Barcelona day three - Massa keeps Ferrari top 03 May 2007
With the sun shining once again on Barcelonas Circuit de Catalunya, all 11 teams reverted to their scheduled test programmes on Wednesday. Felipe Massa was the fastest, picking up where team mate Kimi Raikkonen had left off to maintain Ferraris stranglehold on the timesheets. Massa's quickest lap of 1m 21.506s was over three-tenths of a second faster than Mark Webbers best in the Red Bull.
Massa took advantage of the dry conditions at the Spanish circuit to complete 106 laps, as he tested the F2007s new aerodynamic package for the first time. Nico Rosberg in the Williams, however, was not so lucky. An accident at the beginning of the morning session rendered his badly-damaged FW29 irreparable at the track, prompting the team to leave the test early and return to the UK.
Just two tenths down on Webbers second-placed Red Bull was Jarno Trulli in the Toyota. The Italian covered over 100 laps as he carried out his first run in the aerodynamically-upgraded TF107. Toyota will take advantage of the test extension and return to the track on Thursday with Ralf Schumacher back behind the wheel.
Renault's Heikki Kovalainen filled the fourth slot, after covering a massive 123 laps. Kovalainen worked on car set-up during the morning, before switching to aero testing and tyre evaluations in the afternoon. With team mate Giancarlo Fisichella taking over on Thursday, it was the Finns last day in the car.
"I think we made good progress with the aero tests today, and we compared the two tyre types over long runs to compare the tyre wear and the car's handling, explained Kovalainen. The results of our work were encouraging. What's more, I have driven in wet and dry conditions this week, which means I am feeling well-prepared for next week's race. I am now really looking forward to seeing how the weekend goes."
McLarens Fernando Alonso completed 73 laps and finished fifth fastest. After only completing a brief installation lap during Tuesdays wet-weather running, it was Alonsos first full day in the car and in addition to evaluating set-ups for the forthcoming Spanish race, the Spaniard tested the teams new aerodynamic package and checked systems and cooling reliability. Tester De la Rosa will be back in action for McLaren's fourth and final day of testing.
BMW Saubers Robert Kubica was sixth quickest, as he carried out tyre and set-up work in the F1.07. Just a tenth down on Kubica was Jenson Button, who had taken over from Rubens Barrichello in the Honda. Button covered 115 laps as he ran through a series of aero evaluations and worked on Spanish Grand Prix preparations.
Anthony Davidson, meanwhile, was in action for Super Aguri, during the Japanese teams last day at the track. Davidson evaluated car set-up and tyres over his 114 laps. Seven-tenths down on the Englishman was Toro Rossos Scott Speed in ninth, while Spykers Christijan Albers took up the tenth spot. Albers focused on tyre and suspension testing, although a mechanical problem in the afternoon limited his running.
We had a fairly useful day today with Christijan, explained Mike Gascoyne, Spykers chief technical officer. We made some improvements to the car's handling with some different damper settings and the car was fairly consistent in the longer runs, so we can be confident of a better performance in the race next week. We stopped running early when we discovered a small problem with the rear of the car, but it's not something that will affect us next time out in Barcelona. Overall it was a useful test and we can now look forward to the Grand Prix.
With an extra day added to the Barcelona test due to Tuesday's poor weather, all teams bar Williams, Spyker, Super Aguri and Toro Rosso will return to conclude their programmes on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Barcelona:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:21.506
2. Mark Webber, Red Bull, 1:21.804
3. Jarno Trulli, Toyota, 1:22.039
4. Heikki Kovalainen, Renault, 1:22.378
5. Fernando Alonso, McLaren, 1:22.579
6. Robert Kubica, BMW Sauber, 1:22.653
7. Jenson Button, Honda, 1:22.765
8. Anthony Davidson, Super Aguri, 1:23.027
9. Scott Speed, Toro Rosso, 1:23.713
10. Christijan Albers, Spyker, 1:24.870
11. Nico Rosberg, Williams, no time