Massa still top at Barcelona

Massa still top at Barcelona

Testing continued apace at Barcelona on January 26th and Ferrari's Felipe Massa was once again the fastest of the 14 drivers at work. The Brazilian set a best time of 1:15.964 in the F2004 fitted with the V8, and worked on an engine and tyre ...

Testing continued apace at Barcelona on January 26th and Ferrari's Felipe Massa was once again the fastest of the 14 drivers at work. The Brazilian set a best time of 1:15.964 in the F2004 fitted with the V8, and worked on an engine and tyre programme. Teammate Michael Schumacher arrived with the 248 F1 and was eighth fastest as he continued development of the new car.

Felipe Massa.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Honda was also working on its new car, the RA106, with Rubens Barrichello second quickest -- just under four tenths off Massa -- and Jenson Button fifth. The pair completed installation laps early on but did not start any constructive runs until later in the morning when the conditions warmed up. Tyres and set up were the programme once they got going.

Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella was third on the time sheet and teammate Fernando Alonso was sixth, both in the R26. Reliability work, race simulation and tyre development was their focus for the day. Alonso completed a Grand Prix distance without mishap but Fisichella had a couple of gremlins.

"Giancarlo was slightly hampered by two technical incidents, but we expect that at this time of year, early in the car's development," said chief test engineer Christian Silk. "Both drivers are happy with the car's performance, and we made very good progress on the tyres today."

On the last day of the team's programme, Nick Hiedfeld was fourth fastest in the BMW Sauber F1.06 and continued with set up and tyre work. Test driver Robert Kubica practiced starts in the Sauber C24B and also worked on set up and tyres. Technical director Wily Rampf was happy with the week's progress.

"Overall, the test in Barcelona was very positive for our team," he commented. "The reliability of the BMW Sauber F1.06 is already on a good level, which enabled us to complete over 1500 kilometres with the new car during the four days. We could collect a lot of data and learned more about the set-up of the F1.06."

David Coulthard was seventh for Red Bull and, much the same as everyone else, continued with set up and tyre work. Toro Rosso had Tonio Liuzzi in the cockpit and the Italian was 11th overall. He focused on wheel rim and aerodynamic evaluation as well as control systems.

"We now have a lot of data to study back in Faenza," said chief engineer Laurent Mekies. "Tonio found a reasonable balance with the car, apart from suffering a bit too much oversteer. However, the most positive lesson from the last two days, is that we are really beginning to work together as a team."

The Toyota duo of Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher were ninth and 10th respectively. McLaren had Kimi Raikkonen 12th and team tester Pedro de la Rosa rounded off the times in 14th. Raikkonen had his first taste of the new MP4-21 and worked on set up. De la Rosa's MP4-20 was the only V10 powered car on track and he focused on tyres.

"My first impression of the car is positive, but I will need more track time to find out how great the potential really is," said Raikkonen. "Also we could not run all morning because of the cold weather, but even so we put in a good number of laps and drove over 300km."

Circuit de Catalunya
Circuit length: 4.627 km
Lap record: 1:15.641 (Giancarlo Fisichella, 2005, Renault)
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:15.679 (Felipe Massa, Ferrari)

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , David Coulthard , Kimi Raikkonen , Fernando Alonso , Felipe Massa , Robert Kubica
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso