STEWART-FORD NOTES AND QUOTES Nurburgring Saturday 26th September: QUALIFYING Paul Stewart, Managing Director: 'Overall we're relatively pleased with our performance. Rubens held down 9th place for some time and was eventually pipped by a...
STEWART-FORD NOTES AND QUOTES Nurburgring Saturday 26th September: QUALIFYING
Paul Stewart, Managing Director: 'Overall we're relatively pleased with our performance. Rubens held down 9th place for some time and was eventually pipped by a few hundredths by Alesi for 11th place. After not living up to expectations in this morning's wet practice, this qualifying session represents a significant improvement, particularly for Rubens. The talk everywhere is that wet weather is on the way, so from 12th place on the grid we believe that it's possible to achieve a top 10 finish. The Series 6 engine ran smoothly all day, which is very encouraging.'
Alan Jenkins, Technical Director: 'First light today confirmed various predictions for rain sometime during the weekend. In fact, of all of the weather forecasters consulted by the team, it was Jos who got it right. Obviously we will seek his guidance again tomorrow. When the skies partially cleared we were left with the difficult in-between conditions - half-wet, half- dry. After some exploratory laps on full wet tyres, we used intermediates for the remainder of the first 45-minute session. Unfortunately Jos spun halfway through the session while the track was still quite wet and the team had to wait for the car to be brought back during the break.
Further time was lost fixing a minor clutch problem and he resumed practice on a dry track. We had to guard against making big set-up changes because of our concern that the balance would improve as more rubber went down on the track. This proved a reasonable assumption since both drivers' first runs in qualifying were their quickest. The car is still hampered by being short of grip at this circuit and small changes in balance make a lot of difference to lap time, especially when driving at the limit required for qualifying. Throughout the session Rubens in particular benefited from improvements in balance and the luxury of running the Series 6 engine to a higher rpm.'
Martin Whitaker, Ford European Director of Motorsport: 'This is the second event for the new Series 6 engine. Again the engines performed well in qualifying, both drivers expressing their satisfaction with the improved performance and driveability. Whilst we will be reverting to Series 5 engines tomorrow we are working hard in the coming weeks towards being able to race them (Series 6) in Japan.'
Rubens Barrichello: Car no.18: SF-2/05 Time: 1:20.530 Position:12th
'We improved the car as the session went on which is a credit to the crew's efforts. However, we probably went a step too far in our search for the optimum set-up towards the end of the session which brought about a bit of understeer but generally the balance of the car is pretty good. If you consider that it could rain tomorrow, twelfth rburgring in a wet race gives us a chance.'
Jos Verstappen: Car no.19: SF-2/02 Time:1:21.501 Position:18th 'I'm disappointed with the way things turned out today. In the wet conditions during this morning's first practice session the car seemed to be handling well until I spun. Unfortunately when the circuit dried up, the car's behaviour changed and we struggled for balance. The alterations we made to the set-up this morning and during qualifying just didn't seem to work - as my times indicate. We will use tomorrow morning's warm-up to try and find improvements before the race.'