Imola Day Three - snow stops play in Italy 27 Feb 2004
Ferrari and others head home early
This weeks final day of testing at Imola on Thursday came to a premature end due to snow at the Italian circuit. Ferrari decided not to test at all in the chilly conditions, leaving just Williams and Toyota to carry out some limited running.
Toyota test driver Ryan Briscoe completed the most laps (51) and also topped the timesheets in last years TF103. "Considering the difficult weather conditions that we have encountered during this test, we did a very good job today to complete a tyre test in the morning, explained the Australian.
This tyre programme was conducted to reconfirm tests that we have carried out in previous sessions and everything ran smoothly. This afternoon, we had planned to do a full wet weather tyre test, but we were forced to finish the day earlier than expected due to a problem with the oil pump fixation. I am now heading back home to Australia before the Australian Grand Prix next weekend."
Juan Pablo Montoya was second quickest in the Williams FW26, ahead of the second Toyota of Cristiano da Matta. Montoya put in just 14 laps of the Italian circuit as the BMW-powered team brought their three-day test to a close.
"The final test before the start of the season was seriously affected by poor weather conditions, confirmed Mario Theissen, BMW Motorsport Director. Imola proved to be a more appropriate testing ground for the Nurburgring race than for the three forthcoming overseas races which are expected to be much warmer.
The adverse conditions were a perfect opportunity, however, to do some fine tuning on the traction control system. With no problems experienced on the engine side, we are now looking forward to travelling to Melbourne for the first Grand Prix of the season."
Unofficial Thursday times from Imola:
1. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Michelin), 1:37.602
2. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (Michelin), 1:39.440
3. Cristiano da Matta, Toyota (Michelin), 1:44.043