Silverstone test report, 2000-08-17

Formula One Test Session Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, England Thursday 17th August 2000 - Panis fastest for McLaren - Ralf Schumacher suffers accident - Burti tests for Jaguar Drivers: Mika Hakkinen and Olivier Panis (McLaren), Eddie Irvine...

Formula One Test Session
Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, England
Thursday 17th August 2000

- Panis fastest for McLaren
- Ralf Schumacher suffers accident
- Burti tests for Jaguar

Drivers: Mika Hakkinen and Olivier Panis (McLaren), Eddie Irvine and Luciano Burti (Jaguar), Jarno Trulli (Jordan), Pedro de la Rosa (Arrows), Ralf Schumacher (Williams)

Weather: Sunny and warm with patchy cloud at start. Varying from bright and sunny to dull and cool throughout the day.

The session started at 10am with the familiar call of the pit-line siren. This was immediately followed by silence, but it was not long before the first howl of an engine echoed around the grandstands. The car crawled through Becketts, ahead of the howls of two other engines, before blasting along the Hanger Straight. The driver was Oliver Panis and he completed his installation lap by returning to the pits, followed by Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine, with all three passing slowly though the complex and Ralf even waved at the large crowd of spectators. Pedro de la Rosa completed a fast and tidy installation lap, followed a few minutes later by Luciano Burti and Jarno Trulli in close formation, both pulling over towards the pitlane entrance very late and at very high speed, lightly clipping the grass between the pitlane and the track.

The serious track action began after 11 minutes with a series of flying laps each from Irvine (1m 27.75s), Burti (1m 28.76s), Panis (1m 24.05s), Trulli (1m 27.59s), Schumacher (1m 29.71s), and an installation lap from Mika Hakkinen. Burti locked up at Brooklands producing a large cloud of tyre smoke from both of the front tyres and Trulli corrected a nasty slide at Luffield. Schumacher completed a very slow lap before returning to the pits.

This short burst of activity was followed by silence, more cloud, a cool breeze, and then eventually engines in the pitlane. Irvine, Scumacher, Hakkinen and de la Rosa left the pits and completed runs, with the defending world champion setting a 1m 25.75s lap. He blipped the throttle continuously through Luffield and used a lot of kerb at the exit of the same corner. He looked very fast and was not fighting the car. After more silence, Burti and Panis returned to the track. Burti was driving carefully and not too fast (1m 29.67s), and Panis appeared to be suffering from a slight misfire or gear selection difficulties. The problem was terminal as Panis coasted to a halt on the circuit at 10:48am causing the first stoppage of the day.

At three minutes into the second hour the session restarted, and stopped again just five minutes later. Jarno Trulli, the only driver on track and who had just set a 1m 28.57s, spun and stalled at Abbey. The screeching of tyres could clearly be heard as soon as the sound of the engine faded. The car was taken back to the pits on the back of a truck, with two mechanics holding a cover over the rear wing of the Jordan.

The session restarted at 11:20am with Hakkinen (1m 25.78s), Irvine (1m 27.53s) and Burti (1m 30.72s) taking to the track, followed later by Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. Hakkinen suffered a wild twitch in Luffield but it hardly seem to affect him as he continued untroubled through the corner. The two Jaguars were very slow through Priory, backing off well before the corner, driving carefully through it, and returning to speed once well clear of the corner. Irvine spun there at the end of Wednesday's session, so the drivers may have been unwilling to push hard through that corner either due to aerodynamic effects or the track condition. Both Ralf Schumacher and Luciano Burti suffered massive lock-ups at Brooklands, and Ralf then completed another very slow lap.

Twenty minutes of silence followed, during which the air became suddenly cool and the sky was overcast. Trulli then came out for five more laps, along with Hakkinen, Burti and Schumacher. Pedro de la Rosa also followed, setting 1m 29.40s, 1m 28.89s and finally 1m 28.29s. Hakkinen was very fast and smooth and appeared to be driving almost on the limit. However on his final lap he changed down a gear in Luffield, causing the engine to whine loudly as he accelerated towards the pitlane. Ralf Schumacher completed yet another slow lap.

The conditions rapidly became cooler and this was reflected in de la Rosa's times of 1m 27.14s, 1m 27.38s and then 1m 28.62s. Trulli set a slow lap of 1m 29.79s and then Olivier Panis returned to the pits with the engine on tickover. There was very light rain at 12:12pm for just a couple of minutes. All drivers on track cautiously returned to the pits. The sky brightened up again at 12:30pm but the only action was Ralf Schumacher on a slow lap.

After 10 minutes Trulli and Burti completed installation laps. At 12.40pm lots of engines were fired up in unison, in preparation for the pre-lunch rush. Irvine and Schumacher made practice starts at Copse before completing slow installation laps and returning to the pits. Trulli (1m 29.04s), Burti (1m 32.69s), Schumacher (1m 27.75s) and de la Rosa (1m 27.50s) then set times. Pedro nearly lost control at Luffield but neatly controlled the slide with a touch of opposite-lock. Trulli was feathering the throttle slightly through Bridge, and de la Rosa was heard to suffer a twitch at Club forcing him to lift off the throttle on the exit. Hakkinen came out and immediately set a 1m 24.69s, his fastest lap of the morning session. However he did not complete the next lap, and returned to the pits smiling and waving to the spectators from the passenger seat of the rescue vehicle.

MORNING SESSION: 1 Panis (McLaren) 1m 24.05s; 2 Hakkinen (McLaren) 1m 24.69s; 3 de la Rosa (Arrows) 1m 27.38s; 4 Irvine (Jaguar) 1m 27.53s; 5 Trulli (Jordan) 1m 27.59s; 6 Schumacher (Williams) 1m 27.75s; 7 Burti (Jaguar) 1m 28.76s.

The afternoon session started at 2pm with conditions identical to the start of the morning session, warm and with patchy cloud. Trulli completed two laps, 1m 27.69s and 1m 28.41s, feathering the throttle through Bridge each time before finally returning to the pits. He came out again soon afterwards, immediately setting a 1m 27.55s and kept the throttle firmly on the floor through Bridge. His second lap was a 1m 27.91s so the change made to the car in the pits had obviously had a positive effect.

Trulli was joined by Panis (1m 25.68s) and de la Rosa (1m 29.77s) who both seemed to be having trouble through Priory. This time Panis nearly lost control at Luffield but, like Hakkinen and de la Rosa before him, caught control and continued unaffected. By now there conditions were very bight and the air was hot, causing the lap times to slow. Panis set a 1m 28.01s and Trulli, who was looking very unstable and appeared to be understeering, set two laps around 1m 28.5s. Burti took Club very slowly on his out-lap and Pedro de la Rosa visibly appeared to be slower. All drivers returned to the pits and the sky became overcast.

Five minutes later the silence was broken by a car going straight out of the pits, closely followed by another one. It was both McLarens, in formation, about to complete a run of flying laps. Panis was the lead driver with Hakkinen behind him. The times each lap were 1m 27.61s and 1m 26.47s, 1m 25.78s and 1m 25.00s, 1m 25.28s and 1m 25.84s. Hakkinen then pitted but Panis continued by setting a 1m 25.66s then a 1m 25.50s.

At 3.15pm Ralf Schumacher came out, but looked very unstable and returned to the pits. Trulli (1m 28.91s and 1m 29.75s) and Hakkinen (1m 26.87s and 1m 25.04s) each completed two laps. Ralf Schumacher then returned to the track and completed one flying lap, but spun off the track soon after starting his second lap. The Medical Car headed towards Copse and Ralf was not seen on track for the rest of the day. The session was stopped for just 15 minutes so it was assumed that the accident was not serious.

Pedro de la Rosa was the first driver back out setting 1m 28.19s, 1m 27.82s and 1m 27.25s before his engine cut out exiting Woodcote in front of the pits. This caused the session to be stopped again. The restart was at 4.05pm and the session was stopped again at 4.07pm because Eddie Irvine had broken down on his out-lap. Hakkinen (1m 26.53s) and Panis (1m 25.59s) both came out.

There was ten minutes of silence until 4.35pm, when Olivier Panis immediately set two incredibly fast laps in succession, 1m 23.90s and 1m 23.91s, before pitting. Hakkinen set a 1m 26.13s, and then Panis left the pits and set a 1m 24.17s. Burti and Trulli both came out for a final run, with Burti spinning on the far side of the circuit on his final lap.

It seemed that Panis was able to set blindingly quick laps almost at will, whereas Hakkinen was consistently fast throughout the day. Trulli and de la Rosa were quick on occasions but their cars were sensitive to the track temperature. Irvine did little running in the afternoon and both he and Burti were driving carefully, as if testing mechanical reliability. Ralf Schumacher appeared to be suffering from some handling or stability problem as he did not look smooth on any of the few laps he completed

SESSION TIMES (according to press release): 1 Panis (McLaren) 1m 23.87s; 2 Hakkinen (McLaren) 1m 24.93s; 3 Schumacher (Williams) 1m 26.31s; 4 de la Rosa (Arrows) 1m 26,49s; 5 Trulli (Jordan) 1m 27.03s; 6 Irvine (Jaguar) 1m 27.83s; 7 Burti (Jordan) 1m 27.95s.

Mark Gledhill
www.formula-photos.co.uk

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Jarno Trulli , Luciano Burti , Ralf Schumacher , Pedro de la Rosa , Mika Hakkinen , Olivier Panis
Teams McLaren , Williams , Jordan