Testing roundup 2001-2-12

FERRARI: SCHUMACHER AT MUGELLO (1st - 170 points) Michael Schumacher began testing the new Ferrari F2001 at Mugello on Monday but was only able to manage six laps due to a fuel injection problem which was traced to pick-up difficulties. On Tuesday...

Michael Schumacher began testing the new Ferrari F2001 at Mugello on Monday but was only able to manage six laps due to a fuel injection problem which was traced to pick-up difficulties. On Tuesday he got down to 1m 24.657s and on Wednesday trimmed that to 1m 24.579s. "We expected new car problems but have had far less than we thought," said Michael. "The feedback gives me a good feeling." He was scheduled to continue testing until the end of Thursday after which Rubens Barrichello will take over for Friday (today) and Saturday. The Brazilian will be driving again on Monday at Fiorano after which testing will resume at Mugello, probably for the whole week. Commenting on the renewal of the contracts of Jean Todt and the principal engineers until 2004, Schumacher said; "it could have an influence on the eventual extension of my agreement with the team, but it is too soon to talk about."

McLAREN: MP4/16 DEBUT AT VALENCIA (2nd - 152 points)
David Coulthard tested the new McLaren-Mercedes MP4/16 for two days behind closed doors at Spain's Valencia circuit on Monday and Tuesday before the new car was unveiled officially on Tuesday. The MP4/16 ran for 500km without problems on those first two days only to suffer a slight gearbox problem which delayed its continued running on Wednesday. Nevertheless Coulthard commented; "If anything the car seems a little easier to driver than last year's and my first impression is that it has more grip." The team will remain at Valencia until 14 February with Coulthard sharing the driving with Mika Hakkinen. The interim MP4/15-K development cars will continue to be run for much of the season for the Bridgestone tyre development programme. "They are prefect for tyre development as they can be configured in comparable aerodynamic trim to the new cars, which will save us time and take pressure off the MP4/16 build schedule," commented team chief Ron Dennis.

The BMW Williams team began testing at Kyalami on Thursday with both Ralf Schumacher and Juan Montoya. The team has two FW23s on hand in South Africa and will be there for a week carrying out hot weather testing in preparation for the Australian Grand Prix. On the first day Schumacher completed 40 laps for a best time of 1m 21.909s with Montoya 1sec slower as he familiarised himself with the circuit. Commented Williams technical director Patrick Head; "We had a useful day with both cars. Juan Pablo has been familiarising himself with the track and has done a good job. We've done some productive work and we've learned a lot about cooling and high temperatures. The lap times relative to our previous visit last year are quite good and we are also quite pleased with the performance of the Michelin tyres."

BENETTON: TESTING STARTS WITH B201 (4th - 20 points)
Giancarlo Fisichella began testing at Estoril on Wednesday with the new Benetton B201, a day after a partially completed sister car was unveiled with some style in St Marks Square, Venice. On the first day out with the new car, Fisichella managed 67 laps for a best time of 1m 24.585s in changeable weather conditions at the Portuguese circuit. Commented technical director Mike Gascoyne; "We are very pleased with today's running. We have made progress each day we have run the new car and we are on target with the development programme, so things are looking positive." On Thursday Fisichella continued to work on engine mapping while the circuit was still wet, but during that programme there was a minor engine problem which necessitated fitting a fresh V10 and curtailed its running for the day after posting a 1m 23.055s best. Test driver Mark Webber drove the Benetton B200 after Jenson Button was sidelined with a stomach complaint. The Australian worked on a Michelin tyre programme and managed a 1m 21.925s best.

BAR: ALSO IN SOUTH AFRICA (5th - 20 points)
Together with Williams, BAR-Honda flew a car to Kyalami for high temperature tests. "We did have a slow day," reported a spokesperson after Olivier Panis managed a 1m 23.928s best, two seconds slower than Ralf Schumacher.

The Jordan-Honda squad was the sole team testing at Silverstone on Thursday where Ricardo Zonta completed 15 laps during the morning while the team concentrated on oil system development tests and practice pit stops with the new regulation refuelling rigs. Freezing and wet weather conditions caused the team to finish the test earlier than planned and the team will resume testing next Monday at Valencia.

The Arrows team started an intensive test programme at Estoril on Wednesday with Jos Verstappen driving the new A22 and new recruit Enrique Bernoldi handling the interim A21B. Conditions were far from ideal with intermittent rain throughout the day, but the team reported that it made"constructive progress." Bernoldi, in particular, found the right time to be on the circuit late in the afternoon and duly set the fastest time of the day on 1m 22.994s and also managed to check out wet weather settings in the changeable conditions. Verstappen covered 41 laps in the new A22 for a best of 1m 24.556s and there were no significant problems with the new car. On Thursday Bernoldi managed a 1m 21.506s while Verstappen posted a 1m 23.190s.

SAUBER: TESTS AT VAIRANO (8th - 6 points)
The Sauber-Petronas team was carrying out aerodynamic tests with its C20 at Vairano in Italy this week, although Kimi Raikkonen arrived late for the start on Wednesday due to an airline strike in Belgium. Both he and Nick Heidfeld will be testing their C20s at Valencia from next Monday to Wednesday. The team finished last weekend's Barcelona test on an upbeat note with Heidfeld recording a 1m 19.15s best, despite customs problems preventing the arrival of additional components from Switzerland in time for the test.

Jaguar's testing programme took second place this week to news that former triple World Champion Niki Lauda has been appointed as the CEO of Ford's new Premier Performance division. His responsibilities are to ensure that engine suppliers Cosworth, electronics specialists Pi and Jaguar Racing are all moving in the same direction, leaving Bobby Rahal to concentrate on running the F1 team on a day-to-day basis. "I see Niki as an ally of mine as we help to pull Jaguar Racing to the success that we all want," said Rahal. "He certainly has a great deal of experience in F1 and a tremendous amount of insight. I'm sure he will have a lot of impact and I'm sure it will be great working with him."

MINARDI: ALONSO SIGNS UP (10th - 0 points)
European Minardi have disclosed that Fernando Alonso will be their first driver with European F3000 driver Andrea Piccini as test driver. Two cars are presently being completed, but as they have to leave for Australia on February 23 it is unlikely that there will be time to test them although a brief shakedown is possible.

Prost Grand Prix has been at Estoril since Wednesday where the tests went very well and Jean Alesi posted the quickest time on 1m 19.605s in a programme which will continue until 14 February. The team will disclose its new livery for the AP04 at Melbourne on 28 February.


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Jenson Button , Ralf Schumacher , Jos Verstappen , Enrique Bernoldi , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Mark Webber , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Olivier Panis , Kimi Raikkonen , Ricardo Zonta , Andrea Piccini , Fernando Alonso , Bobby Rahal , Niki Lauda , Mike Gascoyne , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Minardi , Jaguar Racing , Jordan