Thursday September 20th, 2001
Austrian Alexander Wurz topped the timesheets for the second consecutive day in testing at the Silverstone circuit, where six Formula One teams completed on Thursday their preparations for the upcoming United States Grand Prix on September 30.
The track was damp during in the morning but dried up in the afternoon, allowing the teams to work on a dry track for the first time after being affected by the British weather on Tuesday and Wednesday.
McLaren's test driver Wurz, who will stay with the team in 2002, was nearly eight tenths of a second quicker than Eddie Irvine, at the wheel of the first of the Michelin-shod Jaguars. Pedro de la Rosa drove the second car from the Milton Keynes team, the Spaniard posting the fifth quickest time after working with different Michelin compounds.
David Coulthard drove the second McLaren, the Scot, who forced the session to be red-flagged when his car stopped, setting the third quickest time ahead of Frenchman Olivier Panis with the BAR, the veteran driver being the busiest man today after completing a total of 91 laps around the British circuit. Panis was joined today by teammate Jacques Villeneuve, who was sixth.
"This was essentially a test focusing on some features for the 2002 car," said BAR's chief engineer Steve Farrell. "That's why we have primarily concentrated on Olivier comparing two cars. Despite the weather it's been an informative test, which has helped us to understand the car better in readiness for next year.
"Over the past three days there has also been a shorter term programme in preparation for both Indianapolis and Suzuka, and we're hoping that is going to give us an edge in the remaining two races."
The Benetton team enjoyed a more positive day on Thursday, with Briton Jenson Button and Australian Mark Webber being able to complete 50 laps each to set the sixth and seventh quickest times respectively ahead of Frenchman Jean Alesi with the Jordan.
F3000 champion Justin Wilson, who impressed on Wednesday at the wheel of the Jordan, again showed his speed on Thursday, the Briton setting the tenth time of the day after 40 laps, only four tenths of a second slower than Alesi.
Enrique Bernoldi joined the session for a single day's test for the Arrows team, the Brazilian concentrating on aerodynamic work as well as tyre testing in preparation for the Indianapolis race. Bernoldi, who was slowest, saw his progress hampered by an engine problem which forced the team to replace it in the morning.
Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time
1. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:22.395
2. Irvine Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:23.014
3. Coulthard McLaren-Mercedes (B) 1:23.304
4. Panis BAR-Honda (B) 1:24.047
5. De la Rosa Jaguar-Cosworth (M) 1:24.222
6. Villeneuve BAR-Honda (B) 1:24.406
7. Button Benetton-Renault (M) 1:24.620
8. Webber Benetton-Renault (M) 1:24.642
9. Alesi Jordan-Honda (B) 1:24.775
10. Wilson Jordan-Honda (B) 1:25.184
11. Bernoldi Arrows-Asiatech (B) 1:25.203
All Timing Unofficial
Published at 17:02:53 GMT