Wednesday March 7th, 2001
Formula One returnee Johnny Herbert made an immediate impression with his new team by setting the fastest time on the first day of testing at the Silverstone circuit on Wednesday.
The new Arrows' test driver, who last drove a Formula One car in October last year at the Malaysian Grand Prix, led the other four testers present at the British track today, completing a total of 47 laps with a best time of 1:25.431 at the wheel of the Asiatech-powered A21.
"I've had a really good day today," said Herbert. "Obviously it's great to be in a Formula One car again and I'm enjoying working with the OrangeArrows team.
"The guys are great and it's a really friendly atmosphere. To be honest, I was surprised with how the car handled, but we still have a lot of work to do.
"I was expecting there to be a lot more problems we would have to sort out, but I'm relatively happy with the way things have gone.
"I'm looking forward to tomorrow as I'll be driving the A22 and it will be good to see the characteristics of this season's car, which will be more advantageous for us. We can now start work on developing it and ironing out some of the problems the team had in Melbourne."
Australian Mark Webber was second quickest with the Benetton-Renault B201, trying to find a solution for the lack of pace the team showed at the Australian Grand Prix last weekend. Webber was the fastest of the Michelin runners, and only three tenths of a second slower than Herbert, who used the Bridgestone tyres.
South African Tomas Scheckter outpaced Spaniard Pedro de la Rosa, both driving for the Jaguar team. Scheckter was at the wheel of the old R1, while de la Rosa, who made his first appearance with his new team, drove the new R2, setting the fourth fastest time.
Williams' test driver Marc Gene was slowest today, only fourteen thousands of a second slower than his compatriot.
Testing at Silverstone will resume on Thursday.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time
1. Herbert Arrows-Asiatech (B) 1:25.431
2. Webber Benetton-Renault (M) 1:25.793
3. Scheckter Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:26.638
4. de la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:27.046
5. Gene Williams-BMW (M) 1:27.060
All Timing Unofficial