Team McLaren Mercedes completed the final test session before the start of the 2006 season today, with Kimi Raikkonen and Pedro de la Rosa covering 940km between them at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, on the way to Kimi setting the fastest...
Team McLaren Mercedes completed the final test session before the start of the 2006 season today, with Kimi Raikkonen and Pedro de la Rosa covering 940km between them at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, Valencia, on the way to Kimi setting the fastest time of the day.
Kimi's programme today saw the Finn continue set-up development work in the MP4-21 with his race engineer in preparation for the opening Grands Prix. He completed 121 laps of the track and topped the timesheets for the day and the week with a 1m09.416.
Pedro began the week on Monday driving the MP4-21. The two cars that were at the Barcelona test last week had returned to the McLaren Technology Centre to leave for Bahrain, with chassis one returning to testing duties at the hands of the Spaniard. A productive day saw Pedro complete 593km in the MP4-21.
The track was wet at the beginning of the day, from overnight rain, and this allowed the test team and Pedro to work on the development programme for the intermediate Michelin tyres. As the track dried out, Pedro switched to dry tyres and concentrated on achieving a good mileage total for the day.
Kimi arrived in Spain on Tuesday to take over testing with the MP4-21. The Finn covered nearly 300km at the Circuit Ricardo Tormo, with sunny and warm weather conditions allowing the team to complete the programme for the day.
Alongside work with the MP4-21, the Team McLaren Mercedes test team has also been running an interim MP4-20 to continue Michelin development work. Gary Paffett was in the car on Monday, and covered 284km, with his running restricted to the afternoon as a result of the wet track. Pedro then switched to the MP4-20 for the final two days of the test, which saw the Spaniard complete 901km in total.
Since the MP4-21 had its shakedown on Monday 23rd January, it has completed 28 days of testing, covering around 8700km in total. The MP4-21s will now be freighted to Bahrain for the opening Grand Prix of the season on Sunday 12th March.
The test team will return to the McLaren Technology Centre and will focus on the continued car build of further MP4-21s. The on-track test programme is currently scheduled to recommence on Wednesday 22nd March at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.
"We have had a productive couple of days in Valencia this week, we had some good pace with the car today and I set the fastest time, but testing is very different to being on the race track. The work this week was pretty much the same as at previous tests, focusing on the set-up of the car with my race engineer Mark Slade, alongside some tyre selection with Michelin."
"Since we first ran the car, the test team has worked so hard on track so that we could put as much mileage on the MP4-21 and push the programme forward much as possible before the first race. I have completed 11 and a half test days in the MP4-21, and covered just over 3250km during these days."
"I am now looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in Bahrain next week and driving the car in a competitive environment to see where we really are performance wise."
Pedro de la Rosa:
"We've done a lot of good work this week with both the MP4-21 and the Michelin tyre programme. Apart from Monday morning, the weather has been sunny and dry, which is good conditions for testing and this has meant we have completed good distances this week."
"There has been a lot of hard and dedicated work from the team on track since we started back testing in November and we are now all waiting to see how the first few races go. Since I was at the wheel of the MP4-21 for its shakedown in Barcelona, we have tested the car for 28 days. I have been in the car for four and a half days and in this time I have driven more than 1700km."