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Testing update - Ferrari and Williams lead 26 Nov 2003

Juan Pablo Montoya (COL) Williams.
Formula One World Championship, Rd3, Brazilian Grand Prix, Preparations, Interlagos, Brazil, 3 April 2003

Formula One testing resumed on Tuesday, with a total of eight teams in action. The long-awaited McLaren MP4-19 appeared for its first track outing (see earlier story), Giancarlo Fisichella made his test debut for Sauber, and BAR had their maiden session on Michelin tyres.

The week's biggest test is at Valencia and Williams started it in confident style, Juan Pablo Montoya topping the times and setting a new unofficial lap record for the Spanish circuit. Team mates Ralf Schumacher and Marc Gene were second and third respectively, as the BMW-powered squad focussed on chassis set-up, tyre development, as well as successfully running a new gearbox.

At McLaren, Coulthard ended the day ninth in the times after his first exploratory laps in the MP4-19. Test driver Alexander Wurz, at the wheel of the tried-and-tested MP4-17D was fourth fastest behind the leading Williams trio.

Jaguar had a busy day with newcomers Christian Klien and Townsend Bell getting their first test with the team. For Austrian Klien, it was also his first taste of Formula One power. He acquitted himself well, ending the day less than a tenth down on Jaguar number one Mark Webber. Bell was also quick, around half a second behind the Australian star.

Renault had new full-time tester Franck Montagny at work alongside Jarno Trulli. Montagny concentrated on set-up work for the circuit, and chassis systems development, while Trulli conducted a full brake development programme and some aerodynamic testing. The drivers also got to familiarise themselves with manual upshifts and downshifts in preparation for 2004 regulations.

Toyota completed the Valencia line-up with Australian test driver Ryan Briscoe in the cockpit, while Brazilian counterpart Ricardo Zonta conducted the team's solo programme at Paul Ricard in France.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Valencia:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams, 1:10.081
2. Ralf Schumacher, Williams, 1:10.718
3. Marc Gene, Williams, 1:11.224
4. Alexander Wurz, McLaren, 1:11.291
5. Franck Montagny, Renault, 1:11.829
6. Mark Webber, Jaguar, 1:11.864
7. Jarno Trulli, Renault, 1:11.938
8. Christian Klien, Jaguar, 1:11.952
9. David Coulthard, McLaren, 1:12.049
10. Townsend Bell, Jaguar, 1:12.327
11. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota, 1:12.652

See also: McLaren MP4-19 completes first shakedown

At a warm and sunny Barcelona circuit, three teams were in action, with Ferrari setting the pace. Their two official test drivers, Luca Badoer and Felipe Massa (who will test with 2004 squad Sauber early next month), plus Brazilian Luciano Burti were all at the wheel of an F2003-GA, working on a technical programme centred on tyres, electronics and engine.

Giancarlo Fisichella had his first outing for Sauber, as the Swiss team began their three-day session. Fisichella was third fastest in the C22 after completing almost 100 laps. After getting used to the car in the morning, he focused on long runs in the afternoon to assess new damper set-ups.

"For the first day with my new team I'm quite happy with the result," said the Italian. "In the morning we had some problems with the car set-up and my seat position was not the optimum and needed some adaptation. Later I was able to complete the scheduled test programme for today, but there is still a lot to learn. It's a very nice and familiar atmosphere at Sauber. Everyone works in a very professional and friendly manner."

BAR had both Jenson Button and Takuma Sato present, as the team conducted their first test on Michelin rubber. Button experienced some technical problems in the black-liveried '04 concept car and was fifth fastest behind his Japanese team mate, who was at the wheel of a more conventional 003.

Testing continues at Valencia and Barcelona on Wednesday.

Unofficial Tuesday times from Barcelona:
1. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:17.799
2. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:18.103
3. Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber, 1:18.532
4. Takuma Sato, BAR, 1:18.556
5. Luciano Burti, Ferrari, 1:19.154
6. Jenson Button, BAR, 1:31.792