Day 4 - BAR stay ahead at Mugello 03 May 2004
Pre-Barcelona testing concluded on Friday, with BAR again topping the timesheets at Mugello. Third driver Anthony Davidson set the pace in the 006, as he completed 81 laps of the Italian circuit.
Rain cleared in time for the afternoon session, allowing Davidson to post a 1m 20.150s as he carried out a short tyre and aero test. Jenson Button, meanwhile, used the early damp conditions to conduct a short wet-weather tyre programme for Michelin. He was fastest in the morning, but did not run in the afternoon.
"Unfortunately we had a few minor problems at the test in Mugello, reported Button. I'm disappointed that we didn't achieve all that we would've liked to in our test plan. We struggled for most of the first day to find a set-up that worked, but fortunately, towards the end, we were able to find a balance we were happy with. We concentrated most of our efforts on aerodynamics and testing new parts.
For the second day of the test we also worked on tyres, but this was hampered a bit by the weather. It was positive to find that the car and tyres worked well in the wet conditions. I'm looking forward to the race in Spain now. We should have a good car there immediately and be competitive right from the beginning of the weekend."
Ferrari finished second on their own circuit, with Rubens Barrichello around two tenths down on Davidson after 73 laps of Bridgestone tyre work. Behind the Brazilian were the two Toyotas of Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta.
"This was a good test, even though we had reduced running time because of the rain on the last day, commented Panis. On Thursday I put in a lot of work to adjust the car for me, as well as working on braking and going over kerbs. By the afternoon the track had changed a lot, but we found a good set-up and the car was feeling better. We also had a successful test of tyre compounds for the Spanish Grand Prix. Although I had to stop for a precautionary engine change in the afternoon, Ricardo covered the rest of the work we had planned."
Unofficial Friday times from Mugello:
1. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:20.150
2. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.302
3. Olivier Panis, Toyota, (Michelin), 1:21.816
4. Ricardo Zonta, Toyota, (Michelin), 1:22.610
5. Jenson Button, BAR (Michelin), 1:27.156
At Silverstone, Williams Marc Gene was the sole Friday runner. With the weather again disrupting progress, the Spanish driver managed some limited wet tyre and set-up work in the morning before the team decided to abandon their programme due to the adverse conditions.