Friday 3 May 2002 - Page 1 COMING EVENT : AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX - (SPIELBERG - 10-12 May) CHARACTER OF EVENT The Austrian Grand Prix was first included on the World Championship calendar in 1964 when a race took place on a makeshift track laid...
Friday 3 May 2002 - Page 1
COMING EVENT : AUSTRIAN GRAND PRIX - (SPIELBERG - 10-12 May) CHARACTER OF EVENT
The Austrian Grand Prix was first included on the World Championship calendar in 1964 when a race took place on a makeshift track laid out on the runways of the Zeltweg military airfield. By 1970 a purpose-built circuit, the Osterreichring, had been built in the foothills of the nearby mountains and held its first Grand Prix in 1970, enduring on the calendar until 1987 when concerns about circuit safety contributed to the race's withdrawal.
Following a ten year break the race resumed at the same venue, but on a shortened 2.668-mile track dubbed the A1-Ring. It is regarded as quite an acrobatic little track with a couple of tight, 90-degree corners and a sequence of higher speed swerves. It is possible to run either high downforce configurations and sacrifice speed on the straights, or low down force trim sacrificing grip on the corners and produce very similar lap times, dependent on the state of the track surface and the grip levels delivered on a specific day.
At the A1-Ring the cars run on full throttle for around 70 per cent of the lap distance. The only Austrian drivers to have won Grands Prix in the past are Jochen Rindt, Niki Lauda and Gerhard Berger. Only Lauda ever won his home race in 1984.
NEWS FROM THE TEAMS
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO : (1st - 50 points as of Spanish Grand Prix)
TESTING AT THREE TRACKS
The Ferrari team was at Monza from Tuesday until Thursday carrying out tyre testing with an F2001 although on the first day Burti had a slight off-track excursion, damaging the nose and front suspension. In total Burti managed 1300km although it rained on the last day. Meanwhile Luca Badoer ran at Fiorano with an F2002, working on every aspect of the car's development. Rubens Barrichello was in Mugello yesterday (Thursday) and will remain there today improving electronics on the F2002.
Ferrari has been studying in detail the electronic defect which sidelined Barrichello at the start of the Spanish Grand Prix to ensure that it will not happen again. Barrichello is very upbeat and claims, "The car is fantastic, it is the best Ferrari I ever drove." Ferrari will bring three F2002s to Zeltweg: 219 for Schumacher, 220 for Barrichello and 221 (the Barcelona winner) as the spare. There is a great sense of serenity at Ferrari as Austria is the only Grand Prix Schumacher has yet to win.
BMW WILLIAMSF1 TEAM : (2nd - 43 points) PIZZONIA AT VALENCIA
Antonio Pizzonia started a four day test for the BMW WilliamsF1 team at Valencia at the wheel of an FW24, completing a long distance run to set fastest time of the day in 1m12.711s. The team was concentrating on cooling options, brake testing and a small amount of tyre work. On Wednesday the team was unable to complete its scheduled programme owing to some problems and Pizzonia managed just 31 laps for a third fastest best of 1m12.878s. In a parallel test, Petrobras F3000 driver Ricardo Sperafico was running a separate test at the Lurcy-Levis airfield in central France concentrating on aerodynamic development. On Thursday Juan Pablo Montoya joined the Williams test, setting second fastest time of the day on 1m12.316s.
WEST McLAREN MERCEDES : (3rd - 13 points) THREE CARS AT VALENCIA
The McLaren team began a four day test at Valencia on Tuesday where Darren Turner joined Alexander Wurz for the first day, there being two MP4/17s and an MP4/16B on hand. The MP4/16B was used by Wurz to test some components which had originally been tried last year and were being reassessed with a possible future application on the MP4/17 in mind. Both cars suffered unspecified technical problems at the end of the day. On Wednesday David Coulthard joined Wurz, the Austrian setting fastest time on 1m1.532s with Coulthard managing a 1m13.137s.
"We had over thirty routine developments to try, all of which is typical while developing a car at this time of the season," said McLaren Managing Director Martin Whitmarsh. On Thursday Coulthard set fastest time on 1m10.811s and Kimi Raikkonen took over the second car to manage a 1m12.670s. Raikkonen's rear wing failure in the Spanish Grand Prix has been attributed to a manufacturing fault.
MILD SEVEN RENAULT F1 TEAM : (4th - 8 points) FOUR DAYS AT VALENCIA
The Renault F1 team began a four day test at Valencia on Tuesday starting with Fernando Alonso driving an R202 concentrating on traction control system development. On Wednesday Jarno Trulli joined the programme but this was interrupted by a couple of engine problems. In addition to continuing the traction control work the team evaluated a number of engine changes. "This morning went extremely well," said Trulli after managing a 1m13.558s best. "Although the engine problem meant that I did not run in the afternoon, I am pleased with the balance we wound and it's a shame we could not get more done."
On Thursday in difficult weather conditions Jarno Trulli conducted tyre development work, setting third fastest time on 1m12.411s, while Alonso did a 1m12.711s. Commented Technical Director Mike Gascoyne, "It was another productive day. Fernando managed to run the new traction control system in the wet while Jarno carried out a shakedown in preparation for tomorrow (Friday) when he will conduct brake developments and general set-up work."
SAUBER PETRONAS : (5th - 8 points) NEW UNDERTRAY TESTED
After scoring five points in the Spanish Grand Prix, Sauber took one car to the three day test at Valencia. For the first two days Felipe Massa was at the wheel, the Brazilian working on set-up for Monaco and new developments in the areas of traction control and launch control for that race. Bridgestone also had new tyre compounds to test. Massa's race engineer Jacky Eeckelaert was very satisfied with the progress made.
"The tyres performed extremely well, especially in traction out of the slow corners," he said. Massa completed about 15 practice starts and was happy. The quickest of his 126 laps was a 1m11.635s, second best time of the day on Wednesday. On Thursday Nick Heidfeld took over, driving 96 laps with a best time of 1m13.147s despite the afternoon being spoiled by heavy rain. For the Austrian Grand Prix Sauber will have a new diffuser the design of which looks very promising from the wind tunnel results. Technical director Willy Rampf is not worried that Sauber could not test the undertray on track. "We normally have quite good correlation between the wind tunnel data and reality on the circuit, so it should pay off."
JAGUAR RACING : (6th - 3 points) THREE DAYS AT VALENCIA
Jaguar started a three day test at Valencia with Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa on Wednesday after a disappointing outing at Barcelona in the Spanish Grand Prix. De la Rosa managed 74 laps for a 1m12.918s best time, fourth fastest on the day, while Irvine was eighth on 1m14.439s. The team was concentrating on aerodynamic solutions and handling balance of the car in preparation for the Austrian Grand Prix on 12 May. De la Rosa managed a 1m13.205s on Thursday with Irvine on 1m14.291s.
KL MINARDI ASIATECH : (7th - 2 points) WORKING ON THE WINGS
There was no testing for Minardi this week as the team is analysing the wing failures which afflicted its cars in Barcelona. It has been concluded that the front wing failures on Saturday were due to contact with the kerbs, but Mark Webber's rear wing failure in the warm-up was due to faulty material. They have been tested in the wind tunnel with a substantial safety margin and were both strengthened. Minardi will bring three cars to Zeltweg, plus a spare tub. Webber will use 04, Yoong 03 (still with the experimental power steering) and 01 will be the spare car.
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING : (8th 2 points) TESTS AT ESTORIL
The Toyota team began a three day test on Tuesday at the Autodromo Fernandes, Pires da Silva at Estoril. Ryan Briscoe was behind the wheel of the TF102 and managed a productive day in dry and windy conditions, completing 91 laps for a best time of 1m19.41s.
"We worked on the mechanical set-up and balance of the car as well as testing some launch control settings," he said. "The bumpy nature of the track puts the car under considerable stress, which gives us a useful basis to gain more information about the car set-up." On Wednesday he continued to complete another 119 laps for a 1m 19.59s best, working again on the mechanical set-up and chassis balance.
ORANGE ARROWS : (9th - 1 points) BERNOLDI AT SILVERSTONE
The Arrows team started its Silverstone test with Enrique Bernoldi on Tuesday in wet and blustery weather conditions but he managed 33 laps in the A23 for a best time of 1m38.542s. Conditions were better on Wednesday when he managed a 1m25.049s after 78 laps during the course of aerodynamic work and some tyre testing.
LUCKY STRIKE BAR HONDA : (10th - 0 points) PANIS QUICK AT ESTORIL
The BAR-Honda team has just returned from a three day test at Estoril which began with Olivier Panis and Anthony Davidson on Tuesday, the team's first serious test at the Portuguese track. On Tuesday Olivier Panis completed 68 laps and set the best time of the day in 1m17.567s, a new unofficial lap record. On Wednesday he improved to 1m17.090s (54 laps) while Jacques Villeneuve joined him, but the Canadian ran only in the morning due to electrical problems.
On Thursday wet weather gave the team the opportunity to test Bridgestone rain tyres. Panis commented; "We have had a positive day here at Estoril and have made set-up and electronic control improvements. We will have a little more power from the engine in Austria, which is important because the A1-Ring is a power circuit. I think we have good reason to be optimistic if we continue to make progress throughout the weekend there."
DHL JORDAN HONDA : (11th - 0 points) SATO AT SILVERSTONE
Takuma Sato tested alone for the Jordan Honda team at Silverstone on Wednesday assessing a revised front suspension set-up for the EJ-12. "We were originally planning to use it in Austria," said Gary Anderson, the Team's Director of race and test team engineering. "But it still needs a little more development and we won't be racing it now until Monaco." Meanwhile Marcel Lasse was at the Elvington airfield in Yorkshire carrying out aerodynamic tests for three days, but poor weather hampered this programme.