JANUARY 8, 2004
The new Williams delivers
Testing times do not mean much but when Williams starts to turn in quick times on the first day of testing a new car, the opposition sits up and takes notice. Williams famously avoids any publicity stunts over the winter, allowing other teams to grab moments of glory with underweight cars. The fact that the new car was so quick out of the box will be worrying the team's rivals as the development work has not even begun yet and the car will get faster and faster in the course of the next two months as the team learns more about the unusual-looking device. Juan Pablo Montoya lapped Jerez in 1m16.847s. This was an impressive time given that the nearest challenger was Ricardo Zonta's Toyota which recorded a 1m17.984s. However it should not be forgotten that in December Pedro de la Rosa lapped Jerez in a McLaren at 1m16.210s and in the same test Fernando Alonso recorded a 1m16.705s lap in his Renault.
Williams had a few minor glitches with the new car, which is to be expected.
"We worked on the initial set up of the FW26 with Juan Pablo," said Chief Operations Engineer Sam Michael. "We've concentrated on trying a variety of different set ups and collecting initial data from the car. Naturally, we have encountered one or two teething problems, as you would expect with a new car, but Juan managed to complete some good mileage."
Williams was joined at Jerez by Toyota, Renault and Ferrari.
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