NEWS FROM THE TEAMS BMW WILLIAMSF1 TEAM (1st - 30points in Constructors' standings): WET START AT VALENCIA The BMW WilliamsF1 team began a three day test at Valencia in wet conditions on Tuesday where test drivers Marc Gene and Antonio...
NEWS FROM THE TEAMS
BMW WILLIAMSF1 TEAM (1st - 30points in Constructors' standings): WET START AT VALENCIA
The BMW WilliamsF1 team began a three day test at Valencia in wet conditions on Tuesday where test drivers Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia shared an FW24 and an FW23C interim chassis, working on tyre development programmes with Michelin in addition to certain areas of engine software. "It rained all day and as a consequence we suffered plenty of red flags on the track", said test team manager Tim Newton. "Marc had a minor incident on his installation lap. Antonio was getting used to being in an Formula One car again after a considerable period and it was his first experience of driving the car in the rain".
Pizzonia managed a 1m35.440s best with Gene posting a 1m37.169s. On Wednesday Montoya joined the test in preparation for the San Marino Grand Prix, posting a 1m14.543s for second fastest of the day. "We were testing brakes and carrying out Michelin tyre tests", said Technical Director Patrick Head. "All fairly routine stuff". On Thursday Montoya again set second fastest time on 1m12.453s with the FW24 while Pizzonia did a 1m13.740s in the FW23C.
SCUDERIA FERRARI MARLBORO (2nd - 24 points) : SCHUMACHER TRIES TWO CARS
Michael Schumacher started testing on Thursday at Fiorano in the old F2001 after Luca Badoer had completed two days there with the new F2002, during which he completed 145 laps for a best lap time of 58.99sec. Badoer was working on tyres and electronics. Schumacher's priority was tyre testing for Bridgestone and some brake work. He was due to continue that programme today (Friday) and then switch to the F2002 on Saturday. Meanwhile Rubens Barrichello drove the new car for two days at Mugello, but was stopped by an engine problem after 44 laps. The trio of F2002s for the San Marino Grand Prix will be shaken down at Fiorano next Wednesday.
WEST McLAREN MERCEDES (3rd - 8 points) : LAST RUN FOR INTERIM CAR
McLaren-Mercedes test driver Alexander Wurz gave the MP4/16B interim test car what was likely to be its final outing at the Valencia test this week as sufficient MP4/17s have now been built to service the test squad as well as the regular race team. Carrying our Michelin tyre testing and chassis development work on Tuesday, Wurz managed a 1m36.067s in the wet conditions. On Wednesday Kimi Raikkonen set the pace at the wheel of an MP4/17, completing 42 laps with a best of 1m13.161s which was over a full second faster than Juan Pablo Montoya in the Williams. Raikkonen maintained his fastest time on Thursday with a 1m12.445s to complete the test with Wurz posting a 1m13.079s.
MILD SEVEN RENAULT F1 TEAM (4th - 6 points) : ALONSO OFF TRACK AT VALENCIA
Renault test driver Fernando Alonso started the Renault team's test at Valencia on Tuesday, his programme of gearbox and software development being curtailed when he aquaplaned off the circuit during the afternoon after managing just 18 laps. On Wednesday Jarno Trulli took over and managed 77 laps with a best of 1m15.864s. Commented Technical Director Mike Gascoyne; "This morning we conducted a number of reliability tests with new and modified components. We ran a tyre test for Michelin in the afternoon, but this was made difficult by the windy conditions".
On Thursday Trulli (1m13.833s) and Alonso (1m14.016s) shared the R202 and Trulli had the chance to try a modified engine specification which performed its reliability testing without any problems. Meanwhile, team principal Flavio Briatore has raised the hopes of British fans who are hoping to see Jenson Button remaining with the team for the 2003 season. "When we arrive in Silverstone for the British Grand Prix then maybe we will decide something", said Briatore. "We have a different Jenson this year. He has changed completely, he concentrates. He is fantastic. We have a very good driver and he has done a great job".
JAGUAR RACING (5th - 3 points) : R3 DEVELOPMENT CONTINUES
Eddie Irvine began Jaguar's test programme at Valencia on Tuesday where his main priority was the continued development programme on the R3 which the team has decided to concentrate on exclusively following exhaustive back-to-back tests with the R2B at Barcelona a fortnight ago. Irvine managed a 1m34.729s best, third fastest on the day, in the wet conditions but had a more profitable day in the dry but windy conditions which prevailed on the Wednesday. He completed 64 laps for a best time of 1m 4.672s, working on minor adjustments to the R3's aerodynamic package while concentrating on improving the balance of the car.
Meanwhile Jaguar Racing Managing Director Guenther Steiner reflected positively on the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend. "We have certainly improved since Malaysia", he said, "I couldn't say by what percentage, but we'll see at the next race how much better we are". Pedro de la Rosa took over the R3 for the final day and managed a 1m14.491s. The team's wind tunnel at Brackley opened for operation this week and will be working round-the-clock shifts in a bid to gain extra data for the car's development.
SAUBER PETRONAS (6th - 3 points) : INTENSIVE TEST PROGRAMME
The Sauber Petronas team tested with one C21 in Valencia this week where they completed an intensive programme of development work. The job list included tyre testing for Bridgestone, set-up work relating to different aerodynamic configurations, optimising control systems including launch control, assessing the hydraulic differential and trying out new brake cooling systems. In heavy rain on Tuesday Nick Heidfeld set fastest time with a best of 1m33.03s after 42 laps despite a quick spin into one of the gravel traps. On the second day the German completed 86 trouble-free laps with a 1m14.826s being sixth fastest on the day. On Thursday Felipe Massa took over.
KL MINARDI ASIATECH (7th - 2 points) : CARS BACK ON WEDNESDAY
The Minardi PS02s only arrived back from Brazil on Wednesday and will be only testing today (Friday) at Misano Adriatico with Mark Webber driving. He will be assessing aerodynamic developments which the team did not have time to test in Brazil and also newer developments from the Fondmetal wind tunnel.
PANASONIC TOYOTA RACING (8th - 2 points) : McNISH AT VALENCIA
After Mika Salo scored another World Championship point for the team in Brazil, Allan McNish started a three day test at Valencia on Tuesday and completed 50 laps in the wet conditions for a best time of 1m38.36s, carrying out some tyre testing for Michelin. On Wednesday McNish was intending to carry out serious set-up work in preparation for the San Marino Grand Prix, but an electronics problem prevented him bettering a 1m17.07s best after 27 laps. "Despite the electronic problem I did some useful brake testing and set-up work for the next race", he said. "I have not raced at Imola before, amazingly perhaps, but we have plenty of data about the track from our test there last year". McNish continued to post a 1m13.61s on Thursday. After the San Marino Grand Prix, Toyota will continue its test programme at Mugello from 16 April.
LUCKY STRIKE BAR HONDA (9th - 0 points) : WORKING ON RELIABILITY
The Lucky Strike BAR Honda team completed a comprehensive three day test at Valencia on Thursday with the combined aim of working through the reliability issues which were raised at the Brazilian Grand Prix with the aim of achieving a steady performance gain in the coming races. Anthony Davidson was present for the duration of the test and Olivier Panis joined the team for the last two days. It was raining on the first day and it gave the team the opportunity to work on wet weather running. On Wednesday Panis achieved the third best time of the day in 1m14.559s while Davidson covered just nine laps before being sidelined by a recurrence of the recent gearbox problems. On Thursday Panis ended the day sixth on 1m13.469s while Davidson's day was cut short by an accident.
DHL JORDAN HONDA (10th - 0 points) : SATO STARTS IN THE WET
Takuma Sato started the Jordan-Honda team's test in the wet at Valencia on Tuesday, the Japanese driver working on general chassis set-up plus launch control, traction control and wet weather tyre testing for Bridgestone. He completed 75 laps and set a 1m33.59s which was the second fastest lap of the day. On Wednesday Giancarlo Fisichella joined Sato and the two men shared Jordan EJ12-05 in the now dry, windy conditions. In the morning Sato set eighth fastest time on 1m 15.04s, working on brake components, Honda's engine programme and general set-up work. Fisichella took over after lunch but was unable to run for more than seven laps due to a prolonged red flag period and then a small fuel leak which limited his time on the circuit, so his best time was 1m15.79s.
Fisichella concluded the Jordan-Honda squad's final day with 41 laps and a best time of 1m13.45s. His priorities were to continue work on the engine development programme plus more brake system development, launch and traction control and aerodynamic work. "I'm fairly happy with the progress made over the last few days", said Fisichella, "and there have been some developments with the engine which look promising."
ORANGE ARROWS (11th - 0 points) : NO TESTING The Arrows team is concentrating on working behind the scenes at its Leafield headquarters in the run-up to the San Marino Grand Prix. Its next scheduled test session will be at Silverstone starting on 16 April.