Formula One Update 98-08-21

SCHUMACHER'S FERRARI CRASHES AT MONZA Michael Schumacher began testing for the Ferrari team at Monza on Tuesday when he tried the new long wheelbase car with different dampers and revised weight distribution. It was wet the first ...


Michael Schumacher began testing for the Ferrari team at Monza on Tuesday when he tried the new long wheelbase car with different dampers and revised weight distribution. It was wet the first morning and Schumacher managed 54 laps (best 1m 26.695s) with Eddie Irvine covering 25 laps (best 1m 27.282s). The latter was stopped when a problem occurred with the modified transmission.

The weather turned very hot on Wednesday when Schumacher did 75 laps for a best of 1m 25.693s, interrupted by two off-track excursions. The first time he broke a track rod then late in the day Michael went off in the Variante Ascari. On the way through the gravel trap the car's front wing was damaged when it hit a piece of iron.

Meanwhile Irvine was doing a long run to check the reliability of the long-chassis car an during the day they were visited first by Gianni Agnelli and then by Paolo Cantarella, the President of Fiat.

On Thursday Schumacher was testing a modified engine and also tyres to be used in the Italian GP. He completed 45 laps for a best of 1m 25.422s. Irvine did 61 laps for a best of 1m 26.110s, but he stopped again prematurely with an ignition failure.

The team was rather satisfied with these tests, but does not hide its preoccupation with the Italian GP which, of the last four races, is the one which least suits their car. MINARDI AT MUGELLO

Minardi has been running on Wednesday and Thursday at Mugello with one car for Shinji Nakano. It rained on both days, but the Japanese driver did a best of 1m 31.352s after 61 laps. Minardi was testing new diffuser, brakes and aerodynamic modifications. Meanwhile Esteben Tuero was in Argentina, where he presented one of his helmets to President Mennem. McLAREN DIVIDES ITS FORCES

The McLaren-Mercedes team divided its testing efforts last week between Silverstone and Monza with an MP4/13 available at each circuit as high speed aerodynamic preparation for both the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix was underway.

David Coulthard started testing at Monza on Tuesday morning but wet weather effectively prevented him from doing any worthwhile laps until after lunch when he turned a 1m 25.768 after 60 laps. As a result of the poor weather, David's test was extended until the end of Wednesday when he posted a best of 1m 24.263s while evaluating Bridgestone tyres in preparation for the Italian race.

Meanwhile Mika Hakkinen ran at Silverstone on Tuesday, completing a total of 33 laps for a best of 1m 26.42s. The following day he managed a best of 1m 26.04s while test driver Ricardo Zonta managed a best of 1m 26.12s. On Thursday Nick Heidfeld took over the car (best 1m 25.77s) as Hakkinen and Coulthard had to attend a promotional event in Prague with the team. DE LA ROSA AND RALF AT MONZA

The Jordan Mugen-Honda squad began testing at Monza on Tuesday with Pedro de la Rosa completing 44 laps for a best of 1m 27.32s after a damp track prevented any serious activity during the morning. In the afternoon, de la Rosa carried out back-to-back testing between the long and short wheelbase car, despite a 45 minute break due to an electrical problem. He also had a spin which caused minor damage later in the day.

Ralf Schumacher took over the test programme on Wednesday and Thursday. On Wednesday he completed 80 laps for a best time of 1m 25.75s, the team having one scheduled engine change during the course of the day. Schumacher tested a variety of Goodyear tyre compounds and did suffer from understeer problems during the morning. "We still have problems to ride over the kerbs," he said, "and under braking the car is very nervous." On Thursday Ralf covered 90 laps for a best time of 1m 26.314s. WILLIAMS TEST DRIVERS AT SILVERSTONE

Juan Pablo Montoya started the Williams team's test programme at Silverstone on Tuesday, the Colombian covering 64 laps for a best time of 1m 26.17s - the fastest of the day - continuing the steady development work on the FW20 chassis.

On Wednesday he continued driving and managed a 1m 25.36s after 29 laps. "This test has been very successful," said James Robinsn, Williams's Senior Operations Engineer. "We've been doing some solid work for Mecachrome and Goodyear and Juan Pablo has put in some good hard work for us." The team's other test driver Max Wilson took over on Thursday for some routine running with a best time of 1m 27.34s. BENETTON AT MAGNY-COURS

Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz were out this week at the Circuit de Nevers completing a programme testing Bridgestone wet weather tyres with the circuit specially hosed down for the purpose. The team has designated this a private test and is not releasing any specific details to the media. BOTH ARROWS DRIVERS AT SILVERSTONE

The Arrows team tested at Silverstone from Tuesday until Thursday where Mika Salo drove for the first two days followed by Pedro Diniz on Thursday morning. Salo ran 42 laps on Tuesday testing tyres, setting a best lap of 1m 28.07s, before switching to engine mapping and endurance testing on Wednesday when he managed 1m 26.67s after 43 laps. On Thursday Diniz evaluated the latest D-spec version of the Arrows V10 engine which proved impressive. "Our results with this engine are very encouraging," he said. There is a strong possibility that both drivers will use the engine at Spa but a decision will be made early next week. STEWART RUNS ALSO

The Stewart-Ford team was another to spend two days testing this week at Silverstone. On Tuesday Jos Verstappen drove 35 laps while working on chassis set-up, clocking a best time of 1m 28.70s. Rubens Barrichello's work proceeded along the same lines with some additional tyre testing on Thursday when he completed 55 laps for a best 1m 26.30s. At the end of the afternoon they tried three different tyre compounds and different wing settings. RAIN INTERRUPTS SAUBER PROGRAMME

Sauber and Minardi were the only teams preparing for the Belgian Grand Prix by testing this week at Mugello. On Tuesday Jean Alesi completed 51 laps for a best time of 1m 29.76s while on Wednesday, a planned race distance simulation was spoiled by a heavy thunderstorm after only nine laps. His best time was 1m 32.98s up to that point. The purpose of this simulation was to establish whether it would be possible to use the qualifying version of the Petronas V10 from now on also in the races. The engineers want to evaluate the data from Thursday's running, when Johnny Herbert took over, in order to come to a decision. Herbert did 1m 31.70s in 51 laps and suffered an engine problem. PANIS IN BARCELONA

Olivier Panis has been running since Wednesday in Barcelona where Prost GP have tested a modified rear suspension and carrying out aerodynamic tests to confirm data gathered in the wind tunnel. No problems have been reported.

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan