Jaguar Racing's efforts to secure 5th place in the Constructor's Championship ended in disappointed today as drivers Mark Webber and Justin Wilson crossed the finishing line of the 53-lap Japanese Grand Prix in 11th and 13th positions respectively.
Jaguar Racing's efforts to secure 5th place in the Constructor's Championship ended in disappointed today as drivers Mark Webber and Justin Wilson crossed the finishing line of the 53-lap Japanese Grand Prix in 11th and 13th positions respectively. With the BAR-Honda drivers finishing in 4th and 6th positions, Jaguar Racing finish the 2003 season in 7th place behind Sauber who claimed ten points at the U.S. Grand Prix with a somewhat uncharacteristic result. Mark Webber finishes the Driver's Championship in 10th place. Mark shares 17 championship points with Jenson Button (BAR-Honda) but Jenson takes 9th place because of higher finishes this season. Mark and Justin began the Japanese Grand Prix from 6th and 10th positions respectively but the pace of the Jaguar R4 was not enough today to make an impact on the score sheet. Both drivers drove a determined race in which they both employed a three-stop strategy. The pace of the car, however, was simply not as expected especially given the encouraging build-up to the race which saw both cars complete a total of 1300kms of trouble-free mileage.
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance
"A disappointing end to a weekend that has been very good for us in terms of preparation and reliability. The balance of the car has also been good but we were simply off the pace today versus our immediate competition. The track was somewhat green given the rain that fell overnight and these conditions didn't suit our exploitation of the tyres. Degradation was a problem for both drivers but on the whole our performance wasn't enough on the day. Our strategy was right and was executed very well and the only issue we suffered was an engine-related problem on Justin's car after his third pit stop. We made the necessary changes to the settings in an effort to get the car across the finishing line and in the end both cars came home, albeit out of the points. Our partners and suppliers have done an outstanding job this year and we thank them for their support and look forward to working with them in 2004."
Tony Purnell - Head of Premier Performance Division (Jaguar Racing, Cosworth Racing, Pi Research)
"We began the season with a fast car but one which was unreliable at times and with the benefit of hindsight, we lost points as a consequence. As the season progressed, however, our competition got quicker and reliable to the extent that today's race was out of our reach. That's motor racing and while we have lost out today, I take a lot of pride in the fact that we have achieved the target we began the season with -- 'respectability.' That was the objective and I'd say we have achieved that. Sauber were fortunate to have bagged ten points in Indianapolis by being out on the right wet tyres at the right time otherwise we would have finished the season in 6th place. Nonetheless, the work and effort that has gone into turning this team around must be recognised and the fact that we are on the right path leaves us with a lot to look forward to next year. It is going to be a tough winter but we will come out kicking and fighting in 2004."
"A tough race and one which was quite low on grip. The balance of the car was OK but we just didn't get the car to bite all afternoon. A little surprising, yes, but that's how it goes sometimes. It is not the finish we wanted but overall we have had a strong season and while it would be nice to finish on a high, it didn't happen today. We do, however, remain very motivated and we'll be working hard over the winter. The opposition did well today and they deserve respect. As a consequence, it makes us all the more hungry to do a better job in time for next season."
"A difficult race and one which didn't go our way today but we gave it everything under the circumstances. The team did an excellent job all weekend but the outright pace wasn't there. The grip levels were not what we expected and the opposition took full advantage. After my third pit-stop, I suffered from an engine problem but given how far from the points I was, it didn't really make a big impact on my race. I have very much enjoyed my five races with Jaguar and I of course hope to continue with the team in 2004. For now, however, I am going back to the UK to relax and take stock of what has been a very intense few months, albeit ones which I have enjoyed a lot."
Track temp: 23 degrees
Air temp: 21 degrees
Best time: 1:35.478
Best time: 1:41.098