FedEx Champion Alex Zanardi says he enjoyed his first two days of testing for Williams at Barcelona last week, although he expects to see much more progress in future tests. In Spain, Zanardi was about one second slower than Ralf Schumacher, his...
FedEx Champion Alex Zanardi says he enjoyed his first two days of testing for Williams at Barcelona last week, although he expects to see much more progress in future tests. In Spain, Zanardi was about one second slower than Ralf Schumacher, his teammate next year, although he ran the entire test on hard compound tires.
"It's very early for me to draw any conclusions because I'm a beginner in a way," Zanardi commented. "I'm certainly blessed by having the opportunity to begin again with a team like Williams which certainly has a huge experience and were able to put down on the ground a car that was certainly in balance. Nevertheless, I think we ran with a very hard compound tire which made me feel the car definitely was more trickier than what the car is in reality once you get close to its limit.
"Having said that," he added, "I'd like to postpone my final impression, my judgment, to the next test we go to. Hopefully, we'll look a little more for the performance and try to see if it comes. Nevertheless, it's a nice car. It's definitely hooked-up in the fast corners. You can feel the car is really light compared to the one I'm used to driving. It really seems stuck to the ground very well because of the downforce.
"As far as the engine is concerned, they've certainly made huge progress in terms of drive-ability and response since I last drove a Formula One car. Obviously, you feel that the engine is not three and a half but 3.0 liters. When I was in F1 before the engines were 3.5 liters so definitely in a straight-line, once the drag hits you, you definitely feel a little lack of power compared to the engine we have in our Champ cars. A Champ car doesn't pull out of the corner as fast because it's heavier than an F1 car but then the Champ car just keeps accelerating throughout the length of the straight whereas the F1 engine seems at one point to kind of stall and be stuck there."
"I was not amazed but reasonably and positively impressed with the technology that is gravitating around Formula One these days, and definitely Williams seems to be in control of what's available in terms of tools to make the car work well. I guess we have on paper all it takes to do well and to compete for a good finish, and I'm certainly going to try to do my part."
Zanardi's next test with Williams won't take place until December. "There was an opportunity next week to go to Magny Cours in France," Zanardi said, "but it's just too much. I've got a job to do in Champ cars. As a matter of fact, I've got a double job to do because I want to win as many of the races left here, but there's also a teammate I need to help to finish second in the championship. So there are two things I have to do."