Massa completes first Sauber C23 test 17 Jan 2004
Felipe Massa got his first taste of the car he will race in 2004 on Friday when he put the Sauber C23 through its paces at the Valencia circuit in Spain. Massa completed 65 laps to bring the new machine's maiden three-day test to a close.
Strong winds meant he was unable to match the impressive pace displayed by team mate Giancarlo Fisichella on Thursday, though the Brazilian still recorded a best time of 1m 11.271s. The focus of the team's programme for the day was mechanical set-up and Bridgestone tyre development, though a fuel supply problem brought a slightly premature end to their work.
"Today I had the first chance to compare the C23 with the C22, which I drove yesterday, and I must say that the new car feels pretty good," reported Massa. "In comparison to last year's car the downforce is better and the grip level is good too.
"Unfortunately we could not finish our Bridgestone tyre programme due to the problem with the fuel supply, but I'm happy that I could run some laps at least and learn something about the car. Although the heavy wind gave us completely different weather conditions than yesterday, I am happy with what we have done today."
Technical Director Willy Rampf was also pleased with the progress made by the Swiss squad this week: "Overall we are happy with the outcome of the past three days. On Wednesday we successfully completed the roll-out of the C23, and on Thursday and today we met our set targets too. These results generate a good basis and leave us feeling confident about our forthcoming tests."
Sauber will be testing again next week, alongside the majority of the Formula One teams, at Barcelona.