Australian GP: Honda Saturday notes

Giancarlo Fisichella qualified his DHL Jordan Honda in eighth position for tomorrow's grid of the Australian Grand Prix to start the race as the leading Honda-powered car, from the fourth row. The Lucky Strike B.A.R Hondas of Jacques Villeneuve...

Giancarlo Fisichella qualified his DHL Jordan Honda in eighth position for tomorrow's grid of the Australian Grand Prix to start the race as the leading Honda-powered car, from the fourth row. The Lucky Strike B.A.R Hondas of Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis will line up in 12th and 13th positions respectively. Due to an accident in the morning warm up session Jordan Honda's Takuma Sato had to use the spare car for qualifying. A hydraulics problem caused the spare car to fail on his out lap, so Sato borrowed Fisichella's car but was only able to post a time in the wet after it began raining half way through the session. As a result of the rain he did not set a time within the regulatory 107% but the stewards have decided to allow Sato to start tomorrow's race from the back row of the grid.

The poor weather conditions continued at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit for qualifying, and the threatening skies which loomed over the track all morning gave way half way through the session. Due to the prediction of rain all drivers went out early and as a result the times posted in the first half of the session formed the final grid for the 2002 Australian Grand Prix. The Ferrari duo of Rubens Barrichello and Micheal Schumacher secured the front row, separated by just five thousandths of a second. The Williams of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya were split by David Coulthard and McLaren team-mate Kimi Raikkonen.

Shuhei Nakamoto -- Race and Test Team Manager, Honda Racing Development
'We would obviously have preferred better weather conditions for the first qualifying session of the year. Unfortunately due to the rain no-one in the paddock could run to their full potential so we were unable to gain a realistic understanding of what everyone is capable of this year. All the Honda-powered drivers did well today in difficult circumstances. The stewards have allowed Takuma to race tomorrow and I'm sure he will do a good job in his first race.'

Giancarlo Fisichella
"I am very happy with this result. The car felt really very good -- well balanced and enjoyable to drive, and I think had we had time for more runs in the dry, I could have moved up another place or two. I said yesterday my target was to finish in the top eight, which we have achieved, despite the fact that I only had one proper timed lap (the first one having been interrupted by red flags), so we have every reason to feel satisfied with that. The race should go well for us, whether wet or dry, so we can be optimistic about scoring some points. Reliability will of course be a big issue, but that's the case for all the teams, with the possible exception of Ferrari."

Olivier Panis
'I continue to feel very positive today, despite a difficult qualifying session. Again, I could not use the car to its full potential because I had only one quick lap. We were interrupted by the red flag and after that, the wet conditions made it impossible to improve. We were unlucky to finish 12th and 13th because I think we could have improved to at least 8th with the car we had today. I hope we get a good warm-up session so we can maximise the car more but I think we have a promising package for the race tomorrow.'

Jacques Villeneuve
'It was a very strange qualifying session, first with my incident with David Coulthard and then with the rain. The conditions were bad and we haven't seen what the car is capable of at all. The car is much more competitive than that so we have to look ahead to the race and see how we can improve from 13th on the grid. Things should be more promising tomorrow, for sure.'

Takuma Sato
"Well it all seemed to happen to me today - but I suppose that means I will learn quicker! It was pretty tough! This morning I crashed out heavily because of a problem we had with the automatic down-shifting which kicked in early on turn 14 and gave me massive oversteer which I was not able to control. In qualifying I went out in the T car, which had been changed for me from Giancarlo's settings, but. Unfortunately though, I had to park the car as I couldn't change the gears and had no power, which we have discovered was due to a hydraulics problem. The team worked really hard and these things happen some times and you can't blame anyone. I did manage to get out in the end but the conditions were really tough, not only for the obvious reason that the track was wet, but also because I was running Giancarlo's car, with a dry set up and wet tyres and his pedals don't have a heel rest so I was having to push the pedals with my legs sort of in the air! Pretty impossible but good experience for me!"


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Juan Pablo Montoya
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams , Jordan