Testing begins at Jerez and Mugello

Testing begins at Jerez and Mugello

After the excitement and the downpours of the Nurburgring it was back to the more sedate art of testing on July 24th, and in rather more clement conditions. The main activity is focused at Jerez this week and seven teams fielded their test drivers...

After the excitement and the downpours of the Nurburgring it was back to the more sedate art of testing on July 24th, and in rather more clement conditions. The main activity is focused at Jerez this week and seven teams fielded their test drivers in hot and sunny conditions at the Spanish track as preparations got under way for the Hungarian Grand Prix and beyond.

Pedro de la Rosa.
Photo by Dave Dyer.

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa topped the times with a best of 1:20.111. He worked on aerodynamics and set up for the Hungaroring in the morning then switched off the traction control in the afternoon as the team looked ahead to the 2008 regulation changes.

Toyota' Franck Montagny was second on the time sheet and a second off de la Rosa's pace. His focus was brakes, systems and practice starts and Toyota also had next season in mind. "We spent much of the day running without traction control in preparation for 2008," Montagny said.

"That meant the car was sliding a lot but we put in some useful laps and found a good direction to take. This week we are also working on improving our start procedure along with brakes and other systems. So it was a good day and we're getting there."

Third on the list was the Williams of Kazuki Nakajima. "We had a trouble free day today doing set-up work prior to the next race in Budapest," said test team manager Dickie Stanford. "There were no problems with the car and we will carry on with our test programme with Kazuki tomorrow."

James Rossiter was behind the wheel for Super Aguri and posted the fourth best time and his focus was evaluating tyres in the hot conditions -- the next race at the Hungaroring can be one of the hottest of the year. Honda's Christian Klien was was fifth on the time sheet and ran aero tests and evaluated new mechanical parts.

Nelson A. Piquet was sixth for Renault and his worked focused on putting mileage on the Monza-spec low downforce package. The team said it was essential to approve components before testing at the Italian track in August but it meant the car wasn't really suited to the high downforce requirements of Jerez.

"Nelsinho completed the necessary running to approve the Monza aero package, and then conducted a short set-up programme," said test team manager Christian Silk. "Heikki will be driving tomorrow, when we will begin running with our latest aerodynamic developments in order to optimise the set-up of the car for the next two races."

Red Bull fielded one of its Junior drivers, 18 year-old Swiss Sebastien Buemi, who has only done straight line work in an F1 car before. After acclimatizing himself to the RB3 he spent the day focused on set up and aerodynamics as he worked towards completing enough mileage to gain his superlicense.

"The power out of the turns feels good but the most impressive elements of the package are the way the car goes through the quick corners, which is so much better than anything else I've experienced," he commented. "I also enjoyed the speed with which the car can change direction and the power of the brakes."

Toro Rosso and Ferrari were on track at Mugello and it was the former's Tonio Liuzzi who was the quicker of the two with a time of 1:24.203. Liuzzi lost time in the morning due to a mechanical problem but once he got going he worked on improving the balance of the car, evaluating new brake materials and aerodynamics for Hungary.

Toro Rosso pointed out that Ferrari was focusing on 2008 specifications, which perhaps explained why Luca Badoer was just over four tenths slower than Liuzzi. The Ferrari tester's work was new electronic components for next year and he is due back on track tomorrow.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , Luca Badoer , Franck Montagny , James Rossiter , Christian Klien , Kazuki Nakajima
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Toro Rosso , Williams