FERRARI BREAKS F300 RECORD AT FIORANO Luca Baoder began Ferrari's testing programme this week at Fiorano on Tuesday where, despite a wet track in the morning, he managed 99 laps for a best time of 1m 3.169s concentrating on evaluating different...


Luca Baoder began Ferrari's testing programme this week at Fiorano on Tuesday where, despite a wet track in the morning, he managed 99 laps for a best time of 1m 3.169s concentrating on evaluating different chassis and engine set-ups. On Wednesday, Eddie Irvine took over the same F300/183 and continued tyre testing until the rain began at around In the course of 68 laps he achieved a best time of 1m 01.616s, the best ever for the new F300 chassis at this track. On Thursday, Irvine switched to Mugello where he did 78 laps, including a full race simulation, despite problems with a defective wiring loom. He was primarily tyre testing and trying the "high" exhaust which exits through the side pods. His fastest lap was 1m 29.044s which the team regarded as very positive, suggesting that the high exhaust might be used in the San Marino GP. Meanwhile, Michael Schumacher was running at Fiorano where he did 113 laps and beat Irvine's unofficial record with a 1m 01.311s. "If we have everything we expect to have at Imola, we will be able to fight for victory." he said.


Ralf Schumacher began testing for the Jordan Mugen-Honda team at Silverstone on Wednesday although his progress was delayed due to snow in the morning and, once he had begun, rain continued through the afternoon. He completed 19 laps with a best time of 1m 41.86s and concentrated on chassis set-up work for the wet conditions. Ralf said the car felt good and no technical problems were encountered. On Thursday, track conditions were damp from the outset and light rain fell for most of the afternoon. Damon Hill completed a total of 50 laps for a best time of 1m 35.16s on intermediate rubber. Testing concentrated on general chassis set-up development with back-to-back tests in the two chassis. Damon had a spin late in the afternoon without damage. Test driver Pedro de la Rosa will continue testing this morning (Friday), after which Schumacher is due to return to Silverstone for a day practising his starting technique. Ralf wants admits that he wants to find out the reason for his poor starts in the first three races of the season. "I am a bit surprised about that," he said, "because my pre-season start attempts in Barcelona were quite encouraging."


Mika Hakkinen began testing for the McLaren-Mercedes team at Silverstone on Wednesday, the Finn completing just a handful of laps for a best time of 1m 42.10s. Mika was using chassis MP4/13-5 which is brand new and he was assessing various new chassis components about which the team did not wish to be specific. On Thursday, David Coulthard joined the test programme with the team's race spare MP4/13 freshly returned from Buenos Aires. On Thursday Coulthard got down to 1m 32.76s on Bridgestone's dry rubber with Hakkinen posting a 1m 33.65s on intermediates.


Giancarlo Fisichella was the sole Benetton Playlife driver out at Silverstone this week, originally scheduled to test revised suspension geometry although the predominantly wet conditions frustrated the team's effort to make as much progress as they had hoped for. Fisichella did 1m 47.73s on Wednesday then set fastest time on Thursday with a 1m 30.25s, one of only three drivers to use full dry weather tyres during the course of the day. Fisichella was due to continue testing there until lunchtime on Friday.


The Williams team started a private test at Jerez on Wednesday, concentrating on chassis set-up and tyre testing, but declined to release any information about its progress.


Sauber started a two day test in Magny-Cours on Thursday morning on a wet circuit with Johnny Herbert driving the C17 as Jean Alesi is taking a few days off and will not test before Imola. Rain disrupted most of the day and Herbert stopped prematurely after a problem with the clutch, managing a 1m 21.2s best.


Rubens Barrichello and Jan Magnussen were left with some extra free days after the Stewart-Ford team cancelled a shakedown planned for yesterday (Thursday) at Silverstone, Stewart plans to use the Zetec-R V10 Project 3 version at next week's San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.


Mika Salo managed to complete 34 laps at Silverstone yesterday (Thursday) when he clocked a fastest lap of 1m 31.05s without any incident. His task was to evaluate engine and airbox modifications in preparation for Imola as well as trying some wet set-ups in order to take advantage of the poor conditions. Pedro Diniz is scheduled to test today (Friday) when the team's transporters are due to depart for Italy.


The Prost Peugeot team began testing at Magny-Cours on Thursday at the start of a two day session with the new AP01 chassis which ran for the first time during the warm-up for the Argentine GP. Jarno Trulli started the test using the latest EV3 evolution of the Peugeot V10 engine which should be used in qualifying for the Spanish GP. He also tried some new Bridgestone tyres and modified carbon brakes for the San Marino GP. Panis is taking over today(Friday) and will assess another evolution, the EV4, which should be used in qualifying for the French GP.


Minardi is currently building a new chassis for Shinji Nakano to race at Imola and the team is preparing for that race with wind tunnel tests.

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Series General
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Pedro de la Rosa , Johnny Herbert , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Jean Alesi , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jan Magnussen , Mika Salo , Shinji Nakano , Damon Hill , Pedro Diniz
Teams Sauber , Williams