Paul Ricard day one - BAR bounce back 24 Mar 2005
Anthony Davidson recovered from the disappointment of Malaysia by setting the fastest time for BAR in testing on Wednesday. The teams third driver clocked a best lap of 1m 04.170 around the French circuit of Paul Ricard.
Davidson completed a set-up and aero programme in the 007, putting in more than 80 laps with no sign of the engine problems that plagued BAR at Sepang. In the teams 05 Concept car Enrique Bernoldi ran a mammoth 176 laps of set-up and tyre work to finish eighth fastest.
Toyota were again right on the pace, with test driver Ricardo Zonta less than a tenth of a second slower than Davidson in the TF105, just ahead of Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz. Both McLaren men were in the older MP4-19B, the Spaniard focussing on tyres for San Marino, the Austrian on those for the next round in Bahrain.
Renault too began a three-day programme with test drivers at the wheel. For Finn Heikki Kovalainen it was his first taste of the double race-winning R25 and he promptly outpaced team regular Franck Montagny as the pair went fifth and sixth fastest, both concentrating on reliability and tyres for Bahrain.
Heikki did a good job on his first run in the car, while Franck continued to get a feel for its performance after his first test in Jerez a fortnight ago, commented Renaults chief test engineer Christian Silk.
We got positive results from our programmes, and confirmed our tyre results ahead of Bahrain. Tomorrow, the drivers will have the opportunity to concentrate on set-up work and begin exploring the cars performance.
Conditions at Paul Ricard were mainly sunny with track temperatures reaching just under 20 degrees Celsius. Testing continues at the circuit on Thursday.
Elsewhere on Wednesday, Renault carried out straight-line testing at Silverstone with Jose Maria Lopez, the Argentinean member of their driver development programme, while Michael Schumacher got his first taste of the new F2005 at Mugello. And at Barcelona Red Bull gave one-off Formula One tests to junior team members Neel Jani and Scott Speed.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:04.170
2. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:04.213
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:04.305
4. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:04.613
5. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:04.827
6. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:04.912
7. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:05.581
8. Enrique Bernoldi, BAR (Michelin), 1:06.040