McLAREN SETS SILVERSTONE PACE The McLaren-Mercedes team got the best from its Bridgestone rubber at Silverstone on Wednesday and Thursday when Mika Hakkinen set the pace in the pre-British Grand Prix tests. On Wednesday the Finn ...
McLAREN SETS SILVERSTONE PACE
The McLaren-Mercedes team got the best from its Bridgestone rubber at Silverstone on Wednesday and Thursday when Mika Hakkinen set the pace in the pre-British Grand Prix tests. On Wednesday the Finn completed 24 laps for a best of 1m 26.09s and then trimmed that to 1m 25.42s on Thursday when he also completed a simulated race distance. David Coulthard managed 44 laps on Wednesday for a best of 1m 26.73s and improved to 1m 26.32s the following day. Test driver Ricardo Zonta was also present to carry out pit stop practice now that problems with the team's refuelling rigs - which blighted Coulthard's race at Magny-Cours - have hopefully been rectified. McLaren will remain at Silverstone until the end of Friday. FERRARI SET-UP WORK FOR SCHUMACHER
After its previous Silverstone test was spoiled by bad weather, this week the Ferrari team was able to concentrate on developing a dry set-up and deciding on tyres for the British Grand Prix. Apart from a gearbox problem on Michael's car there seemed to be no other worries for the German apart from the fact that the McLaren seemed to be very strong on this type of circuit. On Friday a long run is planned for Schumacher. On Wednesday Schumacher did 39 laps(fastest 1m 27.423s) and Eddie Irvine completed 55 laps(best 1m 27.642s). On Thursday Irvine posted second fastest time of 1m 26.170s, bettered only by Hakkinen on the day, while Schumacher did 1m 26.368s. Today(Friday) the team hopes to try new Goodyear tyres and also a modified front wing. After the British GP the team intends to test a longer wheelbase chassis at Monza. THREE DRIVERS FOR JORDAN AT SILVERSTONE
The Jordan team began testing at Silverstone on Wednesday in conditions which gradually became warmer after starting off rather cool and overcast. Damon Hill and Ralf Schumacher were joined by test driver Pedro de la Rosa at the start of a three day programme. Hill completed 52 laps with a best time of 1m 28.07s, concentrating on sorting out a good handling balance from the latest aerodynamic package - including sidepods, undertray and barge boards - but was running on old tyres from Magny-Cours. Schumacher completed 48 laps for a best of 1m 28.38s, mainly working on chassis development - dampers, springs and roll bar settings - also with old tyres, and his progress was briefly interrupted with a differential problem. De la Rosa only covered 14 laps due to a gearbox problem and concentrated on engine development work for a best time of 1m 31.78s. On Thursday Ralf Schumacher completed 74 laps for a best of 1m 27.15s, concentrating on chassis set-up work while also doing some practice starts. Damon Hill covered 71 laps for a best of 1m 27.42s concentrating on set-up and tyre comparisons, whle Pedro de la Rosa managed 48 laps for a best of 1m 28.72s carrying out Mugen-Honda engine development work. All three cars ran reliably. BENETTONS START STRONGLY
The Benetton-Playlife team started its three day Silverstone test on a strong note when Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz set third and fifth fastest testing times during Wednesday's testing session during which they both focused on general set-up, mechanical and aerodynamic work. Fisichella covered 33 laps for a best time of 1m 27.31s while Wurz did 19 laps with a fastest of 1m 27.43s. On Thursday, during the morning session Fisichella focused on suspension work while Wurz was occupied with brake evaluation. In the afternoon they concentrated on a tyre development programme with Fisichella covering a total of 36 laps for a best time of 1m 26.606s and Wurz doing 52 laps for 1m 27.262s. ROUTINE WORK FOR WILLIAMS
Jacques Villeneuve and Heinz-Harald Frentzen were at Silverstone from Wednesday, fine tuning the latest chassis set-up for the fast corners at the Northampton track and carrying out general chassis set-up work. Villeneuve covered 40 laps on Wednesday for a best time of 1m 27.48s, improving to 1m 27.30s on Thursday. Frentzen completed 21 laps on Wednesday for a best of 1m 27.83s and then improved to 1m 26.81s on Thursday. The team will remain at the circuit until Friday. TWO BROKEN ENGINES FOR SAUBER
The engine problems which beset the Sauber Petronas team at Magny-Cours seemed to continue during testing at Silverstone this week. On Wednesday Jean Alesi suffered an engine failure and Johnny Herbert's Petronas V10 exploded at Copse Corner. Both drivers were working on set-up and engine mapping, Herbert going off over a kerb on Wednesday which damaged his undertray. Over the two days the 1995 British GP winner completed 85 laps for a best time of 1m 27.67s while Alesi completed 89 laps and managed 1m 27.54s. BOTH TEAM DRIVERS FOR STEWART
Jos Verstappen ended up faster than his Stewart-Ford team-mate Rubens Barrichello at Silverstone on Thursday when the Brazilian lost most of the day due to an engine failure "and trying to cure a few handling problems." Apart from that, the team experienced no major problems and expects to test the latest P-5 version of the Zetec-R Ford V10 engine today(Friday). Both drivers used the long wheelbase chassis set-up and Verstappen declared himself to be reasonably happy with the car after posting 1m 27.57s during a 43 lap programme. Barrichello, who only completed 22 laps on Thursday, managed a 1m 28.918s which was 0.2sec quicker than his Wednesday best. On Tuesday Stewart Grand Prix had the official opening of its new headquarters at Milton Keynes. SALO STARTS FOR ARROWS
Mika Salo was the sole Arrows driver on hand at Silverstone for the first two days of the test this week, the Finn concentrating on engine mapping and chassis set-up while using the regular test car. On Wednesday his fastest lap was 1m 29.38s, improving to 1m 29.11s on Thursday despite having to finish his work prematurely due to an engine problem which originated in an oil leak. Today(Friday) he will be joined by team-mate Pedro Diniz and they will conduct a back-to-back test with the latest evolution of the Arrows V10 engine. TYRRELL WORK ON ENGINES
Following the failures the team suffered at Magny-Cours, Tyrrell went testing at Silverstone to investigate engine reliability issues. Unfortunately Takagi suffered another failure of a P10 spec V10 on Wednesday morning. The team will bring cars to the British Grand Prix in a similar configuration to those used at Magny-Cours but with some small aerodynamic modifications for the fast circuit. MODIFIED FRONT END FOR PROST
Olivier Panis has been testing a Prost-Peugeot with modified front suspension at Silverstone and felt it offered a definite gain in performance. Jarno Trulli tried the car on Thursday afternoon, but it was fitted with a set-up suiting Panis and the Italian will continue testing today. ENGINE PROBLEMS FOR MINARDI
Shinji Nakano's Minardi suffered another engine problem at Silverstone n Thursday. The team has successfully passed a rear crash test to introduce a revised rear wing fixing, but it is not certain that sufficient parts can be built in time for the British Grand Prix. Esteban Tuero was due to take over the car today (Friday).