Jerez 1: Sauber back on form

Felipe Massa topped the times for Sauber on the first day of this week's major Jerez test - and declared himself "happy and relieved" by his team's return to form after it appeared uncompetitive at Barcelona last week

Jerez 1: Sauber back on form

The new Sauber C24 had looked promising in its first runs at Valencia, but then struggled for pace at Catalunya, leading to suggestions that Massa and team-mate Jacques Villeneuve were facing a long and difficult season in the lower midfield. Massa believes that his performance in today's Jerez session gives a truer picture of Sauber's potential.

"Today it was basic set-up work, no tyre testing or anything, just set-up work - and everything worked," Massa told autosport.com.

"After Barcelona I was very worried. In fact I was scared, because whatever we tried nothing went right. Here, whenever we made changes the car got more competitive. Now we can look forward.

"I don't understand what went wrong in Barcelona, if it was the new (track) surface or because it was very cold. I'm just so happy and relieved now."

Ironically Massa's team-mate Villeneuve was at the very bottom of the timesheets, a full 3.5s slower than the Brazilian. The 1997 world champion claimed he was not unhappy however, as he had been working on particular changes to the front end of the car and had not been concentrating on lap times.

"I want to understand what the car does and what suits me," said Villeneuve. "I started with a base set-up and made lots of changes. It didn't matter about lap times, we just kept changing parameters."

Jarno Trulli was second fastest in the new Toyota, although this time was reportedly set on a light fuel run. His team-mate Ricardo Zonta was third ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya in a McLaren fitted with an unusual horn-shaped mid-wing (see separate story).

Williams' pair Nick Heidfeld and Mark Webber were seventh and eighth quickest, with recent signing Heidfeld apparently happier in the car than team-mate Webber. Reports suggest that the German's smooth driving style is proving well-suited to the new aerodynamic and tyre regulations.

Rubens Barrichello was only ninth fastest for Ferrari as the team worked on a new construction of Bridgestone tyre. Although 1.7s off the pace, Ferrari was said to be happy with the data collected regarding the new tyres.

BAR managed little running after Takuma Sato lost his rear wing and had a large accident near the end of the morning (see separate story). The team may have to curtail its test programme in the event of mechanical problems as it only has three Honda engines fitted with the latest components.

British Formula 3 champion Nelson Piquet Jr had his first run for BAR in a 2004 chassis, lapping respectably close to Anthony Davidson and Sato - although the team's problems and the difference between the cars made it hard to draw definite conclusions about his performance.



Felipe Massa (Sauber-Ferrari) 1m17.501s (65 laps)
Jarno Trulli (Toyota) 1m17.699s (58)
Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1m18.177s (52)
Juan Pablo Montoya (McLaren-Mercedes) 1m18.248s (37)
Pedro de la Rosa (McLaren-Mercedes) 1m18.354s (75)
Fernando Alonso (Renault) 1m18.676s (123)
Nick Heidfeld (Williams-BMW) 1m18.807s (99)
Mark Webber (Williams-BMW) 1m18.987s (81)
Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari) 1m19.220s (39)
David Coulthard (Red Bull-Cosworth) 1m19.306s (42)
Luca Badoer (Ferrari) 1m19.724s (61)*
Giancarlo Fisichella (Renault) 1m19.842s (86)
Christian Klien (Red Bull-Cosworth) 1m19.975s (51)
Anthony Davidson (BAR-Honda) 1m20.307s (18)
Takuma Sato (BAR-Honda) 1m20.539s (26)
Nelson Piquet Jr (BAR-Honda) 1m20.835s (41)*
Jacques Villeneuve (Sauber-Ferrari) 1m21.062s (59)

* Denotes driver in 2004 chassis. Badoer's Ferrari was modified to fit 2005 rules. All other drivers in 2005 cars.

shares
comments
F1 Cost-Cutting Moves Could be Ditched

Previous article

F1 Cost-Cutting Moves Could be Ditched

Next article

Webber slams F1 'economy run'

Webber slams F1 'economy run'
Load comments
The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling Plus

The mid-season rule change that has left F1 teams scrambling

The technical directive issued by Formula 1 to reduce levels of automation in pitstops has given teams an unwelcome period of adjustment. Although safety was the primary goal, it has already had a significant impact on the title race and puts extra pressure on teams to deliver as the season reaches the business end

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1 Plus

How the pandemic is continuing to bite F1

Uncertainty over the shape of the calendar doesn’t just vex the fans and the commercial rights holder. MARK GALLAGHER explains at how race promoters have been pushed to the financial brink

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words Plus

Hamilton at 100 wins: In his adversaries’ words

Some 18 drivers have finished runner-up to Lewis Hamilton on his way to 100 wins. Three of those recall their battles with Formula 1’s centurion and give their personal insights into the seven-time world champion on his rise to unchartered territory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings Plus

Russian Grand Prix Driver Ratings

The 2021 Russian GP was decided by late-arriving rain that allowed some to climb and caused others to plummet. But the events which played out beforehand are equally significant when considering the all-important driver ratings

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi Plus

How Mercedes made the “blind faith” call that won Hamilton his 100 milestone at Sochi

Until rain turned the Russian Grand Prix on its head in the closing stages, Lando Norris was set to convert his first Formula 1 pole position into a maiden win. But having recovered well from being shuffled back at the start, Hamilton and his Mercedes team called the changing conditions spot-on for a landmark 100th F1 victory

Formula 1
Sep 27, 2021
Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces Plus

Why momentum is again behind Australia’s aces

At the Italian Grand Prix Daniel Ricciardo turned around a troubled F1 season and, in F2, Oscar Piastri demonstrated once again that he is a potential star of the future. BEN EDWARDS weighs up the prospects of F1 having two Australian stars

Formula 1
Sep 26, 2021
The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers Plus

The tough balancing act facing Schumacher’s Netflix film producers

Michael Schumacher is the latest sporting superstar to get the ‘Netflix treatment’, with a special documentary film airing on the US streaming giant’s platform this month. DAMIEN SMITH has the inside track on how the filmmakers gained access to tell the human story behind one of Formula 1’s most publicity-shy champions - while the man himself, for obvious reasons, is in absentia… 

Formula 1
Sep 25, 2021
The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery Plus

The times that suggest Verstappen should be confident of F1 Russian GP recovery

For the second race in a row, Mercedes has ended the first day of track action on top. It’s in a commanding position at the Russian Grand Prix once again – this time largely thanks to Max Verstappen’s upcoming engine-change grid penalty. But there’s plenty to suggest all hope is not lost for the championship leader at Sochi

Formula 1
Sep 24, 2021