Honda website
Honda website

OCTOBER 26, 1998

Last minute preparations for Suzuka

THE Formula 1 teams were in action again last week before their equipment had to be boxed up and sent out to Japan for the WorldÊChampionship showdown at Suzuka and the ensuing Bridgestone test at the track.ÊFerrari and Sauber were both running at Mugello while Ferrari also felt the need for a simultaneous test at Fiorano. On Tuesday Michael Schumacher completed 76 laps at Mugello while Luca Badoer did 100 laps at Fiorano. Schumacher then went to Fiorano while EddieÊIrvine took over at Mugello. On Thursday the Ulsterman went to Fiorano to do some more laps and to practice his starts - which will be vital at Suzuka where overtaking is not easy.

At Silverstone McLaren ran both David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen on Monday but neither did more than a handful of laps. In the course of his 13 laps Coulthard set the best time of the test at 1m26.22s. Hakkinen did 19 laps with a best of 1m27.48s. McLaren then packed up leaving the other teams to run on Tuesday.

Rubens Barrichello ended up second fastest of the test with a lap on Tuesday of 1m26.39s in the course of 10 flying laps. The previous day when Barrichello did 49 laps he managed no better than a 1m28.50s. Also testing for Stewart was British Formula 3 Champion Mario Haberfeld who completed 35 laps with a best of 1m28.65s.

Damon Hill ran on both days of the test, completing a total of 120 laps with a best lap of 1m26.83s in his Jordan-Mugen Honda, which was slightly faster than Jacques Villeneuve's best lap for Williams of 1m26.95s. The French-Canadian completed 50 laps on Tuesday, having taken over from the team's test driver Max Wilson who completed a similar number of laps on Monday with a best of 1m27.19s.

Benetton and Arrows chose to test only on Tuesday with Benetton running Giancarlo Fisichella, Alexander Wurz and Olivier Gavin. Fisichella completed 50 laps with a best of 1m27.48s while Wurz did a similar amount of running to record a best of 1m28.65s. Gavin did only three laps, presumably checking out the car for future testing duties.

Mika Salo was the only Arrows driver present and completed 21 laps with a best time of 1m28.16s. The team packed up and departed at lunchtime.

British American Racing's test team showed up for its last runs with the interim Tyrrell-Mecachrome car with which Jean-Christophe Boullion completed a total of 60 laps with a best of 1m29.20s. The team will not be seen again now until December when the BAR01 chassis is scheduled to run for the first time.