Honda-powered team look to maintain 2004 momentum
The BAR 007 has begun to show its true potential with Jenson Button setting the fastest time in testing at Jerez last week. Button recorded a 1m 15.680s on Friday, bettering the impressive mark set by Fernando Alonso on Thursday, and all but matching the circuits unofficial lap record.
It marked a positive end to a difficult week for BAR. Button completed 129 laps as he ran the teams latest-spec Honda engine to its target mileage. Team mate Enrique Bernoldi was 11th fastest in a 006, the Brazilian test driver working on tyre and aero development.
McLarens Juan Pablo Montoya was Buttons closest Friday challenger, half a second adrift in the times. He and team mate Kimi Raikkonen, both in the new MP4-20, carried out simulated qualifying runs in the morning and then endurance runs in the afternoon. Raikkonen ended the day sixth fastest, having missed Thursdays session due to a damaged suspension component.
"A test with encouraging results for everybody in the team, commented Norbert Haug, Vice President of Mercedes-Benz Motorsport. We put 1,100 kilometres on one and 1,300 kilometres on another engine, when Pedro (de la Rosa), Juan Pablo and Kimi posted competitive lap times. The final test in Barcelona before the first Grand Prix in Melbourne will give us an even clearer indication of where we are compared to our competition."
Friday was Ferraris fourth and final day of the week at Jerez. Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer were at the wheel, both men carrying out set-up, engine and tyre work, as well as new component development. The world champion was third in the times, his Italian colleague 12th.
Mark Webber was fifth fastest and Nick Heidfeld ninth as they drew Williams Jerez programme with the new FW27 to a conclusion. Throughout the week, the drivers concentrated on set-up evaluations as well as tyre testing with our partner, Michelin, reported Tim Newton, Williams test team manager.
The car has proved particularly reliable over the four days, allowing both drivers to clock up an impressive total of 3,259 kilometres. This has provided us with invaluable data to work with in the weeks leading up to Melbourne.
David Coulthard was again the quickest Red Bull driver as the Austrian-owned team completed a trouble-free first week of testing with the freshly launched RB1 machine. Coulthard, Christian Klien and Vitantonio Liuzzi all reported reassuringly neutral and stable handling from the new car after running several Grand Prix distances.
Toyota had Ricardo Zonta and Ralf Schumacher in action, the Brazilian tester going eighth fastest to his German team mates tenth. As well as working in the new TF105, Zonta also shook down a TF104B for use in wet-weather tyre testing over the weekend with fellow Michelin team BAR.
For the coming week testing action switches primarily to Barcelona.
Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:15.680
2. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.192
3. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.650
4. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:16.797
5. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.350
6. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.356
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.436
8. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:17.719
9. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.875
10. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.062
11. Enrique Bernoldi, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.585
12. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:18.673