Jerez day four - Montagny sets pace 14 Mar 2005
Renaults Franck Montagny was the leading driver at a damp Jerez on Friday as the weeks Formula One testing drew to a close.
Overnight rain meant the teams were greeted by a wet track in the morning, prompting McLaren and Toyota to call off their planned sessions. However, the sun broke through around lunchtime, quickly drying the Spanish circuit for the afternoon.
With Renaults programme focussing primarily on tyres for the Bahrain race and beyond, Montagny conducted performance runs in the R25, while colleague Heikki Kovalained concentrated on endurance work in the R24, as well as trying out Michelins latest wet tyre.
We concluded our short session in Jerez with a productive days work, commented Renaults chief test engineer Christian Silk. As soon as the circuit had dried, we were able to run trouble-free and to take a good step forward with our tyre development. We mainly looked at solutions for the coming races, and were once again pleased with the performance and promise of the Michelin tyres.
The BARs of Anthony Davidson and Enrique Bernoldi were second and third fastest. Both ran through a Michelin wet tyre test in the morning, though Davidson suffered an engine failure before lunch. He rejoined with a new engine to complete his planned aerodynamics programme and a total of 106 laps, while Bernoldi completed longer runs on the Bahrain option tyres. The Brazilian clocked 100 laps and completed 1,528 kilometres on his Honda engine to reach its target mileage.
"This week's test in Jerez has enabled us to work through a three-day, two car programme, explained BARs test team manager Andrew Alsworth. Although the final day morning running was compromised by wet track conditions, we have managed to complete a total of 2,945 kilometres running through the full test programme.
Anthony ran through an intensive aero programme supplying the engineers with valuable data. Enrique, driving the concept car, concentrated mainly on a Michelin test alongside further evaluation of the latest spec engine from Honda. We will now prepare the two test cars for our next test event at the Paul Ricard circuit in two weeks time."
Antonio Pizzonia was again the sole Williams driver in action as the BMW-powered team completed their two-day session with the FW27 in preparation for the Malaysian and Bahrain races. They paid particular attention to the cars cooling systems in anticipation of the extreme temperatures it will face in Sepang.
"The team has had a good two day test in Jerez, concentrating on fine tuning the entire car, reported Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport director. With regards the engine, we focussed on the set-up of the traction control system as well as practising starts and carrying out heat soak tests. In addition, we used this test to further verify the reliability of the engine."
Sitting at the bottom of the Friday timesheets were the Ferraris of Luca Badoer and Marc Gene. At the wheel of an F2004 M, Gene completed a Bridgestone tyre programme for Malaysia, while Badoer continued working on the set-up of the new F2005.
Ferrari and Badoer will resume testing the F2005 on Tuesday March 15 at Fiorano in Italy. The next main multi-team sessions are provisionally scheduled for Barcelona in Spain and Paul Ricard in France in the week following the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.261
2. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:18.546
3. Enrique Bernoldi, BAR (Michelin), 1:19.232
4. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:19.502
5. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.980
6. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.627
7. Marc Gene, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:21.330