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Jerez day one - Wurz stars for Williams 08 Feb 2006

Alex Wurz (AUT) Williams test driver. Formula One Testing, Valencia, Spain, 31 January - 3 February 2006. World ©  Capilitan/Sutton

Alexander Wurz gave Williams a pre-season boost on Tuesday as he topped the testing times at Jerez in his very first outing in the team’s new FW28 machine. Wurz’s best lap of 1m 18.139s put him a tenth of a second clear of Honda’s Jenson Button.

“I soon familiarised myself with the new car’s characteristics, which my lap times showed, and I feel quite comfortable with it already,” said Wurz, after 49 laps of the Spanish circuit.

“Nevertheless, I am a perfectionist and that means that we need to do some more work to extract more out of our package. The basic elements are there, now it’s just a race against time to optimise everything before the season opener. We’ll be pushing flat out!”

Nico Rosberg consolidated William’s strong performance by taking the day’s fourth fastest time after 82 laps, also in the new FW28. Between the two Cosworth-powered cars were the Hondas of Button and Rubens Barrichello.

Button carried out a mixture of set-up, tyre and aero work, totaling an impressive 139 laps, while Barrichello’s programme included a full race simulation. Both men were in the team’s 2006 RA106 car.

Toyota had test drivers Ricardo Zonta and Olivier Panis in action. "It was a good day,” said test team manager, Gerd Pfeiffer. “We tried different set-ups with the tyres and shock absorbers and collected a lot of information which Jarno and Ralf will be able to use tomorrow. We are still concentrating on tuning the car to the tyres and vice versa, but a good positive point about today was that both engines exceeded their maximum life requirements."

MF1 began their first multi-team test with the new M16 machine, with Christijan Albers taking it to seventh in the times, around 3.5 seconds off Wurz’s leading pace. The Midland-owned squad reported a positive first day, as they ran through a number of routine 'new car' systems checks.

“Today we were working on different set-ups, the guys are working very hard and it's a good chance to test a variety of areas on the car including electronics,” said Albers. “I was happy with today's run and the new car is giving me confidence, which is great for the first day of testing.”

Albers was joined by team mate Tiago Monteiro, who was at the wheel of the team’s interim EJ15B machine. The Portuguese star continued to put mileage on 2006 components, as well as working on software development, aerodynamic testing and set-up.

Testing continues at Jerez on Wednesday when McLaren, Renault, BMW Sauber and Toro Rosso are expected to join the session.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:
1. Alexander Wurz, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:18.139
2. Jenson Button, Honda (Michelin), 1:18.242
3. Rubens Barrichello, Honda (Michelin), 1:18.609
4. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:18.734
5. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:20.162
6. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:20.339
7. Christijan Albers, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:21.550
8. Tiago Monteiro, MF1 (Bridgestone), 1:22.300