By Mark Gledhill - Motorsport.com 10:00am to 5.00pm, Tuesday 12th September 2000 Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, Northamptonshire, England Drivers: Jacques Villeneuve (BAR), Riccardo Zonta (BAR), Luciano Burti (Jaguar) Conditions: Hot...
By Mark Gledhill - Motorsport.com
10:00am to 5.00pm, Tuesday 12th September 2000
Silverstone Grand Prix Circuit, Northamptonshire, England
Jacques Villeneuve (BAR),
Riccardo Zonta (BAR),
Luciano Burti (Jaguar)
Conditions: Hot and sunny, slight breeze, occasional overcast patches
The BAR and Jaguar team members gradually arrived during the morning, with Luciano Burti the last driver to arrive at the circuit at 9am. The team trucks were already in place from the previous day's testing, but a single Jordan lorry pulled out of the main gates and returned to the factory. As the start of the session neared several engines could be heard in the pit-lane. There was a relatively small crowd compared with previous sessions, aware that there were just two teams at the circuit today. Those spectators at the circuit were therefore dedicated fans or people experiencing their first taste of live Formula One action.
The first cry of an engine came at five minutes into the session, and the car quickly left the pit-lane and onto the circuit. The driver was careful through Becketts before accelerating along the Hanger Straight. Luciano Burti, driving for Jaguar, came into view at Priory, twitching wildly at the exit of Luffield before returning to the pit-lane. Five minutes later Riccardo Zonta took to the track, slowly at first while using high gears and barely hitting the rev-limiter, before passing through Woodcote and onto a timed lap. The BAR driver's first lap of the day was 1m 30.32s, and improved this on the next lap to 1m 29.19s before returning to the pits. The engine was clearly whining under acceleration.
Jacques Villeneuve completed a slow installation lap in his BAR, soon followed by some steadily improving flying laps, timed at 1m 29.87s, 1m 28.27s and then 1m27.85s. There was a single puff of smoke from the back of the BAR as it entered Priory, but Villeneuve continued and no further problems were observed. Luciano Burti joined him on track for several laps (1m 27.59s). The Jaguar driver managed a quick spin at Bridge but kept momentum and ended up facing the correct direction so lost little time. Riccardo Zonta returned to the track for a ten-lap run (1m 27.43s). He was having problems braking at Brooklands as he locked up a couple of times and was fighting for control through Luffield.
A large grey cloud that caused a large drop in temperature greeted the start of the second hour. Luciano Burti was the first driver to take advantage of the cooler track conditions and set a 1m 28.87s lap before running wide at Brooklands and returning to the pits. Riccardo Zonta completed another set of laps, running as quickly as 1m 26.94s at one point. These laps looked a lot calmer and he did not lock up the brakes or correct the steering through the complex.
Jacques Villeneuve came out for a run of laps, steadily improving his times. They were 1m 27.28s, 1m 27.31s, 1m27.03s, 1m26.69s and 1m26.40s. His car appeared to be over-steering and Villeneuve had to treat Luffield as a set of several corners instead of one single smooth corner.
At 11.45am there was suddenly a lot of action on track as Jacques Villeneuve took to the track followed 30 seconds later by Luciano Burti. The BAR driver went as low as 1m 26.31s and Burti improved gradually to set a 1m 27.00s. Villeneuve's driving appeared erratic, as he was twitching on some laps but was smooth on other laps. He had a moment on his fourth lap as his lap-time was 1m 31.50s.
The sky cleared shortly before lunch and the air and track both became warm again. Villeneuve responded by setting a 1m 25.80s followed by 1m 26.22s before returning very slowly back to the pits. Burti, running at the same time, could only manage a 1m 27.31s lap. After a few minutes of silence both Villeneuve and Burti returned to the track for a couple of laps before the end of the session.
The good weather continued after lunch, accompanied by a slight breeze. Riccardo Zonta appeared six minutes into the session, again slowly and using high gears. This installation lap was very cautious. Ten minutes later he returned to the track, completing a very fast out lap and two laps at 1m 28.37s and 1m 27.72s. He was over-steering, and feathering slightly through faster corners. Luciano Burti completed a single installation lap.
Riccardo Zonta returned to the track at 2.40pm, this time feathering the throttle through Luffield. He set a 1m 30.34s and 1m 30.03s before returning to the pits. Team-mate Jacques Villeneuve took over on the track, also feathering the throttle, hitting the rev-limiter and fighting the car particularly through Bridge. His times varied between 1m 26.34s and 1m 29.84s. Zonta returned to set a 1m 26.40s, during which he had excessive wheelspin out of Brooklands.
The temperature was much hotter by 3pm and all three drivers took to the track. Villeneuve's Honda engine sounded as though it was breathing slightly more heavily. Riccardo Zonta started his first flying lap but did not complete it, the BAR coasting to a halt somewhere on the south side of the circuit. Riccardo returned back to the garage in a rescue vehicle but his car was taken back to the pits across the centre of the circuit.
The session restarted at 3.25pm with Villeneuve completing a single timed lap (1m 26.79s). Fifteen minutes later Villeneuve returned for three times laps (1m26.62, 1m 26.57s, 1m 26.25s), before completing a slow in-lap. Fifteen minutes later Villeneuve returned and was joined by Burti for several laps. Both pitted and then returned to the track shortly afterwards. Burti was still suffering from over-steer, despite setting a 1m 25.91s.
The sky became very overcast at 4.35pm. Riccardo Zonta returned to the track, either in the spare car or a repaired car. His gear change sounded very rough. He pitted without setting a time, whereas Luciano Burti set a 1m 25.41s. All three drivers came out for short stints towards the end of the session, which ultimately finished at 5.00pm.
Villeneuve, Zonta and Burti all appeared to be suffering from steering problems, over-steer and locking brakes. However the drivers were able to set very fast times on single laps, and consistent times over several laps, and there was only one obvious mechanical failure during the session. The drivers all got a lot of track time, completed many stints, and all looked strong and confident.
Mark Gledhill <A HREF="http://www.formula-photos.co.uk/">http://www.formula- photos.co.uk/</A>