The last scheduled test session of the 2006 season began to wind up on October 12th, as three of the five teams at the Spanish circuit concluded their working weeks. Once again Ferrari was at the top of the times, Michael Schumacher with a best of...
The last scheduled test session of the 2006 season began to wind up on October 12th, as three of the five teams at the Spanish circuit concluded their working weeks. Once again Ferrari was at the top of the times, Michael Schumacher with a best of 1:15.684, just fractionally off the track record. Tester Luca Badoer was fourth fastest and they worked on tyres. Badoer will shakedown the cars for Brazil on Monday.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton was second quickest, 1.1 down on Schumacher, and teammate Pedro de la Rosa was fifth. Tyres for Brazil and 2007 development programmes were their focus. McLaren has not made an official statement about who will race alongside Kimi Raikkonen at Interlagos but de la Rosa has reportedly said he will be in the cockpit.
"There have been a few red flag stoppages during the week but that aside the clear and hot weather conditions have allowed us to cover good mileage and we have gained some positive intelligence about the MP4-22 package," said McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh. "Despite spending some time in the garage whilst the team worked on a minor oil leak, Pedro managed to successfully complete his scheduled programme."
Robert Kubica continued to work in two chassis for BMW Sauber and was third overall. In chassis 06 he focused on tyres, set up and transmission work, while in chassis 07 he ran a programme of brakes, starts and system checks. The team was scheduled to finish today but will now continue on Friday with Nick Heidfeld joining Kubica.
The Toyotas of test drivers Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis were sixth and seventh respectively. Zonta had to have an engine change which hampered his programme of long runs on tyre work while Panis continued with tyres and set up. Panis will retire at the end of the season and it was the last day behind the wheel for Zonta, who joins Renault as tester next year.
"This being my last day it is difficult to leave a team that I have worked with a long time and who have treated me so well," said Zonta. "Looking back, we have had quite a busy and difficult season, focusing on the tyres and developing the car to improve on our results. The team was always motivated to keep moving ahead. I have always felt welcome here and I will miss everyone that I have worked with."
Williams testers Alex Wurz and Narain Karthikeyan were eighth and ninth and will continue tomorrow. "Narain carried out a series of set-up comparisons on the interim FW28B car," said test team manager Mike Condliffe. "He then tested front wing assemblies before moving on to a tyre test. Alex continued working on the engine with Toyota, and then carried out suspension modifications and compound tests in the afternoon."
At Silverstone Renault and Spyker MF1 concluded their testing and neither team provided any times. Renault's Nelson A. Piquet completed over 160 laps on the south circuit and focused on engine development and system and software checks as well as development work for 2007. Piquet will be an official tester for the team alongside Zonta next year.
Spyker had Christijan Albers and test driver Markus Winkelhock on duty, also on the south circuit. Winkelhock completed 85 laps of control systems and tyre work in the morning and Albers took over in the afternoon. The Dutchman did a similar number of laps and focused on tyres for Brazil and development parts for 2007.
"I am really happy with how things went today, it was good to be sitting in the car again and the boys did an excellent job testing tyre compounds for Brazil," said Albers. "I always enjoy visiting the factory when I am at Silverstone as it gives me a chance to discuss our progress with other members of the team."