Spyker and Williams had their new cars in action for the first time – but Red Bull still seem dogged by mechanical problems. Read on for the team-by-team round-up.
The teams agreed on Wednesday the procedure by which they would extend test sessions in the event of bad weather.
Having done that, they elected not to put it into practice when this week’s testing was spoiled by rain. Rather than hang around on Friday for what promised to be just more rain, they prepared to move on to Barcelona next week.
Neither Scuderia Toro Rosso nor Super Aguri were testing their new cars yet – possibly an indication of how confident they are that they will be able to run ex-Red Bull and Honda chassis respectivaly in 2007?
Spyker were the only team testing somewhere other than Jerez, as the shook down their new cars at Silverstone.
McLaren continued their form from the previous week with Pedro de la Rosa fastest on Tuesday at 1m 20.001s. But the small margin of his advantage indicated that long runs and reliability were the order of the day – he was just 0.035s faster than Alexander Wurz and 0.714 faster than 11th-placed Sebastian Vettel.
But de la Rosa and Lewis Hamilton (fourth, 1m 20.233s) managed over 100 laps with no problems.
The following day Fernando Alonso replace de la Rosa and was fourth quickest, Hamilton second, both again doing over 100 laps each, though Alonso stopped on track twice.
The Spaniard did only nine laps on Friday morning and then left the track, dodging a media briefing to the annoyance of the assembled journalists. De la Rosa did 71.
Renault professed themselves happy with the reliability of the car during the previous week’s test at Valencia but, like everyone else, frustrated by the weather.
Nelson Piquet Jnr did more laps than anyone on Tuesday (117) but was 13th on lap times with Ricardo Zonta behind him. On the second day Piquet was sixth, 0.334s behind Felipe Massa, but Zonta did ten laps more (86).
When Thursday dawned wet the drivers did no more than installation laps before the team elected to pack up, which at least allowed them to save their tyres.
When asked, Ferrari’s new star Kimi Raikkonen insisted he wasn’t worried about the Ferrari’s pace and that meaningful times wouldn’t appear until the teams got to Bahrain. Given the lousy weather that has blighted testing so far, he’s probably right.
Raikkonen was in action with Luca Badoer on Tuesday, the team running two F2007s for the first time, but without an unwell Massa. He proved fully fit on his return on Wednesday when he was quickest. Raikkonen was fifth and although each car did 46 laps Raikkonen lost a lot of time with a mechanical problem.
The car ran better in the wet on Thursday when Raikkonen did 89 laps, Massa 44.
Jenson Button was one lap short of 100 on the first day while Christian Klien was slowest. Button the hit the hundred on Wednesday after which he was replaced by team mate Rubens Barrichello, who did 64 laps on the wet final day.
The team rarely troubled the top end of the timing sheets but appeared to have little in the way of serious technical problems, apart from Barrichello’s stoppage on Friday morning.
Before testing began Nick Heidfeld took a BMW out for a publicity spin on a frozen lake in St Moritz, Switzerland last Sunday. It must have stood him in good stead for the wet running on Thursday, when he was fastest.
Robert Kubica had been third quickes on Tuesday but did only 46 laps; Vettel was 11th with 51. Kubica was third again on Wednesday. Timo Glock backed up Heidfeld’s strong times on Thursday with the third fastest time from 27 laps.
Massa suggested that BMW looked quicker than Ferrari and McLaren over long runs.
Toyota suffered car trouble on Tuesday (Franck Montagny) and Wednesday (Ralf Schumacher) which might have been why they completed more laps than anyone in the wet on Friday.
None of their drivers repeated Ralf Schumacher feat from the previous week of topping the session times.
Red Bull managed 314 laps with two cars over three days, the bulk of which came on Thursday. Mark Webber had a hat-trick of car failures – one on each day – and to cap it all complained of an ill-fitting seat which will be remade in time for the Barcelona test next week.
David Coulthard also ran into trouble on Thursday, but the pair insisted their problems were not insurmountable. Webber said the test was, “not too bad.”
Williams surprised with the second-fastest time of the day on Tuesday, Wurz just 0.035s slower than de la Rosa, although his car failed before the end of the day.
He and team mate Nico Rosberg were with 0.011s of each other on Wednesday. On Thursday Wurz was second again but this time it was Rosberg’s turn to run into mechanical problems.
An enthusiastic Sam Michael said the test was, “a bloody good start.”
Sutil completed 26 laps on the second day before a minor crash damaged the right hand side of the car.
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