Testing update - a quiet final day at Jerez 22 Sep 2003
Just three teams were on track on Friday as the week's testing in preparation for the United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis drew to a close.
Toyota and BAR were again at Jerez in Spain. Ricardo Zonta was the man at the wheel for the Japanese squad, working on Michelin tyre testing and general set-up ahead of the last two rounds of the season.
"We have had a very productive week," said Zonta. "We covered in excess of 1400 kilometres without any real problem hindering our test. This allowed us to achieve some solid work, getting through set-up and tyre testing ahead of the last two rounds of the season, but also carrying out future development tests."
At BAR it was Jacques Villeneuve's second day in the cockpit, following Jenson Button's mid-week crash, and the Canadian concentrated on selecting tyres for Indianapolis, as well as evaluating the team's Suzuka specification engine and new aerodynamic parts. However, he admitted it had not been the easiest of sessions.
"Unfortunately we have had a very difficult test this week," he said. "Conditions weren't great at the track and we had a lot of mechanical problems and a lot of downtime on my first day which restricted our progress. In addition to tyre work, we also worked with the new Honda engine on the first day, which was promising, but we did not get much running in.
"Today we mainly concentrated on tyre testing and chose our tyres for Indy. We were a lot more reliable today and tried to do as many laps as we could, which enabled us to test the new aero bits as well."
Toyota were also on track elsewhere. Olivier Panis carried out a one-day test at Paul Ricard in France for Toyota, completing 56 laps, working on aerodynamic development for Indianapolis and Suzuka.
"The team moved from Barcelona to Circuit Paul Ricard to complete the programme that Cristiano (da Matta) started earlier this week and we had a very successful day," explained Panis.
"We took advantage of the circuit flexibility and adopted a track configuration that helped us to prepare for the quite atypical Indianapolis layout. We focused on aerodynamic developments and set-up options for the United States Grand Prix but also for Japan, and I am very happy with what we managed to achieve in just one day."
Finally, Ferrari again had Luca Badoer at the wheel of the F2003-GA at Fiorano. He carried out the shakedown of the remaining two cars to be used at Indianapolis and then continued work on electronic developments, completing 139 laps of the Italian circuit.
Unofficial Jerez times, Friday:
1. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota, 1:19.462
2. Jacques Villeneuve, BAR, 1:20.905