McLaren and Ferrari wind up testing on top

McLaren and Ferrari wind up testing on top

January 21st was the last scheduled day of testing at Valencia and Barcelona, with six drivers on track at the former and four at the latter. McLaren test driver Alex Wurz led the way at Valencia, where he racked up 123 laps and a best time of ...

January 21st was the last scheduled day of testing at Valencia and Barcelona, with six drivers on track at the former and four at the latter. McLaren test driver Alex Wurz led the way at Valencia, where he racked up 123 laps and a best time of 1:09.906. The team will be back at work at Barcelona on Monday 24th, where the new MP4-20 will make its debut.

Alexander Wurz.
Photo by DaimlerChrysler.

Fernando Alonso and tester Franck Montagny closed Renault's programme with second and third respectively. Alonso worked on set up and tyres over long distances, while Montagny focused on suspension development for the R25. The new car will take to the track next Tuesday with Alonso behind the wheel for two days and teammate Giancarlo Fisichella the next two.

Fourth on the timesheet was Sauber's Felipe Massa, who took over from teammate Jacques Villeneuve to conclude the Swiss squad's test week. Set up and tyres were the day's work for the Brazilian, who completed 110 laps. "Overall the three days were very productive," said race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara.

"The C24 shows already a high level of reliability which enabled us to cover a total of 309 laps. This is really impressive for a new car. However, there is still a lot for us to learn about the set-up of the car, because the new regulations make a big difference to recent years when we could build on the experience from previous seasons."

BAR test drivers Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi rounded off the times in fifth and sixth respectively. Davidson was behind the wheel of the new 007 and although an engine failure curtailed his running, he completed tyre work in the afternoon. Bernoldi drove the interim chassis and managed 31 laps until he was stopped by a transmission problem. He was feeling unwell and went home at lunch time.

"The new car performed very well in its initial running, completing over 1200 kms with no significant problems," said BAR test team manager Andrew Alsworth in regard to the first full test of the 007. "We have a very intensive test programme ahead of us over the coming weeks which should enable us to iron out any future problems."

At Barcelona, Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello was the best of the four cars on track. The Brazilian clocked 1:16.127 over 87 laps and concluded the programme of new components, electronics and tyres. Andrea Bertolini will be at the Vairano straight on Saturday with the F2004M, the car which Ferrari will use for the first few races.

Toyota was the other team at Barcelona, winding up its four day test with Jarno Trulli, Ralf Schumacher and Olivier Panis all on duty. Tester Panis headed the trio in second, seven tenths down on Barrichello, with Trulli and Schumacher third and fourth. The drivers experienced some difficulty with the new surface at the track.

"We have not been able to make much progress with the TF105 because of the track conditions," said Schumacher. "However, we made good use of our time here to put mileage on the car, before a bit of tyre testing on the last day."

Panis is expecting a challenging time on Saturday when Toyota will carry out wet tyre tests. "We have a wet tyre test planned tomorrow, although I think the conditions here in the wet could make it very hard," he commented. "It is already difficult to run in the dry here, so I expect it will be extremely difficult in the wet."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Enrique Bernoldi , Rubens Barrichello , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Anthony Davidson , Franck Montagny , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Felipe Massa , Andrea Bertolini
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren