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Wirdheim gets to sample BAR at Mugello 03 Oct 2003

2003 F3000 Champion Bjorn Wirdheim (SWE) Arden International has a seat fitting with the BAR team.
Formula One World Championship, Rd13, Hungarian Grand Prix, Hungaroring, Hungary, 23 August 2003

Reigning Formula 3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim finally got to test for BAR on Thursday when he spent the afternoon at the wheel of the 005 at Mugello. Wirdheim had been due to run for the team in the week following the Italian Grand Prix, but this test was postponed after Jenson Button's crash.

The 23-year-old completed 19 laps of the Italian circuit after getting in the car late in the afternoon. He had one long familiarisation run and finished with a short five-lap run. During his time at the wheel, he recorded a fastest time of 1:26.728.

"Although I didn't have long, I was really impressed with the car, and extremely impressed with the brakes," said Wirdheim. "I haven't run in high-downforce before and there is a lot to learn. I've now had a brief taste of the car and the controls, and hopefully I will get the chance to have a longer run once the test ban has finished."

Wirdheim, who won this year's F3000 series with two rounds to spare, has already had tests with Jordan this season, including the Friday morning session at last weekend's United States Grand Prix.

BAR also gave a test to Wirdheim's F3000 team mate Townsend Bell last month. The American had three days in the cockpit, conducting straight-line aerodynamic work at Lurcy in France.

This weeks tests at Mugello and Jerez are the last of the 2003 season. Following the final round in Japan next weekend, there will be a six-week break before the teams can resume testing in preparation for 2004.

See also: Thursday's testing report.