De la Rosa Flies at Jerez

Pedro de la Rosa proved that McLaren's modified MP4-20 is now a serious threat to Renault's domination of Formula One when he came close to breaking the lap record during testing at Jerez in Spain on Friday

De la Rosa Flies at Jerez

The Spaniard's best lap of 1:15.651 was just one thousandth of a second slower than Michael Schumacher's unofficial record from last September with the F2004.

Despite just missing out on the record accolade, de la Rosa was clearly delighted with the improvements to the McLaren that are expected to be used for the Spanish Grand Prix.

"I did lots of tyres for Barcelona and also some suspension work on the front, which will be good," he told Autosport-Atlas. "There were many little improvements and I checked out the reliability of that. It is better in all areas - its power, handling and characteristics."

Irrespective of the progress made by the car, de la Rosa's performance will have certainly not hurt his chances of being considered for the second race seat at McLaren for his home Grand Prix if Juan Pablo Montoya is not fit to return.

"I don't know if I will race or not," he said when asked about his chances of a home outing. "With that one-thousandth of a second missing, maybe I should have tried harder."

Behind second fastest Kimi Raikkonen, World Championship leader Fernando Alonso was left almost half a second adrift with the third fastest time, as the team continued their preparations from the Spanish Grand Prix.

But work on Renault's new B-spec engine suffered a pretty major setback when test driver Franck Montagny suffered a spectacular blow-up coming out of the pits in the morning.

Flames reached several metres into the air and burnt the bodywork of the car, with the team now likely to face a tough decision about whether to use that engine in Barcelona or revert to the safer but slightly less fast A-spec unit.

David Coulthard gave his Red Bull Racing team reason to feel more encouraged about the progress being made with the RBR1 as he ended the day less than one tenth of a second slower than Alonso.

The Scotsman was working on aerodynamic developments for the Spanish Grand Prix, with Vitantonio Liuzzi working on tyres and general set-up work to try and improve the balance of the car.

The Toyota team also wrapped up their preparations for the Spanish Grand Prix, with Ralf Schumacher replacing teammate Jarno Trulli.

"It was a reasonable test," said Ralf. "We had a couple of technical issues but we still got through some important work for Barcelona and we should be okay.

"Unfortunately I had to cut short my low-fuel runs because I had some longer stints to do for tyre evaluation. So that part of the programme wasn't totally conclusive and I will have to wait until the next test at Paul Ricard to learn more."

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:15.651 129 2. Raikkonen McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:16.473 69 3. Alonso Renault (M) 1:16.942 97 4. Coulthard Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:17.026 138 5. Panis Toyota (M) 1:17.332 65 6. R.Schumacher Toyota (M) 1:17.405 61 7. Liuzzi Red Bull-Cosworth (M) 1:17.566 92 8. Montagny Renault (M) 1:18.430 61 

All Timing Unofficial

shares
comments
Q & A with Mike Gascoyne
Previous article

Q & A with Mike Gascoyne

Next article

Spain Preview Quotes: BAR

Spain Preview Quotes: BAR
Load comments
What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility Plus

What the FIA must do to restore F1’s credibility

OPINION: The first stage of the 2022 Formula 1 pre-season is just over a month away, but the championship is still reeling from the controversial results of last year’s finale. The FIA acknowledges F1 has had its reputation dented as a result, so here’s how it could go about putting things right

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins Plus

The six F1 subplots to watch in 2022 as a new era begins

As Formula 1 prepares to begin a new era of technical regulations in 2022, Autosport picks out six other key elements to follow this season

Formula 1
Jan 24, 2022
Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1 Plus

Why newly-retired Raikkonen won't miss F1

After 349 grand prix starts, 46 fastest laps, 21 wins and one world championship, Kimi Raikkonen has finally called time on his F1 career. In an exclusive interview with Autosport on the eve of his final race, he explains his loathing of paddock politics and reflects on how motorsport has changed over the past two decades

Formula 1
Jan 23, 2022
Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup Plus

Unpacking the technical changes behind F1 2022's rules shakeup

Formula 1 cars will look very different this year as the long-awaited fresh rules finally arrive with the stated aim of improving its quality of racing. Autosport breaks down what the return of 'ground effect' aerodynamics - and a flurry of other changes besides - means for the teams, and what fans can expect

Formula 1
Jan 21, 2022
Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems Plus

Why new era F1 is still dogged by its old world problems

OPINION: The 2022 Formula 1 season is just weeks away from getting underway. But instead of focusing on what is to come, the attention still remains on what has been – not least the Abu Dhabi title decider controversy. That, plus other key talking points, must be resolved to allow the series to warmly welcome in its new era

Formula 1
Jan 20, 2022
The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022 Plus

The Schumacher trait that will give Haas hope in F1 2022

Mick Schumacher’s knack of improving during his second season in a championship was a trademark of his junior formula career, so his progress during his rookie Formula 1 campaign with Haas was encouraging. His target now will be to turn that improvement into results as the team hopes to reap the rewards of sacrificing development in 2021

Formula 1
Jan 19, 2022
The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push Plus

The “glorified taxi” driver central to F1’s continued safety push

As the driver of Formula 1’s medical car, Alan van der Merwe’s job is to wait – and hope his skills aren’t needed. JAMES NEWBOLD hears from F1’s lesser-known stalwarts

Formula 1
Jan 15, 2022
When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push Plus

When BMW added F1 'rocket fuel' to ignite Brabham's 1983 title push

There was an ace up the sleeve during the 1983 F1 title-winning season of Nelson Piquet and Brabham. It made a frontrunning car invincible for the last three races to see off Renault's Alain Prost and secure the combination's second world title in three years

Formula 1
Jan 13, 2022