SCHUMACHER TOPS TEST FOR FERRARI Ferrari have been testing at Jerez since Tuesday when Eddie Irvine and Luca Badoer started the programme with the former doing 82 laps (best 1m 25.83s) and the latter 106 laps(best 1m 28.30s). On ...
SCHUMACHER TOPS TEST FOR FERRARI
Ferrari have been testing at Jerez since Tuesday when Eddie Irvine and Luca Badoer started the programme with the former doing 82 laps (best 1m 25.83s) and the latter 106 laps(best 1m 28.30s). On Wednesday Badoer's car was switched to long wheelbase specification in order to gather data for next year's car. Irvine for his part managed 47 laps (best 1m 25.304s) and Badoer 48 laps (best 1m 26.540s). On Thursday Michael Schumacher took over Irvine's car and, after trying several types of Bridgestone tyre, managed the quickest time of the test on 1m 23.83s after 76 laps. Baoder covered 82 laps and got down to 1m 26.310s. HEIDFELD JOINS COULTHARD AGAIN
F3000 front runner Nick Heidfeld joined David Coulthard in the McLaren-Mercedes squad at Jerez this week as Mika Hakkinen was occupied with business and public appearances elsewhere. Coulthard set the pace on Tuesday with 48 laps for a best of 1m 25.56s with Heidfeld doing 23 laps with a fastest of 1m 27.00s. The team was concentrating on assessing various components for the 1999 McLaren MP4/14 and on Wednesday Heidfeld set fastest time with a 1m 24.98s after a fruitful 61 laps of running. Coulthard did 45 laps for a best of 1m 25 75s. On Thursday Coulthard did 49 laps to post a best of 1m 24.75s, second fastest on the day, while Heidfeld wound up fifth overall on 1m 25.26s after a total of 59 laps. NEW WILLIAMS DRIVERS AT JEREZ
The Williams team started its three day test at Jerez on Tuesday with the 1999 driver line-up of Ralf Schumacher and Alex Zanardi scheduled to drive on each day. On the first day Schumacher covered 41 laps for a best time of 1m 26.14s with Zanardi completing 43 laps, his best being 1m 27.73s. "We are basically carrying off where we left off last week in Barcelona, testing lots of systems and components for the Williams FW21," commented Senior Operations Engineer James Robinson at the end of the day. On Wednesday Schumacher set second fastest time on 1m 25.02s and completed 41 laps, putting him second fastest 0.2sec behind Heidfeld's McLaren. "Everything is going OK and it's great that we are on the pace," he said. "There was a small problem with my car this morning but that was fixed quickly so we could all get on with this important work for 1999." Zanardi finished the day with a best time of 1m 26.01s in the other FW20. On Thursday Schumacher set third fastest time, covering 36 laps with a best of 1m 24.93s. Zanardi did 53 laps with a best of 1m 25.52s. "Everything is going well," said the Italian. "Each time I jump in the car it feels better and more comfortable. I haven't reached my peak yet but I am at the steepest part of the learning curve so I am learning more each time I go out." FRENTZEN HAS JORDAN TO HIMSELF
Heinz-Harald Frentzen had the Jordan Mugen-Honda 198 to himself for this week's three day test at Jerez as Damon Hill was occupied elsewhere. On Tuesday Frentzen completed 67 laps for a best of 1m 26.87s - fourth fastest - before the team stopped running a little early in order to carry out a routine engine change in preparation for the second day. On Wednesday Frentzen completed 64 laps for a fastest of 1m 25.37s. The team carried out some aerodynamic development work during the morning and then continued to evaluate set-ups for the new tyres in the afternoon. The team had no dramas, although Frentzen went off at the hairpin after swerving to miss Badoer's slowing Ferrari, although no damage was sustained. Thursday saw Frentzen cover 51 laps, ironically his 1m 24.97s fastest lap being identical to the best time achieved by Ralf Schumacher - the man he replaced at Jordan - in the Williams. Frentzen concentrated on experimenting with tyre and chassis set-ups. The team plans to continue testing in Barcelona from 15-17 December with both Damon Hill and Frentzen. ELECTRONIC PROBLEMS FOR SAUBER
While Pedro Diniz was still getting used to the feel of the Sauber-Petronas C17 by doing as many laps as possible (86 on Tuesday, 70 on Wednesday) Jorg Muller was trying the '99 electronic system on the second Sauber. Unfortunately due to problems with the system the German driver did only three in and out laps with the car on Tuesday. On Wednesday Muller managed to complete ten laps but his time of 1m 31.09s was by far the slowest that day. However, on Thursday Sauber seemed a good way towards sorting out these teething problems and by 15.00 hours Muller had completed 24 laps. Diniz, meanwhile, performed very consistently without any spins or incidents. On Wednesday he managed a 1m 26.58s, only 1.5sec slower than the fastest McLaren. Sauber will not test next week at Barcelona. The new 1999 Sauber-Petronas C18 should be launched in Basle on 19 January. TYRE SHORTAGE DELAYS BAR TEST
The first outing of the new British American Racing F1 challenger, scheduled to take place this week at Silverstone, had to be cancelled as Bridgestone declined to supply tyres for it as it was outside a common test session like this week's in Jerez. SARRAZIN JOINS TRULLI AGAIN
Jarno Trulli and Stephane Sarrazin continued testing this week for the Prost-Peugeot team. The former was once again in the interim AP101B - with the new engine and gearbox - while the latter handled an earlier AP01 fitted with the new gearbox. On Tuesday Trulli, who had not previously run at Jerez with an F1 car before, managed 66 laps (best 1m 27.72s) while Sarrazin, who had never seen the circuit before, did 54 laps (best 1m 28.17s). On Wednesday Trulli attempted a race simulation which was hampered by too many red flag incidents but he still did 85 laps for a best of 1m 27.41s. Sarrazin, who was working on the electronic differential, encountered some electrical problems which delayed him. He managed 34 laps for a best of 1m 26.85s. BENETTON STAYS AT HOME
The Benetton team again stayed home from the Jerez test, the entire factory working flat-out to complete the new B199 challenger which should be unveiled in the second or third week of January. The team will also be absent from Barcelona next week. ARROWS UNDECIDED
Arrows has yet to decide which of its drivers will be testing for the team next week in Barcelona, the choice to be made between Mika Salo and test drivers Steve Watson and Emmanuel Collard. As far as rumours concerning negotiations involving its ownership, a team spokesperson declined to comment on the matter. STEWART-FORD STAYS AT BASE
The team is currently working hard on the SF-3 project which is much more advanced than the current car was this time last year. A decision on its testing plans will be made upon clarification of the testing rules yet to be announced, particularly concerning tyre supply.