Orange Arrows - Brazilian Grand Prix Race Story - Sunday, 27th March, 2000 The Arrows Supertec A21s of Jos Verstappen and Pedro de la Rosa finished eighth and ninth respectively in Brazil after a race that proved tough for both of them...
Orange Arrows - Brazilian Grand Prix
Race Story - Sunday, 27th March, 2000
The Arrows Supertec A21s of Jos Verstappen and Pedro de la Rosa finished eighth and ninth respectively in Brazil after a race that proved tough for both of them but showed how competitive the car is.
From relatively lowly places of 14th and 16th on the grid the drivers had to make the most of opportunities to overtake. Jos was able to move up to 11th at the end of the first lap, while Pedro was not so lucky as he got stuck behind the Jaguar of Johnny Herbert for 15 laps.
The first half of the race proved good for Jos, while it was in the second half that Pedro was able to make the most of the car. By the time Jos came in for his pit stop at the end of lap 35 he was third, meanwhile Pedro was eighth when he came in two laps later.
Physically this proved a very tough race for Jos, who admitted afterward he was 'totally gone'. "I was tired, everything hurt and I think it is just a matter of getting more miles in the car and training harder," he said.
Apart from traffic, Pedro also had a radio problem and could not hear his race engineer when called in for a pit stop. On top of this, the track was so bumpy that he was unable to read his pit board. This problem caused some heart stopping moments for everyone in the team, but thankfully his Supertec engine proved economical enough for him to pit at the end of lap 37 rather than the end of lap 33.
While the team was hogging much of the limelight, the local crowd was suffering enormous highs when local hero, Rubens Barrichello, was second behind his Ferrari team-mate, Michael Schumacher, in the first quarter of the race, and enormous lows when he retired on lap 28 with a problem with the car's high pressure hydraulic system. Sadly this left them no local driver to cheer as Pedro Diniz did not start after the Saubers were withdrawn following rear wing failures during practice.
It was not all doom and gloom for Ferrari as Schumacher went on to win, despite worries over engine oil pressure in the final stage of the race. He finished four seconds ahead of the ailing McLaren of David Coulthard, which had both gearbox and radio problems. This gives him a 14 point lead over Barrichello for the World Championship, while World Champion, Mika Hakkinen, suffered his second successive engine failure of the year in his McLaren while he was leading the race.
It was a particularly bad day for both Prost and Jaguar as none of their cars finished. For Prost the first to go was Nick Heidfeld with a Peugeot engine failure on lap ten and then Jean Alesi had an electronic failure on lap 13. Jaguar's Eddie Irvine went first when he lost the back end of his car and spun off on lap 21. It was not until lap 50 that poor Johnny Herbert's bad season got worse with a gearbox problem.
Other retirements includes the Minardi of Marc Gene with engine failure on lap 31 and the BAR of Jacques Villeneuve with a gearbox problem on lap 17. The Benetton of Alexander Wurz had his first problem on the formation lap when the engine died and he could not pull away and eventually this led to him being the first retirement at the end of lap 6.
From Brazil the Orange Arrows team will head back to England and three days of testing at Silverstone. This is the first time both cars have finished since the Spanish Grand Prix last year, and while Tom Walkinshaw was disappointed the team was not in the points, his final comment of the day was: "I am delighted with the way the team worked today."
The next race is the San Marino at Imola on Sunday, 9th April.