Monza Day One - Schumacher leads 02 Sep 2004
Michael Schumacher staked his claim to an Italian Grand Prix victory by topping the times at Monza on Wednesday, as Formula One testing resumed after the summer break.
Indeed, it was a Ferrari one-two on day one of the three-day session, with Rubens Barrichello backing his team mate up in second place. Both men worked on set-up and aerodynamics in preparation for the Italian race, completing over 170 laps between them.
All ten teams were in action, with a total of 18 drivers. Schumacher was around eight tenths of a second faster than third-place man Anthony Davidson in the BAR, whose team mate Takuma Sato finished the day fourth. Both BAR men evaluated tyres, with Davidson also carrying out an aerodynamic programme.
Juan Pablo Montoya and Antonio Pizzonia were in action for Williams, following the news that Ralf Schumacher will not be returning until at least after the Italian Grand Prix. The Colombian was fifth, the Brazilian ninth, and they racked up over 170 laps between them, with the teams programme including tyre, aero and brake work.
Fernando Alonso was the quicker of the two Renault drivers present, the Spaniard sixth fastest after 110 laps, with team mate Jarno Trulli 12th after 65. Both men were hampered slightly by early electrical problems, but went on to complete a set-up and tyre programme, as well as testing solutions to the oil-leak problem the team experienced at Spa.
"In spite of several small niggles during running this morning, we completed a successful first day of running at Monza, reported Christian Silk, Renaults Chief Test Engineer. Both drivers quickly settled back in to running the car in its low-downforce configuration, and the Monza-specific aero package performed as expected. The engine reliability was encouraging, and we have made good progress with the tyre programme, giving us a solid base for continuing our work tomorrow."
After his impressive showing last weekend, Christian Klien again led the way for Jaguar, going seventh to Mark Webbers 14th. The Austrian finished ahead of McLarens David Coulthard, who along with test driver Alexander Wurz, continued development of the Belgian Grand Prix winning MP19-B.
Giancarlo Fisichella was the sole Sauber driver present, the Italian covering 90 laps around Monza. "This week our main target is, of course, working on our low downforce level in preparation to the Italian Grand Prix here in Monza next week, explained race engineer Giampaolo Dall'Ara. "In the course of this we concentrated today on assessing Bridgestone tyre compound specifications whereby we plan to validate the collected data by long-runs tomorrow. As Monza is very hard on brakes we ran brake tests today, too."
Toyota ran two cars on day one, with Olivier Panis 11th and Ryan Briscoe, back in the cockpit after his heavy crash at Spa, 15th. Jordan, meanwhile, tested with Giorgio Pantano. The Italian will hand over to Timo Glock on Thursday and then Nick Heidfeld on Friday.
Minardi completed the timesheets, with Gianmaria Bruni and Bas Leinders sharing a car between them. This week the team are assessing new chassis set-ups and aerodynamic components, as well as a revised specification for the Cosworth CR3L engine. "We ran Bas this morning, carrying out normal aero testing and set-up work, and then changed the car over for Gimmi and continued with the set-up programme, reported Senior Engineer Andy Tilley. He also worked on tyre evaluation and brake material testing. We'd particularly like to extend our thanks to Bridgestone, for making the test tyres available to us here in Monza."
Weather conditions at Monza were favourable for the test, with early cloud giving way to clear skies. Track temperatures reached a high of 37 Celsius.
Elsewhere, Ferrari also had Luca Badoer testing at Fiorano. The teams official test driver worked on a Bridgestone tyre development programme. He completed a total of 137 laps (28 of which on the short course of the track,) with a best time of 57.340s.
Unofficial Wednesday times from Monza:
1. Michael Schumacher, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.202
2. Rubens Barrichello, Ferrari (Bridgestone), 1:20.244
3. Anthony Davidson, BAR (Michelin), 1:21.054
4. Takuma Sato, BAR (Michelin), 1:21.458
5. Juan Pablo Montoya, Williams (Michelin), 1:21.649
6. Fernando Alonso, Renault (Michelin), 1:21.702
7. Christian Klien, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:21.752
8. David Coulthard, McLaren (Michelin), 1:21.805
9. Antonio Pizzonia, Williams (Michelin), 1:21.850
10. Giancarlo Fisichella, Sauber (Bridgestone), 1:22.013
11. Olivier Panis, Toyota (Michelin), 1:22.100
12. Jarno Trulli, Renault (Michelin), 1.22.300
13. Alexander Wurz, McLaren (Michelin), 1:22.377
14. Mark Webber, Jaguar (Michelin), 1:22.381
15. Ryan Briscoe, Toyota (Michelin), 1:22.764
16. Giorgio Pantano, Jordan (Bridgestone), 1:23.399
17. Gianmaria Bruni, Minardi (Bridgestone), 1:23.449
18. Bas Leinders, Minardi (Bridgestone), 1:24.441