Overnight rain and cool temperatures meant that the start to Valencia testing was slow and limited with many teams waiting for the track to dry. The circuit dried out by late afternoon and many drivers and teams were seen on the track.
After a couple of runs, David Coulthard has stated he is ‘disappointed’ with the revised circuit layout. He stated that officials had missed out on an opportunity to talk to drivers before they made up the slower section on the Circuit de Catalunya. The ‘Europcar’ corner has been changed from a fast right hander towards the end of the lap, to a tighter bend which then leads into a slow 90 degree bend left. Although he supports safety improvements, Coulthard has said that he was ‘disappointed’ that most of the drivers did not know the changes were happening. He also said that noone had thought that the new layout was an improvement or a good solution.
Meanwhile, Briatore has stated that although he thinks Alonso is good, he isn’t as good as most people think. He has a lot of hopes pinned on their rookie driver, Heikki Kovalainen and has said he is their ‘investment for the future’.
Perhaps Briatore is regretting those words after Alonso put in some storming times on the Valencia circuit, and finished the day with the fastest time of the day by nearly a second. He completed 96 laps with a benchmark time of a minute 12.538 seconds. Running on wets in the morning, and then switching to dry tyres in the afternoon, Alonso had to end his day slightly prematurely when his car sprung an oil leak. However, he is still over a second ahead of fellow title contender, Kimi Raikkonen, who was driving in the new Ferrari for the first time.
Behind Raikkonen, Nelson Piquet Jnr was out in the Renault and was just 0.017 seconds behind. Piquet was unable to complete all planned tests due to the poor weather and has had to extend his testing run on Friday to compensate.
The Toyota pair of Montagny and Trulli put in some good times to finish less than a tenth of a second apart in fourth and fifth, with Heidfeld coming in sixth for BMW-Sauber, although he also was troubled by technical problems throughout the day.
Testing times for the first day of testing were:
1. Fernando Alonso McLaren-Mercedes 1min 12.538secs 96 laps
2. Kimi Raikkonen Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 13.533secs 48 laps
3. Nelson Piquet Jr Renault-Renault 1min 13.550secs 31 laps
4. Franck Montagny Toyota-Toyota 1min 13.672secs 38 laps
5. Jarno Trulli Toyota-Toyota 1min 13.752secs 54 laps
6. Nick Heidfeld BMW Sauber-BMW 1min 13.863secs 56 laps
7. Giancarlo Fisichella Renault-Renault 1min 13.871secs 37 laps
8. Rubens Barrichello Honda-Honda 1min 14.018secs 35 laps
9. Sebastien Vettel BMW Sauber-BMW 1min 14.047secs 81 laps
10. Kazuki Nakajima Williams-Toyota 1min 14.527secs 79 laps
11. James Rossiter Honda-Honda 1min 14.638secs 43 laps
12. Takuma Sato Super Aguri-Honda 1min 15.684secs 31 laps
13. Mark Webber Red Bull-Renault 1min 15.729secs 32 laps
14. Luca Badoer Ferrari-Ferrari 1min 20.030secs 47 laps