Barcelona day three - Ferrari stay ahead 05 Jun 2006
Ferraris Michael Schumacher was again the pacesetter as Formula One testing concluded in Spain on Friday. Schumachers best time of 1m 14.109s put him less than a tenth of a second clear of BMW Saubers third driver Robert Kubica at Barcelona's Circuit de Catalunya.
Like most of his rivals, Schumacher spent part of his day working on tyre preparations for the next round of the championship, the British Grand Prix. He also evaluated some new components for the 248 F1.
Kubica, meanwhile, worked on tyres and an aero programme, while BMW Sauber team mate Nick Heidfeld (12th fastest) also carried out a damper and suspension test on the F1.06.
The Renaults of Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen were third and fourth fastest, split by just a thousandth of a second. Both drivers concentrated on long run performance in preparation for Silverstone.
Renaults chief test engineer Christian Silk commented: "It was a strong final day for the team today in Barcelona. The team has worked well this week, and we have completed a lot of reliable laps to make good progress with our programmes. Michelin have developed an interesting range of products for the coming race, and we feel we have some good answers for Silverstone. We can be optimistic of another strong Renault performance next weekend."
Jarno Trulli put the Toyota TF106B fifth in the timesheets, with team mate Olivier Panis 15th in the older TF106. Trulli was happy with the progress the team have made with the revised car since its recent race debut in Monaco.
"At this test, the new car is showing potential and we have been working on finding a better balance and perfect set-up for me, he said. The tyres we have been using are getting better as well. Of course there is still work to do and the Silverstone set-up will be much different than in Monaco, therefore we will have to wait and see how the B-car does on a high-speed track. Even though we have not yet tested at Silverstone this year, I think the race will be a tough fight and we are definitely going to be pushing hard to gain some points."
The McLarens of Pedro de la Rosa and Juan Pablo Montoya were sixth and seventh, as both drivers continued working on suspension and aerodynamics. Just behind them was the Williams of Nico Rosberg, the German testing new brake materials as well as tyres.
Robert Doornbos was an encouraging ninth for Red Bull, the Dutchman having spent all three days of the test running a Ferrari engine with new development parts. David Coulthard was 13th as the team also carried out transmission development and evaluated a new front suspension system.
Anthony Davidson and James Rossiter finished 10th and 11th as they took over at Honda. Davidson spent the day on chassis set-up and further tyre programmes, looking at the best of the options from the previous two days. He finished the day with a short aero run, completing 139 laps despite a spin at turn four. Rossiter lost much of his morning running after going off at turn four early in the session; however he went back out after lunch to work through an aero evaluation and chassis set-up work, completing 105 laps.
Vitantonio Liuzzi completed Toro Rossos test, which saw all three of their drivers spend a day at the wheel. "This was a good test with everyone, drivers and team personnel putting in a solid performance," commented chief engineer, Laurent Mekies. "We had several new aero parts to evaluate and the workload was split between the three drivers. Now we have plenty of data to study back in the factory and we will then try and get the parts that worked well onto the cars as soon as possible, although the next race at Silverstone might be a bit too early."
The teams will next be on track in first practice for the British Grand Prix which takes place at Silverstone on June 09-11.
Unofficial Friday times from Barcelona:
1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:14.109
2. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:14.136
3. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:14.504
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault (Michelin), 1:14.505
5. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:15.010
6. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.122
7. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:15.176
8. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Bridgestone), 1: 15.502
9. Robert Doornbos, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:15.508
10. Anthony Davidson, Honda (Michelin), 1:15.609
11. James Rossiter, Honda (Michelin), 1:15.629
12. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber (Michelin), 1:15.674
13. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:15.807
14. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Toro Rosso (Michelin), 1:16.490
15. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Bridgestone), 1:16.531