Pre-Canada testing roundup 09 Jun 2003
Last week saw a flurry of testing activity as the 2003 Formula One season approaches the halfway mark. Large sessions at Monza and Silverstone saw the teams preparing not only for this weekend's Canadian Grand Prix, but also for the British and Italian races later in the year.
Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello set the fastest time of the week at Monza, where six teams were in action. He and Felipe Massa were on track there for the world champions. Barrichello worked on aero developments for the F2003-GA ahead of Canada, while Massa carried out Bridgestone tyre work in an F2002, as well as an endurance run in the F2003-GA.
William's test driver Marc Gene set the early pace at Monza on Tuesday. The British team worked on engine set-up and development, preparations for Montreal, Italian Grand Prix set-up and general tyre development. They also had Ralf Schumacher running at Silverstone, the German setting the week's fastest time. The team's focus there was extensive tyre testing and set-up work for Canada, as well as engine endurance running for BMW.
Jacques Villeneuve, Takuma Sato and Anthony Davidson all took to the Monza circuit for BAR. The team racked up over 2000km working through a programme of aerodynamic development together with tyre, brake and engine testing. Villeneuve run for just one day to ready himself for Canada and then chose to rest his recurrent back injury, which had flared up slightly following the Monaco Grand Prix. Team mate Jenson Button opted not to test and instead concentrated on his fitness regime following his crash in Monte Carlo.
Sauber's Heinz-Harald Frentzen tested for two day's at Monza, before handing over to Nick Heidfeld for a final day. The Swiss team carried out aerodynamic tests for Montreal and Monza, as well as a Bridgestone tyre assessment in preparation for the French Grand Prix at Magny-Cours.
Toyota had cars running at both Monza and Silverstone. Olivier Panis was charged with the bulk of the testing in Italy as he focussed on development of a new specification V10 the team plan to use in Montreal this weekend. Team mate Cristiano da Matta was at Silverstone working on tyres, aero parts and set-up. Test driver Ricardo Zonta, meanwhile, ran at both circuits to help the Japanese team complete their programme.
Both Jordan and Renault chose to use up some of their limited allotted testing time at Silverstone. Jarno Trulli and Fernando Alonso were both in action for the former on Thursday, the French team concentrating predominantly on tyre development with Michelin. Jordan, meanwhile, ran for two days with Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralph Firman present for both. Their schedule included engine and gearbox development, aerodynamic comparisons, control systems tests and a Bridgestone tyre programme.
In addition to the multi-team sessions at Monza and Silverstone, Ferrari ran for a total of four days at Fiorano, with Luca Badoer doing the bulk of the driving. And at Barcelona, David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen spent their time getting to grips with the new McLaren MP4-18, which is expected to make its race debut at the European Grand Prix at the end of June. McLaren's programme was supplemented by Pedro de la Rosa running in the current car at Monza.
The teams now prepare to head to Montreal and the challenges of the Gilles Villeneuve Circuit, which on Sunday will host the 2003 Canadian Grand Prix.