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Testing recommences

AS soon as the month-long F1 testing ban was over five of the 11 teams went into action immediately with three days of testing at Jerez and at the Ferrari test track in Fiorano. The Ferrari test gave Rubens Barrichello his first taste of the F399 and once he had overcome the problems of left foot braking he was able to complete 160 laps of the track although engine trouble and thick fog restricted his testing on Friday.

Down in Jerez de la Frontera, in southern Spain, there were no such problems and McLaren's David Coulthard was soon setting the pace. He completed 150 laps of the track to set the best time of 1m24.21s despite some engine problems on the last afternoon of the test. He was joined on the final day by the team's new signing Olivier Panis who did 83 laps in a special development car fitted with the 2000-spec Mercedes-Benz V10 engine. His best lap was a 1m25.37s.

Second fastest went to Nick Heidfeld in the Prost-Peugeot. Both he and Jean Alesi were present on all three days of the test with Heidfeld concentrating on electronic development for the first two days, using an old EV5 Peugeot engine. On the third day he used the newer EV7 and set a best lap of 1m25.03s after a total of 125 laps. Alesi was getting used the car and the team and used the EV7 for the first two days and then switched to the EV5. His best after 133 laps was a lap of 1m26.37s.

Splitting the two Prosts was the Jordan-Mugen Honda of Jarno Trulli, the Italian having his first runs with the team, which had two 199 chassis available for him. This enabled him to complete a total of 135 laps despite an off on the final afternoon. His best lap was a 1m25.33s.

Williams appeared with an FW21B fitted with a BMW engine. Initial engine problems were overcome and the team completed a total of 148 laps of the track. The best lap time for Ralf Schumacher was a 1m27.34s and while reliability was promising the speed of the car was not. We understand that the engine needs more horsepower and that the engine needs to be made lighter as the current unit is too heavy and is causing the rear tires to blister.

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