Sauber top closely-fought Spanish session
Saubers Giancarlo Fisichella was the fastest man at Barcelona on Wednesday, as four of the Formula One teams tested in preparation for the forthcoming French Grand Prix.
Fisichella kicked off the Swiss teams three-day session at the Circuit de Catalunya, completing 103 laps in the C23. He will hand over to team mate Felipe Massa for Thursday.
"We focused our programme today on the evaluation of a new front and a new rear wing resulting from our latest wind tunnel work, explained Sauber race engineer Mike Krack. As the tests went well we will use both parts for the race in Magny-Cours next week.
On top of this we worked with Bridgestone on the tyre construction for Silverstone and the following races. Tomorrow Felipe will verify those data and also tests for us different Bridgestone tyre compounds. Additionally we have scheduled more aerodynamic checks."
Renault joined the Barcelona test, with Fernando Alonso and Franck Montagny going second and fifth fastest respectively. Alonso conducted a suspension development programme during the morning, and then completed aerodynamic evaluations, as well as set-up work for the coming races, in the afternoon, while Montagny spent the day tyre testing.
"We had a very good first day in Barcelona, reported Christian Silk, Renaults Chief Test Engineer. Both cars ran without any problems and completed their planned programmes. Franck found some good developments on the tyre side, while Fernando's set-up work also yielded some useful lessons. On the engine side, we have been preparing for the transition to the new qualifying format ahead of Silverstone, and have experienced no difficulties at all. It has been an encouraging start to our week's work."
Luca Badoer was third quickest on his second day behind the wheel of the Ferrari F2004. Alternating between the two chassis at his disposal, the Italian continued the tyre testing and car development programme he started on Tuesday, racking up another 119 laps. He will be joined by Michael Schumacher on Thursday.
Jaguar were the final team present at Barcelona, as the Ford-owned squad began their two-car, three-day programme. Mark Webber was fourth fastest, outpacing Swedish test driver Bjorn Wirdheim, who set the last time of the day.
Conditions were again fine and dry in Barcelona, with track temperature peaking at around 41 degrees Celsius. Testing continues on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:16.901
2. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin) 1:16.982
3. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone) 1:17.004
4. Mark Webber, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:17.018
5. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin) 1:17.676
6. Bjorn Wirdheim, Jaguar (Michelin) 1:17.885