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Testing around Europe

THERE were tests last week at Monza, Fiorano and Silverstone although World Championship contenders Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen both took time off for a rest: Schumacher going on holiday in the United States and Hakkinen disappearing to Finland.

Ferrari ran two simultaneous tests with Eddie Irvine running at Fiorano, covering a total of 430 miles in an F399, setting a new lap record for the car at the Ferrari test track. At the same time test driver Luca Badoer ran at Monza, where he completed 250 miles before going back to Fiorano for some shakedown testing.

The Monza test featured Williams, Prost and Sauber and it was Ralf Schumacher who emerged fastest after 133 laps of the track, his best lap being 1m24.54s. Alex Zanardi was also running on all three days of the test and recorded the second fastest time of 1m25.38s after 117 laps.

Prost Grand Prix did a lot of work with Jarno Trulli being joined by Stephane Sarrazin for the first two days. On the third day Trulli handed over to Panis. In total the three Prost drivers completed over 200 laps of the track, with Sarrazin setting the fastest time of the three with a 1m26.33s on the final morning. The work included running the latest evolution of the Peugeot V10 engine which is due to race for the first time at the French GP.

Sauber ran Jean Alesi for two days and Pedro Diniz for the third, the pair completing 68 laps between them as they worked on much-needed gearbox development. Alesi recorded a best lap of 1m25.90s.

At Silverstone the weather was not very good but McLaren, Jordan, Benetton, Stewart, BAR and Arrows were all running. The test was dominated by David Coulthard who completed a total of 138 laps of the track, setting the fastest time of 1m26.398s.

Jordan was also running for all three days with Heinz-Harald Frentzen doing the first day and then Damon Hill taking over for the final two. Heinz-Harald completed 27 laps and Hill did 35.

Stewart ran Rubens Barrichello on the first day and then Johnny Herbert took over and by the end of the three days the two had completed a total of 77 laps working an aerodynamic development program.

Benetton ran two cars on all three days with Alexander Wurz driving one and test driver Laurent Redon the other. Wurz completed 87 laps and Redon 78 as they developed the front torque transfer system. This will not be used in Canada.

Arrows turned up for two days with Pedro de la Rosa doing most of the laps, although the two were restricted to just 50 laps in total.

British American racing has intended to run Ricardo Zonta for two days but he managed only a handful of laps because of rain and engine problems.

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