MARCH 24, 1997
Meanwhile at Paul Ricard...
The testing began last Sunday with Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Damon Hill in action in their Williams and Arrows chassis. Paul Ricard has only just been cleared for F1 testing after three months without an F1 license and there was a fair crowd of spectators to watch the action.
Hill and Frentzen ran Sunday and Monday, Damon completing 159 laps with a best lap of 1m08.3s, doing a lot of component testing and running a new airbox which will probably be raced in Brazil. Frentzen worked on some new brakes and on the Williams power-steering system.
On Tuesday Hill handed over the Arrows to Pedro Diniz and Jacques Villeneuve took over from Frentzen in the Williams. Diniz did 93 laps with a best of 1m08.79s although his test was disrupted by an oil leak in the engine, while Villeneuve ran on Tuesday and Wednesday, clocking up 141 laps with a best time of 1m05.57s. He might have gone quicker but the final day was disrupted by blustery winds.