FIA International Formula 3000
Round 4 Qualifying At A1 Ring, Austria
10th May 2002
The cars moved straight from Adria in Italy where the team tested lasted weekend to the A1 Ring in Austria for the fourth round of the championship. The team were optimistic of a good qualifying performance today and towards the end of the second forty-minute qualifying session it looked as though it wouldn't be a bad result. After session one Antonio was in sixth place and Ricardo eleventh but both drivers set their quickest times right at the end of the second session to place them fifth (Antonio) and Ricardo tenth. However after qualifying had finished Antonio was asked to meet with the stewards and he was penalised. It was alleged he had not slowed down on the final lap when a yellow flag was displayed because of a safety truck out on the track. Unfortunately he lost his two best lap times and this pushed his good position down to a disappointing eleventh. Ricardo gained one place because of this incident and will now start in ninth ! position.
Tomas Enge starts on pole in front of Giorgio Pantano, the winner of the last race.
Antonio Pizzonia 1:22.662 (P11)
"I am very disappointed. We have been working quite hard on improving the car and it feels better now but it is like I have been punched. The point is that I didn't see the yellow flag, but when I saw the truck, immediately I backed off. I lost half a second from that sector and that was a very good lap, I probably could have been on pole with that one, but what they were looking at was the sector before this. It is very unfair because where the accident was, the time and the data shows that I was a lot slower than my normal pace. Let's see what happens in the race now, it should be interesting if I get away on the first corner ok. I have had some good results when the car has been bad and now the car is better I hope the results will be better too."
Ricardo Sperafico 1:22.554 (P9)
"In the first session I didn't get a good time, we just tried to get the car more to my liking. I think we missed the best part of the track at the beginning. During the second session the car improved a lot but I only did my best times at the end. There is still a problem at the front in the fast and slow corners so we are going to have to take a look at that, but I believe that it is not difficult to improve now as the car is much better and the times are very close. If I would have improved by one tenth I would have been in the top five. I hope tomorrow in the race I can get some points."
Team Manager - Paul Jackson
"As always A1 Ring is a very difficult type of track because of the low grip surface. It therefore takes a long time for the tyres to reach their peak, so you have to be patient and wait for the times to come. In the first session we were a little bit off the pace but not too far and we improved the balance on both the cars for the second session.
Antonio was on a really good lap which was spoilt by a breakdown truck on the last corner. The data shows that this lap would have been good enough for pole position but although Antonio backed off for the incident, a yellow flag was being displayed in a previous sector and he was punished for setting his best sector under a yellow flag with a loss of his two best laps. In such a close grid this dropped him down to eleventh. So although he was fairly happy with the car and we know the potential was there for a quick lap, our grid position is a big disappointment.
Ricardo struggled a little bit with the balance of the car in the first session but it was improving quite a bit for the second and with a little more time I'm sure he would have been further up the grid. So ninth is not what he hoped for, but his lap time is only three or four tenths from pole so we are making progress but we need a little bit of luck to go with it to achieve the right results."