Testing roundup - Ralf fastest at Paul Ricard 12 May 2003
The Paul Ricard circuit in France hosted last week's major test session, with the Williams and McLaren teams setting the pace. The honour of fastest time went to Ralf Schumacher with a best of 1m 11.221s.
Williams test driver Marc Gene was fourth fastest (1m 11.919s) as the BMW-powered team used their four-day test to focus primarily on tyre evaluation and general set-up of the FW25.
The Williams pair was split in the times by the two McLarens of Alexander Wurz and David Coulthard, who put in bests of 1m 11.322s and 1m 11.710s respectively after three days and over 600 laps of running.
Jaguar chose to use up more of their 20 allotted days of testing, with both Antonio Pizzonia and Mark Webber taking to the French circuit. It was the Brazilian who was the quicker of the two in fifth place (1m 12.750s), six spots above the newly re-signed Webber (1m 13.432s).
Jarno Trulli and test driver Allan McNish conducted a two-day programme for Renault. Trulli was sixth fastest in this year's car (1m 12.780s) as he concentrated on tyre assessment with Michelin, while McNish went 16th (1m 15.015s) in last season's R202 as he carried out suspension development.
Toyota fielded three cars during the course of the week. Olivier Panis was the fastest, in seventh place (1m 12.867s), as the team carried out Austrian Grand Prix preparations and tyre work with Michelin.
Team mate Cristiano da Matta was eighth (1m 12.939s), the Brazilian's focus being the TF103's stability and braking performance, while test driver Ricardo Zonta was ninth (1m 13.013s) at the wheel of last year's car. He completed an extensive suspension measurements programme in preparation for the Monaco Grand Prix.
BAR also had three drivers at work. Takuma Sato led the way in tenth place (1m 13.161s) on his first visit to the Paul Ricard track. The Japanese driver was charged with an aerodynamics and tyre programme. Meanwhile, Jenson Button set the week's 12th best time (1m 13.601s).
Anthony Davidson was the third BAR man present. Despite not having driven the car since March, plus a recent Le Mans test, the young British driver was soon up to speed in the 005, going 13th overall with a best of 1m 13.804s.
The final team present was Sauber, the Swiss squad completing a three-day programme with Heinz-Harald Frentzen (15th, 1m 14.376s) and Nick Heidfeld (14th, 1m 14.052s) on duty to carry out aerodynamics development for the Austrian Grand Prix and Monaco set-up work.
Elsewhere, Ferrari tested everyday from Tuesday through Saturday, with cars running at Monza, Mugello or Fiorano. Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Luca Badoer and Felipe Massa all took to the track during the course of the week.
Testing action is due to resume on Tuesday May 20, when teams will begin their final preparations for the unusual demands of the Monte Carlo street circuit, host of the Monaco Grand Prix on June 1.
All times are unofficial.