Monza test, day 1: Schuey quickest...

Despite completing only 18 laps and escaping unhurt from a 120mph shunt, which destroyed his Ferrari, Michael Scumacher set the early pace on the first day of Formula 1 testing at Monza - but the German is thought to have jumped the first chicane on his way to setting the fastest time

Monza test, day 1: Schuey quickest...

Schumacher brought proceedings to a halt just after midday when the world champion lost control of his F2001 under braking for the Variante della Roggia chicane (click here for separate story), but was able to set the day's benchmark time of 1m 23.869s before his test was brought to a very premature end.

In fact, the top three positions did not change from the morning session with BAR's Olivier Panis in second spot and the Williams-BMW, which suffered an engine failure in the early afternoon, of Ralf Schumacher in third. However there is some doubt as to validity of the times as all three drivers are thought to have gone straight on at the tightened first chicane.

If that is the case, then the fastest time went to Jordan test driver Ricardo Zonta, who completed 26 laps of aerodynamic work for the Silverstone-based team.

With British Grand Prix winner Mika Hakkinen and McLaren team mate David Coulthard not due at the Italian circuit until later in the week, driving duties were left to test drivers Alex Wurz and Darren Turner. Wurz, who has completed many more test miles than the DTM driver, was the faster of the two in fifth place, with Turner just two places back in seventh.

Most drivers only completed short stints of three or four laps as set-up work was the order of the day in preparation for the German Grand Prix in two weeks' time at the low downforce Hockenheim circuit.

Williams' day went from bad to worse, for after his engine failure in the early part of the afternoon, Schumacher Jr's FW23 also suffered a left rear puncture bringing out the red flags again. Then test driver Marc Gene, who finished sixth fastest, stopped out on the circuit just before the close of play.

Giancarlo Fisichella finished in eighth place, but star of the day was James Courtney, who finished a creditable ninth with a time of 1m27.267s on his maiden Formula 1 outing. The Jaguar Formula 3 driver could likely have gone faster, but was given only one set of tyres to complete 39 laps for the Big Cat team.

Schumacher's car was damaged beyond repair and Rubens Barrichello will continue work for the Maranello team tomorrow (Wednesday) in a new chassis.

Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer was also in action for the Scuderia today at the team's Fiorano test track. The Italian completed 58 laps with a best time of 1m00.677s and carried out set-up and development work on the F2001's electronics.

The Sauber team ran today at the Valencia circuit in Spain with Kimi Raikkonen behind the wheel. The young Finn, who finished fifth in Sunday's British Grand Prix, was working in preparation for next month's Hungarian round of the world championship and did 58 laps of the twisty Spanish circuit. Raikkonen's best time was 1m15.69s, but his running was cut short with an off late in the day.

"It was good having a track all to myself today," said Raikkonen. "Unfortunately I went off the track at the seventh corner with only 15 minutes left, when the rear wheels locked up under braking, but we didn't do much damage."

British American Racing is expected to join the Swiss team at Valencia from Wednesday.


Michael Schumacher, Ferrari B, 1m23.869s, 18 laps
Olivier Panis, BAR-Honda B, 1m24.091s, 15 laps
Ralf Schumacher, Williams-BMW M, 1m24.674s, 25 laps
Ricardo Zonta, Jordan-Honda B, 1m25.123s, 26 laps
Alex Wurz, McLaren-Mercedes B, 1m25.242s, 24 laps
Marc Gene, Williams-BMW M, 1m25.320s, 37 laps
Darren Turner, McLaren-Mercedes B, 1m26.388s, 27 laps
Giancarlo Fisichella, Benetton-Renault M, 1m26.421s, 15 laps
James Courtney, Jaguar M, 1m27.267s 39 laps
Jenson Button, Benetton-Renault M, 1m27.447s, 17 laps

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Zonta on Top at Monza - Day One

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