JULY 19, 1999

Jordan fastest in Monza testing

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN gave the Jordan team and Honda a boost when he set the fastest time of the four day Monza Formula 1 test last week.

HEINZ-HARALD FRENTZEN gave the Jordan team and Honda a boost when he set the fastest time of the four day Monza Formula 1 test last week. The German ran only on Thursday, completing 58 laps with a best of 1m24.40s. On the final day of testing the new Ferrari team leader Eddie Irvine almost matched the time with a lap of 1m24.41s.

With Damon Hill on holiday as he made up his mind about the future, Jordan did not start work until the Wednesday when Shinji Nakano did reliability testing on the team's latest gearbox. He completed 68 laps with a best of 1m27.07s.

Despite Michael Schumacher's accident the Ferrari test team were flat out with Luca Badoer completing 26 laps on Monday at Fiorano. The Monza test began on Tuesday morning and that evening Mika Salo started running at Fiorano. Irvine ran on all four days of the test at Monza although he missed one afternoon while a new chassis was sent from the Ferrari factory after he damaged one going over a curb. Eddie completed a total of 183 laps - over 650 miles.

McLaren also kept up the pressure of testing with two cars running on three of the four days of the test. The first day saw David Coulthard partnered by Nick Heidfeld. Mika Hakkinen took over from the German for the next two days. In the end it was the Finn who set the fastest time of the three, recording a 1m24.70s after 75 laps. Coulthard was close behind with a best lap of 1m24.82s after 170 laps, while Heidfeld's best was a 1m27.065s after 16 laps. The team completed nearly 940 miles of running.

The only other team to get under the 1m25s barrier was Stewart Grand Prix with an impressive showing from the team's test driver Luciano Burti - who is currently racing in the British Formula 3 series with Paul Stewart Racing. The Brazilian ran on the first and the fourth day of the test, completing nearly 100 laps with a best of 1m24.90s, while Johnny Herbert did the middle two days and set a best lap of 1m25.882s after 122 laps.

The Williams team continued its testing with two cars for three days with Ralf Schumacher and Alessandro Zanardi in action on all three days. Ralf was fastest as usual with a best of 1m25.23s after 87 laps, while Zanardi's best was a 1m25.75s after 144 laps.

British American Racing also had two cars in action for three days and Jacques Villeneuve managed to complete 80 laps with a best of 1m25.32s while Ricardo Zonta did 52 laps with a best of 1m25.48s. Although it was an encouraging test the team continues to manage less mileage than the bigger operations at each test.

Benetton was hard at work with Giancarlo Fisichella, Alexander Wurz and test driver Laurent Redon all in action. The plan had been for Redon to run all three days while Fisichella and Wurz shared the other car but Fisichella had a big accident on the first day and so took over Redon's car for the whole of the second day while a spare was sent down from England. He finished his test at lunchtime on Thursday having completed 154 laps with a best of 1m25.37s. In his two days Wurz did 161 laps with a best of 1m25.30s while Redon managed 94 laps with a best of 1m26.77s. This gave the team a total mileage of nearly 1,500 miles.

Sauber also ran for four days with Jean Alesi doing the first two and Pedro Diniz taking over for the second half of the test. In the end Diniz was faster with a best of 1m25.75s but he suffered a big accident after a brake failure in the Lesmo in the course of his 90 laps. Alesi completed 110 laps with a best of 1m26.09s.

Prost Grand Prix ran test driver Stephane Sarrazin for two and a half days. He completed 120 laps with a best of 1m26.16s while Olivier Panis ran only on Wednesday afternoon, completing 27 laps with a best lap of 1m27.72s.

Minardi ran Marc Gene for a day and a half, the Spaniard learning the Monza circuit. He completed 50 laps with a best of 1m26.50s .

Arrows was also present, running on all three days with Pedro de la Rosa doing the first two and Tora Takagi the final day. De la Rosa completed 71 laps with a best of 1m27.44s while Takagi did only 18 laps but matched the Spaniard's time.