Jerez day two - V10 McLaren on top 12 Jan 2006
McLaren topped the times on their return to testing in Jerez on Wednesday. However, with the team running V10 engines, it was again Ferraris Michael Schumacher who led the V8 runners.
Both leader Pedro de la Rosa and McLaren team mate Gary Paffett were using interim MP4-20s. These were fitted with last years V10, because production of Mercedes V8, which the team tested extensively in December, is now focussed on the forthcoming MP4-21, which has different engine mounting points to its predecessor.
McLarens programme comprised mainly tyre development work with Michelin. De la Rosa had a minor software problem on his initial installation lap, which was resolved immediately, but other than that both cars ran without problem.
At the wheel of an F2004, Schumacher again concentrated on development of Ferraris V8 engine. Driving an F2005, fitted with a regulated V10, team mate Luca Badoer continued with the Bridgestone tyre programme he had begun on Tuesday, as well as some aerodynamic work.
Ricardo Zonta was upbeat after going third fastest for Toyota, the Brazilian continuing Bridgestone tyre work. "Today was good, he said. We finished the programme and made some tyre discoveries that were very positive. Everyone has to forget about V10s now but we are starting to see the different way that the V8-engined cars use the tyres. Of course we are on different Bridgestone rubber now, but it seems like you use the tyres more from entry to mid corner but not as much on the exit.
I think we are looking good, he added. If we take away the people with V10 cars or with earlier, more advantageous aerodynamic configurations, we are always in front. Yesterday we were quickest and it was the same again today. That is quite difficult for people to appreciate just by looking at lap times, but if you compare our car to others running in a comparable specification, we are very quick."
In the other Toyota, Ralf Schumacher ended his morning session in the gravel after a spin, but his best time was good enough for seventh in the final timesheets. Jarno Trulli took over the car for the afternoon, the Italian putting in just 18 laps on his way to 12th place.
The Renaults of Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella were fourth and sixth respectively, the world champion again in the V10 R25, while his team mate drove the new R26. Fisichella put in a number of long runs in the afternoon, the teams 2006 machine performing in trouble-free fashion. Alonso will get his first taste of the new car on Thursday.
BMW Sauber returned to testing with Nick Heidfeld fifth fastest at the wheel of an all-white liveried C24B. The team ran several system checks and assessed different settings, as well as working with Michelin on a tyre programme and evaluating a new traction control system.
Alex Wurz made his test debut with new team Williams, alongside Nico Rosberg. Wurz spent the morning working on systems checks before concentrating on set-up in the afternoon. Rosberg worked on set-ups and started some tyre testing for Bridgestone before experiencing a gearbox problem, caused by a high mileage component.
Honda began their Jerez programme with Anthony Davidson and James Rossiter in action, both driving the teams interim V8 Concept car. It was a busy day for the pair, both men completing over 100 laps. Rubens Barrichello will make his first appearance for the team on Thursday.
Toro Rosso's first day of 2006 testing ran smoothly, with Vitantonio Liuzzi putting in 91 trouble-free laps on his way to 14th in the times. The Italian was at the wheel of a 2005 Red Bull chassis.
"On the technical front, this was a busy day, as we were assessing 3 types of brake disc, explained the teams chief engineer, Laurent Mekies. "Tonio provided us with good and accurate feedback and we have a lot of data to analyse. This was pretty much a perfect start to our testing and Michelin should be complimented on providing us with tyres that, despite the cool weather, allowed us to run our brake programme."
Completing the timesheets was Red Bulls David Coulthard, who had former McLaren colleague Adrian Newey looking on in his new role as the teams new chief technical officer. For the second day in succession, Coulthard had only minimal running, this time after his Ferrari V8 failed.
"Along with our engine partner, we will of course be investigating what caused the engine to fail," said Red Bulls head of race and test engineering, Paul Monaghan. "We had a couple of new car gremlins that we addressed during the day, and with every run we're learning more about our new package."
Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:16.504
2. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:17.962
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:18.541
4. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.593
5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:18.827
6. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:19.125
7. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:19.189
8. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:19.394
9. Anthony Davidson, Honda (Michelin), 1:19.432
10. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:19.777
11. James Rossiter, Honda (Michelin), 1:19.889
12. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:19.975
13. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.137
14. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:20.180
15. Alexander Wurz, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.749
16. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:21.198