Revised Ferrari on the pace 31 Jan 2005
Michael Schumacher continued to test Ferraris interim F2004 M car in Barcelona over the weekend, setting lap times only slightly slower than Luca Badoer in last years F2004 machine.
Badoer topped the times on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, but Schumacher was never more than half a second behind in the F2004 M, which sported a revised aero package, in line with 2005 regulations, including an unusual-looking front wing design.
The two Ferrari men clocked up more than 200 laps each over the three days, with Schumacher concentrating on set-up and Badoer focussing his attentions on a tyre development programme with suppliers Bridgestone.
Joining Ferrari at the Circuit de Catalunya on Friday were McLaren and Sauber. Juan Pablo Montoya was third fastest in his second day behind the wheel of the new MP4-20. Once the mornings freezing track conditions had improved he reported positive progress from 72 laps of the Spanish track.
Sauber stayed on with Ferrari over the weekend, with Felipe Massa at the wheel of the C24 on Friday and Saturday, and Jacques Villeneuve taking over on Sunday. The team struggled to find an optimum set-up for the car in Fridays cool conditions, but things improved somewhat for the final two days of the test.
Massa ran close to two race distances without problem on Saturday, developing the set-up of the car and assessing some aerodynamic parts. On Sunday Villeneuve managed another 80 laps of mainly aero work, before crashing out near the end of the session.
"Unfortunately our test here in Barcelona ended not the way we have wished for, explained Sauber technical director Willy Rampf. At the final timed lap Jacques experienced oversteer while accelerating out of turn 9 and went off track. Fortunately Jacques was unharmed, but we now, of course, have to analyse the data to get a correct and thorough picture of the reason for this incident.
"The positive aspect of this test is that we achieved our set goal to complete an engine long-run. We simulated a two-race weekend situation and covered almost 1,400 kilometres with one Petronas engine without any problem.
"Overall, the last three test days demonstrated the reliability of the C24. Our target for the forthcoming tests - whereby we will run with two cars from now - will be to further work on the car's set-up and hence the improvement of the balance."
This weeks testing will be primarily at Valencia, with Williams due to kick things off on Monday following the launch of their new FW27 machine.
Unofficial Friday times from Barcelona:
1. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.904
2. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.995
3. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.398
4. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Michelin), 1:17.448
Unofficial Saturday times from Barcelona:
1. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.678
2. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.895
3. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Michelin), 1:18.285
Unofficial Sunday times from Barcelona:
1. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.470
2. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.970
3. Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (Michelin), 1:18.117