The BMW WilliamsF1 Team today completed a four-day testing session at Monza, having extended its stay in Italy by 24 hours in order to share the historic autodrome with championship rivals Ferrari.

Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya had been scheduled to undertake testing duties for the first three days but, following the German's accident at the end of the afternoon session on day one, official test driver Marc Gen? was called on to deputise for the remainder of the test. Schumacher, despite feeling fit and well, was obliged to remain in Milan's San Raffaele Hospital overnight on Tuesday for precautionary observation, and then returned home to Austria on Wednesday to rest up ahead of next weekend's race.

In preparation for the forthcoming grand prix, the team - having flown a new chassis out to replace the one somersaulted by Schumacher - focused on set-up configurations for the high speed, low downforce track, which is notoriously hard on the car. Brake stability is an important factor at Monza, due to the long braking periods, and, as a consequence, brake investigations were a focus for the test. In association with tyre supplier Michelin, the team also continued to make progress with its development programme.

"The team concluded a good week of work here after a difficult start with Ralf's accident," noted operations engineer Sam Michael, "Thankfully, Ralf was unhurt and we were also able to quickly identify and resolve the problem which caused the incident.

"We had a productive test over a wide variety of development areas which will give us a number of significant steps for the forthcoming race. We found improvements in [tyre] casings and compounds as part of our normal long term development programme. As a result of the progress we have made together with Michelin this week, we will also be bringing good improvements to the tyres for the Italian Grand Prix.

"The most important news from this test is that Ralf has overcome his accident without injuries," echoed BMW's Mario Theissen, "Of course, the accident did hamper our programme to a degree, as we have lost some time and Ralf's feedback on the car.

"However, we have still recorded good results during the test, especially with regard to set-up and tyres, as well as aerodynamics. We had no engine problems during the entire test and achieved good mileage. We are pleased with our performance and the team looks well prepared for the Monza race."

 

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