Tuesday August 29th, 2000
Just two days after the Belgian Grand Prix, all Formula One teams began their preparations today for the next race, at the revised Monza circuit, in a three-day testing session.
Arrows' Jos Verstappen was the star of the first day, after setting the fastest lap of the session. However, the Dutch driver was also the protagonist in the scare of the day, when he suffered a frightful accident after a mechanical failure.
Verstappen was driving down the straight at more than 300km/h when he suddenly lost control and ended up hitting the pit wall, his car catching fire immediately after the impact. Fortunately, Verstappen was unharmed and got out of his car on his own.
Pedro Diniz was second fastest for the Sauber team, after topping the time sheets during the morning session.
Ferrari's test driver Luca Badoer was third after completing 93 laps, while Darren Manning was fourth with the BAR-Honda.
The McLaren team suffered engine problems with both David Coulthard and Olivier Panis' cars. The Scot blew up his engine during the afternoon and set fifth fastest time, while Panis only managed eighth place, the Frenchman working on 2001 Bridgestone tyre development.
This was the first time Formula One teams have visited Monza since the track was modified, mainly on the first chicane, and drivers reported the changes were satisfactory.
"We have to get used to the new corner," said Luca Badoer. "It's certainly an improvement in terms of safety. You've got to brake very hard for what is now a very sharp bend, and it's easy to misjudge the distance and overshoot the apex, but it's just a matter of getting used to it."
Testing will continue at Monza tomorrow.
Pos Driver Team Time Laps
1. Verstappen Arrows-Supertec 1:25.46 43
2. Diniz Sauber-Petronas 1:26.19 34
3. Badoer Ferrari 1:26.33 93
4. Manning BAR-Honda 1:26.67 76
5. Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes 1:26.72 70
6. Fisichella Benetton-Playlife 1:26.95 75
7. Frentzen Jordan-Mugen Honda 1:27.09 42
8. Panis McLaren-Mercedes 1:27.18 28
9. Salo Sauber-Petronas 1:27.93 18
10. Lemarie BAR-Honda 1:28.00 49
11. Herbert Jaguar-Cosworth 1:28.04 36
12. Junqueira Williams-BMW 1:28.70 20
13. Heidfeld Prost-Peugeot 1:28.79 33
14. Gene Minardi-Fondmetal 1:29.46 5
All Timing Unofficial