Barcelona Day One - Button excels in 006 03 Feb 2004
The all-new BAR 006 showed strong potential on Monday as Jenson Button used it to smash the unofficial Barcelona lap record in the car's very first full day of testing.
Button put in just 26 laps of the Spanish track, but his time of 1m 13.868s comfortably bettered his own previous record and was over 1.5s quicker than Monday's second-placed runner, Williams test driver Marc Gene.
Initial set-up of the 006 was Button's focus, though his running was limited by fog in the morning and then a minor engine problem in the afternoon. Team mate Takuma Sato was third fastest in BAR's '04 concept car, recording over 70 laps of Michelin tyre development.
Williams began their five-day Barcelona session with Gene and Ralf Schumacher in action. Both men concentrated on mechanical and aero set-ups of the FW26, with Schumacher at the wheel of a third, all-new chassis. The pair will be joined by Nelson Piquet Jr on Tuesday.
Luca Badoer, Ferrari's sole representative, went fifth fastest in the F2003-GA, just ahead of fellow Italian Giancarlo Fisichella in the Sauber C23. The two drivers will hand over to respective team mates Rubens Barrichello and Felipe Massa on Tuesday.
Explaining Sauber's programme, Chief Race Engineer Jacky Eeckelaert commented: "Despite of the foggy weather in the morning, which forced us to postpone the start of our test for two hours, we finished our scheduled programme for today. In the morning we ran some mechanical set-up tests and assessed different front wings as well as several cooling configurations under high-speed conditions. Later we worked with Bridgestone on rear tyre constructions."
Completing the timesheets was a trio of McLaren drivers, all setting times in the MP4-19 and clocking up just over 100 laps between them. The quickest of the three was Pedro de la Rosa, ahead of Alexander Wurz and occasional tester Darren Turner. Kimi Raikkonen will take over from Turner on Tuesday.
Once the initial fog had cleared at Barcelona, conditions were fine and sunny. Air temperature reached 17 degrees Celsius, with track temperature peaking at around 23 degrees.
Unofficial Monday times from Barcelona:
1. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:13.868
2. Marc Gene, Williams (Michelin), 1:15.296
3. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:15.602
4. Ralf Schumacher, Williams (Michelin), 1:16.011
5. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.307
6. Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:16.570
7. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.049
8. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.070
9. Darren Turner, McLaren (Michelin), 1:19.882