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Vallelunga day three - Honda v Ferrari 07 Apr 2006

Anthony Davidson (GBR) Honda F1 Racing Test Driver.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Australian Grand Prix, Practice, Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia, 31 March 2006

Honda’s Anthony Davidson edged out the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher to top this week’s final day of testing at the Italian circuit of Vallelunga on Thursday. Davidson was the busiest man on track, completing 163 laps on his way to a best time of 1m 14.504s, less than a tenth of a second quicker than Schumacher.

Davidson once again focused on tyre work with an evaluation of options for the European Grand Prix, along with further development on tyre warm-up, the issue which caused the team problems in Australia. Team mate Jenson Button completed 113 laps as he continued with chassis development.

"Testing went well this week,” said Button. “The weather wasn't great yesterday as it was fairly windy and cold but actually that was perfect for us as we are doing a lot of work to see why we can't get heat into the tyres or make them work when the temperatures drop. I spent the two days mostly concentrating on this along with some regular tyre testing for the next races. We got some very useful info so all in all it's been a good test."

At Ferrari, Schumacher proceeded with new component development on the current 248 F1 car, while official tester Luca Badoer used the interim F2004, the only V10 car present, to carry out further Bridgestone tyre work. The pair racked up another 181 laps between them.

Alexander Wurz concluded Williams’ two-day programme, but only after walking away from a minor accident in the morning which left his FW28 needing a few repairs. In the afternoon the Austrian was able to resume the team’s tyre preparations for the next race at Imola, as well as carrying out some brake-cooling modifications. Engine partners Cosworth were particularly pleased with the progress made at Vallelunga.

“We continued to test some new specification parts aimed at improving reliability,” explained Sean O’Mahony, Cosworth’s principal Formula One engineer. “We pushed engine mileages beyond those that we need at races to see what margins we have and generally we are pleased with the results of these tests. We also tried some new engine calibrations aimed at reducing fuel consumption and improving traction control - the test results were positive and we will continue to fine tune these new strategies at Barcelona next week.”

Unofficial Thursday times from Vallelunga:
1. Anthony Davidson, Honda (Michelin), 1:14.504
2. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:14.584
3. Jenson Button, Honda (Michelin), 1:14.661
4. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.115
5. Alexander Wurz, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:16.270