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Silverstone day two - Renault to the fore? 15 Sep 2005

Fernando Alonso (ESP) Renault R25.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, 2 September 2005

There could be little to choose between the pace of Renault and McLaren in the closing rounds of the season if this week’s testing is anything to go by. McLaren may have had the quicker car of late, but at Silverstone on Wednesday it was Fernando Alonso who again led the way - for the second day in succession.

Renault are readying an engine upgrade and a new aero package for next weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix and between Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella, the team carried out almost 200 laps of preparatory work with their R25 machine and Michelin tyres.

Alexander Wurz, the busiest man on track, running 114 laps, was second fastest for McLaren, half a second adrift of Alonso. The Austrian’s work again focussed on tyre work for the forthcoming Japanese race. “This has been a positive test and we now have a very good idea of which tyre we will run at Suzuka next month," he commented at the end of the team’s two-day session.

Team mate Pedro de la Rosa, tenth fastest, was again behind the wheel of the 2006-spec V8-powered MP4-20B. "The last two days of testing have gone well,” he said, after putting another 40 laps on the car. “There is obviously a big difference in power between the Mercedes-Benz V10 and the V8, but this can be adapted to by adjusting your driving style. We are currently on a steep learning curve and it is early days, but so far all is going well and we have a long Winter testing programme to look forward to, to continue our development programme."

Vitantonio Liuzzi was again in good form for Red Bull, the Italian ending the day less then a hundredth of a second slower than Wurz’s McLaren after just over 80 laps of the British Grand Prix circuit. Team mate Christian Klien was a second slower in eighth place after almost 100 laps.

Ralf Schumacher took over from team mate Ricardo Zonta at Toyota and pushed the TF105 to the day’s fifth fastest time, while Olivier Panis continued work on the Japanese team’s revised TF105B, which may yet make a race appearance this season. Panis was ninth-fastest.

Williams joined the test on Wednesday. With still no official word from the team on Nick Heidfeld’s shoulder injury, Nico Rosberg and Antonio Pizzonia were on track, working on tyres, set-up and suspension. They were sixth and seventh respectively in the times, with Pizzonia surviving an off-track moment in the morning, caused by a quickly remedied technical problem.

It was again a day for new faces at Jordan, as Japanese driver Sakon Yamamoto made his Formula One debut with the team ahead of his third-driver outing with them at Suzuka next month. The Formula Nippon and Super GT star clocked up more than 70 laps as he rounded out the timesheets.

Conditions at Silverstone were perfect for testing, with sunny skies and ambient temperatures of over 20 degrees Celsius. However, showers are not being ruled out for Thursday when the session continues.

Unofficial Wednesday times from Silverstone:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:17.018
2. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.673
3. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.678
4. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.024
5. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:18.523
6. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Michelin), 1:18.614
7. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:18.693
8. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:18.721
9. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:19.051
10. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:22.974
11. Sakon Yamamoto, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:23.514