Testing Continues In Spain
January 14, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
In his first test since finishing his 2001 championship season, four-time champ Schumacher spent a little over six hours running his 2001 model Ferrari at the Fiorano track. Schumacher ran 69 laps Monday, hitting a top time of 1:18.783.
Schumacher will continue testing at Fiorano on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, David Coulthard led testing for the third time Monday, topping all drivers in the offseason’s first run at the Valencia track.
Only seven drivers tested at Valencia on Monday, with Coulthard topping 1:30.748. Juan Pablo Montoya was close behind in his Williams BMW, hitting 1:31.312. Coulthard ran 91 laps Monday, while Montoya completed 83.
Jarno Trulli was third fastest in his Renault Sport machine, running 1:32.020, while Eddie Irvine and Jenson Button were fourth and fifth fastest.
"We had a very productive day's tasting," said Mike Gascoyne, Renault Test Team Engineer. "Running in wet conditions, we conducted several different programs for Michelin and gathered lots of valuable information. The day was particularly useful for Jarno, who ran over 60 laps to further acclimate himself to the team and the car."
All cars testing at the track Monday used Michelin tires.
Prost Still Not Out of the Water
Though Tuesday is the deadline for outside businesses to offer Alain Prost help to save his Formula One team, the four-time World Champion may not be able to relax any time soon.
The French-based team is in receivership after amassing debts of around $28 million and has until Tuesday to come up with a rescuer. However, a team spokesperson told Reuters an outcome may not be known until the end of this week or perhaps early next week.
“We are really in the hands of the court at the moment... it should take a few more days to get a decision," said team spokesperson Virginie Papin. "The timing is not really precise and we are probably not going to hear anything until the end of the week. They have not said yet how long it might take.”
Reports throughout Europe indicate that a rescue plan has been formulated with a handful of other businesses, but it is yet unclear if the plan will be enough.
Australian businessman Paul Stoddart rescued the Minardi team from bankruptcy last offseason and is skeptical of anyone’s ability to put together a competitive team on a limited budget in a short amount of time. The 2002 F-1 season opens in Australia on March 3.
“All I can say is that if they haven't got $100 million in their pocket, don't bother,” Stoddart said. “If they think they're going to do it on less than that, think again.
“Formula One eats money and you need wicked amounts of it to keep going.”