the two Toyotas present, seventh, and test driver Olivier Panis was 10th. Trulli worked on tyres and brakes while Panis had planned to do long runs for tyre evaluation but was hampered by a mechanical problem. Both drivers were happy with the Monza aero package.

"Generally today has been successful but we did lose a bit of time on Olivier's car when his car had a small mechanical issue to be looked into," said test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer. "Upon doing this, he went out for some installation laps before starting on his tyre programme. Jarno's car underwent some routine gearbox changes, otherwise his car ran fine."

Sebastian Vettel, who impressed on his F1 debut as BMW Sauber's third driver in Turkey, was back behind the wheel for the team and was eighth, outdoing racer Nick Heidfeld in 12th. The duo worked on set up, tyres, aerodynamic evaluations and engine development. Robert Kubica is scheduled to take over from Vettel on Wednesday.

Tester Neel Jani was the sole representative of Toro Rosso, 13th, and MF1 test driver Giorgio Mondini rounded off the time sheet in 14th. Mondini had a sensor problem early on which curtailed his running but after that he focused on verifying wind tunnel predictions for the Monza aero package, as well as brakes and set up.

Super Aguri was also present at Monza but a number of problems prevented Sakon Yamamoto setting a time. He managed three installation laps and chief technical officer Mark Preston said the car was ready commence the full programme tomorrow, when Takuma Sato will join the test in the afternoon.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Mark Webber , Olivier Panis , Nick Heidfeld , Anthony Davidson , Alexander Wurz , Felipe Massa , Nico Rosberg , Heikki Kovalainen , Neel Jani , James Rossiter , Robert Kubica , Sebastian Vettel , Giorgio Mondini , Sakon Yamamoto
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Toro Rosso , Williams