This week's Jerez test came to a close on February 10th with Renault ruling the roost at the top of the time sheet. Of the 12 drivers at work on the Spanish circuit, Giancarlo Fisichella was fastest with a best of 1:17.756 and team tester Heikki...
This week's Jerez test came to a close on February 10th with Renault ruling the roost at the top of the time sheet. Of the 12 drivers at work on the Spanish circuit, Giancarlo Fisichella was fastest with a best of 1:17.756 and team tester Heikki Kovalainen was a tenth behind in second. Wet conditions early on did not deter the pair from continuing with their set up and tyre programme.
"I was very pleased with the car in wet conditions, and then concentrated on set-up development," said Fisichella. "I am pleased with the times today, and I think we have completed an important part of our winter work this week. We now need to maintain a good rhythm, and work hard, because the first race is coming up fast."
Kimi Raikkonen, in the McLaren MP4-21, was not too far adrift of the Renaults in third. The Finn did 29 laps before leaving to attend a team function and tester Pedro de la Rosa took the cockpit of the new car. He posted the fifth best time but suffered an engine failure late in the day. Gary Paffett worked on tyres in the interim MP4-20 V10 and was sixth.
In the McLaren mix was BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld, who clocked the fourth fastest time of the day. An unknown technical problem lost him some time but he continued with a tyre programme. Team test driver Robert Kubica had his first taste of the F1.06 and ran cooling system checks and tyre work. He was seventh on the time sheet.
Tiago Monteiro was the quicker of the two MF1 Racing cars in eighth and teammate Christijan Albers was 11th. Albers said this week that the car was already a step forward from the previous chassis. "The improvements we have made are really amazing, so I think it's going to be a nice season," he commented.
Williams had test driver Alex Wurz and Mark Webber on track, ninth and 12th respectively. Wurz worked on engine and gearbox reliability but Webber had an off track excursion which damaged the suspension and stopped his running after 15 laps. Lack of spare parts meant his car could not be repaired.
"Cosworth had a good week in Jerez with WilliamsF1," said Simon Corbyn, Cosworth's head of F1 race engineering. "The latest CA2006 performance developments were successful, plus the engines ran in excess of the two race weekend life requirements with no issues."
Scott Speed took over from Tonio Liuzzi at Toro Rosso and was 10th on the time sheet, under the watchful eye of Gerhard Berger. Behind the wheel of the STR01 for the first time, Speed concentrated on set up work. "The car tended to oversteer but we worked on the problem and by the end of the day, we had it improved," he said.
"We also did a long run at the end and that went smoothly. It was our best run of the day which shows we are making progress." Of the restricted V10 engine he added: "It's going to require a different driving style, carrying more speed through the corners as you feel the difference when you drive out of them."
Michelin will conduct a wet tyre test at the circuit on Saturday with an artificially dampened track.
Circuito de Jerez
Circuit length: 4.423 km
Lap record: 1:15.650 (Michael Schumacher, 2004, Ferrari)
Best unofficial V8 time to date: 1:16.960 (Fernando Alonso, Renault)