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Webber ends Williams debut on a high 29 Nov 2004

Mark Webber (AUS) Williams BMW FW26. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 23 November 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton

Mark Webber topped the times in a Michelin wet-weather tyre session at the Circuit de Catalunya on Saturday, marking the end of a successful first week at Williams for the Australian.

Webber, the only driver confirmed at Williams for 2005, was the quickest of the five men present around the artificially-dampened Barcelona track, completing a total of 78 laps on his way to a best time of 1m 25.902s.

"This week was a really good week,” he commented. “I've enjoyed working with everyone on the team and I think I've fitted in well. Although we encountered some problems at the start of the test, we managed to work through them and resolve them fairly quickly.

“I'm happy with the car, and the work the guys at BMW do, and I know there's great potential within the team. I'm relieved that this first test is now out the way and we can start working really hard over the next few months."

Equally happy with Webber’s work was fellow Australian and Williams technical director Sam Michael: “It's great to have him on board the team. I have to say that Mark impressed me with his speed even on his first morning in the car, his consistency throughout the rest of the test, particularly on longer runs, was also impressive.

“He had some positive comments about the car and quickly got down to brake, set-up and tyre testing for us. Mark finished off the test today with a wet test for Michelin.”

Also at work for Williams during the week at Barcelona was 2005 race hopeful Antonio Pizzonia. The Brazilian was running in the team’s interim car featuring a new gearbox and rear suspension. Early teething problems meant he completed 87 laps to Webber’s 324.

Williams return to the test track on November 30 for a three-day session at Jerez.

Unofficial Saturday times from Barcelona:
1. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:25.902
2. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:25.948
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:26.122
4. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:26.710
5. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:27.530