The mountains of Austria are the next stop on the 2002 Formula One calendar and the OrangeArrows team will arrive fresh from testing at Silverstone. The team's test programme continued last week with Enrique Bernoldi on driving duty. Still on a...
The mountains of Austria are the next stop on the 2002 Formula One calendar and the OrangeArrows team will arrive fresh from testing at Silverstone. The team's test programme continued last week with Enrique Bernoldi on driving duty. Still on a high from earning sixth place and its first point of the season in Spain two weeks ago, the team is determined to keep the momentum going.
Zeltweg, lying in the picturesque surroundings of the Alpine countryside, welcomed the return of Formula One in 1997 after a ten year absence. The A1 Ring bears very little resemblance to its predecessor, the Osterreichring, due to severe changes to the track's layout after many start line incidents in the earlier years of racing.
The exceedingly fast track with sweeping turns of old is now made up mainly of slow corners requiring cars to have a medium to high downforce set-up. With none of the teams choosing to test at the A1 Ring throughout the year, the OrangeArrows team, as with others, will be working hard on car set-up and on familiarisation during Friday's Free Practice sessions. Qualifying is always close at Zeltweg so a good grid position is also important although the track does allow some opportunity to overtake during the race. Its location in the Austrian Alps means that the weather can change very quickly, bringing an extra element to strategy.
Heinz-Harald Frentzen is positive the team can maintain the momentum after picking up it's first point of the season at the Spanish Grand Prix...
"I like Austria very much. The circuit is mainly made up of slow corners, which makes it quite a high downforce track so it should suit the A23 well. On the downside, the slower turns and big kerbs can often disrupt your pace over the whole lap, so you really have to stay focused here. Obviously with getting the team's first point in Spain, we are all really determined to keep the drive and the rhythm going. Hopefully we can have another good race here this weekend."
Enrique Bernoldi spent last week testing for the team and, despite having problems in the race last year, his pace in qualifying was his best of the 2001 season...
"The A1 Ring is a very smooth track with little grip and is made up of mostly slow corners with a few quick ones thrown in. It's fun to race on though as there are opportunities for overtaking but I would still prefer to get a good spot in qualifying. Last year I had a great start to the race but retired with a hydraulic problem, which was a shame as the car was running really well."
"It's worth noting that the weather can change fast there as the circuit is up in the mountains. Our test at Silverstone last week went well and we completed a good number of laps, which of course always helps us to gather more data and helps us to prepare for the next race. The mileage on the car is really important to us now. The team realised some of the car's potential with Heinz-Harald in Spain so hopefully I will have the opportunity to show it this time around."
Mike Coughlan, Technical Director
"We hope to have the engine spec we used on the Saturday in Spain again for qualifying here as well as for the race which is a definite step forward for us. Engine power is at a premium at the A1 Ring as it is one of the highest full throttle races on the calendar. We were able to run the new engine spec for two days at Silverstone, completing well over race distance and we were very pleased with its performance. We also tested a rear suspension upgrade over the two days and that also went very well."
"Historically, we have always run well in Austria - Enrique had his best qualifying performance of the year in 2001 and we got our first point here last year - but we are aware that past performances aren't always an assurance, however I think we have good cause to be optimistic. We will be working very hard to make sure that we get the best out of the car in qualifying and I would say we should be able to qualify in the top 12."