Barcelona day one - Alonso top, Kimi crashes 16 Feb 2005
Renault were the leaders at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday as Fernando Alonso narrowly outpaced the McLaren of Kimi Raikkonen, who crashed heavily late in the session. Fortunately Raikkonen suffered nothing worse than a bruised thumb, though his MP4-20 was badly damaged.
Raikkonen lost control at Turn 11, spearing across the track and into the barriers. McLaren suspect that a foreign body got jammed between the brake caliper and the inside of a wheel rim and machined a groove into the rim which caused an immediate failure.
"I don't really know what happened, said Raikkonen, who will sit out Wednesdays session as a precautionary measure. It was quite a big impact and I'm a bit shaken up and have hurt my thumb. I'm not going to be testing tomorrow but hopefully Pedro (de la Rosa) will be able to complete the programme with the repaired car."
Raikkonens off left Alonso unchallenged at the top of the times as the new Renault R25 again showed it could be a force to be reckoned with in 2005. Cold weather in the morning meant the team concentrated on accruing mileage, with the Spaniard recording 107 laps and team mate Giancarlo Fisichella adding 63 on his way to fifth in the times.
Overall, we had a very positive first day here: this is the R25s first visit to Barcelona, and the drivers were happy with stability in the high-speed corners as well as the low-speed balance, reported chief test engineer Christian Silk. Tomorrow, we will concentrate on concluding tyre selection for Melbourne, and continuing our work for Malaysia.
Ricardo Zonta was the leading Toyota driver in third, the Brazilian at the wheel of the teams older TF104B machine. Jarno Trulli, debuting a heavily-revised aerodynamic package on the new TF105, ended eighth behind the Red Bull duo of David Coulthard and Vitantonio Liuzzi.
Williams and Ferrari kept a relatively low profile in the times. Mark Webber was ninth, with Antonio Pizzonia 11th as the Williams men gave the new FW27 its first Barcelona outing. Michael Schumacher was 10th in the interim F2004 M as he evaluated Bridgestone tyres.
Completing the Barcelona line-up were Jordan, with 2005 race drivers Narain Karthikeyan and Tiago Monteiro both at the wheel of the teams latest EJ15 machine. Karthikeyan put in 80 laps as the Midland-owned squad focussed on improving their understanding of the interaction of chassis, Toyota engine and Bridgestone tyres, while Monteiro looked at software systems.
Learning to understanding the software of the car is fascinating, said Monteiro. It is an intellectual task that is very underestimated. Racing is more than to push the gas pedal to the very end it is brain, guts and the right feeling for what chances to take.
Testing continues at Barcelona on Wednesday.
Elsewhere this week BAR are testing alone for three days at Valencia in Spain. On Tuesday they had Jenson Button and Takuma Sato on track. They completed just under 250 laps between them, Button working on aerodynamics and tyres in the 007, Sato focussing on set-up and tyres in the teams 05 Concept car.
Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:14.986
2. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.229
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:15.366
4. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.400
5. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.645
6. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:15.719
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:16.143
8. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Michelin), 1:16.545
9. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:16.514
10. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:16.640
11. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:17.551
12. Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:19.090
13. Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:22.070