Testing update - Ralf again at Jerez 04 Dec 2003
Ralf Schumacher was once again the fastest man around Jerez on Wednesday, as ten cars took to the Spanish circuit. Williams and BAR dominated the top of the timesheets, with Jenson Button second quickest ahead of Marc Gene and Takuma Sato.
At Williams Schumacher focussed on tyre testing and developing electronic set-ups, while Gene was charged with reliability and systems work. Both drivers also got in some wet-weather running when rain arrived in the afternoon.
The Williams regulars were joined by Nico Rosberg, son of former Williams world champion Keke. The young German worked on set-up in the morning, before completing a long run in the afternoon. He set the seventh fastest time, the team describing his performance and feedback as "competent". He will test again on Thursday alongside Nelsinho Piquet.
Ferrari began their week of testing with a technical programme centred on tyre, electronics and engine development. Luca Badoer, Felipe Massa and Luciano Burti were all on track, with Badoer the quickest in fifth.
Nick Heidfeld spearheaded Jordan's first test session of the winter and was joined by Jarek Janis, the 20 year old Czech FIA F3000 driver. Both drivers embarked on familiarisation programmes with the EJ13, as Heidfeld drove a Jordan for the first time and Janis experienced his first ever Formula One drive.
Heidfeld spent the morning getting used to the car. However, he had reduced track time in the afternoon due to a technical problem, extensive scheduled changes to the car, red flags caused by other drivers and the rain showers. He finished the day ninth, around two seconds quicker than Janis.
"I got familiar with the car after a couple of outings, and with my engineer I've identified a few small changes I'd still like to make," said Heidfeld. "The car was better to drive than I expected and it has been a nice atmosphere - I get on well with the people in the team. It was good and I'm looking forward to the next two days."
On his Formula One debut Janis commented: "The first thing is to get used to the car and I really enjoyed today. It was fantastic to drive in F1, everything went alright and I did a couple of tests with aerodynamics and tyres. I am trying to start slowly and not go crazy immediately so tomorrow if we are lucky with dry weather I'm going to push more."
Testing continues at Jerez on Thursday.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Jerez:
1. Ralf Schumacher, Williams, 1:17.705
2. Jenson Button, BAR, 1:18.292
3. Marc Gene, Williams, 1:18.422
4. Takuma Sato, BAR, 1:18.692
5. Luca Badoer, Ferrari, 1:18.858
6. Felipe Massa, Ferrari, 1:19.084
7. Nico Rosberg, Williams, 1:19.468
8. Luciano Burti, Ferrari, 1:19.660
9. Nick Heidfeld, Jordan, 1:19.990
10. Janek Janis, Jordan, 1:21.930