In a repeat of events at Silverstone, Arrows missed the first free practice of the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours. As the session got under way the team were present in the pit garage but failed to take to the track. According to a press release...
In a repeat of events at Silverstone, Arrows missed the first free practice of the French Grand Prix at Magny Cours. As the session got under way the team were present in the pit garage but failed to take to the track. According to a press release from Arrows earlier in the week, the Cosworth engines have been paid for but investor problems continue.
Conditions were warm and sunny, with a track temperature of around 23C, and it was a very quiet start to the weekend. Most drivers put in less than twenty laps and the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello took the fastest time over all; a 1:15.056. Michael Schumacher was third fastest behind the McLaren of David Coulthard while his team mate Kimi Raikkonen was sixth.
Williams were leaders early on with Juan Pablo Montoya and he and Ralf Schumacher remained in the top six throughout. Toyota and Minardi put in the early running but Mika Salo had a brief contact with Jordan's Takuma Sato and returned to the pits. Alex Yoong spun his Minardi in the last corner and was off the pace; nearly three seconds slower than team mate Mark Webber.
Jaguar seemed improved, both Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa setting good times early on and they stayed in the top ten the whole session. Jordan put in a solid performance, Sato finishing tenth and Giancarlo Fisichella eleventh but Sauber didn't have the pace they usually show in practice. Nick Heidfeld and Felipe Massa slipped back from the top ten by the end of the session although neither had any specific problems.
Renault had Jenson Button in the top ten and Jarno Trulli thirteenth, again not appearing to show their pace. Renault are hoping to do well this weekend at their home race. BAR had a dismal time after the high of the British GP, Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve 15th and 18th.
Michelin had the edge over the Bridgestone runners, the Ferrari's and Sato the only three Bridgestone shod cars in the top ten. Webber, Barrichello and Montoya all had wobbly moments and Villeneuve beached his BAR in the gravel right at the end but it was generally a very sedate session. Final top six classification: Barrichello, Coulthard, M. Schumacher, Montoya, R. Schumacher, Raikkonen.