By Mark Gledhill - Motorsport.com While other teams were on their way to Malaysia; Jaguar, Benetton, Williams and Arrows did testing at Silverstone today. Johnny Herbert made his debut as test driver for Arrows while Pedro de la Rosa followed...
By Mark Gledhill - Motorsport.com
While other teams were on their way to Malaysia; Jaguar, Benetton, Williams and Arrows did testing at Silverstone today. Johnny Herbert made his debut as test driver for Arrows while Pedro de la Rosa followed suit in the Jaguar. Initially the track was damp and, due to the overcast conditions which remained for most of the morning. By lunchtime, the sun came out and started drying the track, which created ideal conditions for fast lap times to be set during the afternoon.
Benetton test driver, Mark Webber was the first driver to take go out on the track. The team ran just one car, the B201, and did several short runs during the day. Access to the Benetton garage was limited. The front and rear wings were covered when the car was on display. Webber drove carefully during the morning but did some very fast laps later in the afternoon, which suggests he may have been using a qualifying set-up. The car looked stable all round the circuit, and Webber did not appear to be fighting the car, apart from the occasional twitch and throttle feather at Club corner. This consistent performance was rewarded with the second fastest lap of the day.
Jaguar had an army of equipment and drivers available. Former Grand Prix driver Pedro de la Rosa drove the Jaguar R2, and he was joined by Tomas Scheckter in the R1. There were two cars in the garage, as well as two chassis in the next garage, and a show-car used for modelling. The cars did a lot of short runs and both drivers were on track simultaneously for most of the time, with de la Rosa setting slightly faster lap-times. The team did not suffer any major problems, though Tomas did have a few glitches and gear-selection problems, and the engine cut out at one point as he left the garage.
Arrows ran just one A21 and this was driven by Johnny Herbert, who was the centre of attention in his return to Formula One after his retirement from Grand Prix racing. The Briton went on to set the fastest time of the day, during a series of fast laps late in the afternoon. Johnny was delighted to be back in the cockpit, and was smiling and catching up with former colleagues as he walked along the pitlane. He spent a lot of time adjusting his helmet to ensure that it was comfortable, while the team made many minor adjustments to the cockpit of the car. On track Johnny looked fast and consistent, although during the afternoon he did have a few problems with brakes particularly at Club corner. The only stoppage during the whole day was due to the car breaking down shortly after leaving the pitlane. Ironically Herbert and de la Rosa spent many laps running close to each other during the day, the two drivers having swapped teams over the winter.
Williams made their first appearance at Silverstone since their launch earlier this year, with test driver Marc Gene driving two of last season's cars. Unlike the other team's drivers, the Spaniard concentrated more on doing a few long runs instead of many short runs. The team were concerned about prying lenses, and ensured that the car displayed as little as possible. Gene did not suffer any major problems, although his car was twitching wildly at several points around the lap. During the afternoon he regularly corrected the car during,and at the exit of Abbey. The car appeared to be very sensitive over the kerbs. Gene set one of the slowest times of the day due to the team's absence from the track and concentration on longer runs during the afternoon sessions while the faster times were set by the other teams.
Testing at Silverstone continues tomorrow, and Jordan will join the teams.