Raikkonen fastest at Barcelona

Raikkonen fastest at Barcelona

The weather improved slightly at Barcelona for testing on February 22nd and at the Circuit de Catalunya 14 drivers from eight teams were on track. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:15.224 and Juan Pablo ...

The weather improved slightly at Barcelona for testing on February 22nd and at the Circuit de Catalunya 14 drivers from eight teams were on track. McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen was at the top of the time sheet with a best of 1:15.224 and Juan Pablo Montoya was also on duty, eighth quickest. They focused on putting mileage on the MP4-21 with set up work.

Kimi Raikkonen.
Photo by xpb.cc.

A pair of Renaults followed Raikkonen; Giancarlo Fisichella was second fastest, three tenths down on the McLaren, and Fernando Alonso was about the same from his teammate in third. They experienced minor software glitches but Alonso worked on tyres and Fisichella completed a race distance.

"I am very pleased with what we did today, and with the performance," said Fisichella. "Our priority was to complete the programme, and we did 93 laps, which is a very good total. The car is behaving very well, it is consistent and we have made good progress on the set-up. It was another very productive day."

Jenson Button was the quicker of the two Hondas, fourth, with Rubens Barrichello seventh. Like some others, the team spent the morning carrying out system checks while waiting for the track temperature to rise. Set up and aerodynamic evaluation was their programme once out on the circuit.

Two Toyotas separated the Honda duo, Jarno Trulli fifth and Ralf Schumacher sixth. Work focused on the new aerodynamic package that was introduced at Vallelunga last week, as well as pit stop practice and tyre data collection. "Today was a reasonable day for testing," said Trulli.

"We did a lot of long runs and I am pleased with the development. The tyres are getting faster and the car is showing promising results. I am looking forward to putting some more mileage on the car this week to see how we compare to the other teams for the coming season."

Christian Klien and David Coulthard were on duty for Red Bull and were ninth and 10th. Unfortunately it was not a good day for the team. After early installation laps the drivers waited until lunchtime for the track conditions to improve but once at work Klien's gearbox died and Coutlhard's engine failed.

"David had a fresh engine, but it was not to the latest specification that we plan to run in Bahrain," said chief test engineer Ian Morgan. "Christian's gearbox was quite high mileage, but we would not have expected it to fail when it did."

Mark Webber was 11th overall for Williams but Nico Rosberg did not set a time due to gearbox problems. "Mark spent the whole day doing long runs on different tyre casings to look at improving degradation," said technical director Sam Michael. "We made good progress and will continue with this in the short term."

MF1's Christijan Albers and Tiago Monteiro were 12th and 13th respectively. The pair shared the M16 between them and worked on control systems and tyres. "I had a short but efficient day," said Monteiro, who completed 35 laps in the morning session.

"It was very cold in the morning, which cut short the number of laps I could cover today. Once the track warmed up, though, we made a few runs to determine our tyre choices for the first two races. No performance runs today, just checking tyres and control systems."

Super Aguri continued its initial test with Yuji Ide rounding off the times in 14th. It was Ide's first official test session and he acclimatized himself with the car and completed 44 laps. He was hampered by an electrical problem with the gearbox but the team was pleased with the progress. He and Takuma Sato are scheduled to drive tomorrow.

Meanwhile, BMW Sauber joined Toro Rosso at Imola, where the rain continued to fall. For the first time Toro Rosso had two V10-powered STR1 chassis on track and Tonio Liuzzi was the fastest of the four cars present with a best time of 1:29.087. Teammate Scott Speed was fourth.

"The conditions were worse than yesterday," said chief engineer Laurent Mekies. "So we decided to devote the entire day to sharpening up our pit-stop practice with both drivers. It all went smoothly and now tomorrow's programme is in the hands of the weather gods."

BMW's Jacques Villeneuve was second fastest, 1.7 seconds down on Liuzzi, and test driver Robert Kubica was third. Due to the weather the team swapped its programme to carry out practice starts, system checks and tyre comparisons. Conditions are forecast to improve at Imola on Thursday.

Barcelona: Circuit de Catalunya
Circuit length: 4.627 km
Lap record: 1:15.641 (Giancarlo Fisichella, 2005, Renault)
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:15.224 (Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren)

Imola: Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari
Circuit length: 4.933 km
Lap record: 1:20.411 (Michael Schumacher, 2004, Ferrari)
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:30.804 (Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber)

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams