Friday August 24th, 2001
Frenchman Olivier Panis and Japanese Takuma Sato topped the times at the Mugello circuit on Friday, putting an end to a four-day testing session at the Italian circuit.
British American Racing driver Panis, who concentrated on development and set-up work in a completion of the programme that the Brackley-based team began on Wednesday, was more than half a second quicker than the second Honda-powered BAR driven by Sato. The team were pleased with their work.
"After the well earned summer break, which the whole team have thoroughly enjoyed, it's been good to get back testing again, especially here in Mugello where the facilities and weather have been excellent," said test team manager Andrew Alsworth.
"It's been a very productive test. Takuma has been here for the full three days joining both Jacques [Villeneuve] and Olivier at the circuit, and once again he's impressed the whole team with his speed and ability."
Alex Yoong completed the two-day session for the Minardi team, the Malaysian driver working on checking aerodynamic downforce levels, steering geometry and damper settings. Yoong was nearly four seconds quicker than yesterday, though he finished the day at the bottom of the timesheets.
"The main requirements at this test were to drive a Grand Prix distance, which we did, and to get down to competitive lap times, which we did - twice over," said Yoong. "My quickest lap was good, considering the conditions. I'm pleased with how the last two days have gone, not only for myself, but also for my sponsor, Magnum, and for Malaysia."
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart was pleased with Yoong's pace in today's session, and admitted he expected the Malaysian to make his Formula One debut with the Faenza-based team soon.
"We're very pleased with Alex's performance today," admitted Stoddart in the morning. "The fastest lap he set this morning shows he is getting used to how a Formula One car handles and performs.
"He will be doing some practice pit stops and 'aero' work during the afternoon, by which time he will have two further days of experience under his belt and will have made solid progress towards his goal of becoming the next European Minardi F1 driver."
The BAR team also worked at Vairano, with test driver Anthony Davidson completing what was his first test for the team this season. Driving at a special aerodynamic measurement test, the team reported no problems.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time
1. Panis BAR-Honda (B) 1:25.653
2. Sato BAR-Honda (B) 1:26.173
3. Yoong Minardi-European (B) 1:27.903
All Timing Unofficial
Published at 17:56:50 GMT