FERRARI AT MAGNY-COURS The Ferrari team was running this week at Magny-Cours where both Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine were on hand. Both were working on chassis set-ups and tyre testing on Tuesday when Schumacher set the ...
FERRARI AT MAGNY-COURS
The Ferrari team was running this week at Magny-Cours where both Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine were on hand. Both were working on chassis set-ups and tyre testing on Tuesday when Schumacher set the third fastest time of the day on 1m 17.88s and Irvine was fourth on 1m 18.25s. The former covered 59 laps, the latter 48.
On Wednesday Irvine was scheduled to test a new front wing derived from one tested in Montreal, but he went off at the chicane and damaged it. Unfortunately there was no spare available. Irvine managed 76 laps for a best of 1m 17.76s while Schumacher did 85 laps to post a 1m 17.60s.
On Thursday Irvine did only 25 laps for a best of 1m 18.430s and concluded his programme, but Schumacher intended to do a race distance simulation. Unfortunately after 61 of the 90 intended laps some debris lodged between the left front brake caliper and its wheel rim, allowing the tyre to deflate and Schumacher spun off at the chicane after setting a best lap of 1m 18.122s. Today(Friday) Schumacher will continue running with new noses and wings which were to be flown in overnight. FRENTZEN STARTS WILLIAMS TEST
Heinz-Harald Frentzen started testing with the Williams-Mecachrome FW20 on Tuesday at Magny-Cours, but after only 13 laps in the morning (best 1m 19.25s), the test was abandoned for the rest of the day in order to re-configure the set-up in a direction which the team thought preferable. No specific details were available from Williams on these alterations.
On Wednesday Frentzen covered 44 timed laps for a best of 1m 17.89s, only 0.5sec away from Hakkinen's McLaren best which the Williams crew felt quite encouraging.
On Thursday Jacques Villeneuve took over the race set-up programme, also evaluating the latest Goodyear tyre developments, during which he managed a 1m 19.08s. Test driver Juan Pablo Montoya also had an outing which produced a best time of 1m 19.01s and the Colombian completed a total of 56 laps. McLAREN SET CONFIDENT PACE
The McLaren Mercedes team was at Magny-Cours from Tuesday with two MP4/13s for Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Hakkinen set the early pace, covering 62 timed laps for a best of 1m 17.18s while Coulthard covered 77 laps for a best of 1m 17.70s.
On Wednesday Hakkinen spun off, his car sustaining repairable rear end damage and he finished the day second fastest behind Jean Alesi's Sauber C17 on 1m 17.39s with Coulthard covering 101 laps with a best of 1m 17.57s. Both drivers were carrying out tyre test and chassis set-up work in preparation for the French Grand Prix.
Coulthard lost time with some minor problems whilst evaluating new brake components on Thursday, but still managed the fastest time of 1m 17.61s after 38 laps. Hakkinen managed 30 laps for a best of 1m 17.87s. BENETTON IN FRANCE
The Benetton Playlife team stayed away from Silverstone last week but both Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz were back behind the wheels of the B198s at Magny-Cours on Tuesday where they began their test programme working mainly on suspension set-ups. Fisichella finished the day with a 1m 18.310s best after covering 39 laps while Wurz was close behind on 1m 18.660s with a total of 27 laps completed. On Wednesday Fisichella only covered three laps due to muscle strain sustained during physical trining, his best being a 1m 19.62s as a result. Wurz continued on general car set-up work in preparation for the race, covering 62 laps with a best of 1m 18.44s.
On Thursday conditions were warmer and race set-up work was frustrated when Wurz's car suffered an engine failure and Fisichella's was delayed by gearbox problems. Fisichella ran only 14 laps in the morning then 21 in the afternoon for a best of 1m 19.16s. Wurz managed 21 laps for a best of 1m 18.94s. REGULAR DRIVERS TEST FOR JORDAN
Having missed last week's Silverstone test, the Jordan Mugen-Honda team's regular drivers Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher were back in harness for this week's programme at the Circuit de Nevers in preparation for the French Grand Prix.
On Tuesday Hill completed 81 laps for a best time of 1m 19.00s during which he concentrated on chassis set-up work and Goodyear tyre testing. During the course of the day he had a spin at Turn 2 causing minor damage which was quickly repaired.
Ralf Schumacher covered 82 laps and posted a best of 1m 18.73s, also having a spin at Turn two which resulted in minor bodywork damage at the end of the day.
On Wednesday Ralf Schumacher's programme was frustrated by engine problems as the latest 'B' spec Mugen-Honda V10 (run in qualifying at Montreal and scheduled to be raced from Magny-Cours onwards) developed an internal oil leak which could not be fixed at the circuit. An 'A' spec engine with 23 laps left to use was installed and this, in turn, encountered problems with one lap left to run. Ralf completed 31 laps for a best time of 1m 19.36s.
Hill had a more positive day covering 63 laps before lunch with an 'A' spec engine and then a further 15 laps in the afternoon with the new 'B' spec unit. His best was 1m 19.33s.
On the final day of the team's three day test, Ralf Schumacher set second fastest time on 1m 17.81s but after 49 laps he had a big shunt at the second corner, emerging unhurt but rather bruised. The mechanics managed to rebuild the car in time for Ralf to carry out a few pracice starts before the end of the day's running. Meanwhile Damon Hill worked on set-up, completing 80 laps for a best of 1m 18.61s ARROWS MAKING STEADY PROGRESS
Mika Salo spent Tuesday and Wednesday testing an Arrows A19 at Magny-Cours, completing 33 and 51 laps on the respective days. His best lap on Tuesday was only 1m 20.61s due to engine problems, but things improved on Wednesday as he worked on improving the car's grip and balanced, getting down to an eventual 1m 19.21s.
As far as rumours about possible charges against him in Finland for an alleged altercation with a taxi driver, Salo said; "there is no formal charge whatsoever against me in my country. The whole story is out of proportion and arose some two days after I had a minor misunderstanding with a taxi driver.
On Thursday Pedro Diniz took over the test programme, having his work limited to 35 laps due to an engine problem in the morning. In the much higher ambient temperatures, the Brazilian managed a 1m 21.00s and will remain to continue the test on Friday. NEW DRIVERS TEST STEWART
The Stewart-Ford team experimented with two new drivers this week when Brazilian F3 runner Mario Haberfield did some sprints up and down the Lurcy-Levis aerodrome and Jos Verstappen was invited to test at Magny-Cours. Haberfield, currenly runner-up in the British F3 championship in his Paul Stewart Racing Dallara, carried out aerodynamic work before returning to England on Monday evening.
As far as Verstappen is concerned, the Stewart team will not be commenting until today(Friday) as to whether he will be replacing Jan Magnussen for the French Grand Prix. On Wednesday Verstappen managed 1m 21.94s in the Stewart SGP2 on the same day as Rubens Barrichello managed 1m 18.73s. A major change on the rear suspension of his long wheelbase car meant that Verstappen had less time on the circuit during Thursday, but trimmed his time to 1m 20.98s. Barrichello completed 60 laps on Thursday for a best of 1m 19.92s despite losing time cleaning up his car after a minor off-track excursion. The team experimented with different front wings but suffered some vibration problems. THREE DRIVERS WITH SAUBER
The Sauber Petronas team had two cars and three drivers on hand at Magny-Cours. For the first two days Jean Alesi and test driver Jorg Muller were behind the wheel, the Frenchman assessing a modified C17 with a longer wheelbase and new rear suspension. Muller tested a new differential development but his day was spoiled by a blown engine. His best was 1m 19.96s as compared with Alesi's 1m 18.89s.
On Wednesday Muller improved to 1m 18.89s after 92 laps while Alesi topped the timing sheets on Wednesday with a 1m 17.18s. On Thursday Johnny Herbert took over the long wheelbase Sauber and Alesi switched to the standard car with the new differential. Alesi completed 19 laps for a best of 1m 19.49s with Herbert getting down to 1m 18.62s. The Englishman will continue testing at Magny-Cours today (Friday) and at Lurcy-Levis on Saturday. KRISTENSEN TRIES TYRRELL
Although the majority of the team returned from Montreal to its headquarters at Ockham, some of the Tyrrell technical staff travelled directly to Monza for a three day test from June 9-11. The purpose was to sort out chassis set-up and evaluate aerodynamic modifications. Regular drivers Tora Takagi and Ricardo Rosset drove for the first two days with Tom Kristensen driving on the third. However an engine problem restricted the Dane to only eight laps of running.
The team this week went to Magny-Cours for three days with Takagi driving on Tuesday (best 1m 19.83s), Rosset alone on Wednesday(best 1m 20.11s) and Kristensen joining the Brazilian for Thursday when the newcomer set a best of 1m 19.85s using the development car with a P7 Ford V10 engine. Rosset was 0.5sec faster that day using a later P10 spec engine. PROST STAYS ON SHORT WHEELBASE
After disappointing tests on Tuesday, Prost decided not to use the long chassis AP01 for the French Grand Prix, so Olivier Panis and Jarno Trulli have been carrying out set-up work on the regular chassis. They also tested tyres and the Peugeot EV4 engine which they will be using in qualifying. On Thursday Trulli tried the long chassis again for data acquisition purposes while Panis tried a brand new chassis (no.6). LONG CHASSIS MINARDI
Minardi was another team to try a long chassis version of its current car and test driver Laurent Redon did the initial running at Magny-Cours on Tuesday. Esteban Tuero ran on Wednesday followed by the more experienced Shinji Nakano on Thursday, the Japanese driver reporting that the car felt more stable under braking and had better traction.