Jaguar Racing drivers Mark Webber (26) and Antonio Pizzonia (22) were both forced to retire today from an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix. Mark began the 58-lap 'home' race from 14th position on the grid while Antonio started his first-ever...
Jaguar Racing drivers Mark Webber (26) and Antonio Pizzonia (22) were both forced to retire today from an incident-packed Australian Grand Prix. Mark began the 58-lap 'home' race from 14th position on the grid while Antonio started his first-ever Grand Prix from 18th place. The team, however, leave Melbourne very encouraged and pleased with the pace and performance of the Jaguar R4. A last-minute decision to change tyres from wets to grooves was taken on the grid and it paid dividends for Jaguar Racing.
Combined with the team's build-up strategy into the race, the pace of the Jaguar R4 was very evident and after five laps, Mark had climbed up to 8th place but the race was halted on lap eight for the safety car after an accident. The team took advantage of the opportunity and called Antonio in for an early pit-stop. The safety car was again called out for duty on lap ten but once the race began after this, Mark and Antonio began their charge up the order and by lap fifteen Mark had climbed up to fifth place in the race. Mark's challenge for the podium, however, was short-lived and on lap sixteen, he was forced to retire with a rear suspension failure as he was pulling away from eventual race winner David Coulthard. After two pit-stops, Antonio had settled into 12th place but his race was also cut short with a rear suspension failure.
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance
"Obviously not the end-result we wanted but we are not too disappointed. It's been the first weekend under the new regulations and combined with a new race package and new driver in Antonio, one of our many aims was the generate a data bank of information and understanding prior to the next race. The decision to change back to dry tyres on the grid was a risky one but proved correct in the end. Mark drove an excellent race to get up to fifth place and at one point, our pit-board man was unsure as to where the Michael Schumacher sign was given how long it's been since we've used it! Given his debut on the Albert Park circuit and the very limited track time he has had all weekend, it was always going to be tough for Antonio but nonetheless, we can take nothing away from his performance today. He drove a determined and hard race and in the process, generated some valuable race experience for himself. The Jaguar R4 has proved very responsive all weekend and we leave Melbourne encouraged about the potential of the race package. There is still, however, a lot of development work ahead of us but one thing is for sure, we have a race car that is significantly better in every department than the car we raced here last year. The Michelin tyres worked very well indeed and Cosworth Racing must also take credit for the tremendous effort they have put into the all-new CR5-V10 engine. It's been the first race of sixteen and we have a lot to look forward to after this weekend."
"I am disappointed on one hand about not finishing but encouraged by the potential of the Jaguar R4. There has been a lot of information to take on-board all weekend and as a rookie, it's been a case of understanding everything quickly. I could certainly have done with more track time in the build-up to the race and this would probably have contributed to a better qualifying position but that's motor racing. I enjoyed the race and found the performance of the car quite pleasing, although we can do much better. There is a fair deal of untapped development in the Jaguar R4 and that's the aim from here on. A long, busy and in the end, disappointing end to my race weekend but this mustn't overshadow the potential of our race car. Mechanical failures of the kind we suffered today can be fixed, no problem, but the fact that we have clearly seen the pace of the Jaguar R4 is the biggest thing to take away from Melbourne."
"To have retired from fifth place at my home race is a little disappointing but I remain positive because of the clear potential we showed today. Up until race day, it has been very difficult to get a crystal clear position of where we are relative to the competition because of the different strategies teams have employed on tyres and fuels. Once the race began, the performance of the car was good and I thoroughly enjoyed myself out there. I was on a two-stop strategy today and even though I knew Michael Schumacher was probably running a little heavier than me on fuel, it was a very nice feeling indeed to be fighting him on the race track. The team has made absolutely the right calls all weekend -- both in terms of set-up and strategy. The boys have worked tirelessly and while it would have been great to have rewarded everyone with points or even the podium, the long season ahead will undoubtedly highlight the potential of the race car we have."
Best time: 1:29.217
Best time: 1:29.697