Jerez 1: New FW26 quickest

Juan Pablo Montoya demonstrated the potential of Williams's radical new FW26 challenger by setting the fastest time on the first day of testing at Jerez today (Wednesday)

Jerez 1: New FW26 quickest

Following a day's running at Valencia, largely for the purposes of filming, Williams moved to the track in southern Spain as pre-season testing began in earnest. Montoya completed 46 laps in the new machine, although a gearbox problem delayed him in the afternoon.

Although Montoya's best lap was over a second clear of the second-quickest machine, Ricardo Zonta's Toyota, both driver and team were keeping their aspirations in check.

"It's a normal testing day," said Montoya. "It was ok, but it's too early to say anything more."

Williams technical director Patrick Head told autosport.com: "We had a small gearbox problem with Juan Pablo's car. It's only the start of a long preparation process prior to Melbourne, but it wasn't a bad first day.

"We decided to push the car early because that's what we didn't do last year, and we thought we'd try something different. We're basically going through the systems on the car and checking the response of the drivers. It is a big encouragement to the guys back in the factory who worked on the car. It's still early days yet, and because of the problems we've done very little today, but we'll see."

Marc Gene was also in action for the team, and set the third quickest time in a hybrid FW25 fitted with a 2004 engine and gearbox. The Spaniard completed 41 laps, and was himself slowed by gearbox and transmission problems.

Toyota tester Zonta was joined at the test by race driver Olivier Panis, both running in hybrid versions of 2003's TF103.

Jarno Trulli was fourth quickest, in Renault's 2003 hybrid car, which featured a new gearbox and engine. He was joined by Franck Montagny, with both working on brake and differential programmes.

Ferrari were the fourth team in action, running test driver Luca Badoer alongside Felipe Massa, still conducting work for the Italian team despite his deal to race for Sauber this season. Massa was the quickest of the two, although his best time was only good enough for sixth overall, over two seconds slower than Montoya.

Juan Pablo Montoya Williams-BMW M 1m16.630s 51*
Ricardo Zonta Toyota M 1m17.984s 72
Marc Gene Williams-BMW M 18.045s 41
Jarno Trulli Renault M 1m18.092s 99
Franck Montagny Renault M 1m18.242s 90
Felipe Massa Ferrari B 1m19.002s 60
Luca Badoer Ferrari B 1m19.207s 60
Olivier Panis Toyota M 1m19.377s 47

* denotes 2004 car
B = Bridgestone
M = Michelin

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Montoya Flies with FW26 at Jerez - Day One

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