Testing wraps up at Paul Ricard

Testing wraps up at Paul Ricard

The week's test session at the Paul Ricard HTTT in France came to a close on March 24th with six drivers from four teams rounding off the work. For the third day in a row it was Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen at the top of the times, his best a...

The week's test session at the Paul Ricard HTTT in France came to a close on March 24th with six drivers from four teams rounding off the work. For the third day in a row it was Renault tester Heikki Kovalainen at the top of the times, his best a 1:05.287. In damp conditions he evaluated chassis and engine set up, then tyres once the track dried out.

Heikki Kovalainen.
Photo by LAT Photographic.

"Heikki has had a very successful test and obtained a lot of good results on set-up directions and tyres," chief test engineer Christian Silk said of Renault's week. "The reliability has been generally excellent, and we have unearthed a few small problems that we can now help the race team avoid."

Second quickest was McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa, a tenth behind Kovalainen, and fellow team tester Gary Paffett was fourth. The pair were delayed by the conditions until after lunch, then de la Rosa continued with development work in the MP4-21 and Paffett ran tyre tests is in the MP4-20.

"We have had a really positive test this week at Paul Ricard, with reliable running on all four days," said de la Rosa. "This has enabled us to put significant mileage onto chassis 4 of MP4-21 and the Mercedes-Benz V8 engine, as we worked through the various development programmes with the car."

Nick Heidfeld was the sole BMW Sauber driver present and was third on the time sheet. The German wrapped up the team's week with tyre evaluation for the first European round at Imola, after the upcoming Australian GP, and also aero tests and brake and cooling checks.

Toyota employed both its test drivers on the final day, Ricardo Zonta fifth and Olivier Panis rounded off the times in sixth. Toyota spent all of its week working on tyres. "We have used the last three days to gain data on the car and how it behaves with various tyre constructions and compounds," said test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer.

"Both Ricardo and Olivier were very thorough with their feedback today and based on this as well as the results that we have collected, we have decided on the tyre choice for Melbourne. We know that the next races will be challenging and that we still have work to do, but we are confident we are heading in the right direction."

Ferrari joined the others and it bought its Fiorano work to an end. Tester Luca Badoer carried out the programme this week in unsettled weather conditions; on Friday he focused on tyres with only limited dry running in the morning and wet in the afternoon. His best time was 58.318 over 55 laps.

After Red Bull packed up yesterday Williams was the solo team at Valencia and closed its week with tester Alex Wurz clocking a best time of 1:13.233 over 100 laps. In windy conditions Wurz carried out a tyre programme and finished off with brake development work.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , Luca Badoer , Olivier Panis , Nick Heidfeld , Ricardo Zonta , Alexander Wurz , Heikki Kovalainen , Gary Paffett
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams