Valencia Test Day Two - record for Montoya 29 Jan 2004
The unofficial lap record at Valencia fell on Wednesday - first to Michael Schumacher in the morning, but ultimately to Juan Pablo Montoya in the afternoon session. The Colombian, at the wheel of the latest Williams FW26, set a time of 1m 09.318s to better the world champion by little over a tenth of a second.
Montoya, working on tyre evaluations, was one of three Williams drivers on track. Ralf Schumacher was third fastest behind his brother, as he completed 80 laps of set-up work in the new car, while Antonia Pizzonia made his testing return for the team. The Brazilian was fourth in the times in an FW25, focussing on electronics and tyre set-ups.
For Renault it was the last day of testing before Thursday's official launch of the new R24 car. Trulli drove it to seventh in the times around Valencia on Wednesday, while Renault tester Franck Montagny was 11th as he continued development work using last year's machine.
Felipe Massa was ninth for Sauber, putting in 53 laps in the new C23, though the Swiss team's schedule did not go exactly to plan. "Today was not our lucky day," said Chief Race Engineer Jacky Eeckelaert. "In the morning we experienced a mechanical problem which was the reason why Felipe couldn't run too many laps for us. Therefore we had to adapt our test schedule for today and only concentrated on Bridgestone tyre construction and compounds work."
At Jaguar, Mark Webber, 12th in the R5, was joined by F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim, who made his testing debut for the Cosworth-powered team in last season's R4 machine. The Swede completed around 100 laps to go 14th in the unofficial times.
Gianmaria Bruni continued Minardi's programme in the morning, working on hardware and software evaluation. He then handed over to new team mate Zsolt Baumgartner in the afternoon, but gearbox trouble prevented the Hungarian recording a time.
"We had a useful morning of testing with Gianmaria, but we were disappointed that Zsolt wasn't able to get more time in the car this afternoon, as it was his first run in a European Minardi," said Senior Engineer Andy Tilley. "We believe we've sorted the gearbox problem, however, and we look forward to a productive day tomorrow."
Conditions at Valencia were fine and sunny, with track temperatures of up to 20 degrees Celsius. Testing continues on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Valencia:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (Michelin), 1:09.318
2. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:09.432
3. Ralf Schumacher, Williams (Michelin), 1:09.690
4. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:10.157
5. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:10.356
6. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:10.360
7. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:10.455
8. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:10.492
9. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:10.631
10. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:11.105
11. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:11.281
12. Mark Webber, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:11.385
13. Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (Bridgestone), 1:12.469
14. Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:12.696
15. Zsolt Baumgartner, Minardi (Bridgestone), No time