Monza, September 11, 1999 - Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta will commence their attack on Sunday's Italian Grand Prix from 11th and 18th positions respectively on the starting grid, after a rather uneventful qualifying session today. A day...
Monza, September 11, 1999 - Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta will commence their attack on Sunday's Italian Grand Prix from 11th and 18th positions respectively on the starting grid, after a rather uneventful qualifying session today.
A day of intense activity for the British American Racing team resulted in improvements of about one second for both drivers over the times turned in during Friday's free practice.
Ricardo Zonta only managed a total of eight laps during the morning's free practice due to a fuel pump failure which necessitated changing his fuel lift pumps. This done, Ricardo went out for his second run of the day only to spin at the first chicane.
While he was sidelined for most of the morning, team-mate Villeneuve was working on improving his qualifying set-up, his only problem running wide at Curva di Lesmo 2, which lost him some time in the pits.
Mikka Hakkinen (McLaren) captured his 11th pole position in 13 FIA Grand Prix events so far this season. His best lap of one minute 22.432 seconds, was almost three seconds quicker than Michael Schumacher's 1998 time qualifying time, a surprising development considering the various technical changes introduced by the FIA with a view to increasing safety in the racing series.
Jordan's Heinz-Harald Frentzen was second (1:22.926), while Hakkinen's McLaren team-mate David Coulthard (1:23.177) was third best on the day.
In what must qualify as a major disappointment to the thousands of tifosi swarming over Monza, Ferrari has been unable to show any signs of a challenge to the storming McLarens, something that bodes ill for the Scuderia's world championship aspirations. Mika Salo, substituting for the injured Michael Schumacher, was the quickest Ferrari on the day and will start in sixth place, with Eddie Irvine in eighth.
The 53-lap Italian Grand Prix, run on the 3.585 mile/5.770 km Autodromo Nazionale Monza circuit, gets under way at 1400 hrs local time on Sunday.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE - 1:24 188. - 11th "Not a great qualifying result but we had a clear run with no mechanical problems. I had a couple of spins today, once when I locked the rear brakes at the first chicane, and the second this afternoon when I ran over the kerbs at Turn 7. Overall, the car seems pretty well balanced. I had some good runs today and I think there is still some speed to come. On Sunday, I need to be aggressive and fight for places."
RICARDO ZONTA - 1:25 114. - 18th "In spite of losing so much track time this morning, the changes which we made overnight improved the handling a lot. I still have some understeer but the car is much better and I think in race trim we will be fairly good. We made some small changes between each run during qualifying and I was able to improve each time. Unfortunately my last run was spoiled when I went wide on the dirt at one of the chicanes, and then I came up behind one of the Jordans on a slowing lap. So no chance to improve further."
ROBERT SYNGE, Team Manager, British American Racing "Not a bad qualifying session. Jacques could possibly have been a couple of places higher - he got caught by a yellow flag and lost a couple of tenths. Ricardo missed almost all of the morning's work on setting up his car, so he was at a disadvantage this afternoon."
CRAIG POLLOCK, Chairman & CEO, British American Racing "Both drivers did their best today with the equipment available. We still have a lot of work ahead of us because of the reliability problems that have stopped us concentrating more fully on development work. This obviously had an effect on our competitiveness compared with the other Supertec-engine cars."