Teams wrap up Silverstone testing in a downpour

Teams wrap up Silverstone testing in a downpour

BMW WilliamsF1 took part in a three-day test session at Silverstone, England, and were joined on the second and third days by the Jordan and Renault teams. The teams all planned to work on tyre testing and engine and chassis development in...

BMW WilliamsF1 took part in a three-day test session at Silverstone, England, and were joined on the second and third days by the Jordan and Renault teams. The teams all planned to work on tyre testing and engine and chassis development in addition to their own specific programmes.

There was also the unusual sight of technical directors Patrick Head (Williams), Mike Gascoyne (Renault) and Gary Anderson (Jordan) all at a test sessions and actively working with mechanics in the garages and team members on the pit wall.

Marc Gene.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
The weather was sunny and warm for the first two days but the third day saw light drizzle to the morning, which eventually turned to heavy rain after lunch and reduced visibility to a few hundred metres. The weather improved towards the end of the day and allowed the teams to do half an hour of running before the circuit closed.

Williams had scheduled Juan Pablo Montoya and Marc Gene to test all three days working on chassis and engine development and tyre testing. The team had a tyre bank in the next garage containing 20 sets of tyres all wired up to a central heating and pressure system and they methodically worked their way through these tyres over the three days.

Gene was working on longer stints, up to 20 laps at times, whereas Montoya concentrated on shorter runs. Montoya coasted to a halt at Vale on the first day with a mechanical failure but otherwise the team suffered no technical problems. Montoya's session was however cut short after the Colombian crashed his car heavily at Becketts at the end of the second day. He did return to the circuit for the final day but there was no car available for him to drive.

Jordan fielded their race team of Ralph Firman and Giancarlo Fisichella, with Ralph running both days and Giancarlo joining him on the Thursday. This was Ralph's first test at the full Grand Prix circuit in a Formula One car and at times he was very slow and cautious, whereas at other times he was pushing a little too hard and driving over the edge - particularly at Club which he entered sideways numerous times and at Abbey where he repeatidly ran wide. The team were particularly hampered by the weather after scheduling Giancarlo Fisichella to run on the final day. They carried out their programme of chassis development and tyre testing on Wednesday and the used the final day for wet weather tyre testing and set-up work.

Allan McNish.
Photo by Mark Gledhill.
Renault test driver Alan McNish ran for both days and suffered the lion's share of the technical problems. He suffered an engine blow on Wednesday afternoon on the approach to Abbey and then stopped a further two times on Thursday morning both due to mechanical failures. He even managed a quick spin at Luffield on a longer run but carried on without a problem. The team had originally planned to run a considerable amount of laps while working on engine development, but the technical problems and weather had a severe impact on this. However they did complete a fair number of laps and then used the wet weather, like the other teams, to do some wet weather set-up work.

All teams were pleased to have obtained some useful data from the test although they all were hampered by the very bad weather conditions on Thursday afternoon.

The Spanish Grand Prix will take place at Barcelona on May 2nd to May 4th.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Williams , Jordan