Benson and Hedges team hoping for a change in fortune in Austria "The first half of the season has been frustrating," admits Jordan's Chief Executive Eddie Jordan. "Whilst we have led races (Australia and Silverstone) and twice qualified on the...
Benson and Hedges team hoping for a change in fortune in Austria
"The first half of the season has been frustrating," admits Jordan's Chief Executive Eddie Jordan. "Whilst we have led races (Australia and Silverstone) and twice qualified on the front row (Frentzen in Silverstone and Trulli in Monaco) we have not succeeded in transferring the car's potential into points on the track. Going into the second half of the season, our determination to fight for third place in the World Championship is stronger than ever. The news of our Honda announcement has certainly given everyone in the team an added incentive keep to pushing!
Benson and Hedges Jordan drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli hold good track records in Austria. Driving for Jordan last year, Frentzen qualified on the second row of the grid in fourth place and went on to win three points with a fourth place finish. The German driver feels at home at this Grand Prix. "I like Austria," he said. "The food is great and the people usually give me lots of support. I hope we can give them something to cheer about on Sunday."
Trulli made an excellent debut in Austria in 1997 when he raced for Prost as stand-in for the injured Olivier Panis. The young Italian qualified third and lead the race until thirteen laps before the finish when his engine blew and denied him the chance of his first victory. "I have good and bad memories from racing at the A1 Ring because of the experience of 1997. I normally race well in at this track as it suits my driving style. If I can qualify third as I did in 1997 that would be a fantastic result!"
In preparation for Austria, Benson and Hedges Jordan completed a three day test at Silverstone with Frenzten and Trulli. The team focused on mechanical set up and tyre evaluation as well as working with two EJ10 chassis to evaluate new aerodynamic and engine packages. Commenting on the week's testing, Jordan's Managing Director Trevor Foster said, " We have worked very hard last week to improve our performance as we were disappointed with qualifying at Magny Cours. We hope we have done our homework and will be closer to the pace next weekend. Austria is normally quite an exciting race and can certainly throw up a few surprises. We will have an up-graded engine for qualifying and the race itself and will be looking for a top six performance this weekend".
The A1 ring originally known as the Osterreich-Ring has had a few changes made to the track this year. New kerbs have been installed around the circuit and Melbourne-style kerbs have been introduced. These differ to previous kerbs as they feature five centimetre higher steps. The kerbs have further been modified to keep dust off the track by introducing flagstones to the inside areas. Safety has also been improved at the circuit and a third row of tyres has been erected in all corners complete with 12mm thick rubber bands to secure them. Tyre columns have been filled with FOMP cylinders to improve safety and absorb an impact better in the event of an accident.