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Jerez day one - strong start for new Williams 07 Feb 2007

Nico Rosberg (GER) Williams FW29, runs for the first time. Formula One Testing, Day One Jerez, Spain, 6 February 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton Pedro de la Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 Formula One Testing, Day One Jerez, Spain, 6 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Robert Kubica (POL) BMW Sauber F1.07, and Sebastian Vettel (GER) BMW Sauber Third Driver Formula One Testing, Day One Jerez, Spain, 6 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton David Coulthard (GBR) Red Bull Racing RB3 Formula One Testing, Day One Jerez, Spain, 6 February 2007. World © Patching/Sutton Kimi Raikkonen (FIN) Ferrari F2007 Formula One Testing, Day One Jerez, Spain, 6 February 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton

The Williams FW29 made a highly encouraging track debut on Tuesday, as this week’s three-day Formula One test got underway in Spain. Alexander Wurz drove the new car to the second-fastest time, less than a tenth down on the pace-setting McLaren of Pedro de la Rosa.

Having launched the car at their UK factory last week, Williams had two chassis in action. Between them, Wurz and team mate Nico Rosberg (ninth fastest) completed close to 140 laps, with no major problems.

“Completing 611kms in total on the first running day with no issues with temperatures, vibrations etc., is a good start,” said Williams technical director Sam Michael. “Motivation within the team is really high and everyone is pushing hard to get the best out of the car before the first Grand Prix. Both drivers started testing different set-up packages before midday as there are some interesting new directions with this car and the Bridgestone Potenza tyres."

De la Rosa’s fastest time, meanwhile, suggests McLaren’s positive testing form from Valencia last week is set to continue. The Spanish test driver was joined by team mate Lewis Hamilton, who finished the day fourth. The pair concentrated on long runs in the morning, with both MP4-22s completing full race distances, before switching to set-up and evaluation work in the afternoon. Fellow race driver Fernando Alonso will join Hamilton on Wednesday.

Robert Kubica clocked the third-fastest time, while Sebastian Vettel took 11th for BMW Sauber. The two F1.07s covered a total of 100 laps during the day, although hydraulic problems in the afternoon hindered progress for both men, as they undertook set-up and aerodynamic evaluations.

Kimi Raikkonen was fifth for Ferrari, while the Italian team’s tester Luca Badoer finished in 10th. Badoer, who stood in for an ill Felipe Massa at the last minute, completed 65 laps, while Raikkonen notched up a further 20. Both drove in F2007s and worked through development programmes with the new car. Massa will join the test on Wednesday.

Toyota began their three-day test with Ralf Schumacher and test driver Franck Montagny in sixth and eighth respectively. The team took advantage of the sunny conditions at the Spanish track to learn more about the new TF107. Although some technical problems disrupted proceedings for both drivers, the team remained positive.

“We gained a lot of useful information from both cars today but, as expected in testing, there were one or two issues which cost us time,” explained Toyota test team manager Gerd Pfeiffer. “Franck unfortunately caused a red flag when he suffered a transmission problem and had to stop on the track. Ralf had to wait during the afternoon for a minor oil spillage around the engine to be cleaned and we also made some suspension set-up changes which took time.”

Honda’s Jenson Button, driving the team’s new RA107, split the Toyotas to take seventh, while tester Christian Klien took the 16th slot in the older RA106. Button initially spent time finding a good balance on the 2007 challenger, focusing on tyre and aero evaluations. The British driver covered 99 laps, while Klien completed 33, working through some electronic controls work and race start simulations. IndyCar driver Marco Andretti will take to the track on Wednesday in Klien’s place for a second test with the team.

Red Bull’s David Coulthard and Mark Webber ended the day in 12th and 15th respectively, split by the two Renaults of Nelson Piquet Jr and Ricardo Zonta. Both Renault test drivers fielded the team’s new R27 and completed just under 200 laps in total. Zonta, who was making his debut for the team, got to grips with the new car and met test team members for the first time, while Piquet Jr continued the development programmes begun in Valencia last week.

Testing continues in Jerez on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Jerez:
1. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:19.998
2. Alexander Wurz, Williams, 1:20.018
3. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:20.148
4. Lewis Hamilton, McLaren, 1:20.222
5. Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, 1:20.225
6. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota, 1:20.254
7. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:20.362
8. Franck Montagny, Toyota, 1:20.409
9. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:20.523
10. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:20.662
11. Sebastian Vettel, BMW Sauber, 1:20.690
12. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1’21.023
13. Nelson Piquet Jr, Renault, 1:21.261
14. Ricardo Zonta, Renault, 1:21.393
15. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.530
16. Christian Klien, Honda, 1:22.078