BAR Duo Dominate at Paul Ricard

The BAR-Honda team dominated the second day of testing at the Paul Ricard circuit, with Japanese driver Takuma Sato setting a new track record

BAR Duo Dominate at Paul Ricard

Sato and teammate Jenson Button tested the new aerodynamic package the team hope will help them make a step forward following a poor start to their season.

After Button set a new unofficial record at Barcelona last week, today it was Sato who set a new benchmark on the 3E configuration of the French track with a best lap of 1:02.839 on a day with near perfect weather conditions.

Teammate Button, who suffered an engine problem during the day, was second quickest less than three tenths of a second behind the Japanese driver.

Antonio Pizzonia was third fastest for Williams, the Brazilian completing long runs as he focused on tyre evaluation for the San Marino Grand Prix.

Williams' day, however, was affected by the early departure of Nick Heidfeld, who was forced to head home after hurting his back while trying to correct a snap-oversteer moment. The German had just completed seven laps.

Giancarlo Fisichella and Franck Montagny were the men in charge of testing duties for the Renault team, with the Italian finishing as fourth quickest while Montagny was ninth.

Toyota were again focusing on a host of improvements to their TF105 car. Test driver Ricardo Zonta was running with a new diffuser that the team will use at Imola while Olivier Panis spent the day evaluating new suspension systems that should appear later in the season.

Speaking to Autosport-Atlas, Panis said he believed that the team had learned several valuable lessons that would help their chances of maintaining their current form in the San Marino Grand Prix.

"We have found something in the suspension which may be of some use for Imola," said Panis, who is well aware how troublesome previous Toyota cars have been at dealing with kerbs. "We will find out with the aero package, and the tyres are okay.

"The only thing you have to be careful with is that Imola is different to Paul Ricard. Here we have to worry about graining but you do not in Imola, so the spec which is good here may be a bit too hard for Imola."

Although Toyota ran out of time to get their latest front wing specification ready for the Paul Ricard test, team insiders have confirmed that they will still run the full new aero package at Imola.

McLaren's Pedro de la Rosa, quickest on Wednesday, had a less productive session today after being hit by mechanical problems that cut his running short. Teammate Alexander Wurz, like de la Rosa working on fine-tuning the set-up for Imola, had a more productive session and covered 139 laps.

Indian Narain Karthikeyan was the busiest man on track today, completing a massive 183 laps at the wheel of the Jordan-Toyota.

Toyota, BAR and Williams have all decided to end their tests today, with rain predicted to hit Paul Ricard on Friday. The strict 30-day testing limit, which the teams are still intending to stick to, means they are all reluctant to waste days by having to run in the rain.

Today's times:

Pos Driver Team-Engine Tyres Time Laps 1. Sato BAR-Honda (M) 1:02.839 179 2. Button BAR-Honda (M) 1:03.093 177 3. Pizzonia Williams-BMW (M) 1:03.240 155 4. Panis Toyota (M) 1:03.312 163 5. Fisichella Renault (M) 1:03.554 120 6. Zonta Toyota (M) 1:03.567 179 7. Wurz McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:03.790 139 8. de la Rosa McLaren-Mercedes (M) 1:03.863 89 9. Montagny Renault (M) 1:04.017 151 10. Karthikeyan Jordan-Toyota (B) 1:05.816 183 11. Heidfeld Williams-BMW (M) 1:06.474 7 

All Timing Unofficial

shares
comments
FIA Change Third Driver Rule

Previous article

FIA Change Third Driver Rule

Next article

Schumacher, Barrichello Continue Tests

Schumacher, Barrichello Continue Tests
Load comments

About this article

Series Formula 1
Author Pablo Elizalde
The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture Plus

The delay that quashed Aston Martin’s last F1 venture

Aston Martin’s only previous foray into Formula 1 in the late 1950s was a short-lived and unsuccessful affair. But it could have been so different, says NIGEL ROEBUCK

Formula 1
Apr 10, 2021
Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace Plus

Verstappen exclusive: Why lack of car-racing titles won't hurt Red Bull's ace

Max Verstappen’s star quality in Formula 1 is clear. Now equipped with a Red Bull car that is, right now, the world title favourite and the experience to support his talent, could 2021 be the Dutchman’s year to topple the dominant force of Lewis Hamilton and Mercedes?

Formula 1
Apr 9, 2021
Are we at peak F1 right now? Plus

Are we at peak F1 right now?

For many, many years Formula 1 has strived to do and to be better on all fronts. With close competition, a growing fanbase, a stable political landscape and rules in place to encourage sustainability, 2021 is on course to provide an unexpected peak

Formula 1
Apr 8, 2021
How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021 Plus

How crucial marginal calls will decide the Red Bull vs Mercedes battle in F1 2021

The longer Red Bull can maintain a performance edge over Mercedes, the better the odds will be in the team’s favour against the defending world champions. But as the Bahrain Grand Prix showed, many more factors will be critical in the outcome of the 2021 Formula 1 World Championship

Formula 1
Apr 7, 2021
How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend Plus

How Williams’ new structure adheres to a growing F1 trend

Williams held out against the tide for many years but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, the age of the owner-manager is long gone

Formula 1
Apr 6, 2021
When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m Plus

When a journeyman driver's F1 career lasted just 800m

Nikita Mazepin’s Formula 1 debut at the Bahrain Grand Prix lasted mere corners before he wiped himself out in a shunt, but his financial backing affords him a full season. Back in 1993 though, Marco Apicella was an F1 driver for just 800m before a first corner fracas ended his career. Here’s the story of his very short time at motorsport’s pinnacle

Formula 1
Apr 4, 2021
The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes Plus

The nightmare timing that now hinders Mercedes

Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton took victory at the Bahrain Grand Prix despite, for a change, not having the quickest car. But any hopes of developing its W12 to surpass Red Bull's RB16B in terms of outright speed could not have come at a worse time.

Formula 1
Apr 2, 2021
How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb Plus

How Raikkonen's rapid rise stalled his team-mate's F1 career climb

Kimi Raikkonen’s emergence as a Formula 1 star in his rookie campaign remains one of the legendary storylines from 2001, but his exploits had an unwanted impact on his Sauber team-mate’s own prospects. Twenty years on from his first F1 podium at the Brazilian GP, here’s how Nick Heidfeld’s career was chilled by the Iceman

Formula 1
Apr 1, 2021