Jerez, day 3: Schuey dominant

Jenson Button's crash dominated early headlines in today's (Thursday) Jerez testing, but Ferrari's Michael Schumacher had no such troubles and topped the times once again. His lap was over half a second quicker than Toyota's Ricardo Zonta

Jerez, day 3: Schuey dominant

"Today was another productive day with no problems," said Schumacher. "We think Jerez is the perfect place to work on the setup for Indianapolis. Many of the corner combinations here are similar to the Indy infield. This test has provided us with optimum conditions and we were even able to test Suzuka tyres as well.

"I'm confident for Indianapolis," he added. "People say Indy is a BMW circuit, but people said that about Monza as well!"

Schumacher happily ran harder tyres today and concentrated on long runs. His former rival Jacques Villeneuve was the slowest of the five runners, including team-mate Button who only completed five laps. Villeneuve had to take over Button's tyre testing programme instead of logging data on the new Honda engine as originally planned.

"We couldn't do much today," said Villeneuve. "We were disrupted by a few small problems and couldn't get much view of the new engine. Tomorrow we have aero and suspension work to do."

When asked about the latest on his 2004 plans, Villeneuve said: "I am happy to stay at BAR, but please do not think I am begging to stay."

Second fastest man Zonta said: "We did some tyre testing this morning, validating the work that Cristiano did in Barcelona earlier in the week and trying to evaluate the tyres for the Japanese GP in Suzuka. The car has been running well and we have found a good balance for this track. I am pleased with what we have achieved and we have been able to set a reasonable lap time. Tomorrow is more of the same with further tyre evaluation and set-up work."

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was third-quickest in the day, saying that he was happy with the tyres the team found today, before adding that the car's handling was "strange."

Only Zonta and Villeneuve will run in tomorrow's testing at the track. Takuma Sato may also drive for BAR if Jenson Button's car can be repaired.




Michael Schumacher (Ferrari) 1m19.168s 96
Ricardo Zonta (Toyota) 1m19.863s 60
Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Sauber-Petronas) 1m19.990s 86
Jenson Button (BAR-Honda) 1m20.401s 13
Jacques Villeneuve (BAR-Honda) 1m20.935 53

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Schumacher Finishes Jerez Test on Top - Day Three

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