Barcelona day one - Ferrari fight back 01 Jun 2006
Ferrari put the disappointment of Monaco behind them on Wednesday as they headed the weeks first day of testing in Spain. Felipe Massa was the only man to dip below the 1m 15s barrier as he outpaced the Renaults of Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen in Barcelona.
Morning rain at the Circuit de Catalunya limited the eight teams present to minimal wet-weather tyre work, but once the track dried the times tumbled accordingly, with Massas best a 1m 14.940s. Team mate Luca Badoer, working on new components for the 248 F1, was eighth fastest.
Renault were happy with their progress and, like many of the teams, were focussing on tyre selection for the forthcoming British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Kovalainen also carried out an extensive data logging programme.
"We had a good first day. The weather disrupted our work early on, but after that, we were able to get our teeth into the tyre development programme, reported Renaults chief test engineer, Christian Silk. The performance of the car looks good - as we knew from the race here just over two weeks ago. We got plenty of laps done in spite of the delay, and look forward to building on this tomorrow and Friday."
Jenson Button was the leading Honda in fourth place, the Briton working on chassis set-up with the RA106. Team mate Rubens Barrichello was charged with an aerodynamic evaluation and then a tyre programme. The Brazilian ended the day in ninth place.
Toyota test drivers Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta were fifth and sixth respectively, the latter losing some time when the fire extinguisher in his car began to leak.
"Today's testing went very well with both Olivier and Ricardo completing their
programmes and pushing hard to put in over 200 laps, commented Toyota team manager, Richard Cregan. We were mainly focused on getting through a Bridgestone tyre test that we had planned. Due to the rain and wet track in the morning we completed a wet tyre test with Olivier and in the afternoon both drivers continued with long runs to help prepare the tyre choice for the next race. While Olivier did his running in the old car, Ricardo was driving the B-car collecting further data on its behaviour."
McLaren began their test with Pedro de la Rosa (seventh fastest) and Gary Paffett (15th) in the cockpit of the MP4-21. Both men worked on a combination of front and rear suspension and aerodynamic developments.
There was little to split the BMW Saubers of Robert Kubica and the newly-married Jacques Villeneuve. They were tenth and 11th fastest, Kubica concentrating on set-up and a tyre casing programme for Michelin, while Villeneuve carried out set-up and aero work.
A trio of Red Bull cars completed the Wednesday line-up with Toro Rossos Scott Speed bettering Red Bull Racing colleagues Christian Klien and Robert Doornbos.
Testing continues in Barcelona on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:14.940
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.063
3. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:15.255
4. Jenson Button, Honda (Michelin), 1:15.523
5. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:15.534
6. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:15.541
7. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.828
8. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:15.867
9. Rubens Barrichello, Honda (Michelin), 1:16.170
10. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:16.520
11. Jacques Villeneuve, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:16.627
12. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:17.274
13. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.291
14. Robert Doornbos, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:17.348
15. Gary Paffett, McLaren (Michelin), 1:17.480