Atlas F1 News Service

Alesi Quickest at Damp Silverstone - Day One

Tuesday September 18th, 2001

Jean Alesi in action at Silverstone, todayDespite the United States Grand Prix still in doubt following the terrorist attacks last week, most Formula One teams got back to work to prepare the Indianapolis race, with McLaren, BAR, Jordan, Benetton and Jaguar kicking off a three-day testing session at Silverstone.

Frenchman Jean Alesi, who finished in eighth place at last Sunday's Italian Grand Prix, topped the timesheets today for the Jordan team. The veteran driver, who completed the most number of laps at a damp Silverstone, was closely followed by McLaren's test driver Alexander Wurz, who was the fastest of the three drivers present for the Woking-based team.

Britons Jenson Button and Eddie Irvine were third and fourth quickest respectively for the Benetton and Jaguar teams. Australian test driver Mark Webber was fifth at the wheel of the second Renault-powered car, while Irvine's teammate Pedro de la Rosa was seventh behind the only BAR on track, driven by Frenchman Olivier Panis.

Indian Narain Karthikeyan, who already tested for the Jaguar team earlier this year, drove for Jordan for the first time. The Formula Nippon driver endured a tough first day at the wheel of the Honda-powered EJ11, setting the eighth quickest time after spinning off the track both in the morning and in the afternoon. Karthikeyan will be replaced on Wednesday and Thursday by F3000 champion Justin Wilson.

"I had a good run, even though the track was a bit greasy because of the wet weather, and I enjoyed myself," said Karthikeyan. "I thank Jordan for giving me the opportunity to discover what it's like to work with a Formula One team.

"I was happy with the way I drove, although it would have been better if it was dry. Everything in F1 is so different from any other category and it impressed me in every way. Hopefully I will have the opportunity to be the first Indian Formula One driver in the next couple of years."

Swiss driver Marcel Fassler made a brief Formula One debut with McLaren. The 25-year old had been promised a ride by Peter Sauber in July when he won his first race for Mercedes-Benz in Germany's DTM series, but the test was cancelled due to today's drive with McLaren.

However, Fassler could only complete an installation lap before the team decided the conditions were too tricky for the rookie.

Testing at Silverstone continues on Wednesday.

Today's times:

Pos  Driver        Team-Engine         Tyres  Time   
 1.  Alesi         Jordan-Honda        (B)    1:34.034
 2.  Wurz          McLaren-Mercedes    (B)    1:34.102
 3.  Button        Benetton-Renault    (M)    1:34.724
 4.  Irvine        Jaguar-Cosworth     (M)    1:34.820
 5.  Webber        Benetton-Renault    (M)    1:34.971
 6.  Panis         BAR-Honda           (B)    1:35.101
 7.  De la Rosa    Jaguar-Cosworth     (M)    1:35.266
 8.  Karthikeyan   Jordan-Honda        (B)    1:36.008
 9.  Fassler       McLaren-Mercedes    (B)    No time
All Timing Unofficial

Published at 17:56:09 GMT

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