Friday February 2nd, 2001
British American Racing driver Olivier Panis proved once more he is the king of testing by setting the fastest time on the thirteenth and penultimate day at the Circuit de Catalunya in northern Spain.
The Frenchman, who was also fastest on Thursday, improved more than four tenths over his best lap from yesterday, setting the second quickest time of the thirteen days - only behind Jean Alesi's 1:18.97 set on Tuesday - driving the old BAR-Honda 002 chassis. Panis completed 56 laps today.
German Heinz-Harald Frentzen replaced Italian teammate Jarno Trulli at the wheel of the Jordan-Honda EJ11, setting the second fastest time today, more than six tenths slower than Panis. Frentzen worked on the set-up of the new car, while also testing different Bridgestone tyres compounds.
Rubens Barrichello continued working on the 2000-spec Ferrari, the Brazilian being the first driver out of the one minutes nineteen seconds bracket, almost a second slower than Panis. He was closely followed by the Sauber C20 of Nick Heidfeld, who once more showed the Swiss team's good form in the pre-season.
Canadian Jacques Villeneuve worked again on the new Honda-powered 003 BAR chassis. The 1997 World Champion was the busiest driver today, completing a total of 80 laps - more than a Grand Prix distance - setting the fifth fastest time in front of the second Sauber of Kimi Raikkonen.
"There doesn't seem to be any problem with the new car," Villeneuve said. "The steering is still heavy but this changes with the tyre compounds we use.
"So far it has been very responsive and it is starting to feel very good, especially in high-speed corners. The tyres and suspension are working very well. This year tyres will be an issue."
While teammate Jos Verstappen shook down the new Arrows A22 at Silverstone, Brazilian Enrique Bernoldi continued gathering Formula One experience. The former F3000 driver was seventh today, in front of the two Benettons of Jenson Button and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Button outpaced his teammate, who could only complete sixteen laps at the wheel of the new Michelin-shod B201, which made its debut on Thursday.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time
1. Panis BAR-Honda (B) 1:19.319
2. Frentzen Jordan-Honda (B) 1:19.998
3. Barrichello Ferrari (B) 1:20.238
4. Heidfeld Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:20.280
5. Villeneuve BAR-Honda (B) 1:20.363
6. Raikkonen Sauber-Petronas (B) 1:20.442
7. Bernoldi Arrows-AMT (B) 1:20.548
8. Button Benetton-Renault (M) 1:21.213
9. Fisichella Benetton-Renault (M) 1:23.534
All Timing Unofficial