Gene quickest at Barcelona


Ferrari test driver Marc Gene was the quickest of seven drivers on duty at Barcelona today, as testing for the start of the European F1 season got underway.

Gene was joined by Luca Badoer, and for once both drivers had a 248 F1 at their disposal, as the Italian team introduces a range of new components.

Badoer worked mainly on development of the new components, while his Spanish colleague began an endurance run. Between them the Ferrari drivers completed 198 laps, the only problems being a couple of 'offs'.

Tomorrow, Gene will be joined by Felipe Massa.

Splitting the two Maranello cars was WilliamsF1's Nico Rosberg, who was partnered by Narain Karthikeyan.

In the morning, the German lost time as a result of a technical problem, but was able to get some serious mileage under his belt in the afternoon.

"Both drivers completed a busy testing schedule," said test team manager, Mike Condliffe, "running new aero parts and suspension items in the morning, followed by tyre construction tests in the afternoon.

"Mark will join Nico tomorrow for the second day of the test."

Red Bull had both its race drivers on duty, Christian Klien finishing fifth fastest, and David Coulthard seventh. Neither driver had a trouble-free day, with both drivers having a number of offs and the Austrian suffering an engine failure. Between them the Milton Keynes duo managed just 101 laps.

Splitting the two Red Bull cars was Neel Jani in the Toro Rosso. "We had no problems with our car," said general manager, Gianfranco Fantuzzi, "and there were few interruptions for red flags, so we were able to run pretty much constantly throughout.

"Our programme focused on set-up work, evaluating different brake materials and assessing different aero downforce levels."

Tomorrow (Wednesday), Toyota, Super Aguri, BMW, McLaren, Renault and Honda join the test.

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Published: 11/04/2006
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