Testing resumes after break - updated 02 Sep 2003
With the summer testing ban finally over the Formula One teams will be back on track this week. Tuesday sees the start of a major test session at Monza ahead of next weekend's Italian Grand Prix.
Among those most eager to resume on-track development work will be Ferrari. Following their disappointing performances in recent races the world champions are expected to field as many as five drivers at Monza as well as at their Fiorano facility.
Michael Schumacher will be joined by test drivers Felipe Massa and Luca Badoer. Rubens Barrichello will also be back in the cockpit, though his return may be delayed until Wednesday to allow him further time to recuperate from the minor bruising he sustained to his back in Hungary. Former full-time Ferrari tester Luciano Burti has been mooted as a possible temporary replacement.
At McLaren, with a 2003 race debut for the MP4-18 seeming less and less likely, development of the MP4-17D will continue at Monza, with Kimi Raikkonen and David Coulthard at the wheel. However, the new car will also be in action at Jerez in Spain, where testers Pedro de la Rosa and Darren Turner are expected on track.
Like McLaren, championship leaders Williams head to Monza with tyres high on the agenda. Suppliers Michelin have suggested the need for further clarification following concerns that their rubber could be deemed illegal under new tread-measuring procedures to be implemented at the Italian Grand Prix. Williams, and all the Michelin teams, will no doubt want to prepare themselves for any eventuality.
Hungarian Grand Prix victors Renault may not hold out too much hope of another win on the high speed straights of Monza, but they will be doing all they can to again challenge the big three, and Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli will use this week's test to evaluate a low-downforce aero package designed specifically for the Italian circuit.
Like Renault, fellow Friday morning test session runners Jaguar, Minardi and Jordan are all expected to use up some of their allotted testing time, which is limited under the Heathrow Agreement.
Jordan will be without Ralph Firman who has chosen to miss the test to give himself more time to get fully fit ahead of the Italian Grand Prix. The rookie crashed heavily in practice in Hungary, where Zsolt Baumgartner replaced him for the race. Baumgartner will again step into the breach this week for the team's two-day session. The Hungarian will also participate in the Friday morning test at the Monza race, and not F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim as previously announced by the team.
With BAR, Sauber and Toyota also expected at Monza, this week is certain to prove one of the busiest on the 2003 Formula One calendar. Check back daily to find out how all of the teams are progressing. All schedules remain provisional.