May 16th, 2002

Milk Carton

Valencia Day 1 (full report)

Testing at Valencia concluded at 17.10 today (Tuesday) after the only red flag of the entire session occurred at 17.00, prompting circuit organisers to allow teams an extra ten minutes of track time.

The stoppage was caused when Jacques Villeneuve's BAR stopped on track, and was returned to the pits with a small amount of fluid, suspected by journalists to be oil, leaking.

It was a brilliantly sunny day at the Spanish track, with ambient temperature reaching a pleasant 26°C and track temperatures sizzling away at a high of 40°C.

The French Canadian's team was concentrating on evaluating a high downforce set-up for the Monaco Grand Prix on May 26th, and Villeneuve is expected to continue this work tomorrow.

On Thursday and Friday he will travel to the Portuguese track of Estoril to undertake brake work aimed at the Canadian Grand Prix in just over three weeks' time.

Williams Marc Gene was believed to be undertaking an experimental programme of his own, while the team's second test driver Antonio Pizzonia worked on tyres and set-up for Monaco. The Brazilian ended up fastest of all.

Renault's Jarno Trulli also took the opportunity to work on Michelin's tyres in the Spanis heat.

Tomorrow Fernando Alonso is expected to join Trulli at work on track, and Jordan will also start work.
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Milk Carton

Valencia Day 2 (full report)

Marc Gene

Williams test driver Marc Gene set a new unofficial track record at Valencia on Wednesday as he topped the times in testing. Four teams were on track continuing preparations for the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix.

Gene's lap of 1.10.451, recorded on a qualifying-type run, bettered the previous mark of 1.10.813 set recently by McLaren's David Coulthard. The Spaniard also completed several long stints as he focussed on tyres and high-downforce set-up for Monaco.

Fellow Williams tester Antonio Pizzonia was second fastest as he carried out a partial Grand Prix simulation, including stints of 27, 17 and 10 laps. The Brazilian's programme concentrated on tyres and engine development.

BAR's Jacques Villeneuve was third fastest, despite not setting a time until the afternoon. In the morning session he was hampered by an electrical problem. He handed the car over to test driver Anthony Davidson, who put in his only five laps of the day just before lunch.

Villeneuve, who ran as high during Sunday's Austrian Grand Prix, was very positive after eventually putting in a total of 41 laps. The Canadian hands over to team mate Olivier Panis for Thursday's running.

Renault's Jarno Trulli, who suffered yet another retirement at the A1-Ring, set the fourth best time as he looked at traction control and high-downforce set-ups for the next race.

"So far we seem to be okay for Monaco," he said. "But because I haven't had much luck this year since the beginning of the season, I really don't know what's going to happen."

"I hope my luck will turn around otherwise I have to turn around," he joked.

Renault test driver Fernando Alonso finished immediately behind Trulli as he carried out general set-up and tyre work. Meanwhile, Giancarlo Fisichella, fresh from his fifth place in Austria, was sixth quickest for Jordan as he too concentrated on set-up for the Monaco race.

The Italian caused the only red flag of the day midway through the afternoon session. He lost drive out of the final corner before his car ground to a halt on the main straight with a suspected engine problem.

Once initial mist cleared it was another fine day at Valencia, though slightly breezier than on Tuesday. Ambient temperatures were 25°C with track temperatures as high as 37°C. Testing continues on Thursday.
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