Accidents mark testing in Valencia

TWO considerable accidents marked testing in Valencia Thursday. In the morning, Italian Giancarlo Fisichella hit the barriers in turn 3 with the back of his Jordan EJ12. Fisichella suffered only minor bruises on his knee, but the car was damaged heavily. The cause of the accident is still being investigated by Jordan.

In the afternoon, Felipe Massa crashed his Sauber C21 on the main straight, damaging it heavily. "Unfortunately, I had an unexpected problem with the front wing attachment to the nose," said Massa. "It caused a big accident. The car stood up to the impact and I am completely unharmed."

Massa's teammate, Nick Heidfeld, set the fastest time of the session in the new Sauber challenger. Thursday concluded the team's testing in Valencia, and they will move to Mugello from February 16-18.

Juan-Pablo Montoya was second fastest Thursday in the new Williams-BMW FW24, and was joined by teammates Ralf Schumacher and Antonio Pizzonia.

BAR fielded two BAR004 chassis and one BAR003 Thursday. Anthony Davidson, conducting damper development work in the 003, was fastest. Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis tested in the new cars.

"We're slightly more competitive again this test," said Villeneuve. "The car was working well and the chassis felt fine. There were a lot of red flags today though, so it was hard to do much proper work. We also had some mechanical and engine problems in the afternoon, which limited us as well."

Thursday marked Heinz-Harald Frentzen's first time in a Formula 1 car since the final race of 2001. The German tested the new Arrows A23 just hours after being announced as Enrique Bernoldi's teammate, and ended up almost three seconds of the fastest pace of the day.

"It's certainly good to be back in the cockpit again after such a long break," Frentzen said. "I'm getting used to my new team and they are getting used to me. The car feels good so far and the engine feels strong. Of course, we have had the usual problems faced with running a new car, but nothing major, and I can feel there is a strong foundation there to work with. I'm really looking forward to the new season now as I am optimistic about this car."

Fernando Alonso and Jarno Trulli conducted testing for Renault. Alonso drove last year's R201, while Trulli was in the new R202.

Pedro De la Rosa continued with development work on the new Jaguar R3, and Mark Webber and Alex Yoong again rounded out the time-sheet Thursday for Minardi.

Williams, Arrows, BAR, and Minardi will return for more testing Friday.

VALENCIA TEST - THURSDAY, 7 FEBRUARY 2002

POS

DRIVER ENTRANT TIME

1.

NICK HEIDFELD Sauber-Petronas 1:12.412

2.

JUAN PABLO MONTOYA Williams-BMW 1:13.730

3.

FELIPE MASSA Sauber-Petronas 1:14.216

4.

RALF SCHUMACHER Williams-BMW 1:14.621

5.

GIANCARLO FISICHELLA Jordan-Honda 1:14.646

6.

ANTONIO PIZZONIA Williams-BMW 1:14.742

7.

ANTHONY DAVIDSON BAR-Honda 1:14.879

8.

JACQUES VILLENEUVE BAR-Honda 1:14.935

9.

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN Arrows-Cosworth 1:15.131

10.

OLIVIER PANIS BAR-Honda 1:15.145

11.

TAKUMA SATO Jordan-Honda 1:15.372

12.

FERNANDO ALONSO Renault 1:15.378

13.

JARNO TRULLI Renault 1:15.692

14.

PEDRO DE LA ROSA Jaguar-Cosworth 1:15.733

15.

MARK WEBBER Minardi-Asiatech 1:16.651

16.

ALEX YOONG Minardi-Asiatech 1:18.638

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