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Jerez Day Four - Raikkonen from Heidfeld 13 Dec 2004

Neel Jani (SUI) Red Bull Racing. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 10 December 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton Nick Heidfeld (GER) Williams FW26. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 1 December 2004.World © McNeil/Sutton  Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) McLaren in the garage.
Formula One World Championship, Rd18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 22 October 2004 Rubens Barrichello (BRA) Ferrari. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 9 December 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R24. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 8 December 2004. World © McNeil/Sutton

McLaren’s Kimi Raikkonen topped the times at Jerez on Friday, as Nick Heidfeld boosted his hopes of a Williams drive by going second fastest for the team at the Spanish circuit.

Heidfeld was half a second down on Raikkonen, but ahead of two Ferraris, Ralf Schumacher’s Toyota and then the second Williams of Antonio Pizzonia. The Brazilian, also under consideration for a 2005 seat, was three tenths slower than the German, despite completing more than twice as many laps.

"Nick has done a good job for us so far and will drive again tomorrow in a controlled wet test for Michelin,” reported Williams technical director Sam Michael. “We have again covered a lot of mileage (this week) on the new gearbox and associated systems, as well as working on tyre testing and traction control.

“The team has had a busy year and, thanks to their hard work, we have completed the target mileage we wanted to on the gearbox in preparation for next year."

Ferrari concluded their four-day programme at Jerez with Rubens Barrichello and Luca Badoer going third and fourth fastest respectively. Both men worked on set-up plus development of new components and Bridgestone tyres.

At Toyota, Ralf Schumacher was joined by Ricardo Zonta, the Brazilian test driver taking over from Jarno Trulli. With Schumacher fifth, Zonta ended the day seventh fastest of the 14 men on track.

"We've enjoyed excellent weather at Jerez this week, which has been very important because we struggled to achieve anything significant in the wet here last week,” said Schumacher. “We've been working mainly on tyres and brakes and we've got through the plan without any problems.

“On the first two days we did some set-up work and long runs on tyre casings for next year. I had an engine problem on Wednesday, but it didn't really harm our programme because it was at the end of its life anyway. Apart from that it has been a trouble-free week. On the last two days we tested more tyre compounds for next year, doing some more long runs on Friday."

Swiss driver Neel Jani made his Red Bull testing debut, taking over from David Coulthard to partner Christian Klien. Jani finished bottom of the timesheets, fractionally slower than the BAR of Anthony Davidson, while Klien was eighth.

Renault wound up their planned programme with Giancarlo Fisichella and Franck Montagny. Fisichella conducted a chassis development programme during the morning, comparing the two available cars, before moving on to endurance tyre testing. Montagny's work concentrated on ride and handling, for research and development purposes.

"Giancarlo concluded his week with a very productive day's work: he made up some of the time we lost yesterday,” commented Renault’s chief test engineer Christian Silk. “Franck also did a solid job, and will continue working on wet tyres over the weekend. We have completed 2155km this weekend: it was a productive session that has produced some promising results."

As well as Davidson, BAR also had Takuma Sato in the cockpit, taking over from Jenson Button. He started the day with some set-up work, followed by a chassis development programme and tyre evaluation. Davidson started the morning on a long tyre programme, completing just 30 laps before suffering an engine failure. In the afternoon, he completed a full race distance simulation, complete with live fuel stops.

"We have had a productive test in Jerez this week with near perfect weather conditions,” said BAR’s test team manager Andrew Alsworth. “All four BAR drivers were in attendance for our final test of 2004. Jenson and Takuma have run some 1034km in the Concept car, putting valuable mileage on the chassis and the new Honda engine, encountering minimal problems.

“It was also good to have Anthony back with the team and driving the 006 car for the first time since the Brazilian Grand Prix. He soon settled into the programme, running through an intensive tyre evaluation and providing some useful feedback. It's been an intensive three weeks of testing and overall we are pleased with how our development is progressing for 2005.”

The Michelin-shod teams are due to stay on at Jerez over the weekend to conduct wet-weather testing with the French tyre manufacturer.

Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.305
2. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:16.740
3. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.786
4. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.926
5. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:16.937
6. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.056
7. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:17.154
8. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.202
9. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.321
10. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.647
11. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:17.687
12. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.801
13. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.231
14. Neel Jani, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:18.243