Paul Ricard day two - Toyota one-two 13 May 2005
Pre-Monaco testing continued in France on Thursday, with the Toyotas of Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta setting the pace. Five teams were present for day two of the three-day session, with BAR opting not to run in light of their Monte Carlo ban.
Panis and Zonta completed over 230 laps between them as the Japanese squad worked on set-up and Michelin tyre development ahead of the Monte Carlo race. A little more than two tenths of a second separated the official Toyota testers at the end of the day.
Wednesday leader Kimi Raikkonen was third fastest for McLaren. The Finn was joined by team mate Juan Pablo Montoya who was seventh. Both men suffered problems in the morning - a component failure for Raikkonen, an engine failure for Montoya - but were back out to continue their tyre programme in the afternoon.
Renault had another busy day, with Heikki Kovalainen clocking up 196 laps as he again edged Franck Montagny in the times. The team were pleased with their progress after completing their tyre and set-up preparations for Monaco. On Friday the configuration of the Paul Ricard track will be altered to simulate Canadas Montreal circuit.
We had another very strong day's running with both drivers - the car was working well, and both drivers were pleased with the performance, said Renaults chief test engineer Christian Silk. We have effectively completed the first of our test programmes for this week now.
Tomorrow we will concentrate on Canada - with lower downforce levels and a different circuit layout to simulate the long straights and heavy braking. We will have a busy day testing tyres, brake cooling and set-up for the race. We have had very good reliability so far this week, and hope to see this continue in order to complete an intensive final day of running.
Red Bull again had David Coulthard and Vitantonio Liuzzi in the cockpit of the RB01, while at Sauber Jacques Villeneuve took over from Felipe Massa in the C24. The former champion put in 114 laps to finish ninth in the times and will conclude the Swiss teams programme on Friday.
"It was quite a productive day today and we were able to complete the programme, reported Sauber race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara. Although we missed the scheduled long-run for the Michelin tyre evaluation our decision for Monaco is quite clear now. We also worked on the car set-up and validated front wing and suspension specifications for the next race.
BAR chose not to run on Thursday and instead save a day of their testing allowance. They will be back in action on Friday, with Jenson Button and Takuma Sato, when all the teams switch their focus to Canadian Grand Prix preparations.
Unofficial Thursday times from Paul Ricard:
1. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:04.877
2. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:05.115
3. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:05.130
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:05.143
5. Franck Montagny, Renault (Michelin), 1:05.336
6. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:05.360
7. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:05.441
8. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:06.270
9. Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (Michelin), 1:06.644