After a two week break since the Bahrain race all 11 teams were back on track as the week's testing began at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya in preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen led the way on the opening day, the Ferrari man...
After a two week break since the Bahrain race all 11 teams were back on track as the week's testing began at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya in preparation for the Spanish Grand Prix. Kimi Raikkonen led the way on the opening day, the Ferrari man clocking a best of 1:21.194 while working on a technical programme of aerodynamic components and set up.
A notable second fastest of the 12 drivers present was Super Aguri's Takuma Sato, six and a half tenths off Raikkonen. He worked on a gearbox upgrade and aerodynamics and the team reported good reliability from the new components and collected "significant" data from Sato's 98 laps for the day.
Tester Pedro de la Rosa was McLaren's representative for the day and was third on the time sheet. The Woking squad was also working on aerodynamic upgrades, including an "alternative" front wing that attracted some attention. It featured an extra vane that was mounted on the end plates and crossed above the nose.
Ralf Schumacher took the fourth fastest spot on the list for Toyota -- he had originally been shown as fastest on the timings but had actually skipped the chicane on that lap, so his best 'full' lap put him fourth. Schumacher tested revised aerodynamics, including looking for solutions to the problems he has been experiencing with the front of the car.
"I've had some problems with the front end at the last couple of races in low grip conditions but it seems to be better here," the German commented. "We made quite a few changes in the set-up and after that I was able to brake and turn in the way that I'm used to. So that helps me and we got along quite well with the car today."
BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld was fifth quickest and focused on set up and new parts. The Honda of Rubens Barrichello followed in sixth; the Brazilian worked on balance and aerodynamics over long runs in the morning, then similar long runs for tyre evaluation in the afternoon. He finished his day with two short aero runs.
Renault had test driver Nelson A Piquet on duty, seventh, and he worked on aerodynamic testing to validate previous data. "We did a lot of running today, from 09:00 to 18:00 non-stop," he said. "I covered a large number of laps and it's almost 2 months since I last drove the car, so it wasn't the most restful of days for me! But it's good to be back behind the wheel again."
Tonio Liuzzi's Toro Rosso was eighth overall and outdid the Red Bull of David Coulthard, ninth. Spyker was the only team to field two drivers, testers Adrian Valles, 10th, and Giedo van der Garde, 12th. Vand der Garde focused on hydraulics and tyres in the morning then Valles did long runs in the afternoon but his programme was cut short when he crashed out, as chief technical officer Mike Gascoyne explained.
"Our two test drivers did a good job today, however the day was unfortunately spoilt by the accident at the end of the day when Adrian had an off in turn three. It looks as though he had a problem with the car through turn one and then lost control through three. Thankfully he is fine, but the car is quite damaged. Hopefully we'll be able to get it going again for tomorrow and continue the programme with Adrian Sutil."
Williams test driver Kazuki Nakajima clocked the 11th best time. "For our first day at the Barcelona test, we started a programme of engine tests in preparation for the race here," said test team manager Dickie Stanford. "We also did some set-up work. At about 2pm this afternoon, however, Kazuki's session ended prematurely following an off at turn nine. He's okay and the car will be fine to run tomorrow."