SEBRING, Fla. (January 23, 2002) -- AdriÃ¡n FernÃ¡ndez completed his initial laps behind the wheel of the team's new 2002 Honda/Lola/Bridgestone package today with a full day of testing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida.
SEBRING, Fla. (January 23, 2002) -- Adri?n Fern?ndez completed his initial laps behind the wheel of the team's new 2002 Honda/Lola/Bridgestone package today with a full day of testing at Sebring International Raceway in Sebring, Florida. Fern?ndez logged 82 laps on the 1.65-mile road course -- his first laps in a Champ Car since the CART FedEx Championship Series season finale in Fontana, Calif., last November.
Fern?ndez, however, was not in the cockpit of his familiar red, green and white machine after a problem was detected in the fuel cell of the #51 Tecate/Quaker State/Telmex Honda/Lola yesterday. With teammate Shinji Nakano not scheduled to test until the 24th, Fern?ndez hopped aboard the #52 Alpine/Mitsuba Honda/Lola. A new fuel cell was delivered today, and both cars will take to the track for the conclusion of the test tomorrow.
Fern?ndez was delighted with the day's activities and his first outing with new race engineer Don Halliday: "My first impressions of the car are very good. We concentrated on changes to see what the car liked throughout most of the morning, and not on speed. By the end of the day, the changes we were doing were making sense and the car was getting better and better.
"My fastest lap was a 51.4 and I believe I could have gone a little bit quicker. From what we can see compared with everyone else, I think we are maybe three or four tenths off the fastest time. I am pretty happy to be able to get into these times on the first day."
Fern?ndez Racing is currently the only team running the Honda/Lola combination this season. Today's test marked the team's second session with its new equipment package, following an initial shakedown test with Nakano at Sebring on January 10th.
"I'm pleased with the day," said Halliday. "You are always a little concerned when you try to look for performance at the same time you are introducing yourself and everyone to different systems, etc. I am pleased with the time we did. Actually it was probably three-tenths quicker than I had wished for, so at this stage of our program, considering it's our second day of testing, very pleased."
"Even though we are in the early stages of testing, we are in much better shape as a team in terms of organization, working together, lap times, everything, compared to last year," added Fern?ndez. "It is great to have Don onboard, and you can already see changes in the way the team is operating. We will keep working like this, and our aim is to be ready and fully-organized for the first race in Monterrey."