BAR ended their 2001 campaign on a high by clinching fifth position in the constructorsâ€™ championship at Suzuka. Although both Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis missed out on the points, they did enough to make sure the team ended up fifth...
BAR ended their 2001 campaign on a high by clinching fifth position in the constructors’ championship at Suzuka.
Although both Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis missed out on the points, they did enough to make sure the team ended up fifth in the title race, the same position as last year.
Jacques, who finished 10th, was happy with his race. He said the car had been much faster in race trim than it had been in qualifying and was quicker than the Jordans and the Saubers.
He said: "That was a fun race. We managed to fight hard and actually be more competitive than the guys who qualified in front of us - the Jordans and the Saubers. They were a lot quicker than us in qualifying but today showed us what this team can do.
"It’s great that we finished up fifth in the championship and everyone is ready to race hard next year when I’m sure we’ll have a better car."
Olivier, who finished 13th, said: "I’m really happy for everybody that we finished fifth in the championship. We need that result to give us the motivation to really fight next year. I’m sure the team will work hard to give us a good car.
"The weekend has been quite tough for me but we all have to think about next year now. I’m looking forward to a break now then coming back for a positive second season with Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda. I hope we can get some great results together."
Team boss Craig Pollock paid tribute to both drivers, especially Jacques.
He said: "The team worked incredibly hard all weekend and have been fantastic. They certainly made up for our performance at the last race. Both drivers did a great job and we saw Jacques drive like a champion to get us the result we needed.
"I’m delighted that we held on to fifth place in the constructors’ championship. Today really showed the true quality of this team. It has been a very tough season and everyone has survived it brilliantly. The team deserves a good break now then all our thoughts will turn to giving us the car we deserve for next year."
Technical director Malcolm Oastler added: "We immediately switch focus now to next year’s car and today’s performance has made us all the more optimistic that we will come back fighting in 2002."