Australian GP: BAR Saturday notes

After running competitively throughout the first day and a half of the Australian Grand prix meeting in Melbourne, Lucky Strike BAR Honda drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button confirmed the team's growing potential by qualifying sixth and...

After running competitively throughout the first day and a half of the Australian Grand prix meeting in Melbourne, Lucky Strike BAR Honda drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button confirmed the team's growing potential by qualifying sixth and eighth respectively for Formula One's season opener. At this stage last year the team's cars lined up 12th and 13th.

Although Ferrari drivers Michael Schumacher, the defending world champion, and Rubens Barrichello locked out the front row, F1's new one-shot qualifying has produced a close, competitive grid. On a day when many seasoned pros made unforced errors, Villeneuve and Button were smooth and stylish in equal measure.

Jacques Villeneuve:

"It will be good to start the rce in sixth. We have adopted a realisitic race strategy and should be strong tomorrow. I'm a little disappointed with today's lap, because it wasn't very special, and we obviously have to keep an eye on reliability. I can still fight for a podium finish, however, and that's what I'll be trying to do."

Jenson Button:

The different strategic options make it hard for us to know where we stand compared with everyone else, but it's good to be starting so far up the grid. The car was working very well this morning, although the wind picked up shortly before qualifying and suddenly the handling became a bit twitchier. We are starting from a points-scoring position and I feel very confident for the race."

Geoff Willis, technical director:

"It has been very interesting. It's a little difficult to read what has gone on ut we are reasonably pleased. We've acheived our target lap times and have a good race strategy. The rules do not allow us to touch the cars before the start so we hope all our hard prepartion work pays off. From these grid positions we look in good shape for the race."

David Richards, team principal:

"It has been a hard weekend for the team and we are satisfied with this performance. It's tough to predict what other teams will do tomorrow but we should be able to challenege for a top three finish."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Michael Schumacher , Rubens Barrichello , Jacques Villeneuve , Geoff Willis , David Richards
Teams Ferrari