Weekly testing 2001-02-26

FERRARI: SCHUMACHER AT MUGELLO (1st - 170 points) After a final test day with the new Ferrari F2001 at Mugello, a gearbox failure ended Michael Schumacher's run after 41 laps and a best time of 1m 24.157s. Schumacher then switched to Fiorano...


After a final test day with the new Ferrari F2001 at Mugello, a gearbox failure ended Michael Schumacher's run after 41 laps and a best time of 1m 24.157s. Schumacher then switched to Fiorano where he drove for 82 laps in an old F1-2000. He practised 29 starts and seven pit stops. Having completed more than 4000 testing kilometres in the new F2001, he summed up his feelings by saying; "The feeling is generally good. The car showed good speed right from the beginning. We have had some technical problems, but it is better we have them in testing than in Melbourne. There is nothing to worry about." Having avoided a shakedown test, Ferrari will ship chassis 206, 208 and 209 to Australia from Malpensa airport on Saturday while 207 will probably be sent as a bare chassis. There are also 110 crates weighing 35 tons plus 65 personnel.

McLAREN: FINAL CHECKS IN SPAIN (2nd - 152 points)

The McLaren-Mercedes team completed its final pre-season shakedown at Barcelona this week where David Coulthard drove an MP4/16 and test driver Alexander Wurz was at the wheel of an interim MP4/15K. The test went generally well apart from some minor technical problems, mainly with peripheral systems, and while the team was due to stay there until Friday, back at the factory two MP4/16 race cars were being packaged up for freighting out to Australia. The third MP4/16 will return from Barcelona and be sent out on Monday. "We are confident that the new car will be pretty competitive," said a team insider this week.


The BMW Williams team began its final pre-season preparations with a test at Barcelona starting on Wednesday with Juan Pablo Montoya the sole driver at the wheel of the one FW23, a programme intended to maximise the Colombian driver's experience before the first race. Montoya managed a 1m 22.454s best after 66 laps, reporting that the Michelin tyres were improving all the time. "The car is well balanced and the team's efforts over the winter months are paying dividends," he said. Commented Chief Operations Engineer Sam Michael; "We're using this two day test to put some last minute miles on the car before it leaves for Melbourne. Our main focus today was brake testing and we'll move on tomorrow to engine work and some more endurance running."


The Benetton-Renault squad worked on final pre-season preparations at Silverstone on Wednesday when Jenson Button concentrated on endurance runs, lapping with high fuel loads for a best time of 1m 28.373s. Yesterday (Thursday) Giancarlo Fisichella took over to shakedown the three B201 chassis for the Australian Grand Prix prior to the cars' departure by air cargo over this weekend. Benetton also issued a statement contradicting reports in the media to the effect that the B201 had trouble passing its crash tests at the first attempt. In fact the chassis has now passed all its required impact tests.

BAR: DEPARTING ON SCHEDULE (5th - 20 points)

The British American-Honda team left its Brackley factory yesterday bound for Australia and the T-car will follow on Saturday. The team is shipping over 18 tons of equipment and 45 people.


Both Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli were at Silverstone on Wednesday for the final pre-season shakedowns of the new Jordan-Honda EJ-11s prior to their despatch for Melbourne. Following a late start due to fog, Frentzen continued testing chassis 04 during the morning while Trulli ran chassis 02 and 03. Full race team pit stop practice and refuelling with all three cars, in addition to systems checks, were the priority for all three cars. Frentzen set quickest time on 1m 23.89s ahead of Trulli on 2m 24.65s. The team continued its shakedown before packing up at the end of Thursday morning.


Foggy weather on Tuesday at Silverstone delayed the start of Jos Verstappen's shake-down with one of the AMT-engined Arrows A22s, but the Dutchman eventually got down to 1m 25.684s as he concentrated on checking out the new car's systems. On Wednesday Verstappen was joined by Enrique Bernoldi who gave the second A22 its first run and despite a few "new car niggles" ran a total of 48 laps before the team was satisfied and packed up for the return to base. Verstappen continued data gathering and remained at Silverstone for Thursday when he shook down the third A22 prior to the team's departure for Melbourne.


The Sauber-Petronas team went down to Mugello this week with a single C20 chassis for a final two-day test session. Kimi Raikkonen and Nick Heidfeld concentrated on aerodynamic work and engine mapping, but due to a transmission problem Raikkonen completed only 40 laps and finished the day with a 1m 24.16s best. The next day Heidfeld took over and managed a 1m 23.35s in qualifying trim, only 1.2s slower than Barrichello's best ever time at Mugello. The test completed the team's pre-season preparations during which they have completed almost 9000km, some 5800 of which have been with the new car. On Thursday the cars left the Sauber factory at Hinwil to be transported to Milan's Malpensa airport where they will be flown with the cars from Ferrari and Minardi to Australia.


Jaguar Racing has confirmed Pedro de la Rosa will be joining the team as test driver for the 2001 season in addition to Tomas Scheckter. "It was very important that we have an experienced hand in developing traction control systems," said CEO Bobby Rahal. "We are not the only team with two test drivers. Time is not on our side in terms of the work we need to cover and bringing Pedro in should help speed up out progress." Meanwhile Eddie Irvine and Luciano Burti shook down two of the Jaguar R2s at Silverstone on Tuesday prior to the opening race of the season. Burti managed a 1m 26.259s after 11 laps while Irvine posted a 1m 28.517s after 31 laps, despite his progress being interrupted by technical problems which resulted in the car stopping on the circuit and having to be towed back to the pits.


The first European Minardi was shaken down at Vairano this week, both Fernando Alonso and the newly nominated Tarso Marques doing the driving and between them they managed 140 laps. "The car responds very well to set-up modifications," said Giancarlo Minardi. The team will send two cars (no spare will be available until Malaysia) plus 15 tons of equipment and 55 personnel.


Prost Grand Prix has announced a new partner, the Taiwan-based computer manufacturer ACER, who will badge the Ferrari engines. The car will be entered as a Prost-ACER. It is understood that ACER employs 350,000 people in 192 enterprises in 42 countries. The team is shipping three chassis (02, 03 and 04) plus a bare monocoque (01).


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