Barcelona day one - Ferrari head Honda in Spain

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa set the Monday pace at Barcelona’s Circuit de Catalunya at the start of a four-day test session. Second to Massa in the timesheets was the Honda of Alexander Wurz, followed by McLaren’s Pedro de la Rosa.

A total of nine teams were in action, each fielding a single car, with the majority evaluating new components and aero packages ahead of the Spanish Grand Prix later this month. Weather conditions were fine and dry apart from some rain during the final hour.

Massa’s best time - over two seconds quicker than Wurz’s - was set on slick tyres, which Bridgestone are evaluating this week ahead of their possible return next season. The Brazilian’s programme also included testing new aerodynamic components for the forthcoming Barcelona race. He will continue in the F2008 on Tuesday.

Wurz filled the second slot for Honda after a busy day testing Bridgestone’s 2009 tyres. The Austrian covered 75 laps during the day but will hand over the RA108 to Rubens Barrichello on Tuesday. Fellow tester De la Rosa, meanwhile, was third for McLaren. The Spaniard, who covered 103 laps, will be replaced by Lewis Hamilton for the second day of the test.

Nick Heidfeld was fourth fastest for BMW Sauber as he worked on the F1.08’s aerodynamic set-up. Heidfeld also found time to evaluate different engine mappings for the forthcoming Spanish Grand Prix and completed 105 laps. The German driver will continue to test on Tuesday before team mate Robert Kubica steps in on Wednesday.

Nelson Piquet was fifth quickest after covering 91 laps for Renault. Alongside general set-up work, Piquet spent the day evaluating several upgrades to the R28. He will hand over to team mate Fernando Alonso on Tuesday.

“It was another good day of work,” explained the Brazilian. “The track conditions were good, so there were no problems there and we had a productive morning. Unfortunately I lost some time in the afternoon and so I did not do as many laps as I would have liked. We tried some new things but the more interesting work will come later in the week.”

David Coulthard was sixth fastest for Red Bull, ahead of Williams’ Kazuki Nakajima and Timo Glock in the Toyota. Glock covered 93 laps, as he carried out aerodynamic work in the TF108.

"Today was a productive day and the team and mechanics did a good job,” he explained. “Everybody was focused on the new bits and pieces that we have brought and trying to find the right way forward. In the end that's what we did. I made one small mistake in the morning and spun off but it didn't cost us too much running time. The time sheets might not show it yet but I'm happy with our work so far.”

Completing Monday’s line-up was tester Vitantonio Liuzzi, who ended in ninth for Force India. Liuzzi initially focused on establishing a baseline set-up with the 2008 aero package and tyres before switching to the 2009 slicks and wings in the afternoon. He completed 91 laps and will be replaced by race driver Giancarlo Fisichella for Tuesday’s session.

Unofficial Monday times from Barcelona:
1. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:18.613
2. Alexander Wurz, Honda, 1:21.059
3. Pedro de la Rosa, McLaren, 1:21.566
4. Nick Heidfeld, BMW Sauber, 1:21.679
5. Nelson Piquet, Renault, 1:21.913
6. David Coulthard, Red Bull, 1:22.193
7. Kazuki Nakajima, Williams, 1:22.431
8. Timo Glock, Toyota, 1:22.590
9. Vitantonio Liuzzi, Force India, 1:22.846