Atlas F1 To the Hills of Hungary

August 3rd-5th Test Times Analysis by Michele Lupini, South Africa

While there were smatterings of testing last week, nothing that can be borne from those is different enough for us to expect that the current F1 status will be overturned. But the nature of the Hungarian Grand Prix has always provided for the possibility of a turn-up for the books.

Yes, Rubens Barrichello was quickest at Silverstone last week, but then Stewart-Ford has led us to expect great things from that team. Indeed, they have performed, but real results have been thwarted by heartbreaking reliability woes in the main. And in Hungary, time would be ripe for the team to break its F1 duck.

David Coulthard was a couple of hundredths off the Stewart and the only other really worthwhile time to speak about from Silverstone, as he reminded us that McLaren, as usual, are right there.

Other activity there saw Ralf Schumacher end third of the current runners, showing that despite the Supertec's apparent lack of steam and if that new BMW's going to be a big-power unit, we can expect Williams to be in the hunt next season. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was a tenth-and-a-half behind Ralf, from Hill, Zanardi and Herbert.

Before we move to Italy, just a word on do-I-or-don't-I Damon. Remember his pace in some sessions lately? Well he was quicker than Frentzen on the day they both ran, but that isn't the point. Remember his pace in that dastardly Arrows at Hungoraring two years back? Maybe he can go out in a blaze of glory after all...

Meanwhile, down at Fiorano, Ferrari were busy wearing out their test track, courtesy of Mika Salo, Eddie Irvine and Luca Badoer, the last-mentioned testing for Minardi. There were no full records in Maranello, but the Scuderia got through its schedule early in a trouble free session, with Eddie Irvine breaking Michael Schumacher's lap record on that track (mainly courtesy of warmer weather and a faster car, if to be honest). The Minardi was significantly quicker than at its last visit to that track in February - perhaps a good sign of the times for the 'other' Scuderia.

Prost and Sauber borrowed Ferrari's other circuit, with Jarno Trulli leading a close-nit quartet of himself, Jean Alesi, Olivier Panis and Pedro Diniz at Mugello. None of them came near Eddie Irvine's pace there in February.

But when the flag drops on Sunday, the world will be watching two men, as Eddie Irvine and the crafty crew at Ferrari try to outsmart, out-race and outdo Mika Hakkinen and his magnificent McLaren-Mercedes for the third race on a trot.

The Hungoraring, however, is a rather different place, and if it lives up to its reputation, could just serve up another surprise result.

Test Times Summary

Silverstone F1 Testing August 1999

Pos  Driver        Best      3        4        5 Aug. 
 1.  Barrichello   1:26.501   -       1:27.99  1:26.50
 2.  Coulthard     1:26.658  1:27.08  1:27.11  1:26.66
 3.  R.Schumacher  1:27.719   -       1:28.24  1:27.72
 4.  Frentzen      1:27.864  1:27.86  1:28.29   -     
 5.  Hill          1:28.108   -       1:28.11  1:28.28
 6.  Zanardi       1:28.227   -       1:28.58  1:28.28
 7.  Herbert       1:28.309   -        -       1:28.31

Track length: 5.140 km
'99 pole: M. Hakkinen (McLaren) 1:24.804
'99 fastest testing time: G. Fisichella (Benetton) 1:25.670

Mugello F1 Testing August 1999

Pos  Driver   Best      3        4        5 Aug.      
 1.  Trulli   1:30.01    -       1:30.20  1:30.01     
 2.  Alesi    1:30.16    -        -       1:30.16     
 3.  Panis    1:30.20   1:30.20   -        -          
 4.  Diniz    1:30.73    -       1:30.73   -          

The Test Times Summary only includes drivers who are participating in the 1999 F1 World Championship and therefore does not include test drivers. For a full test times summary and previous test times set this year, visit Atlas F1's 1999 Testing section

Michele Lupini© 1999 Atlas Formula One Journal.
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