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Jerez Day One - Button sets Spanish pace 11 Feb 2004

Jenson Button gets his first taste of the new BAR 006, Barcelona, February 01 2004.

This week's multi-team test at Jerez began on Tuesday and again it was BAR who led the way, with Jenson Button recording the fastest lap in the new 006 machine. The British driver narrowly outpaced Jarno Trulli in the latest Renault R24, with Takuma Sato third in a second BAR.

Trulli began a programme of set-up work with the new car, focusing primarily on suspension settings. The Italian reported improved performance over kerbs compared to last year's R23. Renault tester Franck Montagny was also on track, conducting differential development with the R23.

Luca Badoer was fourth fastest for Ferrari, ahead of the two McLarens of Alexander Wurz and David Coulthard. The Italian test driver had two F2003-GAs at his disposal and conducted 87 laps of tyre and new component development.

Christian Klien was at the wheel of the sole Jaguar present, edging the two Saubers of Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa to go eighth in the times. The Sauber duo completed close to 170 laps between them, despite some tricky weather conditions.

"Today Felipe has done the roll-out of our third chassis," explained chief race engineer Jacky Eeckelaert. "Although it's been quite windy today which made it sometimes difficult to drive we completed our scheduled programme without any technical problems and the new chassis proved to be reliable.

"In the morning both drivers focused on set-up work for Jerez. In the afternoon Giancarlo concentrated on Bridgestone tyre construction tests while Felipe assessed new front wings and new cooling configurations. He also did Bridgestone compounds work for us."

Jordan were off the pace as they began a four-day test with Nick Heidfeld and Italian F3000 driver Giorgio Pantano sharing EJ14 driving duties. Heidfeld completed 23 laps in the morning, with a small technical problem limiting his track time, and Pantano added 35 laps in the afternoon as he familiarised himself with the car. Heidfeld will continue testing alone on Wednesday.

James Robinson, Jordan's Head of Race and Test Engineering, commented, "Today was interesting as it's our first day at a different circuit following our shakedown test at Silverstone last week. We made a number of changes based on the data we collected at that test and one of those adjustments caught us out a bit today and so we needed to backtrack a little. We started to understand it further in the afternoon and worked on a solution, while giving Giorgio Pantano some miles. It's a new car, and of course, we are still learning."

Conditions at Jerez were windy but dry, with track temperatures of around 22 degrees Celsius. Testing continues on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:
1. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:17.708
2. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.874
3. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.022
4. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:18.249
5. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.435
6. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:18.547
7. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.636
8. Christian Klien, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:19.272
9. Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:19.287
10. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:19.450
11. Nick Heidfeld, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:22.980
12. Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:23.150