Testing kicks off in Valencia

Williams, Renault and Jordan began a new test session in Valencia Monday, with less than four weeks until the opening round of the 2003 season in Melbourne, Australia.

Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya worked behind the wheel of FW25 chassis, finally fitted with new aerodynamic components designed for the car. The pair tested the new car in Barcelona last week with 2002-spec aerodynamic components.

Schumacher was the fastest man on the circuit Monday, followed by his teammate by just four tenths. The team will spend all five days at the circuit this week.

Ralph Firman got his first taste of the Jordan EJ13 Monday. The newest F1 driver completed 73 laps in the new car, while becoming acclimated to the car and team environment.

"It went well today and I'm really happy," said Firman. "Although it's not my first F1 test it's been really good to be able to drive a car without being under any pressure because it's not about the quickest lap time of the day, but rather getting to know the team and learning the car and circuit properly. Obviously F1 cars are hugely quicker than others I've driven, their braking capacity is immense, and they are much better in high speed corners. It's great that I was able to get so many laps in today.

Fernando Alonso and Allan McNish continued development of the R23 for Renault Monday. Alonso worked on engine mapping and software, while McNish worked on reliability. The Briton had engine and gearbox trouble during his session, and was only able to complete a partial program.

The teams will return to the Spanish circuit Tuesday.

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