Australian GP Jaguar preview

Melbourne ­ 1,2,3,4 March 2001 Albert Park, Melbourne, site of the Australian Grand Prix, is a racing circuit that few western Formula One fans are likely to have visited, but at 3.295 miles, it remains one of the longest t racks tackled by...

Melbourne ­ 1,2,3,4 March 2001

Albert Park, Melbourne, site of the Australian Grand Prix, is a racing circuit that few western Formula One fans are likely to have visited, but at 3.295 miles, it remains one of the longest t racks tackled by the Grand Prix teams each season. As well as being the season's curtain raiser, Melbourne also marks the beginning of a new chapter in Bobby Rahal's long -standing motor racing career. As the recently appointed Chief Executive and Team Prin cipal of Jaguar Racing, Bobby's arrival heralds a new chapter in the team's quest to become a competitive challenger in Formula One. Leading the charge is Eddie Irvine (35) and in his first full year as a Formula One driver, Luciano Burti (25).

For Jaguar Racing, the Australian Grand Prix marks the beginning of what is likely to be a transitional season as it builds towards future success in the sport. The team will contest the 2001 season with the clear purpose of being competitive while at the same time laying down the foundations for its long -term fight to the upper echelons of Formula One.

Bobby Rahal ­ Chief Executive Officer & Team Principal
"Now it is time to stop talking and go racing. I have said before that I consider this to be the first tr ue year of racing for Jaguar and we are a very young team. We still have a lot of work to do this year but our aim is to be in a position to take advantage of any situation and to show a steady improvement as we progress through the year. Reliability is fundamental in this respect."

Eddie Irvine
"After the relentless but essential grind of winter testing it's finally time to go racing again. I am really looking forward to the routine of a grand prix weekend and the excitement of a grand prix start. It's difficult to know what to expect because before you have all eleven teams running on the same track at the same time, it's hard to know exactly where everyone is in terms of performance. From our own test programme it's obvious that our car appears to run reliably and that is an important starting point, especially at the beginning of the season. I like the Melbourne track, which has a good mix of fast and medium speed corners and the atmosphere is always buzzing. There have been a lot of changes to our tea m line -up and now we will see how well it all comes together. The winter test period has involved a lot of work on everybody's part and contrary to recent media speculation, my commitment and focus towards racing with this team remains high. Bobby Rahal ha sn't stopped for a second since he joined and the team's relentless approach towards getting it right is all the motivation I need right now."

Luciano Burti
"This is my first official race as a Formula One driver and naturally I'm excited. I shall arrive in Melbourne early in an effort to get acclimatized and familiar with the environment. I have studied telemetry and on -board footage to help strengthen my understanding of Albert Park, but the real understanding will come from the Friday Free Practice sess ion. It's impossible to make any predications, but the R2 certainly feels a lot better than last year's car and our hard work over the winter will now be put to the test."

<pre> 2000 FACTS & FIGURES

Top six places 1. Michael Schumacher Ferrari F1 -2000 1h34m01.987s 2. Rubens Barrichello Ferrari F1 -2000 +11.415s 3. Ralf Schumacher WilliamsF1 BMW FW22 +20.009s 4. Jacques Villeneuve BAR-Honda 002 +44.447s 5. Giancarlo Fisichella Benetton-Playlife B200 +45.165s 6. Ricardo Zonta BAR-Honda 002 +46.468s

Pole Position Mika Hakkinen McLaren-Mercedes MP4 -15 1m30.556s 131.031mph

Fastest Lap Rubens Barrichello Ferrari F1 -2000 1m31.481s 126.060mph

Lap Record Heinz-Harald Frentzen WilliamsF1-Renault (1997) 1m30.585s 130.929mph

The 58 -lap Australian Grand Prix gets underway at 03.00GMT on Sunday 4 th March.

-Jaguar-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Giancarlo Fisichella , Luciano Burti , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Rubens Barrichello , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Ricardo Zonta , Bobby Rahal
Teams Ferrari , Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , Benetton , Jaguar Racing