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Testing in Spain and South Africa

THERE has been testing all week in Barcelona while Williams and British American Racing have been unable to achieve much because of the worst rain storms South Africa has seen in 60 years. Both teams have decided to extend their testing in order to get more miles.

There was no running at all on Tuesday and although it was still raining on Wednesday the cars did go out with Williams running two FW22s for Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button and BAR running a single car for Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo╩Zonta. On Thursday the cars could not run at all as the safety helicopter was being used to help victims of the flooding and so the cars did not run until Friday when it was still raining in the morning but later dried out. The testing continued over the weekend with Button setting the fastest time on Saturday, watched by 25,000 South Africans. Button set a best lap of 1m24.78s in the course of 57 laps, while Ralf Schumacher's best was a 1m24.98s and Zonta's a 1m25.01s. In the course of the week Button completed a total of 170 laps, Schumacher did 186, Villeneuve 57 and Zonta 195.

In the course of the test two BAR mechanics suffered minor injuries when they were bowled over by Zonta during a practice pit stop.

In Barcelona testing began on Tuesday with Benetton, Arrows and Jordan all running. They were joined on Wednesday by Prost and on Thursday by Jaguar and McLaren. Sauber joined the test on Friday.

The fastest lap of the week went to Verstappen in the Arrows with a best lap of 1m20.66s in the course of his 100 laps over three days in the new A21. The team was forced to stop testing on Thursday because of an exhaust problem which meant new parts had to be flown out but Pedro de la Rosa did 73 laps at the end of the week to record a best time of 1m21.83s.

Benetton continued to develop the new B200 with Alexander Wurz doing 191 laps with a best of 1m21.20s after three days. He then handed over to Giancarlo Fisichella who also did three days of running but completed only around 100 laps with a best of 1m22.87s.

The second fastest time of the week went to David Coulthard who lapped the new McLaren-Mercedes MP4/15 in 1m21.75s after nearly 200 laps. Mika Hakkinen was also testing but used an older car and set a best of 1m21.80s after 162 laps.

Jordan also managed to get into the 1m21s with the new EJ10 which began testing on Tuesday in the hands of Jarno Trulli. The Italian did only 70 laps over four days but set a best of 1m21.60s while Heinz-Harald Frentzen did 93 laps and set a best of 1m21.95s.

Sauber was running a pair of cars for Mika Salo and Pedro Diniz and the pair completed a lot of laps with Diniz emerging the faster of the two with a best of 1m22.33s after 130 laps and Salo recording a 1m22.43s after 80 laps.

Jaguar had a frustrating test with oil system and throttle control problems which meant that both Johnny Herbert and Eddie╩Irvine did not do as many laps as had been hoped. Irvine set a best lap of 1m22.70s after his 80 laps in three days while Herbert lapped in 1m22.89s after 75 laps.

Prost was back in action with the new AP03 and Heidfeld did the first three days of the test with a best of 1m22.99s after 78 laps, while Alesi joined the test on Saturday and recorded a 1m25.86s after 14 laps.

The testing is due to continue in Barcelona this week.

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