FERRARI TESTS FOR THE WHOLE WEEK A week of intensive Ferrari testing began on Monday when Luca Badoer managed 30 laps at Fiorano with a best time of 1m 3.861s while working on mechanical and aerodynamic set-ups in preparation for the...
FERRARI TESTS FOR THE WHOLE WEEK A week of intensive Ferrari testing began on Monday when Luca Badoer managed 30 laps at Fiorano with a best time of 1m 3.861s while working on mechanical and aerodynamic set-ups in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix. On Tuesday he remained at Fiorano where he completed 50 laps for a best time of 1m 2.603s during which he tried revised engine mapping intended for Monaco which he felt was very positive. Meanwhile, Eddie Irvine was at Magny-Cours testing tyres and set-ups covering 103 laps for a best time of 1m 18.169s, remaining at the French track on Thursday where he covered another 100 laps in tremendous heat to split the McLarens with a 1m 17.868s. Irvine explained that he was confident he had found a good tyre solution for both Monaco and Montreal.
The same tyre types were also tested by Michael Schumacher at Fiorano on Thursday evening and he will remain testing at the Ferrari track until Saturday, where he will be joined by Irvine on the final day. McLAREN AT LURCY-LEVIS, THEN MAGNY-COURS The McLaren-Mercedes team began its test programme this week with West F3000 team driver Nick Heidfeld carrying out some aerodynamic tests at the Lurcy-Levis aerodrome circuit in central France using an MP4/13. The team then moved to the Circuit de Nevers at Magny-Cours the following day where regular drivers Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard took over the programme.
The team was carrying out aerodynamic testing and tyre evaluation in preparation for Monaco and Coulthard finished Wednesday with fastest time of 1m 17.363s(67 laps) while Hakkinen was second on 1m 17.675s(89 laps). Both drivers had spins on Wednesday, Hakkinen a high speed excursion and they ended in the gravel traps.
On Thursday Hakkinen was fastest on 1m 17.53s (74 laps) with Coulthard, who lost time in the afternoon with a hydraulic leak, covering a total of 53 laps for a best of 1m 18.14s. DE LA ROSA STARTS FOR JORDAN Test driver Pedro de la Rosa began the Jordan Mugen-Honda team's three day test at Magny-Cours on Tuesday in very hot and dry conditions with an air temperature of 30-deg(C) and a track temperature of up to 40-deg(C).
The Spanish driver completed 102 laps with a best time of 1m 22.04s, concentrating on balancing the car and testing downforce levels. He did have an off-course moment at the last corner during his first run, but no damage was sustained.
On Wednesday Ralf Schumacher completed 65 laps for a best of 1m 20.03s, concentrating on chassis set-up work, but stopped early due to what was officially described by the team as "a minor mechanical problem." In addition, Japan's Juichi Wakisaka completed 63 laps with a best of 1m 21.81s as part of the team's driving training programme.
He had a minor spin but no damaged was sustained.
On Thursday the team continued its test programem at Magny-Cours in track temperatures of up to 41-deg(C) although sudden rain stopped the session prematurely at 17.10.
Damon Hill completed 105 laps for a best time of 1m 20.42s concentrating on chassis set-up and tyre testing work. Ralf Schumacher covered 67 laps with a best of 1m 20.76s, also trying different construction tyres and the short wheelbase set-up which was being evaluated for Monaco. The test has been extended for a further half day(to lunchtime Friday) with Ralf Schumacher continuing Monaco preparations. VILLENEUVE SETS FIRST DAY'S PACE Jacques Villeneuve set the pace for the Williams-Mecachrome squad at Magny-Cours on Tuesday where he completed a total of 53 laps with a best of 1m 19.44s, the quickest of the day. Goodyear had three truck loads of tyres for its top contracted teams to evaluate in preparation for Monaco, Canada and the French Grand Prix, but the Williams team preferred to play its cards close to its chest and reveal no information about their own development programme with the FW20. Villeneuve got down to 1m 18.38s on Wednesday and Heinz-Harald Frentzen took over on Thursday to record a best of 1m 19.86s. Frentzen should continue testing until the end of Friday. SAUBER PREPARES FOR MONACO The Sauber Petronas team held a four day test at Magny-Cours this week in preparation for Monaco with Jean Alesi driving the first two days, his C17 running mainly in a high downforce configuration. The second priority for the team was to test Goodyear's latest rear tyres. Under extremely hot conditions Alesi did 59 laps on Tuesday and another 54 on Wednesday, the latter yielding his best time of 1m 19.74s. On Thursday Johnny Herbert took over, testing different front wing configurations and a modified front suspension geometry. After 66 laps his best was a 1m 20.42s. ARROWS WORKING HARD Having missed the pre-Spanish GP test, the Arrows team opted to remain in Barcelona after the race for a comprehensive development session. Mika Salo and Pedro Diniz carried out experiments on weight distribution (Salo) and front and rear suspension set-ups (Diniz) from Tuesday until Thursday.
On the first day Salo completed a total of 40 laps with a best time of 1m 24.90s as against Diniz's 1m 25.20s which was the best of his 32 laps. The following day (Wednesday) the Brazilian concentrated on front suspension work and, in addition to sustaining a punctured tyres, needed an engine change during the course of a day in which he completed 41 laps for a best time of 1m 25.33s. Salo continued with his development programme and improved his own best time by 0.1s after 35 laps.
On Thursday only Diniz tested, turning a best time of 1m 25.01s after 44 laps. Commented team manager John Walton; "These three days helped us to understand the car much better. It is fair to say that we still need some reliability in the engine department but we are definitely making progress in all areas." BENETTON TESTS AT JEREZ The Benetton Playlife team carried out an intensive test programme at Spain's Jerez this week starting on Monday with Jos Verstappen driving the B198 test car alone and recording a best of 1m 29.87s despite slight gearbox problems. On Tuesday he was joined by Giancarlo Fisichella, but a lot of rain delayed their schedule. Fisichella got down to 1m 27.46s with Verstappen managing a 1m 27.45s before the team missed running on Wednesday as the circuit Was not available for testing.
The team resumed testing with both drivers on Thursday when the programme continued trying a different chassis set-up to improve low speed traction in preparation for Monaco. Fisichella also tried some further revised suspension geometry and did damper development work. Unfortunately the weather was damp during the morning due to heavy overnight rain which meant inconsistent circuit conditions hampered the team's progress. Fisichella covered 42 laps for a best of 1m 25.89s while Verstappen covered 48 laps for a best of 1m 26.26s. The team will continue running at least until the end of today(Friday). STEWART STAYS AT BASE After Rubens Barrichello's fifth place at Barcelona the Stewart-Ford team opted to concentrating on working at its new factory which will officially be opened by the Princess Royal on 30 June. Both Barrichello and Jan Magnussen will race the P4 version of the Ford Zetec-R V10 at Monaco where Magnussen will also have a fully revised front suspension on his race car. PROST HAS NEW CAR The Prost Peugeot team had a new test car (chassis 04) which was being used in this week's four day test at Magny-Cours, Olivier Panis starting with it on Tuesday when he was testing new tyres for Monaco in addition to new dampers and revised mapping for the Peugeot V10. There was also a major gearbox evolution available and Panis covered 55 laps for a best time of 1m 19.38s.
On Wednesday the team went to the nearby Lurcy-Levis aerodrome circuit for more aerodynamic and engine mapping tests and Panis also practised his starting technique.
On Thursday both Panis and Jarno Trulli were back at Magny-Cours where the Frenchman carried out a back-to-back test between the Peugeot EVO2 and the new EVO4 which should be used in qualifying for the French Grand Prix. Panis covered 15 laps and then Trulli tried it for a dozen laps, both men being equally satisfied with the extra power. In the afternoon Trulli did another dozen laps of aerodynamic testing, after which Panis took over only to be stopped by an electrical problem. MINARDI AIM FOR FIORANO The Minardi team was intending to test today(Friday) and tomorrow at Fiorano in preparation for Monaco. The factory is at present working on an important aerodynamic evolution which should be tested after Monaco. TYRRELL TRIES NEW FORD V10 The Tyrrell team tested for three days at Magny-Cours, the main priority being to test the latest P10 specification of the customer V10 for the first time. This engine's crankshaft axis is lower than that of the P7 currently used which necessitates important chassis changes. Tyrrell aim to race the new engine for the first time in Canada.