Testing update - Barcelona 09 Jul 2003
Preparations for the British Grand Prix are well underway, with every team, other than Minardi, scheduled to run at a four-day test at Barcelona. Yesterday saw the mammoth test kick off with Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Toyota and Sauber all running. The quickest driver of the day was Ferrari's Luca Badoer who, having completed 105 laps, put in a 1m18.200 best in the F2003-GA.
The Italian finished the day almost four-tenths of a second ahead of Williams test driver Marc Gene who completed one more lap than the Ferrari driver, setting his best time of 1m18.575. Also driving for Williams was 18-year-old Estonian Marko Asmer. The team worked on tyre development and evaluation with Gene, whilst Asmer concentrated on aero mapping under speed limitation, eventually ending the day sixth fastest on a 1m24.082.
Sauber and Toyota only had one car running each, with Frentzen and da Matta being the only current F1 drivers on track. Sauber tested revised aerodynamic components in readiness for the British Grand Prix and the Head of Vehicle Engineering Jacky Eeckelaert divulged that the team had been able to find "the best suitable front wing configuration," for the race. Frentzen also conducted tyre tests and tomorrow the team will concentrate on testing a C spec Petronas V10 engine.
Da Matta finished just behind Frentzen but was happy with his day. "Everything ran smoothly and I could manage several long runs without any problem," said the Brazilian. "This gives us good material to work from during this session and I am very pleased with this first day." Da Matta is running again today before handing over testing responsibilities to Olivier Panis for the remainder of the test.
Over at McLaren, this test will once and for all determine whether or not the new MP4-18 will be ready for Silverstone. But with the MP4-19 already being designed, with a view to being on-track before the end of 2003, questions are being raised over the shelf-life of the new McLaren. Pedro de la Rosa had his first taste of the car, setting the fifth fastest time while Alex Wurz apparently conducted aborted start procedures, completing seven laps but setting no times.
Testing continues today with Renault, Jaguar and BAR expected to join in.
All times are unofficial