Home > Formula 1 > Barcelona Testing January 2003
Event info
Date : January 14-16, 2003
Present : Lauri Ouvinen, Matti Ouvinen and Ville Tikkaoja
Photos : 100

The first major testing session of the year 2003 took place at the Circuit de Catalunya in mid-January, with McLaren, Williams, Renault, Sauber, BAR, Jaguar and Toyota doing some serious work for the new season. There was plenty of action at the circuit from 9 am to 5 pm and the only delays in testing were caused by mechanical failures.

McLaren set the pace with the old MP4-17 (obviously with some new developments) every day with David Coulthard breaking the lap record on Tuesday day with an impressive time of 1:15.266 and almost matching it on the following days. The team had three cars at the circuit with both Kimi Räikkönen and Alex Wurz getting close to Coulthard's times. The car seemed to be handling really well and the new Mercedes engine is delivering good power; however, there are still some reliability problems to be solved.

Williams was also running three cars. Ralf Schumacher was forced to abandon testing on Monday after some back problems. He was soon replaced by the former Larrousse driver Olivier Beretta. Marc Gene did a lot of laps as usual. Juan Pablo Montoya set the pace for the team on the last day with a pretty quick time of 1:16,151. Montoya also had some mechanical problems on a couple of occasions.

Renault was running trouble-free and obviously testing some new parts for the R23 which was launched just a few days later. Neither Jarno Trulli, Fernando Alonso nor the new test driver Allan McNish set any fast laps. On the last day Alonso had a plain white helmet which surprised even the circuit officials who listed him as McNish in the results.

B.A.R launched their new challenger on Tuesday. One of our photographers was at the launch (the report and pictures here) while two others covered the action at the circuit. The first test for the new B.A.R. 005 took place on Wednesday with Jenson Button behind the wheel. On Thursday test driver Anthony Davidson continued the work. Both Button and Davidson stopped on the circuit several times due to technical problems.

Toyota was another team testing their new 2003 car with Olivier Panis, while Christiano da Matta continued to acclimate himself to F-1 with the old car. Toyota also had reliability problems with the new TF103. Both cars seemed a bit nervous at the hairpin.

Like B.A.R and Toyota, Sauber was running their new car which had a plain blue colourscheme. Both Heidfeld and Frentzen tried the new car that at least looked to be reliable. Jaguar had just one car that was tested on Wednesday by Mark Webber and on Thursday by Antonio Pizzonia.

During the three days the weather was perfect, if a little bit cold in the morning. The sunny conditions allowed us to use mostly Fuji Sensia 100 and Velvia 50 slide films.

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