Testing update - action split over five circuits 17 Sep 2003
Testing resumed at various European venues on Tuesday as the Formula One teams continued preparations for the forthcoming United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis.
Michael Schumacher headed the times at Jerez in Spain, the world champion putting in 100 laps as he worked on set-up of the F2003-GA and a Bridgestone tyre programme.
Nick Heidfeld commenced Sauber's three-day Jerez schedule, which will centre on aero work for the US and Japan, as well as mechanical development of the team's 2004 car, the C23.
"Today we have worked on the downforce level of Suzuka and the test went without problems," reported race engineer Remi Decorzent. "We also evaluated new suspension components which will be used this and next year. Tomorrow we will work with Bridgestone on the tyre compounds for Suzuka and run a downforce level test with regard to the US Grand Prix next week."
The third and final team running at Jerez was Toyota, who had Ricardo Zonta on track working on baseline runs and set-up. "I haven't driven at Jerez for almost three years, so I have spent some time this morning reacquainting myself with the track," said the Brazilian, who put in 75 laps.
At Barcelona, Kimi Raikkonen was the fastest of three McLaren drivers present, the trio outpacing the Renault of Franck Montagny and the Toyota of Cristiano da Matta.
Montagny used the first runs of the day to acclimatise himself to the car, then began working on a development programme for Michelin, concentrating on tyre casings for the final races of the year. In the afternoon, he completed longer runs evaluating chassis parameters.
"We did some useful work today," commented Renault Technical Director Mike Gascoyne. "Franck completed more than 500km, with making any mistakes: given this is the first time he has driven the car on a closed circuit since Magny-Cours, it was a very impressive performance. He also provided us with some very useful data."
Meanwhile, da Matta clocked up over 100 laps with no real problems. "As usual with testing, we are putting all of our efforts into preparing ourselves as well as possible for the upcoming races," said the Toyota driver. "I have never driven at either Indianapolis or Suzuka and they are the final races of the season, so our testing work this week will be very important."
At Silverstone, the Williams team had the circuit to themselves. Juan Pablo Montoya and Marc Gene racked up over 800 kilometres between them, focussing on brake and suspension testing, as well as tyre work with Michelin.
Elsewhere, Felipe Massa was on track at Monza in a Ferrari F2003-GA, working on aerodynamic preparations for Indianapolis, while at Mugello, Minardi were trying out the 2002 Arrows chassis they purchased at auction earlier this year (separate story to follow).
Unofficial Jerez times, Tuesday:
1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari, 1:19.265
2. Nick Heidfeld, Sauber, 1:20.211
3. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota, 1:21.110
Unofficial Barcelona times, Tuesday:
1. Kimi Raikkonen, McLaren, 1:17.119
2. David Coulthard, McLaren, 1:17.148
3. Alexander Wurz, McLaren, 1:17.221
4. Franck Montagny, Renault, 1:17.797
5. Cristiano Da Matta, Toyota, 1:17.867
Unofficial Silverstone times, Tuesday:
1. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams, 1:20.059
2. Marc Gene, Williams, 1:20.956