McLaren remained strong in Valencia today with David Coulthard taking the honours at the top of the times. The Scot set a fastest of 1:10.983 over 48 laps. McLaren tester Alex Wurz was third quickest but was denied a team one-two by the Sauber of...
McLaren remained strong in Valencia today with David Coulthard taking the honours at the top of the times. The Scot set a fastest of 1:10.983 over 48 laps. McLaren tester Alex Wurz was third quickest but was denied a team one-two by the Sauber of Heinz-Harald Frentzen. The times were very close, Frentzen just one tenth of a second behind Coulthard, Wurz a mere two hundredths behind the Sauber. The top eight were separated by less than a second.
Both Saubers suffered transmission problems, Nick Heidfeld also being on track and fifth fastest, but continued work on mechanical and aerodynamic set-up.
Ferrari was resigned to fourth, sixth and ninth quickest, Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and tester Luca Badoer respectively. They carried on an electronic and tyre test programme and racked up 198 laps between them.
Giancarlo Fisichella continued to get some solid running in the Jordan Ford EJ13, having a busy workload of engine mapping for Cosworth, general set-up, evaluating brake materials, gearbox work and Bridgestone's tyre test programme. The Italian was seventh fastest.
Toyota again ran two cars, Olivier Panis eighth and Cristiano da Matta twelfth. The pair completed Toyota's week of testing with more evaluation work on the TF103. The drivers worked together, exchanging information, and both were reasonably happy with the progress.
Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button continued for BAR, tenth and thirteenth, and Antonio Pizzonia was the sole Jaguar on track. The Brazilian continued with work started by team mate Mark Webber earlier in the week and today focused on tyre testing.
Jos Verstappen made his return to F1 with Minardi in slightly unsettled circumstances. Minardi are still wrangling with Bridgestone over tyre supply -- yesterday and today the team had to take to the track with Avon F3000 slicks as Bridgestone are not inclined to supply rubber as a deal has yet to be signed. Verstappen, however, was not to be downhearted and was very happy to be back behind the wheel of an F1 car despite being at the bottom of the times -- which given the circumstances was hardly a surprise.
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart was, politely, 'regretful' about the continuing Bridgestone problems and intends to make an official complaint to the FIA. Bridgestone are obliged to supply half the teams with tyres if necessary: the non-compliance with Minardi's request appears to be centred on the manufacturer reportedly asking for an unfeasibly large pre-payment from the team.