Barc 1: Schuey fastest

Michael Schumacher returned from his traditional winter break to set the fastest time on the first day of Barcelona testing for Ferrari. The world champion was more than 1.5s quicker than Mark Webber's Williams BMW, but the German set his best time in a 2004-spec chassis

Barc 1: Schuey fastest

Ferrari ran Schumacher - fresh from meeting the Pope - in a revised F2004 for most the day, during which time he set a best of 1m18.964s. But then the world champions reverted the car to last year's set-up, wings, floor and all, to record some benchmark data for the team to work against on the resurfaced Barcelona track.

"After we got the final okay from the Pope we have started the new testing session. It wasn't a problem with the new regulations [as to why I was slow], but the new track surface."

Schumacher was one of several drivers to comment on the circuit conditions, which have been affected by oil seeping through the new asphalt and bumps at Turns 1, 3 and 4. "In the morning the track was damp and cold and very, very dusty," he said. "It got better towards the end of the afternoon but off line it was very, very slippery. So much so that it didn't matter which configuration you were driving."

Toyota's Jarno Trulli will have been encouraged that he lapped faster in his new Toyota TF105 than when the world champion was driving the revised car. The Italian will have been less pleased however that he managed to break the floor of the new car while with its ride-height set-up.

Webber and Antonio Pizzonia were second and third fastest as they continued Williams 2005 Michelin tyre evaluation. The Brazilian has expected to complete a long run in the afternoon but was scuppered by a burnt-out clutch.

Toyota worked on set-up of the new TF105. It's drivers Trulli (fourth fastest) and Ralf Schumacher (seventh fastest) both played around with different ideas for Barcelona. Trulli had his own new chassis for the test and spent the morning conducting system checks until he went too far with the ride height...

With the surface initially looking as if any running the teams did would prove fruitless, Renault and Sauber made a break for it and will test in Valencia instead. At one point it seemed Red Bull Racing would do the same, but instead the team stayed on at Barcelona and worked through a 2005 Michelin programme, using effectively a pair of 2004-spec Jaguar R5s. Interestingly, David Coulthard was nearly a second faster than potential team-mate Vitantonio Liuzzi.

Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1m15.461s 71
Mark Webber (Williams-BMW), 1m17.137s 92
Antonio Pizzonia (Williams-BMW), 1m17.357s 92
Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1m18.392s 64
David Coulthard (Red Bull-Cosworth), 1m18.449s 68
Michael Schumacher (Ferrari), 1m18.964s 32*
Vitantonio Liuzzi (Red Bull-Cosworth), 1m19.389s 66
Ralf Schumacher (Toyota), 1m19.961s 47

*Designates hybrid F2004 car

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