Italian sets pace on day two, while Honda lead V8 race
Having crashed out of Wednesdays Jerez session with a suspected front-right suspension failure, Ferraris Luca Badoer suffered an almost identical accident on Thursday, but nevertheless finished at the head of the timesheets.
Badoer was shaken but unhurt after his F2005 plunged into the tyre wall at the hairpin just before midday. Ferrari decided to end their programme, which had also included Marc Gene running in the V8-powered F2004 M, until the cause of the accidents has been determined. To that point Badoer had completed just 15 laps, but his best of 1m 18.223s remained unbeaten. The Italian has been relieved of driving duties for the rest of the week in order to rest.
Jenson Button was the quickest V8 runner in Hondas Concept car, almost a second down on Badoer. The Briton ran through set-up and tyre work, while team mate James Rossiter focussed on chassis development in a second of the hybrid machines.
Heikki Kovalainen and Franck Montagny were third and fourth respectively as Renault concluded their weeks work at Jerez. Both completed over 100 laps using restricted V10 power in this years R25 machine. Montagny focused solely on brake testing and development, while Kovalainen concentrated on tyre testing with Michelin.
"We had another very productive day in Jerez, reported Christian Silk, Renaults chief test engineer. Both drivers were able to start running quickly, and progressed well with their programmes. Our technical solution for these test sessions, using a known R25 package to establish a good baseline for tyre and vehicle development, is so far proving extremely useful as we are completing very high mileages every day, and making solid progress for 2006. We hope to continue in the same manner next week."
Ryan Briscoe was again in the cockpit for Toyota, standing in for the sick Olivier Panis, while Jarno Trulli made in early return after Ralf Schumacher pulled out of the session on Wednesday with back pain.
I only arrived in Jerez at about noon so it was a very busy afternoon for us, explained Trulli, who was sixth fastest behind Briscoe. Just as last week in Barcelona, the new TF106 felt well balanced and we got through a lot of laps. So it was a very positive day overall. We made it through a lot of set-up comparisons so this has been a useful starting point for the next two days when I will continue to test here."
Chassis technical director, Mike Gascoyne, was pleased with Toyotas and Biscoes progress, adding: "That was a constructive day. Both cars ran very reliably and we only had one small mechanical issue when Ryan stopped with a hydraulic problem. Even so, he completed most of his programme. I have to say that considering Ryan has not driven an F1 car for a year and that this was his first time since his huge shunt in the IRL he's done an excellent job over the two days, both in terms of consistency and speed. So I congratulate him for conducting an excellent two-day test programme at very short notice.
There was little to choose between the pace of Williams drivers Mark Webber and Nico Rosberg, who were seventh and eighth in the times after completing 46 and 38 laps respectively, both at the wheel of the Cosworth V8-powered FW27C.
DTM champion Gary Paffett was the quickest McLaren driver in ninth, with Alexander Wurz 12th. Both men suffered offs during the day, Wurz crashing early in the morning and then Paffett mid afternoon when his rear wheels seized following an engine failure. Neither driver was hurt.
Jacques Villeneuve experienced an unfortunate start to his first BMW Sauber test when his car stopped on his very first lap due to an oil filter problem. However, with the issue solved he went on to run 64 laps, as he familiarised himself with BMWs V8, and he finished the day in 16th.
"It's always nice to get into the car after the break, said the former champion. Furthermore, it was the first time for me with BMW and the V8 engine, and this was nice. Of course, it's hard to compare the V8 with the V10, but I was expecting a bigger loss of power and more vibrations. It was not too bad and actually quite nice to drive. In fact you do feel a little loss of power, but it doesn't make driving less fun. The speed in the corners seems to be the same while you are going slower on the straights. Nevertheless, the driving will still be exciting and physical. Hopefully since we are all going less fast on the straights this will give us a bigger tow and this could mean more overtaking in the future."
I am really happy with the way the day went today, said Van Hooydonk. It was a tough day as this morning it took a long time for the tyres to warm up because of the cold temperature of the track. Then my programme was constantly interrupted by red flags, which made it harder to keep up the pace as I was sometimes sitting stationary in the car for a long time. I was not feeling very comfortable in the car because normally when you do a seat fitting you need time to get used to it. Now I am used to it but unfortunately the day is over. However, I am very satisfied with my first test and now I know exactly what it is all about and I hope in the future I will have another opportunity."
Also in action for MF1 was race driver Tiago Monteiro, who was at the wheel of the teams interim V8 car. It was a difficult day for me today but I guess this is what winter tests are for, he explained. We had several different problems which prevented us from doing the work we wanted. Unfortunately I was unable to complete as many laps as we had planned. Today was also the first time I have tried the Toyota V8 and obviously there is a big difference. We have a lot of work to do as this changes the balance and the electronics of the car as well as the driving style. Tomorrow I am going to drive both the V8 and V10 cars so it will be interesting to compare them. Although we had a lot of problems, the team has done a great job fixing the car as quickly as possible and I thank them for that."
Testing continues at Jerez on Friday.
Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:18.223
2. Jenson Button, Honda (Michelin), 1:19.087
3. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.282
4. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.365
5. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:19.563
6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:19.935
7. Mark Webber, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.336
8. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.468
9. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.482
10. James Rossiter, Honda (Michelin), 1:20.585
11. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:20.857
12. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.892
13. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:21.023
14. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:21.121
15. Jeffrey van Hooydonk, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:21.610
16. Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:21.684
17. Tiago Monteiro, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:24.340