Raikkonen ends Spa test on top

Raikkonen ends Spa test on top

The week's testing at Spa-Fracorchamps came to a close on July 12th and once again it was a Ferrari at the top of the 11 car field. Kimi Raikkonen took over from teammate Felipe Massa, who was fastest on Wednesday, and clocked 1:47.042 while ...

The week's testing at Spa-Fracorchamps came to a close on July 12th and once again it was a Ferrari at the top of the 11 car field. Kimi Raikkonen took over from teammate Felipe Massa, who was fastest on Wednesday, and clocked 1:47.042 while concluding set up work and development of new components. Team tester Luca Badoer will shake down the cars for European GP at Fiorano next Tuesday.

Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari, F2007.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Second quickest was BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica, two tenths down on Raikkonen. His day was interrupted by damp track conditions in the morning and technical problems in the afternoon but he still managed 78 laps. Tyre testing and set up were his focus and despite the delays the team completed the majority of its programme.

McLaren's Fernando Alonso was third on the list, six tenths off the top time. The current champion worked on set up development and also suspension checks in regard to the next few races and the Belgian GP at this circuit in September. Alonso's Mercedes engine, which was also used in the first two days of the test, was changed at lunchtime as scheduled.

Mark Webber finished Red Bull's week with fourth fastest despite spinning off the damp track while on dry tyres. The car sustained some front and rear wing damage but Webber returned to the track after repairs. Unfortunately that wasn't the end of his owes as a problem with the oil cooler prematurely ended his day about an hour before the close.

Chief test engineer Ian Morgan said the mileage covered at the test was not as much as hoped for. "However, on the positive side, we have learnt a lot about a track we had not visited for a while, we completed our tyre comparison programme, as well as trying Bridgestone's rain tyres and we also signed off some new aero and mechanical components for use at next week's European GP."

Giancarlo Fisichella was on duty for Renault and posted the fifth best time. Like some others he delayed starting his programme until the track conditions improved then concentrated on the usual set up and aerodynamics while getting used to the new track alterations. He completed 76 laps and the team said it had collected a lot of interesting data this week.

Alex Wurz took over the Williams cockpit and was sixth overall. "We continued with our set-up preparation work with Alex today, while we also ran through some development items," said test team manager Dickie Stanford. "Unfortunately, a small technical problem, combined with more poor weather, prevented us from doing the amount of running we would have liked in the afternoon."

Jarno Trulli concluded Toyota's work with seventh fastest and he worked on suspension, aerodynamics, practice starts and set up for the Spa race. "You never know what weather you'll get here and it's always difficult to test in conditions like we saw today," he commented. "We went out for a few runs on the damp track in the morning but the racing line soon became inconsistent."

"It was dry in the corners but wet on the straights so that meant it was difficult to carry out much useful comparative work. The track was dry in the afternoon so we were able to run through our programme. We haven't concentrated on lap times but the car felt good. So it's been a positive day and I look forward to coming back for the race."

Sebastien Bourdais was behind the wheel for Toro Rosso again and was eighth on the time sheet. The team reported a trouble free day which was encouraging in regard to the recent reliability issues experienced at races. "The mixed weather means at least we tried the Bridgestone wets as well as comparing the two types of dry tyre," said chief engineer Laurent Mekies.

"Not having been to Spa for two years and this circuit having some unique characteristics, it was very useful to work on defining the aero configuration for this track, in addition to evaluating some new components and brake parts. With neither driver making any mistakes, we were able to do a high mileage over the three days which is good from a reliability point of view."

Super Aguri's Takuma Sato led the Honda-related trio of drivers on track, ninth overall. Tester James Rossiter drove on the first day and Anthony Davidson was on duty on Wednesday -- today Sato's work centred on optimizing chassis balance and tyres. "It was good to test at this great circuit prior to racing here in September," said sporting director Graham Taylor.

"All three SAF1 Team drivers were able to get some good mileage, but as usual the weather in Spa played a disruptive element in our plans. Having not tested before the Silverstone race it was imperative that Super Aguri F1 Team was able to run through rudimentary preparations for the Belgian Grand Prix."

Honda's programme this week focused on gathering data and tyre evaluations for the Belgian GP. As with the other teams the work was often interrupted by rain but overall it was a productive week. Rubens Barrichello was 10th today and carried out an aerodynamic programme and ran the two types of tyres, then concluded with race start simulations.

"We were able to complete a good number of laps today as the weather stayed fairly dry and this has provided some useful data on the new aero parts that we ran this week," said the Brazilian. "I had some difficulties with the set-up of the car and the balance is not yet where I would like it to be, however it was a useful test to see how we need to prepare for the race at this circuit."

Honda test driver Christian Klien was on loan to Spyker and rounded off the times in 12th on his first effort in the Silverstone squad's car. He spent his day acclimatizing to the car and also carried out tyre evaluation and set up, control and brake work. A minor technical problem bought him to a halt on track but the team described it as an interesting and productive day.

"Obviously it was a new team, new car and a new seat and it took some time to get used to it, but there is a good bunch of people here and I felt at home straight away," Klien said. "We did a lot of mileage, but obviously today's focus was to get used to the car and how the engine and gearbox works. I think it all went well, there is potential in the car and I enjoyed the day testing with Spyker."

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Luca Badoer , Mark Webber , Kimi Raikkonen , Anthony Davidson , Fernando Alonso , Alexander Wurz , Felipe Massa , Sébastien Bourdais , James Rossiter , Christian Klien , Robert Kubica
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams , Super Aguri F1