British American Racing comes away from its first-ever Grand Prix with mixed feelings of accomplishment and disappointment. The highlight of team's appearance at the Australian Grand Prix was the excellent drive of rookie Ricardo Zonta, who in...
British American Racing comes away from its first-ever Grand Prix with mixed feelings of accomplishment and disappointment. The highlight of team's appearance at the Australian Grand Prix was the excellent drive of rookie Ricardo Zonta, who in his inaugural Formula One race showed enormous potential, despite not finishing. His late retirement (lap 46) was due to debris blocking the car's cooler duct, which led to overheating in the gearbox. Earlier in the race, team-mate Jacques Villeneuve retired on lap 14 when his rear wing failed, ending what had been a trouble-free start.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE - Retired on lap 14 "That's not the way I would have liked my first race of the season to end. The crash probably looked worse that it was because I just headed straight towards the wall after my rear wing failed, but I am fine. It's disappointing because the car was going very well and I was making good progress to catch the cars in front of me. It was looking promising for the second half of the race but it just didn't happen this time."
RICARDO ZONTA - Retired on lap 46 "I am very happy with my result. At the start of the race I felt a little bit worried as many drivers were having problems. I made my first pit-stop four laps early because the safety car was out, and when I got back to the race I had gained several positions. I had a lot of oversteer in my car, so it was very hard to drive and I knew it would be easy to make a mistake. I tried to drive at the limit, without making any mistakes. Later, I came in for two more pit-stops and was aiming to finish the race in sixth position. Then my engineer called me to make another pit-stop to check my rear wing, because of Jacques' problem. Unfortunately, because of an overheating problem, I couldn't continue. Overall I am happy with my first race."
CRAIG POLLOCK, Managing Director, British American Racing "This was an excellent show of teamwork. Everybody operated extremely well together. We believe that with Jacques we had a perfect strategy and if the rear wing had not come off, we would have been really fighting for the top positions. Ricardo showed today that, considering his lack of F1 experience, he can be a very good contender."
BRUNO MICHEL, Managing Director, Supertec "I think this week has been very encouraging for the British American Racing team. I am just sorry that we couldn't score points. We know that both drivers could have been at the top. I would like to congratulate Ricardo for his fantastic drive in his debut in Formula One."
-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk