1998 Luxembourg Grand Prix - Nurburgring Wednesday 23rd September: PREVIEW
Alan Jenkins, Technical Director: 'The new Nurburgring, built alongside the original 14.1-mile version last used in 1976, was unveiled for the 1984 European GP. The new circuit was a step forward in safety but inevitable comparisons branded it a bit bland and boring. However I can perhaps be forgiven for thinking otherwise because for that inaugural event I was race engineering for Alain Prost who won in the McLaren TAG Porsche MP4/2. Last year's race at Nurburgring was also set for a McLaren victory until both cars retired from leading positions. A similar fate befell both Stewart- Fords which at the time were running well - with Rubens in second place and Jan Magnussen holding fourth. We are hoping for similar speed but improved reliability this year and will be striving to pick up some more Championship points before the season's end. This is the first race since the Ford purchase of Cosworth Racing was made official - an exciting development for Cosworth engineers and Stewart Grand Prix. Technical co-operation between Cosworth and SGP engineers is already very close and the further involvement of Ford substantially increases the performance potential for future Stewart-Ford Formula One cars.'
Martin Whitaker, Ford European Director of Motorsport: 'The Italian Grand Prix two weeks ago was a trouble-free weekend for us and ended with another top 10 finish for Rubens. We were pleased with the introduction of the new Series 6 version of the Zetec-R V10. The engine, which was used by both drivers during Saturday's running, features a combination of new components that result in improved performance throughout the rev range. Both Rubens and Jos were impressed with the engine's power and driveability. We plan to have two more engines available in Nurburgring which will be used throughout Saturday. Since the Italian Grand Prix, Ford has completed the purchase of Cosworth Racing and appointed Dick Scammell as Managing Director - a move which heralds a new era in the highly productive partnership between Ford and Cosworth.'
Rubens Barrichello: Car no.18: SF-2/05
'It's important to have the front of the car working well at Nurburgring, to find good traction and to achieve aerodynamic efficiency because there is a lot of braking. We will rely on the set-up we used in Austria as a starting point because we expect the car to perform this weekend like it did at the A1-Ring. In Austria we were reasonably pleased - I qualified fifth. If it's wet and cold, as predicted, that should bring an edge to the weekend in general and the Championship in particular.'
Jos Verstappen: Car no.19: SF-2/02
'I know the circuit well from my German Formula 3 days. The weather will be a big factor at as it usually is. You normally battle against understeer at Nurburgring, so we must find a set-up which helps us get the best from our tyres to combat that. Because overtaking is so difficult it's important to qualify near the front. I hope the track will hold a lot of rubber over the weekend because it has a tendency to be very slippery otherwise.'