Silverstone day two - Renault take charge 27 Apr 2006
With Tuesdays showers a distant memory, Wednesday saw a busy day of testing at Silverstone, with eight Formula One teams in action. Renault dominated the session, with Fernando Alonso and Giancarlo Fisichella the only men to dip under the 1m 19s barrier.
"The weather conditions were much better today which allowed us to have a productive day, said Christian Silk, Renaults chief test engineer. We looked at set-up changes in the morning and then focused on tyre development to make up for running time we lost yesterday. We obtained good results and the drivers were very pleased with the car and its behaviour."
Hondas Jenson Button came closest to matching the Renaults pace, finishing around eight tenths down on Alonso. Button was joined by team mate Rubens Barrichello, who clocked the seventh-fastest time, the pair concentrating on a mix of chassis, tyre and aero work.
Juan Pablo Montoya outpaced team mate Kimi Raikkonen as the McLaren drivers went fourth and fifth. Both carried out short runs to evaluate tyre compounds and set-ups in preparation for the British Grand Prix later in the year. A hydraulic problem meant Raikkonen had to stop running shortly before the end of the day.
Nico Rosberg was the leading Williams driver in sixth, two places above team mate Mark Webber. Both drivers tested alternative brake materials in the morning and then concentrated on tyre compound tests in the afternoon to give the team a direction for Junes race at the circuit.
Scott Speed put Toro Rosso ninth ahead of the BMW Saubers of Robert Kubica and Jacques Villeneuve. Kubica stepped in for team mate Nick Heidfeld after the German suffered a muscle twinge in his back following his morning running. BMW Saubers programme covered damper, tyre and aero development.
At Red Bull David Coulthard was joined by Tonio Liuzzi, again on loan from sister team Toro Rosso. Unfortunately, Liuzzis day came to an early end with a high-speed crash at the Becketts corner. The Italian was unhurt, but the car suffered significant damage and could not be repaired before the end of the session.
Midland racer Tiago Monteiro was in the Russian teams sole car, the Portuguese star taking over from third driver Giorgio Mondini. "We had a productive session today, said Monteiro. We went through an interesting tyre test in the morning with many different sets. In the afternoon, we did some setup work and tested some updates to the car. Overall, it was a positive day and we are working hard to find more speed."
"Tiago had a busy day in the car today, working on setup for the Grand Prix here in a few weeks' time, added Dominic Harlow, Midlands chief race and test engineer. We tested tyres, and looked at some small improvements to the braking system. We also ran a new suspension geometry and some new aero parts that we will take to Nurburgring, as we continue to push to develop the M16 as fast as possible."
Testing concludes at Silverstone on Thursday, with dry conditions expected.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Silverstone:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.634
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:18.972
3. Jenson Button, Honda (Michelin), 1:19.383
4. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:19.395
5. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:19.558
6. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:19.643
7. Rubens Barrichello, Honda (Michelin), 1:19.694
8. Mark Webber, Williams (Bridgestone), 1:20.186
9. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:20.482
10. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:20.568
11. Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:20.673
12. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:20.962
13. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:21.058
14. Tiago Monteiro, Midland (Bridgestone), 1:21.790
15. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:21.878