Testing round up ahead of Montreal

Testing round up ahead of Montreal

The last day of testing ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix came to a close at Monza on Friday. With Indianapolis just seven days after Montreal, most teams opted for a dual test strategy at Monza, Italy, and Silverstone in the UK for the duration of...

The last day of testing ahead of the Canadian Grand Prix came to a close at Monza on Friday. With Indianapolis just seven days after Montreal, most teams opted for a dual test strategy at Monza, Italy, and Silverstone in the UK for the duration of three or four day programmes. Only Minardi did not take to the track this week.

Luca Badoer.
Photo by Ferrari Media Center.

Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer conducted a shakedown of the cars for Montreal at Fiorano on Friday, before nipping along to Monza to complete the team's week with fellow tester Andrea Bertolini. Badoer was on duty at Monza for all four days, while Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello shared duties at Silverstone for three days. Tyres were the main focus of the tests -- Badoer also worked on new components and Bertolini on aerodynamics.

Renault spent its three-day schedule at Silverstone with race drivers Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli on track -- their programme also centred on tyres. "We reached the necessary mileage on the engine evolution to be used at the next two races, made good progress with tyre development and advanced in our understanding of the car," said chief test engineer Christian Silk.

Williams had a busy week, test drivers Antonio Pizzonia and Marc Gen? on track at Silverstone along with Juan Pablo Montoya, and Ralf Schumacher at Monza. Brakes, tyres, aerodynamics and new components were on the agenda in preparation for the North American races, as well as for the British GP.

"We have been working really hard in preparation for the next two Grands Prix testing at Silverstone and in Monza," said Montoya. "Both the Canadian and U.S tracks require a lot of power and minimal downforce but the BMW engine is still very good, even if some other teams have improved since last year, so we should do well there."

BAR followed the dual test trend, race drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato working in the UK and tester Anthony Davidson in Italy. Like other teams, tyres were the main focus, and also Honda engine development. Shuhei Nakamoto, Honda's engineering director, is confident a solution has been found after Sato's engine failure in the European Grand Prix.

"It's been a busy week with tests at Monza and Silverstone," said Nakamoto. "We have introduced a countermeasure for the problem with Taku's engine at the N?rburgring, and done some useful running with the new spec engine for Canada. Lap times have been good at both circuits, and we have high hopes for the race in Montreal."

Sauber tested only at Monza, and it was a somewhat eventful week for the Swiss team. Bad weather hampered the test initially, then Felipe Massa suffered a drive shaft problem on Wednesday, which damaged the rear suspension, forcing an early end to the day. Back on track on Thursday with Giancarlo Fisichella, the next problem was a tyre blow out. On Friday Fisichella managed to sucessfully conclude the test.

"Overall it was a productive four-day test," said race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara. "We could complete our planned programme although we had lost some time on day two. We were able to decide on the aero and brake configuration for Montreal and Indianapolis and choose the tyres for these two races. In addition we could also do some set-up work in view of the Italian Grand Prix."

McLaren debuted the development MP4-19B at Silverstone with Kimi Raikkonen behind the wheel, while David Coulthard and tester Pedro de la Rosa worked at Monza. "The development car seems to be a lot more stable which is one of the things we have been trying to encourage so that is positive," said Raikkonen.

Toyota was hard at work, Cristiano da Matta spending three days at Silverstone and Olivier Panis, Ricardo Zonta and Ryan Briscoe all at Monza over four days. Tyres were the focus for da Matta: "Overall, though, I think we can be pleased with the work we have completed for Silverstone in parallel to what the team is doing in Monza in preparation for the next races in Montreal and Indy," said the Brazilian.

Ricardo Zonta.
Photo by Brousseau Photo.

Tyres were also on the agenda at Monza, along with aerodynamics -- Zonta suffered a high speed crash on Thursday but was unharmed. His car, however, was too badly damaged to continue today as the team is already heading for Canada.

"I went off approaching the Parabolica due to a puncture caused when I picked up some debris on the right rear tyre," Zonta explained. "I was going along at top speed in top gear -- about 330kmh -- when I felt the problem at the rear and I hit the tyre barrier. I had a similar accident in the same place a few years ago, and at that speed you never quite know what will happen. Thankfully, I'm absolutely fine."

Jaguar opted for a single location, Christian Klien at Silverstone on Tuesday and Wednesday and Mark Webber taking over for the final day on Thursday. "Our preparations during a three-day test session at Silverstone went well," said Webber.

"We managed substantial mileage and prepared for the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve with some aero package work. The start issue is something we've also been working hard on that at Silverstone and believe that we're in better shape than we've ever been so hopefully we can go well."

Jordan managed two days' work in the UK with race drivers Nick Heidfeld and Giorgio Pantano behind the wheel. Tyres for the next European races, along with aerodynamics and set up for Montreal was the scheduled programme. "Our test at Silverstone was productive and although much of it was general work including British Grand Prix tyre testing, we did some specific preparations for Canada and that was positive," said Heidfeld.

The Canadian Grand Prix, Montreal, is on June 13th and the American Grand Prix, Indianapolis, on June 20th.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi , Jordan