Day one (two for Toyota who started early this time) at Jerez saw Renault’s Heikki Kovalainen top the time sheets for the first time since winter testing began last month, setting a time half a second quicker than that of Luca Badoer in the Ferrari. The test – which is the last of the year – saw all teams bar Spyker on circuit, and with the still absent Kimi Raikkonen and Fernando Alonso, test drivers pounded the Spanish track all day developing their cars in preparation for 2007.
Honda have continued their good lap times from the previous weeks test and placed themselves third and fourth with James Rossiter and Christian Klien. Kovalainen’s team mate Giancarlo Fisichella was fifth, still acclimatising himself to Bridgestone rubber.
McLaren also fielded both their testers Pedro De La Rosa and Gary Paffett, who finshed the day in sixth and eleventh respectively. McLaren will have to continue with their test drivers and Lewis Hamilton until the new year as Renault chief Flavio Briatore made it abundantly clear earlier in the week that Fernando Alonso will not be released from his contract early.
Also present at Jerez was ChampCar champion Sebastian Bourdais, who participated in his first test in a Formula One since 2002, driving the Toro Rosso around the the track 82 times, and setting a time 0.7s behind regular Rosso driver Vitantonio Liuzzi.
1. Kovalainen – Renault – 1m19.466s
2. Badoer – Ferrari – 1m19.907s
3. Klien – Honda – 1m19.999s
4. Rossiter – Honda – 1m20.017s
5. Fisichella – Renault – 1m20.107s
6. De La Rosa – McLaren – 1m20.130s
7. Massa – Ferrari – 1m20.143s
8. Heidfeld – BMW – 1m20.211s
9. Trulli – Toyota – 1m20.244s
10. Montagny – Toyota – 1m20.484s
11. Paffett – McLaren – 1m20.540s
12. Vettel – BMW – 1m20.564s
13. Nakajima – Williams – 1m20.860s
14. Sato – Super Aguri – 1m20.977s
15. Ammermuller – Red Bull Racing – 1m21.369s
16. Liuzzi – Toro Rosso – 1m21.840s
17. Bourdais – Toro Rosso – 1m22.518s