Fernando Alonso set the pace when testing resumed at the Circuit de Catalunya this week, the young Spaniard thrashing the competition by nearly three seconds. In the Renault R23, Alonso set a fastest time of 1:15.971 over 46 laps, 2.899 seconds ...
Fernando Alonso set the pace when testing resumed at the Circuit de Catalunya this week, the young Spaniard thrashing the competition by nearly three seconds. In the Renault R23, Alonso set a fastest time of 1:15.971 over 46 laps, 2.899 seconds quicker than team mate Jarno Trulli. Renault tester Allan McNish was fifth, and last, over five seconds slower than Alonso.
"A reasonable production first day testing at Barcelona," said Renault technical director Mike Gascoyne. "Although the cold and damp weather conditions made it a little difficult for drivers and cars to run. Jarno Trulli carried out race simulation in the old-spec R23, which he successfully completed."
"Fernando ran for the first time the new aero-package in the R23 and managed fairly competitive times given the conditions. Allan worked on suspension development on last year's car. Hopefully we will have some warmer temperatures for the rest of the test."
Jordan was the other team present, Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralph Firman giving the new livery of the Jordan Ford EJ13 its first showing. It was the first time two new chassis' were on track together and both drivers worked on aerodynamics and mechanics. Fisichella was ahead, setting the third fastest time of the day, Firman only 0.3 behind.
Ferrari's testing programme moved to Imola's Autodromo Enzo e Dino Ferrari, where Michael Schumacher and Luca Badoer were on duty. In the F2003-GA, Schumacher only had 8 laps before a problem with the car that caused him to pit. He continued the session in a 2002 chassis, working on tyres and set up, and set a best time of 1:21.617. Badoer did 15 laps, shaking down a F2002 in preparation for distance work tomorrow.
Sauber was also present at Imola, starting the team's final test session before Australian Grand Prix. Nick Heidfeld set the second quickest time behind Schumacher and team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third fastest. Both drivers worked on brakes, aerodynamics and tyres.