Itest Notes:/I Ferrari Fast At Mugello
April 23, 2001 | 10:00 A.M. EST
The Ferrari team focused on 'every aspect of the electronics' which, when translated, meant a close look at gear change, starts, engine and differential systems. The weather was dry at first but became damp in the afternoon, when testing was temporarily halted. But it did not officially end until 19:20, by which time Schumacher had also completed 13 practice starts and 31 of his total laps on a wet track.
Sauber and Minardi also finished their week at Mugello and Kimi Raikkonen, taking over the driving from Nick Heidfeld, completed 86 laps, and set a best time of 1:25.573 to finish third.
Raikkonen made good use of the wet track.
"The poor weather today at least gave me a chance to try the traction control in dry and wet conditions,” Raikkonen said. "My first feeling is that it should improve the laptime of the car if it is correctly implemented but that it takes time to get fully used to.”
Willi Rampf, Sauber's technical director, said the team spent the week testing with new electronic setups.
"On this last day of our program we focused on further work on our traction control system, as well as tire evaluation specifically for Barcelona F1 Grand Prix and set-up of the chassis,” Rampf said. “We were also able to try our new power-steering system, which will be important for the forthcoming races of the F1 season. We were able to get some dry road running before it began to rain this afternoon."
Tarso Marques was fourth and last after 42 laps in the Minardi and ended up with a best time of 1:34.527.
Minardi Hails Test Success
Minardi sporting director Rupert Manwaring said he is extremely satisfied with last week's test session at Ferrari's private track at Mugello.
Incredibly, last week was the team's first test of the season when the Faenza-based squad spent three days at Mugello for vital work on traction control. Fernando Alonso and Tarso Marques were available to drive the Minardi PS01 chassis as was test driver Christijan Albers
Manwaring said he was satisfied with the test, which also included work on several innovations, including the automatic titanium gearbox, all useful for traction control which returns at the Spanish Grand Prix next week.
"The team has had a productive three-day test here at Mugello and the work done on traction control has been absolutely invaluable,” he said. "All three days have been very good in terms of setting up and honing the traction control software, but today has been absolutely great because the weather has allowed us to test on soaking wet, drying and completely dry track surfaces. It couldn't have been better."
Manwaring was also impressed with what Albers was able to accomplish on Wednesday.
"Christijan did a highly competent job for us, particularly in view of the fact his seat didn't fit perfectly, causing him problems under braking. I know he has enjoyed the experience, and so have we,” he said. “He has contributed to a very productive day of testing for the team."
For budding F1 driver Albers, the test was an eye-opening experience.
"I did one lap of the track in a road car before jumping into the Formula One car,” Albers said. “The performance is incredible but the braking is just unbelievable. You're flat in sixth gear on the straight and 100 meters from the corner, you brake and gear down to second, absolutely amazing. It has been a great experience."