After a disappointing weekend at Spa-Francorchamps, Jaguar Racing head off to the Italian tifosi’s second home at Monza for the 2001 Italian Grand Prix. This famous circuit, based in the heart of a royal park, is one of the quickest on the Formula One calendar with drivers reaching speeds in excess of 200mph on the long straights. It has certainly seen it’s fair share of fortune and tragedy over the years and Formula One drivers either love it or loathe it. For the Jaguar Racing team it will prove to be a tough challenge in their efforts to turn around the misfortune of previous races. In preparation for this race, the team spent three days straight-line testing last week at the Elvington airfield in Yorkshire. Jaguar Racing F3 driver Andre Lotterer took charge of the test which was focused around brake testing and aerodynamic set-up.
Niki Lauda – Team Principal
“Spa was a difficult weekend for everybody and on behalf of all at Jaguar Racing we wish Luciano Burti a full and quick recovery after his horrific accident. If anything, the accident reinforced my belief that we are moving in the right direction as regards safety in Formula One. Had his accident happened in my racing time he would certainly not have survived - the impact was massive by any standards and went some way towards highlighting the safety standards we boast in our business.
Monza has incredible attraction for the public, especially if you happen to like the team in red. It’s the last race in Europe and with Michael Schumacher continuing to win the interest is still high. Like Hockenheim, low-downforce aerodynamic efficiency is important at Monza and the circuit is also very hard on brakes and engines. We have made no significant aerodynamic changes to the Jaguar R2 since Budapest and an optimum set-up will be very important for us. The performance of the two tyre companies will also be very interesting and again, will probably dictate the pattern of the weekend. Right now, however, our primary concern is Benetton-Renault who have now stretched their lead over us in the Championship standings. Their new-found pace is worrying for us and makes life even harder than it already was. We are trying everything to combat this threat while at the same putting a lot of energy into next year’s Jaguar R3. I am very encouraged by what I am seeing and the commitment going into this project from everybody at the factory is unquestionable. It’s been a bad season for us, no question, but it hasn’t diluted our focus on getting this project right. The workforce here is one hundred per cent committed and I haven’t see anything yet which contradicts this. We are acutely aware that the Jaguar name is currently sitting at the wrong end of the pitlane and our commitment towards changing this for the better is as strong as it’s every been.”
"I'm not a big fan of the Monza track in its current form, but it's hard to imagine the World Championship without it, simply because of the atmosphere of the place, which hits you as soon as you drive in the park gates. Italian fans have long memories so I guess I can rely on a lot of support from the days when I drove a red car. This is a bit of a home race for me, as I live just down the road and that makes a nice change from endless hotel rooms. I guess I'll be in for a lot of questions about the accident in Spa. I've tried to talk to Luciano in the hospital, but (at the time of writing) they tell me he's not taking calls. I was quite shaken by the crash, because my own shunt wasn't particularly gentle. But we are both okay and that's the main thing; proof that cars and circuits are getting safer than ever before. We had a good test in Monza earlier in the year. However, since then, the rival tyre company has improved its product and a lot will depend on the tyre situation. The fact Monza is a low downforce track is another factor which will unfortunately make life harder for us.”
Pedro de la Rosa
“After the disappointment of the last few races, I am hopeful that this will be a better race for me. It’s a circuit I like and it is similar in many ways to Hockenheim with its long straights and slow corners. We tested there two months ago and the performance of the car was quite good. We have no choice now but to attack hard. The points situation is obviously not to our liking and I don’t see any option now but to go out there and take some chances. Formula One can sometimes but strange in that one race can make all the difference to a season, especially ours where points are so critical. We must find ways this weekend of staying ahead of the Benettons while at the same time, scoring points. Not an easy one!”