“The circuit was in poor condition, and we were delayed by a number of niggling problems until mid-afternoon,” confirmed chief test engineer Christian Silk. “However, the mechanics and engineers did a great job to prepare the cars, and we collected a lot of good data this afternoon, completing our preparations for the race in Monza. It has been a very professional session, and we feel we are well prepared for the forthcoming race.”
Anthony Davidson was third fastest as he joined the test for BAR, taking over from Jenson Button. He ran through a repeat of the aero evaluation which Button completed on Thursday, running 110 laps. Team mate Takuma Sato, fifth quickest, had a frustrating morning as his Honda V10 - an evolution intended for later 2005 races - failed during his first run of the day, although this was quickly changed enabling him to go back out and complete his planned tyre evaluation.
BAR young driver Adam Carroll continued to put more mileage on the team’s 2006 development car, achieving a good level of consistency with some encouraging lap times.
"It's been a good couple of days for me here, particularly today as I was able to cover a lot of mileage for the team - some 459 km, over 81 laps,” said Carroll. “This is the first time that I've driven the Monza circuit so it's been a very valuable experience to learn the track and also to get some preparation before the GP2 race here next weekend. I was a little frustrated at not being able to improve my lap time past a 01:22.416 but the time in the car has been invaluable."
Summing up BAR’s progress, Mark Ellis, chief test engineer, commented: "Monza is now the only high speed, low downforce circuit on the F1 calendar so our test this week has been highly specific to the race next weekend. Our testing has been aimed at optimising the chassis, aero and tyres to the demands of sustained high-speed running, at speeds of over 360kph. We have had a productive two days including proving the latest specification Honda engine, completing more than two race weekends mileage."
Jarno Trulli brought Toyota up the order in his first day of the week with the Japanese team. “We had a strong, reliable day,” he said. “We got through a lot of laps, mainly tyre testing and came to some firm conclusions for the Grand Prix. I also did some general set-up work.”
In contrast, Toyota tester Ricardo Zonta had another difficult day at the wheel of the team’s development chassis, again failing to set a time. “There were a couple of small issues that we wanted to address and so it was a case of data gathering rather than trying to do mileage,” said the Brazilian.
Michael Schumacher gave Ferrari hope of a Monza revival with the day’s sixth-quickest time. At the wheel of the F2005, the world champion and Luca Badoer (11th) concluded preparation work for the Italian race, centred mainly on tyres and aerodynamics. Badoer also successfully concluded the endurance run begun over the past few days.
David Coulthard was the busiest man on track, running over 130 laps on his way to seventh for Red Bull, two places up on team mate Christian Klien. Splitting them was the leading Williams of Nick Heidfeld, the German working alongside test driver Nico Rosberg.
“Nick & Nico finished off a successful test in Monza today, compromised only by a rear suspension problem, which we quickly isolated the cause of and subsequently found a solution to,” reported Williams technical director, Sam Michael. “Over the three day test, we finalised wing settings and mechanical set-up for the forthcoming Grand Prix as well as finalising our tyre compound choice with Michelin.”
After his stint at Ferrari, Felipe Massa rejoined Sauber to take over from team mate Jacques Villeneuve for his final test session with the Swiss squad. "In the morning the track was wet, but nevertheless we were able to sort out the Monza race specification for Felipe's car and finished our tyre selection work in the afternoon,” said Paul Russell, chief test engineer. “In the course of the day we had to change the engine as it has reached its mileage. Although this interrupted our schedule we could still complete our programme.”
Narain Karthikeyan was 14th fastest at the wheel of the revised EJ15B for Jordan’s final day at Monza. The car is expected to make its race debut next weekend in the hands of the Indian’s team mate, Tiago Monteiro.
Completing the line-up was the Minardi of Christijan Albers, the Dutchman completing 99 laps on his maiden outing at the circuit, as the team wrapped up their two-day programme, again focussing on chassis set-up work, tyre evaluation and the assessment of new aerodynamic components.
“We made a big step forward, especially considering that this is the first time I've run at Monza and I didn't know the track,” said Albers. “We started this morning recording immediately a good lap time and we have improved on this during the day by working intensively on the car. Traffic at the end of the session did not allow me to achieve a time as quick as we could have, but it's important to know that the car has the potential to go quicker. I think we can consider ourselves definitely satisfied.”
The next major, multi-team test is due to take place at Silverstone in the week following the Belgian Grand Prix on September 11.
Unofficial Friday times from Monza:
1. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:20.426
2. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:21.197
3. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:21.274
4. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Michelin), 1:21.350
5. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:21.406
6. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:21.408
7. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:21.592
8. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:21.634
9. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:21.652
10. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Michelin), 1:22.094
11. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:22.194
12. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Michelin), 1:22.326
13. Adam Carroll, BAR (Michelin), 1:22.416
14. Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:22.645
15. Christijan Albers, Minardi (Bridgestone), 1:24.006
16. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), no time
Best unofficial times of the week from Monza:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, McLaren (Michelin), 1:19.814 (Thur)
2. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren (Michelin), 1:20.074 (Thur)
3. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:20.426 (Fri)
4. Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault (Michelin), 1:20.772 (Thur)
5. Mark Webber, Williams (Michelin), 1:20.972 (Thur)
6. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:20.986 (Thur)
7. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:21.067 (Thur)
8. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:21.274 (Fri)
9. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:21.306 (Thur)
10. Jarno Trulli, Toyota (Michelin), 1:21.350 (Fri)
11. Luca Badoer, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:21.502 (Thur)
12. David Coulthard, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:21.592 (Fri)
13. Nick Heidfeld, Williams (Michelin), 1:21.634 (Fri)
14. Christian Klien, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:21.652 (Fri)
15. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:21.697 (Wed)
16. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren (Michelin), 1:21.912 (Wed)
17. Jacques Villeneuve, Sauber (Michelin), 1:21.924 (Thur)
18. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:21.995 (Wed)
19. Felipe Massa, Sauber (Michelin), 1:22.094 (Fri)
20. Ralf Schumacher, Toyota (Michelin), 1:22.148 (Thur)
21. Nico Rosberg, Williams (Michelin), 1:22.326 (Fri)
22. Adam Carroll, BAR (Michelin), 1:22.416 (Fri)
23. Felipe Massa, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:22.420 (Wed)
24. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:22.506s (Tue)
25. Narain Karthikeyan, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:22.645 (Fri)
26. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Red Bull (Michelin), 1:23.188 (Wed)
27. Tiago Monteiro, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:23.385 (Thur)
28. Christijan Albers, Minardi (Bridgestone), 1:24.006 (Fri)
29. Robert Doornbos, Minardi (Bridgestone), 1:24.796 (Thur)
30. Nicolas Kiesa, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:24.802 (Thur)
31. Nicky Pastorelli, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:25.902 (Thur)
32. Olivier Panis, Toyota (V8) (Michelin), 1:27.984 (Wed)