Valencia day two - Renault looking strong 03 Feb 2005
Renaults R25 was the fastest of several 2005 cars in testing action on Wednesday as six of the Formula One teams continued their preparations for the new season. Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella were second and third quickest behind the McLaren MP4-19B of Alexander Wurz.
Renault, who officially launched the R25 on Tuesday, began their two-day test concentrating on long-distance runs to evaluate tyre performance, and pre-season set-up work aimed at understanding the car's response to set-up changes. Although both drivers experienced mechanical problems which stopped them on circuit at different points during the day, they both gave positive feedback on the performance and response of the R25.
Our main priority today was to complete long distance running to put mileage on both chassis and although mechanical incidents perturbed our programme, we nevertheless completed over 100 laps with Fernando and 64 with Giancarlo, reported chief test engineer Christian Silk. The first runs of chassis 03 have proceeded well, and the drivers and their engineering teams have made good progress in their exploration of set-ups with the R25, continuing where they left off last week.
McLaren had two drivers in action. While Wurz dominated the times for the second day in a row at the wheel of the teams older MP4-19B machine, Kimi Raikkonen took over the new MP4-20 from Pedro de la Rosa. The Finn was seventh fastest after 57 laps. Wurz completed 131, the most of any driver present.
Nick Heidfeld was the quicker of the two Williams drivers, as the BMW-powered squad continued their first test with the new FW27. Heidfeld racked up close to 100 laps on his way to the fourth-fastest time, while Mark Webber was three tenths and two places behind the German after a similar number of laps.
Splitting the Williams was Takuma Sato in the first of four BARs in action. He and Anthony Davidson, 11th fastest, focussed on tyre development in the teams latest 007 machine, while British driver James Rossiter and South African Alan van de Merwe were back in the cockpit of the 006 as part of BARs driver development programme. The Formula One hopefuls were 13th and 14th quickest respectively.
The Toyota TF105s of Ralf Schumacher and Olivier Panis were eighth and ninth, ahead of the interim Ferrari F2004 M of Rubens Barrichello. The Brazilian carried out 80 laps of set-up work, while Ferrari tester Marc Gene covered 51 laps in the F2004, focussing on tyre and electronics development.
Conditions were again fine at Valencia, with temperatures slightly up on Tuesday at around 15 degrees Celsius. Testing continues on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Valencia:
1. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:09.203
2. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:09.992
3. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:10.135
4. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:10.366
5. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:10.653
6. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:10.656
7. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:10.696
8. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:10.777
9. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:11.355
10. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:11.357
11. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:11.389
12. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:12.770
13. James Rossiter, BAR (Michelin), 1:13.746
14. Alan van de Merwe, BAR (Michelin), 1:15.081