Atlas F1 News Service
News Wrap-Up for this Week's Testing

Saturday April 1st, 2000

Ferrari: Badoer, then Schumacher at Fiorano

After three days with Luca Badoer testing with an F399, Michael Schumacher arrived to test at Fiorano after returning from an event in Dublin. He started testing late in the evening on Thursday but due to fuel feed problems he stopped on the installation lap in an F1-2000. On Friday, however, Schumacher managed to run extensively with the F1-2000, putting in a total of 92 laps, with a best time of 1:00.77. "We've done a lot today and we'll continue tomorrow," Schumacher said at the end of the day. "We're preparing really well for San Marino. I'm working on the set-up, the aerodynamics of the car, which are a bit different for Imola compared to Australia and Brazil."

Incidentally, Ferrari confirmed that it has resolved the oil pressure problem which Schumacher encountered in the closing stages at Interlagos.

Benetton: Fisichella Quick at Silverstone

The Benetton Playlife team successfully completed two days' testing at Silverstone on Tuesday/Wednesday with Giancarlo Fisichella, fresh from his second place finish in the Brazilian Grand Prix, doing all the driving. He was fastest on both days, getting down to 1:27.47 on Wednesday. During the test the team worked on developments intended to eliminate the clutch problems which arose in both Brazil and Australia and also some performance items in preparation for the San Marino GP. They also reviewed general set-up work and became more acquainted with the car in wet conditions.

On Thursday the test programme moved to the Santa Pod drag strip where the drivers were scheduled to practice starting techniques for the entire day. "This has been a really good test," Fisichella commented. "I am happy with the car, it has a good balance and is behaving well in both wet and dry conditions. It was also quite stable in the strong winds we have experienced at the circuit".

Williams: Ralf Fastest at Silverstone

The Williams-BMW team began a two day test programme at Silverstone on Wednesday where Ralf Schumacher encountered something of a setback when an oil leak preventing any serious running after only a handful of untimed laps. "At this test we are doing some special engine measurements which we can't do at the races in order to gather information for the further development of the V10," said BMW Motorsport director Dr Mario Theissen. "Because of an oil leak this morning and the setting up of the car we did not do as much as we intended to do."

On Thursday things were much better. Ralf Schumacher did 41 laps and ended up with a best of 1:25.984s which was quickest of the day. "The car was very stable in the quick corners with only a little understeer in the infield complex" he reported.

Jordan: Both Drivers At Silverstone

Jarno Trulli began a three day test for the Jordan Mugen Honda team at Silverstone on Tuesday where he covered 48 laps for a best time of 1m 28.17s. In the morning he concentrated on wet weather running and when the conditions improved during the afternoon he continued with back-to-back tyre testing. On Wednesday he covered 15 laps in predominantly wet and damp conditions which interrupted the reliability testing of a revised specification engine destined for use in the British Grand Prix. Trulli's best time was 1:39.76s.

On Thursday Heinz-Harald Frentzen took over using the standard spec engine with the main focus on gearbox and exhaust system development. The team lost some running time due to minor gearbox problems and Frentzen finished fourth fastest on the day with a 1:27.32s best.

BAR: Problems at Silverstone

British American Racing ran on Wednesday and Thursday at Silverstone with both the team's drivers. Jacques Villeneuve was trying out his new chassis 05. The team was also happy to have duplicated the gearbox problem suffered in Brazil which will help them solve it. However, both drivers experienced problems, with Villeneuve spinning and Zonta suffering mechanical failure. Villeneuve, incidentally, was wearing a white helmet, perhaps indicating that he is about to reveal a new helmet design.

McLaren: Panis Back in Action

Olivier Panis continued the McLaren-Mercedes ongoing and routine development programme with the test team's MP4/15 at Silverstone this week. On Tuesday he managed second fastest time of the day behind Fisichella on 1:27.83s and did a 1:28.59s (third fastest) in the damp conditions the following day. On Thursday Panis continued to set second fastest time on 1:26.42s. Meanwhile Mercedes-Benz said it has identified the engine failure which caused Mika Hakkinen's retirement while leading the Brazilian Grand Prix as being caused by the failure of a thrust bearing on the crankshaft which was put under particular strain by the circumstances of the uphill start at Interlagos.

Jaguar: Burti Starts Test

Jaguar test driver Luciano Burti started the British team's Silverstone test on Tuesday morning when he managed a best time of 1:42.95s in wet conditions before handing over the car to Johnny Herbert in the afternoon, the Englishman getting down to 1:38.13s."It makes a lot more sense for Johnny and Eddie to be driving at the moment, but I'm sure that soon I'll be driving more often" said Burti.

On Wednesday Herbert drove in the wet conditions during the morning, setting a best of 1:31.25s with Irvine taking over the car in the afternoon, managing a 1:29.01s as the track dried out. The team was working on engine developments and an aerodynamic programme which continued on Thursday when Irvine was third fastest on 1:26.58s. Despite losing time during the afternoon with a slight technical setback, irvine commented "I am happy with the progress we have made in key areas with the car." The Jaguar team also announced yesterday that it will be following the Williams team's example and switching from Bridgestone to Michelin rubber for the 2001 FIA World Championship season.

Prost: Trying Revised Peugeot Engines

Jean Alesi was at Silverstone testing the Prost-Peugeot AP03 on Wednesday and Thursday. On the second day he was testing the new type A20 Peugeot V10 which is fitted with telescopic inlet trumpets, but unfortunately the test was spoiled by a water leak from the block and electronic problems. "We have not yet found the solution to all the reliability problems," said Sporting Director John Walton.

Sauber: Rear Wing Revisions Successful

After unfortunately being forced to withdraw from the Brazilian Grand Prix at the weekend the Sauber team came to the Silverstone test where much time was initially spent monitoring the behaviour of the rear wings which broke at Interlagos. "Happily we experienced no further trouble," said Willy Rampf, head of Sauber vehicle engineering. "This endorsed our view that the roots of the problem lay in the severe bumpiness of the Interlagos circuit rather than in any inherent design fault."

At Silverstone on Wednesday Mika Salo managed a best time of 1:29.44s, concentrating on checking new control systems before getting down to continue the development of an ongoing aerodynamic programme.

Arrows: Two Days At Silverstone

The Arrows team tested at Silverstone with Jos Verstappen on Wednesday, the Dutchman managing a best of 1:29.25s on a slippery track surface. "It was all routine testing" said a team spokesperson. "The conditions could well be like this at Easter for the British Grand Prix, so it was just a question of getting the car sset up for the track conditions." Pedro de la Rosa took over the car and recorded a 1:27.42s on Thursday.

Minardi: Preparing For Imola

The Minardi team have not been testing this week as they are busy completing chassis number four as well as setting up a Research and Development department.

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