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Teams wrap up pre-Bahrain testing 28 Mar 2005

Nick Heidfeld (GER) Williams BMW FW27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd2, Malaysian Grand Prix, Sepang, Malaysia, 19 March 2005

Williams concluded a two-day test at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya on Friday, while Renault finalized their Bahrain Grand Prix preparations at the Paul Ricard circuit in France.

Williams duo Nick Heidfeld and Antonio Pizzonia shared testing responsibilities for the BMW-powered team, both drivers concentrating on the set-up of the FW27 for Bahrain Grand Prix. Following an accident at turn nine in the closing stages of the session, Pizzonia walked away unhurt and the car also came away with only minor damage.

"It was a productive test, during which we covered a total of 1,750 kilometers,” concluded Williams technical director Sam Michael. “Nick worked through tyre tests for Michelin, electrical system improvements, power steering modifications and a couple of aero tests in readiness for Bahrain.

“Meanwhile, Antonio worked on mechanical set-up items, cooling tests and some fuel system modifications. The race team now look forward to the Bahrain Grand Prix, while the test team will return to the Barcelona circuit in two weeks time."

At Paul Ricard the best conditions of the week meant Franck Montagny and Heikki Kovalainen were able to make significant progress in their testing programmes for Renault. Both reached record mileages with their engines, and were able to concentrate on chassis and engine development for the coming races.

“We had a very productive final day, and the conditions today were the best of the week, both in terms of the weather and the track condition,” commented chief test engineer Christian Silk. “The drivers conducted very productive work on both chassis and engine programmes, and it was pleasing to reach full mileage with both engines, without any problems. We have completed a solid week’s work ahead of Bahrain, and the race team will go there next week looking for a strong result.”

BAR had also been due to run at Paul Ricard on Friday, but decided not to in light of the 30 day test limit which the team have agreed to this season and the damp track conditions at the start of the session.

On Saturday, Ferrari were in action at Fiorano where Michael Schumacher shook down the two F2005 chassis the team will use in the Bahrain Grand Prix. At the wheel of an F2004 M, he also carried out tyre testing aimed at the rest of the season.

Unofficial Friday times from Barcelona:
1. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:16.051
2. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:16.986

Unofficial Friday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:04.066
2. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:04.477