Johannesburg, Tuesday - Rain disrupted the opening day of the official Vodacom Formula One test session - with the Williams BMW and BAR Honda teams in attendance - at AA Kyalami. The session started more than three hours late after the ...
Johannesburg, Tuesday - Rain disrupted the opening day of the official Vodacom Formula One test session - with the Williams BMW and BAR Honda teams in attendance - at AA Kyalami.
The session started more than three hours late after the medical helicopter was grounded at Rand Airport. It was only after the helicopter was given clearance to fly to AA Kyalami that the circuit could be opened.
Intermittent rain fell throughout the day before a heavy late afternoon downpour saw both teams call it a day. The wet weather was a major disappointment for both teams, who were hoping for hot and sunny South African conditions, in preparation for the opening round of this year's FIA Formula One World Championship in Australia next month.
In Formula One terms, however, a test session is a test session with both teams able to glean some information from today's session. It was a low key start, particularly from the Williams team, and both squads will be hoping for a rapid improvement in weather conditions.
Given the current conditions it is likely that both teams will test on Friday with Williams and BAR originally intending to have a day off. There is also a distinct possibility that, instead of ending on Monday, the test session will be extended to Wednesday next week.
In stark contrast to last year's test session - which was fraught with early mechanical dramas for the then fledgling BAR team - the squad today completed 38 laps. Former world champion Jacques Villeneuve did all the driving with team-mate Ricardo Zonta to be called into action later in the week.
The Canadian managed an unofficial quickest lap of one minute 34,04 seconds. This was well below the fastest lap at last year's session, set by Williams driver Ralf Schumacher, but given the conditions BAR will have been happy.
Schumacher, younger brother of two time world champion Michael, and team-mate Jensen Button between them ran for only 12 laps today. It was a decidedly low key start from Williams with Button, the 20-year-old Briton entering his first season in Grand Prix racing, setting an unofficial fastest time of one minute 38,5 seconds.