Atlas F1 News Service
News Wrap-up for This Week's Testing

Saturday December 11th, 1999

Barrichello breaks Fiorano lap record

Rubens Barrichello's impressive debut with the Ferrari team at the start of the month continued to get better this week as the Brazilian shattered the Fiorano lap record during testing with one of this year Ferrari F399 chassis. After rain spoiled the final day of testing last weekend, it was decided that Barrichello should run another two days at the Fiorano track where he worked on chassis set-ups and getting used to the car and working with the team. He lowered the lap record to 1m 00,712 secs on Monday, almost two tenths under the previous record recently set by Luca Badoer.

He said afterwards, "The car is incredible; easy to drive and straight away my friend. I felt at home with it and the team immediately. I honestly expected there to be bigger difficulties settling in. I still have a lot to learn about the car's potential and the Fiorano track which is not an easy circuit," added Barrichello, who was also having to cope with left foot braking which he is not used to. It is hoped that he will have a car modified for right foot braking for the coming test in Jerez, December 13-16th.

After that he plans to return to Brazil where he will undergo a minor operation on December 18th to remove a lump from a badly healed broken rib which has been giving him some discomfort. He will test next in the new year along with Michael Schumacher who is spending the holidays in his Norwegian home with his family and working on his fitness programme for next season.

The new team-mates raced against each other for the first time last Sunday when they both took part in a charity karting event for UNICEF, which Michael Schumacher won narrowly ahead of Barrichello.

Coulthard ahead in Barcelona

David Coulthard continued to dominate testing in Spain last week when six teams moved to the Barcelona track for a three day test on the 9th-11th of December. Coulthard headed the first two days of the test for McLaren-Mercedes working mainly on tyre development for Bridgestone, a minor electrical problem delaying him the first day. Olivier Panis drove the second car doing development work on next year's Mercedes engine and was second fastest on Friday with a best of 1m 21,99 secs following hydraulic problems the first day which saw him run just 13 laps.

Enge joins Trulli at Jordan

While Jarno Trulli continued his testing and familiarity programme for Jordan in Barcelona trying parts for the 2000 car, he was joined on Friday by Thomas Enge working on engine mapping programmes for Mugen Honda. Enge ran 10 laps in the afternoon lapping in 1m 26,67 secs, slowest of the day, while Trulli was third fastest with a best of 1m 22,15 secs. Trulli was impressed with both the team and the car. "I am working well with my new race engineer and the car reacts well and it's easy to feel the changes to the set-up," he explained.

Schumacher continues to test the BMW engine

The new Williams-BMW combination continued to be put through its paces in Barcelona following Ralf Schumacher's first test the previous week. "The new engine in the old chassis is a bit of a compromise, but the latest Bridgestone tyres helped a lot," said Schumacher, who had a spin the first day as well as losing more time with a water leak. He set a best time of 1m 23,00 secs on Friday, fourth fastest of the day, the team encouraged by the progress being made with the new engine after working on engine mapping to improve driveability and performance.

Alesi tests new engine

Jean Alesi got to test the 2000 Peugeot A20 engine for the first time in Barcelona, the engine mounted to a modified AP02 chassis dubbed the AP02B. He did a few laps on Thursday setting his best time in the old car, while on Friday he ran only one flying lap (1m 24,08 s) before problems, the team hoping to put 450 kms on the new engine before the end of the test but leaving a day early on Friday afternoon. Heidfeld had a good test with the old car running a best of 1m 23,00 secs on Thursday.

Diniz alone for Sauber

Pedro Diniz continued to test alone for Sauber recording a best of 1m 23,02 secs during the first two days while trying new parts for the 2000 car. He had an accident on Thursday morning, but the car was repaired for the afternoon when he ran 23 laps. Mika Salo preferred to wait until the Jerez test before making his debut for the team which will have a C18B chassis equipped with this year's V10 Ferrari engine and the new 2000 gearbox. The team hope to shake down their new C19 chassis at Fiorano before the end of the year.

Arrows run De la Rosa and Webber

Pedro de la Rosa ran some 85 laps around his home track for the Arrows team on Thursday and after problems on Friday morning which saw him turn just 4 laps, he drove another 43 in the afternoon tyre testing and working on parts for the 2000 Supertech powered car. The announcement that European Racing F3000 has been linked to Arrows as their junior F1 team saw European Racing's new F3000 driver, Mark Webber entrusted with the second car in which he carried out electronics work for the team. He did only 4 timed laps the first day and 10 on Friday with a best of 1m 26,5 secs compared to De la Rosa's best of 1m 24,05 secs. As yet, Arrows have still not announced their 2000 driver line-up.

Minardi in Valencia

Marc Gene gave the president of the Valencia region a demonstration of F1 on the new circuit for the first time on Monday. The Minardi team will continue on to Jerez where they will test young drivers, Giorgio Vinella, Peter Sundberg and Fernando Alonso on the first day. Thereafter, Gene, Max Wilson and Norberto Fontana will continue the test.

BAR02 gets first shakedown

In wet and cold conditions at Silverstone on Tuesday, the latest BAR 02 equipped with the new Honda RA000E engine got its first shake-down with Jacques Villeneuve driving. Villeneuve did some 35 trouble free laps which he described as "an encouraging start." The team are planning to test the new car in Kyalami in the new year.

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