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Jerez day three - Schumacher back in style 16 Dec 2005

Michael Schumacher (GER) Ferrari. Formula One Testing, Jerez, Spain, 13-16 December 2005.  World ©  Capilitan/Sutton

Michael Schumacher got his first taste of V8 Formula One power on Thursday as he made his first testing appearance of the winter. Schumacher looked to have a little trouble adapting to the new engine, topping the times to lead a Ferrari one-two.

Having put an early spin into the gravel behind him, Schumacher was quickly into the groove at the wheel of the F2004 M, completing a total of 68 laps of Jerez. New team mate Felipe Massa, concentrating on Bridgestone tyre work in the restricted V10 F2005, was a tenth slower than the German.

The Renaults of Franck Montagny and Heikki Kovalainen were third and fourth, both men driving restricted V10 cars. "We had another very productive day, once again completing a high mileage with both drivers,” reported chief test engineer Christian Silk. “The car continues to look competitive in simulated V8 configuration, and we made good progress with our tyre development."

Honda’s Anthony Davidson and Adam Carroll both continued work in the team’s V8 Concept car, the former focusing on tyres, the latter on aero and chassis work. Davidson was fifth in the timesheets after 115 laps, Carroll eighth after 92.

Toyota wrapped up their final session of 2005 with Ricardo Zonta sixth and Olivier Panis ninth, both in new TF106. "Overall I think we can be happy with the test,” reported chief race engineer, Dieter Gass. “We now understand more about the tyres and we have proved that the development of the car is at a good stage. We had some small mechanical problems throughout but nothing to worry about and nothing unusual."

McLaren’s last day at Jerez saw Pedro de la Rosa put another 118 laps on Mercedes’ V8 in the interim MP4-20B chassis, the Spaniard going tenth fastest. Team mate Juan Pablo Montoya completed less than half De la Rosa’s distance, thanks in part to an engine failure shortly before lunch. The Colombian was back on track by 15.30 and finished the session seventh in the times.

Williams had their 2006 race drivers in action, both continuing development of Cosworth’s latest V8 in the interim FW27B. Nico Rosberg was the quicker of the two, the German going 11th after 48 laps. Mark Webber was 13th after just 26.

Nick Heidfeld completed BMW Sauber’s final test day of 2005 in 12th place. In the morning the team continued with cooling system tests and ran engine functionality checks. They also started to work with Michelin on a tyre evaluation programme. In the afternoon a damaged exhaust brought a slightly early end to Heidfeld’s programme.

Testing continues at Jerez on Friday.

Unofficial Thursday times from Jerez:
1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:18.958
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:19.059
3. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.072
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.082
5. Anthony Davidson, Honda (Michelin), 1:19.885
6. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:20.035
7. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.164
8. Adam Carroll, Honda (Michelin), 1:20.166
9. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:20.342
10. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.492
11. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.603
12. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:20.710
13. Mark Webber, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:21.452