Silverstone Testing - 18 April 2002

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Click for Session timings

There was I, wondering how I was going to last till June (when I'm heading to Montreal) for my first live F1 kick of the season, when I got a phone call from one of our fleet suppliers asking me if I'd be interested in going to a test session at Silverstone as guests of BMW WilliamsF1. "If I'd be interested" I thought ... clearly they knew of my "interest" in F1, but maybe they weren't quite aware of the depth of my obsession ... they are now!

So before I go any further, thanks to Philip at Zenith Vehicle Contracts for thinking of me, and to Tony Genn from their supplier, Vines of Guildford, who provided the tickets and of course to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team who were most excellent hosts.

VIP PassHaving never been to a test session before, I enjoyed the novelty of driving through the main gates (I usually walk in from the campsite) and on to my destination. First thrill of the day was driving over the bridge at Bridge just as Frentzen in the Arrows screamed underneath it ... yep, I was definitely gonna enjoy this!

Managed to get all the way into the BRDC Clubhouse without a pass, saying I was meeting my host there seemed to do the trick (must file that away for future reference!) but was definitely relieved when he (and it - see right) arrived.

Marc GeneAfter a briefing from our hosts, we set off round the circuit on a bus, stopping off at Copse - where although we didn't see too much action cos the session had been red-flagged to recover Webber's Minardi (engine problem followed by a small fire), there was enough to make a couple of "vroom vroom" calls to fellow addicts. Got some strange looks at the time, but the idea seemed to catch on later in the day! Then on to the end of Hanger Straight, the fastest part of the circuit for a burst of pure adrenaline.

Back at the Clubhouse lunch awaited, followed by a Q&A with Marc Gene (see left) of which I have video which I'll add here as soon as I work out how!

Catch fencing at Copse and sheer speed at Hanger Straight stopped me getting the camera out until back at the Clubhouse, so the photos you see below are all taken from that vantage point with varying degrees of success for which I blame the thief who nicked my last camera ... haven't quite got the hang of this one yet!

For reference, the morning session was dry but there was a huge thunderstorm right overhead at the end of the lunch break, so the track was well and truly soaked for the afternoon session. Session timings are shown after the photos.

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Session photos
Click on thumbnails for larger images.

Fisichella - Jordan Button - Renault Ralf Schumacher - Williams
Giancarlo Fisichella - Jordan Honda Jenson Button - Renault Ralf Schumacher - BMW Williams
de la Rosa - Jaguar Gene - Williams Massa - Sauber
Pedro de la Rosa - Jaguar Cosworth Marc Gene - BMW Williams Felipe Massa - Sauber Petronas
Frentzen - Arrows Sato - Jordan Webber - Minardi
Heinz-Harald Frentzen - Arrows Cosworth Takuma Sato - Jordan Honda Mark Webber - Minardi Asiatech

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Session timings
Driver Car (Tyres) Best time Laps
Ralf SCHUMACHER BMW Williams (M) 1:22.142 42
Jenson BUTTON Renault (M) 1:22.295 24
Olivier PANIS BAR Honda (B) 1:22.377 45
Marc GENE BMW Williams (M) 1:22.406 54
Giancarlo FISICHELLA Jordan Honda (B) 1:22.524 54
Takuma SATO Jordan Honda (B) 1:22.890 47
Jacques VILLENEUVE BAR Honda (B) 1:22.970 50
Felipe MASSA Sauber Petronas (B) 1:23.375 45
Pedro DE LA ROSA Jaguar Cosworth (M) 1:23.678 27
Heinz-Harald FRENTZEN Arrows Cosworth (B) 1:24.630 32
Mark WEBBER Minardi Asiatech (M) 1:26.203 21

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Copyright 2001 - Carolyn Abberley
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