- Title: SPAIN: FORMULA ONE TESTING
- Date: 1st December 1997
- Summary: CIRCUITO DE CATALUNYA, BARCELONA, SPAIN (NOVEMBER 01 1997) 1. LINE UP OF FOUR DRIVERS TO BE TESTED BY WILLIAMS WITH WILLIAMS SENIOR OPERATIONS ENGINEER JAMES ROBINSON IN THE CENTRE 2. CLOSE UP OF MAX WILSON'S NAME ON SIDE OF WILLIAMS RENAULT CAR 3. ENGINEER EXPLAINING CAR TO DRIVERS 4. WILSON CLIMBS INTO CAR 5. CLOSE UP OF WILSON'S EYES 6. WILSON IN COCKPIT TALKING TO ENGINEER 7. AYARI PUTTING HIS HELMET ON 8. CUTAWAY TO WILLIAMS ENGINEER JAMES ROBINSON 9. CLOSE UP OF AYARI IN COCKPIT 10. CAR LEAVING THE PITS 11. BOTH CARS CIRCLING THE TRACK 12. CLOSE UP OF MONTOYA SITTING IN COCKPIT 13. CLOSE UP OF MINASSIAN SITTING IN COCKPIT 14. WILLIAMS CAR LEAVING THE PITS 15. WILLIAMS-RENAULT CAR OUT ON CIRCUIT 16. ENGINEERS EXPLAINING COMPUTER READOUTS TO DRIVER 17. CLOSE UP OF ROBINSON AS HE IS ASKED HOW LONG IT WILL TAKE TO CHOOSE THE TEST DRIVER. HE REPLIES: "HOPEFULLY WE CAN MAKE A DECISION QUITE SHORTLY AFTER THE TEST. WE GO BACK LOOK AT THE INFORMATION, GET EVERYONE TOGETHER AND GET THE OPINIONS OF RENAULT SPORT, OURSELVES, GOODYEAR, ALL THOSE PEOPLE WHO ARE HERE TAKING NOTES AND THINGS, GET THEM TOGETHER AND HOPEFULLY WITHIN A WEEK WE CAN HAVE AN ANSWER". 18. CUTAWAY TO CAR RETURNING TO THE PITS 19. ROBINSON ASKED WHAT IS THE FUTURE FOR THE TEST DRIVER CHOSEN AND HE REPLIES: "CERTAINLY, HE WILL BE OUR TEST DRIVER FOR 1998 AND THAT WILL HOPEFULLY LEAD ON TO BE OUR RACE DRIVER. OBVIOUSLY YOU CAN NEVER KNOW THE POSITION OF THE TWO DRIVERS WE HAVE AT PRESENT FOR 1998 ON A CONTRACTUAL BASIS BUT HE WILL BE THERE IN THE WINGS WAITING FOR ANY OPPORTUNITY THAT COMES ALONG." Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved.
- Embargoed: 16th December 1997 12:00
- Location: CIRCUIT DE CATALUNYA, BARCELONA, SPAIN
- Country: Spain
- Reuters ID: LVADSCSH38G49O4N5E80Y6U6HTIR
- Story Text: - INTRO: Formula One champions, Williams, are evaluating four young drivers and could make one of them a world champion in the not too distant future.
The Rothmans Williams Renault on Tuesday (December 2) completed a two-day evaluation of four young drivers at the Circuit de Catalunya, near Barcelona in Spain.
And the one they choose will become the team's test driver in 1998.
Max Wilson, Soheil Ayari, Juan Pablo Montoya and Nicolas Minassian were given the opportunity to drive the world-beating Williams FW19 whilst undergoing a detailed evaluation of their skills, both in and out of the car.
They were driving the car that Jacques Villeneuve took to this year's world title and their skills compared to computerised recordings of his.
With Villeneuve linked to the recently formed BAR racing team run by his manager Craig Pollock it could even be Villeneuve's shoes they will be stepping into if they earn a full time drive in 1999.
One of the four drivers, who were themselves selected from a short list of 30, will become Williams official test driver - and as happened with Damon Hill that could lead to a position as a full-time drive and perhaps even becoming wiorld champion.
Team spokesman James Robinson said a decision should be made within the next week.
During the course of Monday and Tuesday, all four drivers completed laps on both new and old tyres. They all produced their best times on new tyres on the Tuesday.
Twenty-two year-old Montoya was the quickest with a best lap time of one minute 19.2 seconds. The Colombian driver was runner up in this year's European Formula 3000 championiship.
Brazilian Wilson, 25, and Frenchman Ayari, 27, are also European Formula 3000 drivers. Twenty-four year-old Minassian is also French. He finished second in the 1997 British Formula 3 championship.
This is a brand new initiative for Williams who already have a good track record for developing test drivers into successful Formula One drivers.
Both current McLaren driver David Coulthard and 1996 world champion Damon Hill started in Formula One as Williams test drivers. As the technology gap between Formula One and the lower formulae has widened, it has become a leap rather than a step to graduate from F3 or F3000 into Formula One.
Commenting on the new initiative, James Robinson, Williams Senior Operations Engineer who coordinated the evaluation said "We are very impressed with the way all four drivers have conducted themselves. Taking into account each drivers previous experience and circuti knowledge. They all did an excellant job. Not only have the drivers added a new dimension to their CVs, Williams has also benefited from the inititive." Normal business will resume for Williams on Wednesday when world champion Jacques Villeneuve and team-mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen are expected to start a three day test.
Best lap times: Day One Day Two Max Wilson 1:22.8 (34 laps) 1:20.4 (28 laps) Soheil Ayari 1:22.4 (37 laps) 1:21.1 (23 laps) Juan Pablo Montoya 1:21.2 (31 laps) 1:29.2 (31 laps) Nicolas Minassin 1:23.3 (37 laps) 1:21.4 (25 laps)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None