Barcelona Day Four - Zonta leads final day 29 Nov 2004
Toyotas Ricardo Zonta was the man to beat around Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya on Friday as this weeks multi-team test session drew to a close.
Zonta, who will also be running on Saturday in a Michelin wet-weather test, completed 147 laps on his way to a best time of 1m 14.975s in the TF104, just ahead of Williams Mark Webber
"I've just arrived here for the last couple of days of testing, working on tyres for next year, said Zonta. On Friday I put in some long runs to see how they perform over long distances. We have to be able to do more than 270km on one set of tyres, so that's what we've been looking to achieve today.
I haven't noticed too much of a decrease on the performance of this year's tyres. From what I've seen, they look strong from the first lap, and they're just more consistent and very stable on the long runs. I am greatly impressed that we have been able to complete almost 150 laps in just one day and of course to set such a competitive lap time."
At Williams, Webber clocked up another 100 laps as he continued to familiarise himself with the FW26, working on chassis development and then tyres. Potential 2005 team mate Antonio Pizzonia was sixth fastest after gearbox problems hampered his traction-control programme.
Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve had a positive first day with his new team, Sauber. The Canadian was third quickest after 95 laps in the Swiss teams C23 machine.
"My first day of testing with Sauber Petronas went really well, he reported. I had spent enough time in the factory for the seat fitting, so I felt immediately comfortable in the car. I did a lot of laps today and the times were good. In addition, the car ran absolutely reliably, we had no technical problems whatsoever. So it was really a very productive first day.
We worked on the set-up mainly to further adapt the C23 to the Michelin tyres. We have a good basis and I am confident that we can continue this work in a positive way during our next test in Jerez."
At McLaren, test driver Pedro de la Rosa was marginally faster than Juan Pablo Montoya, the duo going fourth and fifth respectively. And there was little to split the Red Bull pairing of Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi in seventh and eighth.
Marc Gene was the sole Ferrari runner, the Spaniard putting in another 112 laps on his way to ninth spot, comfortably ahead of the tenth and 11th placed Renaults of Franck Montagny and Giancarlo Fisichella, the latter completing his first test with his new team.
"Everything went very well for Giancarlo this week and after problems on the first morning, he has had a busy, productive test, said Renaults chief test engineer, Christian Silk. He has brought lots of fresh ideas with him, and has made a very encouraging start to the winter. Indeed, he and Franck complement each other well in their feedback and this factor will help us make good progress during our pre-Christmas test programme with these two drivers."
Of his Barcelona session, Montagny commented: "My running this week has been fully focused on 2005, with the car set-up, electronics and tyres. We didn't do many laps on the second day as we were focusing on the electronics, but otherwise, I think we have made some good steps forward in our understanding of the tyres and set-up for next year. There is lots of data to analyse, and it was a good beginning to our 2005 season."
Completing the Friday timesheets was the BAR trio of Takuma Sato, Jenson Button and Enrique Bernoldi. Sato, in the cockpit for the first time this week, and Bernoldi concentrated on tyres using a 006 chassis, while Button drove the teams Concept car for a second day, focussing on tyres and gearbox development.
"We've had a positive test in Barcelona for the last three days, reported Button. It felt good to get back in the car and the rhythm of testing again after the end of season break. This test was my first chance to drive the new Concept car so we focused on testing new parts and looking at aerodynamic configurations for 2005. I'm reasonably happy with the progress we have made. We had a few small issues with the car, but nothing more than we expected for its first run."
BAR test team manager, Andrew Alsworth, added: "We've had a positive three-day test this week in Barcelona with the '05 Concept car and chassis 006-06. Jenson and Enrique completed the running in the Concept car, evaluating next year's rear end installation in conjunction with the new engine from Honda. Both drivers completed a total of 759 kms over the three days with only minor reliability issues interrupting the planned programme."
Testing continues next week in Spain, this time at the Jerez circuit.
Unofficial Friday times from Barcelona:
1. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:14.975
2. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.172
3. Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (Michelin), 1:15.196
4. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.418
5. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.503
6. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.504
7. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:15.526
8. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:15.638
9. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.659
10. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:16.441
11. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:16.581
12. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:16.736
13. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:16.738
14. Enrique Bernoldi, BAR (Michelin), 1:20.066