Itest Notes:/I Hakkinen Shines
April 18, 2001 | 10:00 A.M. EST
The Finn recorded the fastest lap time of the day with a 1 minute 22.44 seconds lap ahead of Coulthard as McLaren's work centered mainly on preparation for the return of traction control at the Spanish Grand Prix. There was no rain at the Northamptonshire track, but it was cold with occasional light snow showers, conditions that were bad enough to hinder some of the planned work that the teams had for chassis setup and electronics software development.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the pace-setter from Tuesday, had another good day to finish third in the Jordan EJ11 with a development engine to be used for the Austrian Grand Prix.
Juan Pablo Montoya was seventh fastest on Wednesday, after he ran just 20 laps in the FW23 on Tuesday. He was joined by Ralf Schumacher as BMW-Williams prepares for a followup win in Spain.
"We just did traction control testing today as nothing else was possible due to the cold weather conditions," said Schumacher, who was fourth fastest Wednesday. "Also because of the weather the circuit changed frequently. Unfortunately I don't think the weather is going to change very much tomorrow."
BAR drivers Olivier Panis and Jacques Villeneuve were fifth and sixth respectively while Luciano Burti beat his teammate Eddie Irvine by one spot to finish eighth. A painful shoulder kept Jenson Button off the track but his Benetton teammate, Giancarlo Fisichella (10th), completed 37 laps in both the B201 and B200 as he worked on numerous items including setup, brakes and tires.
Ferrari Moves to Mugello
Ferrari moved its test program from Fiorano to Mugello yesterday, where they were joined by Sauber and Minardi.
Testing could not begin until late morning while work on the circuit was finalized, but the day did not end until 7 p.m. Ferrari went with two F2001 cars for Rubens Barrichello and test driver Luca Badoer. As at Fiorano, Ferrari worked on electronics, aerodynamics and preparation for the introduction of traction control at the Spanish Grand Prix next Sunday.
Barrichello's day consisted of gearbox and LSD management system tests as well as 10 practice starts while Badoer, who finished fastest, worked on engine management electronics.
Meanwhile, Barrichello has shed light on one of the puzzles of last Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix -- namely, why was Ferrari the only Bridgestone team to go with the harder compound tires, a decision that did not work out in the race.
"I can tell you that the week prior to the race, Michael had tried these tires at Fiorano and the test was a positive one," Barrichello said. "However, our private test track, because of its layout, did not allow us to simulate all the situations which we then encountered in Imola.
"The decision to use the harder tire was also influenced by the weather forecast for Sunday. It did not go well. In particular we suffered in qualifying even if our final grid positions did not reflect the true situation. Michael made a mistake on what would have been his best lap and I had a lot of bother with traffic."
Nick Heidfeld covered 47 laps to record the third fastest time for Sauber while Kimi Raikkonen was at Vairano conducting straight line aerodynamic validation tests that proved very successful.
Christijan Albers ran for Minardi European and completed 27 laps to finish third quickest with Tarso Marques recording no time in his one lap.
Sauber race engineer Remi Decorzent was later on hand to discuss the day's work and said: "This is another very important test for us giving Sauber our second and final chance to hone the new traction-control system in readiness for Barcelona next week.
"At the same time we also have an intensive program of development to work through on a new aerodynamic package. It's unfortunate that all three teams lost running time this morning but I am sure we can make it up."
Testing continued with all three teams today at Mugello with both Michael Schumacher, who takes over from Luca Badoer, and Barrichello driving for Ferrari.