DECEMBER 14, 1998
Schumacher fastest in Jerez
MOST of the Formula 1 teams were in action last week at Jerez, in southern Spain, where the weather was dry and sunny. Ferrari ran two cars on all three days with test driver Luca Badoer completing around 250 laps of the track with a best time of 1m26.26s as he worked on developments for the 1999 car. Eddie Irvine did the first two days of the test in the second car, completing 130 laps with a best of 1m25.34s before handing over to Michael Schumacher for the final day. The German did 76 laps and set a best time of 1m23.86s, which turned out to be the fastest lap of the test.
McLaren also had two cars with David Coulthard again being partnered by the team's test driver Nick Heidfeld. Coulthard completed around 150 laps testing components which will be used on the new MP4/14 and managed a best lap of 1m24.75s, while Heidfeld got down to a 1m24.98s in the course of his 150 laps.
Williams was also in action with two cars with Ralf Schumacher and Alex Zanardi running side-by-side for the first time. The German managed a best of 1m24.93s - the third fastest time of the week - after 120 laps while Zanardi continued to play himself in gradually, completing 150 laps with a best of 1m25.62s.
Jordan had only one car for Heinz-Harald Frentzen. He completed 130 laps without major incident, although he had one off when he had to avoid Badoer's Ferrari. His best lap was a 1m24.94s - the fourth fastest time of the week.
Sauber ran both Pedro Diniz and test driver Jorg Muller but the tests were disrupted by problems with the electronic system the team is developing for next season. This meant that Muller completed only 28 laps in two days with a best of 1m26.78s while Diniz managed 200 laps with a best of 1m25.92s.
The only other team in action was Prost which ran two cars for Jarno Trulli and test driver Stephane Sarrazin. As in Barcelona, Trulli used the interim AP01B while Sarrazin continued with an AP01 fitted with the team's new gearbox. Trulli completed a promising 175 laps with a best of 1m26.19s while Sarrazin did 100 laps with a best of 1m26.67s.
Benetton - which has not tested since the post-race test in Suzuka - stayed at home again, deciding to concentrate on the construction of the new B199, which is due to be ready by the middle of January.