FERRARI AT FIORANO AND MONZA Ferrari's programme of testing this week started on Tuesday with Michael Schumacher at Fiorano and Eddie Irvine at Monza, both using long chassis versions of the F300. Schumacher did 32 laps at Fiorano ...
FERRARI AT FIORANO AND MONZA
Ferrari's programme of testing this week started on Tuesday with Michael Schumacher at Fiorano and Eddie Irvine at Monza, both using long chassis versions of the F300. Schumacher did 32 laps at Fiorano (fastest 1m 02.382s) working on chassis set-up, while Irvine covered 58 laps at the Italian GP venue for a best of 1m 25.342s while working on set-up and tyre development. He was delayed by a broken front suspension, but managed to stay on the circuit. Both drivers were at Monza on Wednesday where Schumacher managed 60 laps (fastest 1m 25.287s) but Irvine only carried out a shakedown of the repaired chassis. On Thursday Irvine achieved the quickest lap of the day in 1m 24.293s after 51 laps. Meanwhile Schumacher completed a race simulation, covering 97 laps with a best time of 1m 24.924s. His quickest lap was spoiled by Jarno Trulli spinning his Prost. He used the engine specification which was used in qualifying at Spa and it is likely that this will be used for the Monza race where two spare long chassis cars will be on hand. Schumacher expressed optimism. "The car is going better since Hockenheim and the gap to the McLarens should be down to four or five tenths of a second," he said. McLAREN SETS EARLY MONZA PACE
The McLaren-Mercedes team set the early pace during Monza testing this week where the team began running on Tuesday with test driver Ricardo Zonta driving both the cars earmarked for David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen's subsequent use. He managed a best of 1m 25.333s after 66 laps despite running over one of the high kerbs and damaging a nose wing. On Wednesday Coulthard and Hakkinen took over, one of their main priorities being to evaluate the latest Bridgestone tyres developed at the team's Monza test prior to the Belgian Grand Prix. On Thursday Coulthard set fastest time, covering 90 laps for a best of 1m 23.527s, while Hakkinen covered 78 laps, his fastest being 1m 24.773s. On Thursday Hakkinen covered 50 laps for a best of 1m 24.577s, second fastest of the day, with Coulthard concentrating on a tyre programme and covering 83 laps for a best of 1m 24.84s. BENETTON AT MONZA
The Benetton-Playlife squad began the first of four days' tyre testing at Monza on Tesday with Giancarlo Fisichella and Alexander Wurz concentrating on tyre evaluation and set-up work in preparation for the Italian Grand Prix on 13 September. Wurz set the fastest time of the day with a1m 24.734s best after 47 laps while Fisichella's car also ran with new bodywork, completing 25 laps for a best of 1m 25.627s. On Wednesday the team continued finalising tyre choices for the race and confirmed that initial reactions to the revised bodywork had been positive. Fisichella covered 93 laps with best of 1m 24.736s while Wurz managed 73 laps with a fastest of 1m 25.081s. On Thursday the drivers continued to work on race set-up, tyre development and aerodynamic work. Wurz convered 65 laps for a best of 1m 24.750s with Fisichella close behind on 1m 24.754s after 31 laps. JORDAN BACK TO BUSINESS
Ralf Schumacher and test driver Pedro de la Rosa began testing at Monza on Wednesday after the team's first Grand Prix victory at Spa last Sunday. Ralf Schumacher completed 68 laps despite losing some time with engine trouble, the team also testing a new rear suspension geometry as well as general set-up work. His best time was 1m 25.84s, Ralf reporting that particular work was done on damper, springs and rollbar settings as the car is still nervous riding the kerbs, particularly at the first chicane. De la Rosa, meanwhile, completed 44 laps for a best of 1 26.56s, completing general set-up work, before stopping when the engine was out of mileage. On Thursday Damon Hill completed 74 laps to test the general set-up of the car. Aerodynamics and suspension were evaluated and back-to-back tyre and fuel runs completed. Hill had a spin at the end of the day but no real damage was done. His best time was 1m 25.64s. Ralf Schumacher completed 60 laps with one scheduled engine change and he carried out a test programme much like that undertaken by Hill. His best time was 1m 24.77s WILLIAMS PREPARE FOR ITALIAN OUTING
The Williams-Mecachromes of Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya opened the British team's test at Monza on Wednesday in preparation for the next round of the World Championship. "This is a very important test for us as it gives us the opportunity to do lots of preparation for the Italian Grand Prix," said James Robinson, the team's Senior Operations Engineer. "We are doing general set-up work for the race and also some tyre testing for Goodyear." Villeneuve covered 47 laps with a best time of 1m 25.32s while Montoya did 63 laps for a quickest of 1m 25.56s. On Thursday Heinz-Harald Frentzen took over from Montoya, covering 53 laps for a best of 1m 25.73s. Villeneuve completed 69 laps and got down to 1m 24.98s. SAUBER MAKING PROGRESS
On Wednesday at Monza Jean Alesi successfully completed a race distance using the latest spec Petronas V10 engine which has previously only been used in qualifying. In the simulated warm-up prior to this race run, he crashed heavily at the second chicane, damaging the nose and removing a front wheel. But the car was repaired and he continued his programme. On Wednesday Alesi did a 1m 26.801s best and improved to 1m 25.32s the following day. Both he and Johnny Herbert also carried out development work on the differential and worked on the aerodynamic balance in preparation for the Italian GP. Herbert did a 1m 27.568s best on Wednesday before improving to 1m 26.799s during Thursday's session. VERSTAPPEN STARTS FOR STEWART
Jos Verstappen began testing for the Stewart team at Monza on Tuesday when the Dutchman completed 51 laps for a best time of 1m 27.05s without running with a low fuel load. On Wednesday he completed another 47 laps, experimenting with different set-ups based on those used by the team at Hockenheim. In doing so, he improved his best to 1m 26.05s. On Monday Rubens Barrichello had some x-rays carried out on his left arm following the Belgian Grand Prix accident and it was confirmed that he had not sustained a fracture. The Brazilian, however, still had a sore elbow but managed to cover 68 trouble-free laps in race trim on Thursday, achieving a best of 1m 25.10s. He was scheduled to drive again on Friday. ARROWS CANCELS TEST PROGRAMME
The Arrows team opted to cancel its testing programme this week in order to concentrate on rebuilding its cars for Monza. The chassis (A19/6) which Pedro Diniz used to finish fifth in the Belgian GP will become Mika Salo's race chassis at Monza, the Brazilian using new chassis 7 at the Italian race. All the cars damaged at Spa are repairable and chassis no. 1 will be taken to Italy as spare. The team expects to use the D-spec version of its V10 engine again in qualifying. PROST HAS TWO CARS AT MONZA
Although it sustained two damaged cars in the first lap crash at Spa, the Prost team was able to bring two chassis to Monza for Olivier Panis and Jarno Trullu. On Wednesday Panis was carrying out aerodynamic work and Trulli mechanical development - particularly on the electronic differential - and the two men exchanged programmes on Thursday. Then Trulli could only complete 34 laps to Panis's 41 due to a couple of off-track excursions. Trulli nevertheless managed 1m 25.141s on Thursday with Panis recording 1m 25.986s. LAST TEST SESSION FOR TYRRELL
The three Tyrrells damaged at Spa were examined back at the factory where it was found that Ricardo Rosset's chassis was a write-off, but that Toranosuke Takagi's race car and the spare were repairable and will be at Monza for the race. On Wednesday the team took part in its last testing session at Silverstone when Takagi recorded fastest lap of the day on 1m 28.9s. The Frenchman Patrick Lemarie was given his first chance in F1 - using an earlier P7 engine - and he recorded a creditable 1m 30.1s. BOTH MINARDI DRIVERS AT MONZA
Minardi was testing this week with both its drivers, Shinji Nakano managing a 1m 27.397s which was 2.4sec faster than Esteban Tuero could manage on Thursday. Meanwhile the factory in Faenza received a visit from an Argentine economic delegation to discuss the renewal of Tuero's contract next season and also some financial support for the team. No decision has been made on engines for next season, but a half-scale model of the planned 1999 chassis has been tested successfully for nine days in the Fondmetal Technologies wind tunnel.