STEWART-FORD NOTES & QUOTES Hungarian Grand Prix: Preview Rubens Barrichello produced the fastest lap time overall at the Silverstone test last week. His time of 1:26.47 was two tenths of a second quicker than McLaren driver David Coulthard.
STEWART-FORD NOTES & QUOTES Hungarian Grand Prix: Preview
Rubens Barrichello produced the fastest lap time overall at the Silverstone test last week. His time of 1:26.47 was two tenths of a second quicker than McLaren driver David Coulthard. Rubens was joined by Johnny Herbert and Luciano Burti for the three-day test. The three drivers carried out evaluation on new suspension configurations, engine endurance running and tyre testing as part of the team's preparations for the Hungarian Grand Prix.
RUBENS BARRICHELLO Car No.16 (SF3-04) How physically demanding is the twisty Hungaroring layout? 'Breathing can be a problem. There is not much respite for a driver because there are so many turns. I have specifically worked on improving my breathing for the race through aerobic work and running. Mentally the race is tough because you are concentrating harder than what you would on a layout that has long straights. You are very busy in the cockpit at the Hungaroring.' How important is qualifying? 'Qualifying is everything in Hungary because there are very few overtaking opportunities. The only chance you have is on the pit straight. Strategy, particularly tyre choice will be a big factor - a straight choice between consistency and performance. At the Silverstone test we improved the car's mechanical grip which should put us in good shape for qualifying and the race.'
JOHNNY HERBERT Car No.17 (SF3-05) What set-up requirements do you need for the circuit? 'The set-up for the Hungaroring is pretty close to that we use at Monaco. You carry a lot of wing because there are a lot of slow corners so you need good traction and grip. You also have to find a good balance so the car can ride the kerbs effectively. The circuit is bumpy in places so the ride of the car is important, particularly with the way these cars behave on grooved tyres.'
How do you rate your chances this weekend? 'I was third in 1997 and fourth in 1995 so I've had some good results here. I have always been comfortable on circuits that have a lot of low speed corners. We found improvement at the Silverstone test so I'm confident of repeating my performance in Austria where I was on the pace all weekend and qualified sixth. I'm more comfortable with the car than I was at the start of the season - I just need some luck in the race.'
PAUL STEWART, SGP Chief Operating Officer: 'Following the two non-finishes we experienced at Hockenheim a lot of time and energy has been spent on improving our reliability for the Hungarian Grand Prix. We are confident that the car works well in high downforce aerodynamic trim so we will be looking to qualify both cars at the front of the grid. A points finish for both Rubens and Johnny is a realistic target.'
MARTIN WHITAKER, Director, Ford Racing, Europe: 'The Stewart-Ford team had a successful test at Silverstone last week where we completed further extensive running of the Series 4 engine. We finished the test with the fastest time of the week, so it looks like we've made progress with both the car and the engine package. It was also good to get another view of the engine from Luciano Burti who reported the same improvement in performance as both Rubens and Johnny. The intention is to run the Series 4 engine on Saturday only in Hungary and Series 3 engines during Friday and Sunday's race.'