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Williams flies - Ferrari stalls

WILLIAMS continues to dominate F1 this year with Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve setting the fastest times during last week's four-day test at Jerez in Spain.

The test was marked by good weather all week but there were some quite strong winds towards the end of the test which slowed down the really fast times. Williams drivers Damon Hill and Jacques Villeneuve completed over 300 laps with Hill setting a fastest lap of 1m23.61s. Alesi, who managed half as many laps as Hill, was half a second behind with Gerhard╩Berger recording a similar time. Benetton also ran test driver Vincenzo Sospiri for 20 laps. The team tested a new front suspension, a new differential and a variety of modified airboxes. These are expected to appear at the Nurburgring next weekend, although Benetton is expected to produce new "low-sided" monocoques for Monaco. Sauber completed around 150 laps with Heinz-Harald Frentzen trying out engine modifications for the recalcitrant Ford V10. Alain Prost and David Coulthard did around 250 laps with the McLarens, Prost's best lap was a 1m25.18s.

Ferrari's test program was to be at Mugello but the Italian team stopped work after problems at Monza the previous week and spent last week modifying chassis. The team is now expected to begin a test on Tuesday with both Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine in action for the first two days before they fly off to the Nurburgring, leaving test driver Nicola Larini to go on working without them.

At Silverstone, Tyrrell was setting the pace with Ukyo Katayama and Mika Salo fastest in the two day test. Cold winds made testing difficult but Tyrrell did a lot of work, running a revised front suspension and diffuser. Salo also tried an interesting set of aerodynamic rear top wishbones which produce downforce to the wheels. There have been questions as to whether these are legal as aerodynamic devices must "remain immobile in relation to the sprung part of the car." Tyrrell also ran its new tester Emmanuel Collard.

Jordan also had three drivers in action: Gianni Morbidelli doing two days of running, while Martin Brundle and Rubens╩Barrichello did a day each.

The only other car running was an Arrows for Jos Verstappen - which ran in a bright new red and blue color scheme - although the car had no sponsorship decals. Jos had fuel pump problems on the first day and never completed a lap, but ran well on the second day until the team encountered engine trouble.

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