It was a very positive first contact for Javier Villa with the new Dallara GP2 car. The young Spaniard has been the driving the new car for the F1 feeder series for the first time over the two days of testing held on 28th and 29th February at the...
It was a very positive first contact for Javier Villa with the new Dallara GP2 car. The young Spaniard has been the driving the new car for the F1 feeder series for the first time over the two days of testing held on 28th and 29th February at the French track of Paul Ricard, he was immediately on the pace and ending up the last session on the top of the timing sheet.
Javi soon started soon to run quickly with the new GP2 machine, taking third overall in the first Thursday session after completing 16 laps. His main intention was to start learning about the car's behaviour and the differences from the previous model. Another 22 laps in the afternoon placed Villa again among the fastest when he set the fifth best time while continuing to adapt the Dallara to his driving style. The new car is a big step up in the aerodynamic department from the old model that has been run in the three previous GP2 seasons and that means more setup work to take full advantage of all its potential. This has been the target for Javier and the whole of Racing Engineering's technical staff during the two days of testing, the driver finding out about the easier handling of the new Dallara, especially on corner exits.
After analysing, with the team, all the data gathered on the first day, Javi drove the car on the second day with several changes that were really spot-on as the driver found the car immediately easier to drive than on the previous day. Despite an engine vibration problem that prevented him from pushing in the morning, Javier kept on working and that paid off in the afternoon when he topped the time list for the fourth session of these first tests of the year. The laptimes on Friday afternoon were a bit higher because the track was slower due the higher temperatures but the feeling for the driver was very good and his summary of this first contact with the Dallara GP2 2008 is very optimistic, reckoning that he is in a position to fight with the best of the other teams, his target for this third season in the category one step from F1.
The work done at Paul Ricard will continue next week at Barcelona where the GP2 teams will have another two test days, on Tuesday and Wednesday, in order to keep developing the new chassis, especially at the aerodynamic level, something for which the complex Montmelo track is the ideal scenario.
Javier Villa own words: "In these first tests we could see that we are 'up there' and that we can fight. Today we changed some things and that made the car easier to drive than yesterday. This morning we had a vibration problem but this afternoon we ended up first although the lap times weren't as good given that the track was slower because of the heat. The new car feel more 'honest' than the previous one, it's smoother and exits the corners far quicker than the old where you used to loose a lot of time. We have yet to do a few changes to make it more to my liking and to work more on the aerodynamics to get out the most of it in the fast stuff.
I got on pretty well with Giorgio, our driving styles are quite similar and that's good as it makes things easier for the team engineers. Next week we are going at Barcelona to test more and keep working."