Thursday February 7th, 2002
Nick Heidfeld continued to dominate at the Valencia circuit on the fourth day of testing at the Spanish track, setting the fastest time of the session more than a second ahead of his closest rival.
German Heidfeld, who had already topped the times on Tuesday, shone again at the wheel of the new Sauber C21, setting a quickest lap of 1:12.412, the fastest this week. The Swiss team concluded today their three-day test at the Spanish circuit and Heidfeld was happy with his progress.
"I have been quite happy with this test," said Heidfeld. "The C21 has been running well every day. The car has a lot of grip. I am very much looking forward to the first Grand Prix of the season in Australia."
Juan Pablo Montoya was second quickest at the wheel of the BMW-powered FW24, with Heidfeld's teammate Felipe Massa in third place despite suffering an accident which caused heavy damage to his car.
"Unfortunately, I had an unexpected problem with the front wing attachment to the nose," said Massa. "It caused a big accident. The car stood up to the impact and I am completely unharmed. In the circumstances, I'm happy with third fastest time."
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella also crashed heavily today at Valencia after losing control of his Jordan EJ12 going into turn 2. Despite his crash, Fisichella set a promising fifth fastest time driving the new Honda-powered machine.
German Heinz-Harald Frentzen made his debut with the Arrows team after being announced as Enrique Bernoldi's teammate for the 2002 season. Frentzen, who hasn't driven a Formula One car since the final Grand Prix of last season in Japan, suffered a problem with his A23 in the morning and stopped on the track.
Frentzen, however, could continue testing in the afternoon and set the ninth quickest time after 33 laps with the new Cosworth-powered machine. The German finished the day ahead of the only Jaguar on track, driven by Pedro de la Rosa, which uses the same engine.
"It's certainly good to be back in the cockpit again after such a long break," said Frentzen. "I'm getting used to my new team and they are getting used to me. The car feels good so far and the engine feels strong.
"Of course, we have had the usual problems faced with running a new car, but nothing major, and I can feel there is a strong foundation there to work with. I'm really looking forward to the new season now as I am optimistic about this car."
Spaniard Fernando Alonso and Italian Jarno Trulli were in action on the final day of testing for the Renault team. The test driver was the quickest with last year's B201, while Trulli continued working with the new R202.
"Today, I mainly concentrated on long runs to better understand the car," said Trulli. "In spite of a difficult start to the week, I can feel the car has great potential, and now need to get to know it better and find a setup I am comfortable with."
Minardi drivers Mark Webber and Alex Yoong, who continued with the development of the Asiatech-engined PS02, were again at the bottom of the timesheets, with the Australian again emerging as the quickest of the two. Webber, who completed 46 laps, was nearly two seconds faster than Malaysian Yoong.
Williams, BAR, Arrows and Minardi will continue testing tomorrow at Valencia.
Visit Atlas F1's Testing Center for further information
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps
1. Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:12.412 73
2. Montoya Williams-BMW (M) 1:13.730 76
3. Massa Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:14.216 22
4. R.Schumacher Williams-BMW (M) 1:14.621 62
5. Fisichella Jordan-Honda (B) 1:14.646 21
6. Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:14.742 43
7. Davidson BAR-Honda (B) 1:14.879 52
8. Villeneuve BAR-Honda (B) 1:14.935 51
9. Frentzen Arrows-Cosworth (B) 1:15.131 33
10. Panis BAR-Honda (B) 1:15.145 35
11. Sato Jordan-Honda (B) 1:15.372 61
12. Alonso Renault (M) 1:15.378 56
13. Trulli Renault (M) 1:15.692 48
14. De la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:15.733 37
15. Webber Minardi-Asiatech (M) 1:16.651 46
16. Yoong Minardi-Asiatech (M) 1:18.638 82
All Timing Unofficial
Published at 17:41:00 GMT