Australian GP: Jaguar preview

Jaguar Racing's 2002 campaign kicks off in earnest next week with the opening round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Qantas Australian Grand Prix. After seven weeks of intense testing covering over 8700 kilometres, the team is...

Jaguar Racing's 2002 campaign kicks off in earnest next week with the opening round of the FIA Formula One World Championship, the Qantas Australian Grand Prix. After seven weeks of intense testing covering over 8700 kilometres, the team is looking forward to what promises to be another challenging season.

Niki Lauda, Team Principal "It's been a very hectic two months since we launched our new car and it's finally time to go racing. The Jaguar R3 could have experienced a better birth, but everybody here has worked tirelessly to address the problems we started the year with. There is no standing still in Formula One and our development work will continue right up until the last race in Japan. Our race package for Melbourne could certainly have done with more test mileage and the winter test ban is to blame for this. We are understanding the R3 all the time, but we could have done with more time on the test track. Nonetheless, everybody is in the same boat and this will undoubtedly add to the spectacle. In addition to preparing the car, we have also been very busy on the commercial side. Castrol, Du Pont and EDS have recently joined forces with Jaguar Racing in partnerships that will undoubtedly support us in our mutual goal of competing hard this season. There is no point in making predictions about how we'll finish the season. It is impossible to say, especially with so much uncertainty over how our competition has faired during testing. One thing is for sure - we must aim for a big improvement over last year and with Guenther Steiner (Managing Director) now leading the engineering division, I am keen to get started with what promises to be a very interesting season ahead."

Eddie Irvine "It's been a strange winter with months of waiting, followed by a period of intense activity since our launch on 4th January. Our problems in testing with the new car have been well documented, but Formula One has never been an easy option and everyone in the team has just knuckled down to try and sort everything out as quickly as possible. Like the 21 other guys out there, I'm looking forward to Melbourne, which will be our first real opportunity to see how we stack up against the opposition. I expect the competition to be closer this year as that's always the case when the technical rules stay pretty much the same. I like the Albert Park track, which is quite interesting and the whole facility is well organised. The disadvantage of kicking off the year here is that, because the track is never used, it is always very "green" and dirty on the first day, when naturally, everyone wants to do as many laps as possible at the start of the season. The locals still seem to make a fuss about the fact I won here a few years back, but to be honest it's not something I think about. Past glories mean little in this sport."


!Pedro de la Rosa "I can't wait to get started. I joined Jaguar Racing from the Spanish Grand Prix onwards last year and it will be nice to start the season with the team this time round. I feel quite good right now because of our ever improving package which, to be honest, didn't start off too well, but we are now heading in the right direction. We are off to Melbourne with extensive data about the Jaguar R3 from testing. It is, however, difficult to make predictions about our position among the other teams because they tested on different tracks and worked on different programmes to us. The race-track in Albert Park is one of the most beautiful street circuits I know. It's a good combination between a street circuit and a real race-track. On the set up, you need a lot of mechanical grip and traction, because of all the slow corners like Jones, Clark, Ascari and Prost. All these corners are being taken in second or third gear. For Whiteford, Lauda and Waite a well-balanced set-up is crucial to achieving a good lap time. Some parts of the track are bumpy, which means you have to find a good damper and spring set-up. On Friday, the surface of the track is very dirty and dusty. You have to be careful not to spin off. The only good overtaking point in Melbourne is at the end of the start/finish straight. I think most of the teams are uncertain of what to expect this year and given the short burst of testing we've had as opposed to four months through the winter, the playing field is quite open."

-Jaguar

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Pedro de la Rosa , Niki Lauda
Teams Jaguar Racing