Valencia day two - Alonso still fastest in Spain 01 Feb 2007
World champion Fernando Alonso revealed he has no intentions to relinquish his Formula One crown as he dominated testing on Wednesday for the second day in succession. McLarens Alonso lapped the Valencia circuit in 1m 12.581s, outpacing former Renault team mate Giancarlo Fisichella by just under two-tenths of a second.
Although the track remained wet from overnight rain, Alonso ventured out early in the teams new car, the MP4-22, to test Bridgestones wet weather tyres. In the afternoon, he was joined on a drying track by McLaren tester Pedro de la Rosa, who clocked the 12th best time. De la Rosa will hand over testing duties to Lewis Hamilton on Thursday, as the team continues to work through an ongoing development programme.
It was another promising day for Renault, with Heikki Kovalainen clinching the third slot, just behind Fisichella's second place. Although the duo waited until after lunch to begin any meaningful running, they covered 85 laps during the day, as they continued set-up and chassis development work in the two R27s. Only a mechanical failure for Fisichella and a shower of rain in the late afternoon hampered the teams progress.
"The weather dictated our running once again today, explained the Italian. We waited for a long time, which ate into our programme, but these things happen. I had a mechanical problem but I'm not worried - the team is working to find out what happened, and it is always better to have these problems in testing. We will carry on with the programme tomorrow, hopefully with some better weather!"
Kimi Raikkonen was fourth fastest and team mate Felipe Massa eighth, as the two Ferrari drivers continued to evaluate the performance of the teams new challenger, the F2007. Despite the poor weather, the pair completed over 100 laps and will continue testing on Thursday.
Nick Heidfeld, meanwhile, was joined by team mate Robert Kubica for BMW Sauber. Although the damp track forced the team to abandon plans to test aerodynamic developments on the two F1.07s, the duo did complete a tyre and electronic systems evaluation during the day. Heidfeld was fifth fastest, while Kubica, who only managed 38 laps after a hydraulic leak and fire curtailed his running, clocked the seventh quickest time.
Toyotas Jarno Trulli ran another 46 laps in the TF107 on his way to sixth in the times, while team mate Ralf Schumacher covered 31 laps and finished in 11th. For Schumacher it was the first day he has spent in the teams 2007 car since its initial shakedown run in January.
We had damp conditions in the morning so we had to wait a while before we could go out, commented Schumacher. After that is was a good day and we made some good progress. The car felt good again, just as it did on the first day I drove it at Paul Ricard for the shakedown. I must say it seems to be a step forward but we have to wait a little longer to see what the others are up to.
Rubens Barrichello and James Rossiter were ninth and tenth respectively for Honda. While Barrichello took charge of the new RA107, completing 73 laps, Rossiter continued in the teams 2006 car and covered 29 laps. Jenson Button will take over testing duties from Barrichello on Thursday.
Williams test driver Kazuki Nakajima, 13th, had another productive day in the teams interim car, while David Coulthard finished the session in 15th in Red Bulls 2007 challenger, the RB3.
Completing the timesheets were Takuma Sato and tester Giedo van der Garde for Super Aguri. While Sato finished in 14th after completing 37 laps in the Japanese teams interim car, Van der Garde ended his debut Formula One appearance in 16th. The Dutch 21 year-old had hoped to accrue some of the necessary mileage for his FIA Super License application, but only managed four laps of the Spanish track before a mechanical issue curtailed his running.
Testing continues in Valencia on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Valencia:
1. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:12.581
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, 1:12.731
3. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:12.769
4. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:12.861
5. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:13.024
6. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:13.297
7. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:13.303
8. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:13.574
9. Rubens Barrichello, Honda, 1:13.680
10. James Rossiter, Honda, 1:13.734
11. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:13.839
12. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:14.283
13. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:14.406
14. Takuma Sato, Super Aguri, 1:14.812
15. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:15.948
16. Giedo van der Garde, Super Aguri, 1:26.348