This was the first of two tests before the break, the second at Jerez next month. Here’s what the teams were all up to.
Ferrari stole the show as Michael Schumacher had his first official outing in the F2007 – and was fastest on the first two days. Assuming Ferrari were running the same programme as everyone else (and there’s no reason to assume they weren’t) it was a very impressive performance.
After Schumacher left Felipe Massa took over the final days and sustained Ferrari’s position at the top of the time sheets with a 1’21.044 – the fastest time of the week, although Renault disputed that…
BMW had both their race drivers Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica present for the duration of the test, with Heidfeld setting a 1’22.460 on Thursday.
The French team had a single car for Heikki Kovalainen. As was as testing the new electronic control unit for 2008 he did work on the brakes and set-up alterations.
The team claimed he set the quickest time of 1’20.659, but this was not reported anywhere else. Other sources put him second on a 1’21.044. Nelson Piquet Jnr takes over at Jerez.
Nico Rosberg was joined by newly confirmed 2008 driver Kazuki Nakajima for all three days. Both worked on the new electronic control units and had few problems, Nakajima embarking on a mammoth 127 laps on Thursday.
David Coulthard was joined by Karun Chandhok for the first two days of the test, with the Indian GP2 race winner getting within seven-tenths of the Briton’s best time on the second day. Robert Doornbos took Chandhok’s place for the final day (while his Champ Car rival Sebastien Bourdais got settled in at Toro Rosso) but ended the day bottom of the time sheets.
Jarno Trulli and Franck Montagny did the testing – the latter in his final appearance for the team before his replacement as test driver by Kamui Kobayashi.
The start of Montagny’s test on Tuesday was delayed by car problems and Trulli ran into similar difficulty at the end of the day. On Wednesday both caused session stoppages by going off – Trulli with a spin, Montagny with a crash. Once the Frenchman’s car had been repaired the team ran into further software problems.
Thursday went more smoothly and Montagny was third quickest overall with a 1’21.363s.
We can’t call them the two Sebastiens because they spell their names differently. Nonetheless Toro Rosso’s 2008 pairing Sebastian Vettel and Sebastien Bourdais did all three days as they too worked on the new ECU.
Bourdais was fresh from winning his final Champ Car race in Mexico City just 36 hours earlier but settled into life as an F1 driver with no apparent difficulty, although he did have a car failure on Thursday. Vettel was fourth fastest on the final day with a 1’21.486.
Honda ran a number of rookie drivers in addition to regular man Jenson Button. They were Andy Zuber (GP2 driver, Tuesday), James Rossiter (test driver, Tuesday), Luca Filippi (GP2 driver, Wednesday) and Mike Conway (GP2 driver, Thursday). All three will also get another chance to run at Jerez.
As with the other teams testing the 2008 electronics was the main item of business and they also did work on race starts. The cars ran in Honda’s traditional ‘Championship White’ shade rather than the famous Earth Car livery.
Rossiter also turned up for Super Aguri, testing the hybrid SA07-05B in an interim livery. Anthony Davidson did the rest of the testing for the team. Davidson did the work on the electronics while Rossiter concentrated on brake and aerodynamic developments.
Another of the big stories from testing was the appearance of the re-branded Force India F1 team in their new livery.
As well as testing the new ECU the team had an eye on its driver line-up for 2008. Test drivers Roldan Rodriguez and Giedo van der Garde did the first day’s work, the Adrian Sutil, Vitantonio Liuzzi and Christian Klien on the second day, followed by the latter two on Thursday.
Pedro de la Rosa and Gary Paffett were on testing duties for the team with Lewis Hamilton expected to participate at Jerez. Having done over 200 laps in the course of the first two laps the pair restricted mileage to around 30 laps on the final day to ensure Hamilton could get maximum mileage (the teams being restricted in distance by the testing agreement).
De la Rosa was quickest of the pair on Friday with a 1’21.805. Running without driver aids was the objective of the test.
Photos: Ferrari Media | HondaracingF1.com | Peter J Fox / Crash Media Group