Austrian GP: Honda Saturday notes

PANIS TAKES FIFTH ROW SLOT B.A.R Honda driver qualifies ninth for Austrian Grand Prix Olivier Panis will start the Austrian Grand Prix from row five of the grid tomorrow after he qualified his Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda in ninth position.

PANIS TAKES FIFTH ROW SLOT
B.A.R Honda driver qualifies ninth for Austrian Grand Prix

Olivier Panis will start the Austrian Grand Prix from row five of the grid tomorrow after he qualified his Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda in ninth position. Giancarlo Fisichella (DHL Jordan Honda) qualified in 15th position while Jacques Villeneuve (B.A.R Honda) and Takuma Sato (Jordan Honda) will start from 17th and 18th positions respectively.

B.A.R Honda's Olivier Panis completed four sets of three laps and set his best time of 1m09.561s on his third outing, improving on his first timed lap by just under a second and securing ninth place on the grid.

Jordan Honda's Giancarlo Fisichella made a mistake under braking at turn one on his first flying lap and had to abort his first set of three laps and return to the pits. Before he could go back out, the session was stopped due to Renault's Jarno Trulli dropping oil on the circuit, but once the session had restarted Fisichella returned to the track to complete two flying laps in succession. The Italian driver set his best time of 1m09.901s on his third outing, improving on his initial timed lap by one and a half seconds, placing him 15th on the grid. Unfortunately Fisichella was held up by traffic on his final outing and did not manage to improve on his time.

B.A.R Honda's Jacques Villeneuve waited 25 minutes before taking to the track to complete his first set of three laps. Villeneuve was the first driver to return to the track after the session was restarted, and went on to set his best time of 1m10.051s in his third set of three laps, improving on his first timed lap by just under a second and putting him in 17th position.

Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato was the first Honda-powered driver to take to the track, almost 20 minutes into the session. The Japanese driver completed four sets of three laps and set his best time of 1m10.058s on his second outing, improving on his initial time by eight tenths of a second and placing him 18th on the grid. Sato failed to improve his time in his third and fourth outings, citing handling difficulties.

The A1-Ring basked in glorious sunshine (24 degrees) as Ferrari's Rubens Barrichello secured pole position, closely followed by the Williams of Ralf Schumacher and the second Ferrari of Michael Schumacher. Juan Pablo Montoya (Williams) and Nick Heidfeld (Sauber) will start from fourth and fifth positions with McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen completing the top six positions for tomorrow's grid.

Shuhei Nakamoto - Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development

"We've had a mixed session today. Olivier did a good job and he's been fast all weekend. We planned to introduce an improvement into the engine for today's session for all four Honda-powered drivers, but unfortunately we found a fault with Giancarlo's engine during the second session this morning and had to change it before qualifying. There was a problem with the oil feed to the engine but we don't know exactly what caused that yet. As for tomorrow, we seem to have been more competitive on full tanks so far and we'll do everything we can to get the most out of the package for the race."

Olivier Panis Position: 9th

"I'm really happy to qualify 9th today; it's great news for the team. I've been pushing hard all weekend and we've made good progress through each of the sessions. I almost completed a race distance yesterday and worked through various options to get the car to where it needed to be. There's a chance I could have bettered that in my final run but De La Rosa was slowing on his in-lap and blocked me. Even so, I'm delighted with what we have."

"We've put a lot into testing recently and that has helped me to get a good set-up for the last two Grands Prix. Last week's test in Estoril was very positive and I have been able to build on that progress here. I'm optimistic about tomorrow's race and ready to push for some points."

Giancarlo Fisichella Position: 15th

"We had a difficult qualifying session today, with quite a few problems. We found the best set-up compromise was to use scrubbed front and new rear tyres, but one of the front ones had a flat spot on one of my runs. We put on new tyres and it seemed fairly good but I think the scrubbed front set-up was quicker. At the very end of the session I was doing my quickest lap, which I believe would have put me in the top 10 or 12, and I was held up by Frentzen moving quite slowly. I don't know why, but he wouldn't move out of the way and that held me up."

Jacques Villeneuve Position: 17th

"I've struggled to find the right set-up all weekend and for one reason or another we haven't been able to make much progress. We had some improvement in practice this morning but I went into qualifying with a car I wasn't comfortable with. I decided to run on new tyres for the session and everybody else seemed to be better off on used tyres. The laps weren't very clean so clearly the tyre choice was a mistake. Once again, we'll be relying on the car being better off in the race."

Takuma Sato Position: 18th

"That was a tough qualifying. We struggled to get the right balance with oversteer and understeer. We've got warm-up time tomorrow but there's a fair bit of work to do. My time is only about a tenth of a second away from Giancarlo's so there wasn't a lot more to come."

-honda-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Giancarlo Fisichella , Takuma Sato , Jarno Trulli , Ralf Schumacher , Michael Schumacher , Olivier Panis , Jacques Villeneuve , Nick Heidfeld , Kimi Raikkonen , Shuhei Nakamoto
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Jordan