Magny-Cours, France, June 25, 1999 -- Although lack of grip continued to be a problem for the British American Racing team during today's free practice sessions for Sunday's French Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve was one of the few drivers who was...
Magny-Cours, France, June 25, 1999 -- Although lack of grip continued to be a problem for the British American Racing team during today's free practice sessions for Sunday's French Grand Prix, Jacques Villeneuve was one of the few drivers who was able to improve on his morning time during an afternoon run. Team-mate Ricardo Zonta's luck wasn't as good, he could only complete five laps in the afternoon (22 on the day) when his session was cut short by a spin into the gravel trap at Turn 8.
Villeneuve had a short spin-off of his own near the end of the session, run in hot and humid conditions (42 degrees Celsius at trackside), but it did not affect his time as he was 14th best on the day with a time of 1 minute, 20.002 seconds, some two seconds off the pace.
In a rare gambit perhaps, the two Ferraris came out only for the afternoon session and shot straight to the top of the table, Michael Schumacher in front with a best lap of 1:17.912, and Eddie Irvine right behind on 1:18.199. Next up was World Champion Mika Hakkinen on 1:18.251.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE -- 1:20.002 -- 14th "It was a difficult day. We were running the harder compound tyres today and that gives us problems in setting up the car, like in Montreal. We seemed to improve things a little this afternoon. My spin right at the end of the session was due to an oil breather hose failure."
RICARDO ZONTA -- 1:20.681 -- 19th "The car was oversteering a lot in the morning and I was pushing it to the limit to try and improve my time. In the afternoon I pushed too hard and spun -- my fault. We are continuing to work to improve the balance, and I shall just have to talk to my engineers and hope we can come to a good solution for Saturday's qualifying."
CRAIG POLLOCK, Managing Director, British American Racing "In spite of Ricardo losing it early on in the afternoon session, we have managed to do quite a lot of useful laps today. Unfortunately there was a failure on Jacques' car which was why he spun off right at the end of the session. I'm happy about the positive atmosphere in the garage, and the will in the team to do well."
ROBERT SYNGE, Team Manager, British American Racing "We are disappointed that our times today did not put us in a better position. However, Ricardo's time is not really representative as he only managed a few laps in the afternoon. Jacques did improve his time a little, although this did not ultimately affect his position. Our engineers in Brackley are working hard to address our handling deficiencies and we hope for a more successful time on Saturday."