HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 20, 2002) -- FernÃ¡ndez Racing is back on the testing trail, kicking off a three-day outing today at Homestead Miami Speedway's 2.1-mile road course. AdriÃ¡n FernÃ¡ndez and Shinji Nakano continued to make progress with...
HOMESTEAD, Fla. (February 20, 2002) -- Fernández Racing is back on the testing trail, kicking off a three-day outing today at Homestead Miami Speedway's 2.1-mile road course. Adrián Fernández and Shinji Nakano continued to make progress with the team's new Honda/Lola combination, and are in the early stages of development with the newly-legalized and implemented traction control system.
"We're continuing to make progress with our Honda/Lola/Bridgestone package," said Tom Anderson, co-owner and managing director. "We ran all day without any mechanical problems, and the engineers were able to focus on making changes to the cars to make them go faster.
"This was our first day with traction control, so we have been doing a lot of work with Honda. Traction control requires a different driving style which the drivers have to learn to adapt to, and they'll have to continue to adapt throughout the year because the level of traction control will intensify as Honda has more time to develop its system."
Fernández and Nakano logged over 360 total miles today in their fourth pre-season test, joining a CART contingent that included Tony Kanaan, Townsend Bell, Jimmy Vasser and Tora Takagi.
"In terms of track time, we had a good test," added Fernández, who pilots the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex machine. "We did a lot of laps and managed to do a lot of changes and work on a lot of things with Honda on the traction control. We are just starting to get used to it. We are working with Honda to make it better and tune it for our different driving styles. Don [Halliday] is now at the point that he understands what I like and vice versa. The times were not as fast as we would have liked today, but we are still in that learning stage and it was a productive day."
Shinji Nakano was pleased with the day's progress of his #52 Alpine/Mitsuba package: "It was a good day. I could run all day without any problems and put a lot of mileage on the car. We tried several different setups and we found a way to go. I learned a lot about the Lola.
"I think the traction control is good, and it is working okay at the moment. When I was in Formula One, it wasn't allowed. My first impressions are pretty good."
Today's test also marked the first outing for the team's newest member, Mike Sales. Sales will take over the role of chief mechanic for Adrián Fernández as Dan Miller assumes a new position as production manager for Fernández Racing. Sales, who spent the past seven seasons with Patrick Racing, was chief mechanic for Fernández in 1998 and 1999.
"It's great to have Mike on board," said Fernández. "I won six races with him. It will take some time for him to get to know the guys, but you have that in any new position. Dan will be a big asset for us as production manager. I think the changes are going to help everybody."
"Dan's been repositioned in a managerial capacity to handle the production side of Fernández Racing," added Anderson. "This is a normal position in some of the larger teams, but due to budget constraints last year, was not part of our original program. This is one of the ways we are growing the team in our second year."