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Barcelona day three - Button way ahead 01 Dec 2005

Jenson Button (GBR) BAR Honda 007. Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 28 November - 2 December 2005. World ©  Capilitan/Sutton

Jenson Button set a blistering pace in Spain on Wednesday as BAR began their winter test programme. Using this year’s V10 007 machine and a similarly-powered 2004 car, Button clocked a best time of 1m 14.102, almost two seconds clear of his nearest rival.

The man closest to Button was Renault’s Franck Montagny, the world champions also starting their first pre-2006 test. Both Montagny and Renault driver development programme member Jose Maria Lopez were at the wheel of R25s with restricted V10 engines, designed to simulate V8 power levels. Lopez was seventh fastest.

The quickest V8 cars were the new Toyotas of Jarno Trulli and Ricardo Zonta. "In general it was very positive,” reported Trulli, after adding another 65 laps to his 82 from Tuesday. “I was extremely surprised by the car handling and the engine power and the general feeling of the car. In the straight away the car was correct. It was running well and it was competitive. A very good start!"

Zonta had a more troubled day and was only able to complete 20 laps. "I had some difficulties with my fuel pump and the team has decided to change it,” he explained. “As it takes some time, I was not able to drive in the morning."

It was day three in the BMW Sauber cockpit for Nick Heidfeld and the German completed over 70 trouble-free laps as the new team completed their first test. “It was important that we could run the BMW P86 V8 engine in the Sauber chassis at this early stage, in order to integrate all technical systems,” explained BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen. “This is the beginning of the testing season, and there is naturally a lot of work to be done. The co-operation at the track as well as the preparation of the interim chassis went very well - it was the first joint task of the new team.”

David Coulthard joined Red Bull team mate Christian Klien as they went sixth and eighth fastest, while Vitantonio Liuzzi was again running one of the team’s RB1 cars for Red Bull’s new Toro Rosso squad. The Italian ended the day ninth, all three drivers using V10 Cosworth Power.

Williams’ second day saw Mark Webber taking over from Andy Priaulx to join team mate Nico Rosberg in the Cosworth V8-powered version of this year’s FW27. The Australian completed a full race distance, also carrying out set-up work on the team’s new Bridgestone tyres. He out-paced Rosberg, though the German rookie managed just 18 laps due to hydraulic and pneumatic problems.

Sandwiched between the Williams in the times, and completing the Wednesday line-up, was BAR’s Anthony Davidson, who was at the wheel of the team’s 2006 concept car, a hybrid machine fitted with Honda’s latest V8 engine.

Conditions were again cool and sunny at the Circuit de Catalunya, where testing will continue on Thursday, with McLaren rejoining the session.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:14.102
2. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.833
3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:17.019
4. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:17.440
5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:17.538
6. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:18.391
7. Jose Maria Lopez, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.431
8. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:18.456
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:19.071
10. Mark Webber, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:19.629
11. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:20.045
12. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.427