Jerez day two - McLaren up the pace 02 May 2005
Pedro de la Rosa was in fine form on Friday, leading a McLaren one-two in the times, as testing concluded for the week at the Spanish circuit of Jerez.
De la Rosa showed that the McLaren MP4-20 should pose an even bigger threat to Renault in this weekends Spanish Grand Prix, narrowly missing out on a new unofficial lap record.
The Spaniard and team mate Kimi Raikkonen worked on tyre testing with Michelin and durability runs. In addition they evaluated various set-ups as well as new aerodynamic developments.
"Our main focus for the past two days has been preparations and evaluations for the Grand Prix in my home country, said de la Rosa. We have done a lot of work considering we were only running two days when I did almost 1200 km and experienced no major problem."
Renault concluded their two-day programme with Fernando Alonso third fastest, the Spaniard carrying out aero development, set-up work and tyre evaluation. Official tester Franck Montagny completed less mileage owing to an early mechanical incident, which led to him losing much of the morning session. During the afternoon, he completed tyre testing for Michelin.
Overall, the team has done a fantastic job in the past two days: the late change of venue put a lot of pressure on the test team to perform, and as they have done all winter, they responded brilliantly, completing 1800 km over just days of testing, explained Renaults chief test engineer Christian Silk.
Several incidents today meant that we were unable to complete as many miles as we would have liked, but we nevertheless got positive results on a large range of our test items. Most importantly, both drivers were impressed by the performance of the B spec engine, which Giancarlo and Fernando will be using in Barcelona.
David Coulthard moved Red Bull up the order, setting the days fourth-fastest time in the Cosworth-powered RB01. The Scot was the busiest man present, totalling over 135 laps. Vitantonio Liuzzi was seventh fastest after just under 100.
Olivier Panis was the leading Toyota driver, the Frenchman concentrating on preliminary tyre choices for the British Grand Prix in July, as well as evaluation of shock absorbers and new front and rear wings. Ralf Schumacher took over the Japanese squads second TF105 from team mate Jarno Trulli.
I was initially concentrating on shorter, low-fuel qualifying runs, explained Schumacher. My qualifying runs with heavy fuel have been fine but I feel I can improve my low-fuel runs. It is quite a delicate balance to make the car work to its maximum at the beginning and the end of the lap and the more knowledge you gain about it, the better your potential.
It was a reasonable test. We had a couple of technical issues but we still got through some important work for Barcelona and we should be okay. Unfortunately I had to cut short my low-fuel runs because I had some longer stints to do for tyre evaluation. So that part of the programme wasn't totally conclusive and I will have to wait until the next test at Paul Ricard to learn more.
Unofficial Friday times from Jerez:
1. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.650
2. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.467
3. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:16.927
4. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.022
5. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:17.332
6. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:17.406
7. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.563
8. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.825