Mixed weather conditions provided an early season challenge to the Jaguar Racing team as it prepared for the first round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship at the scenic Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne, Australia, today. The ...
Mixed weather conditions provided an early season challenge to the Jaguar Racing team as it prepared for the first round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship at the scenic Albert Park street circuit in Melbourne, Australia, today. The first of Friday's two, hour-long practice sessions gave Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa their first chance to drive the new Jaguar R3 alongside their rivals, but a wet track made conditions less than ideal for pushing hard. Being a circuit that is used only once a year, the Albert Park track traditionally offers low grip levels, and with an added sheen of water it was no surprise that both drivers reported the early laps as "very slippery". Fortunately, a strong breeze ensured that once the showers passed, a dry line soon emerged that would offer more grip to the tyres. And towards the end of this morning's first session, the wet weather tyres were replaced with grooved `dry' tyres and the lap times began to fall. Brighter skies welcomed the cars on to the track for the second practice session this afternoon and, despite a slight drizzle on the half-hour, conditions allowed both Jaguar Racing drivers to improve on their times.
Niki Lauda, Team Principal
"The car seems very well balanced but we are suffering from a lack of aerodynamic grip. Both drivers worked through a usual Friday programme and apart from a minor gearbox oil leak on Pedro's car, there wasn't anything that troubled us too much. Eddie suffered some minor set-up issues during the first session and these were addressed in time for the second session. With the weather conditions changing as much as they did today, it is impossible to make predictions about the weekend ahead. Tomorrow's qualifying session will provide us with the first real indication of the competition ahead of us. Until then, there is little point in reading too much into today's Free Practice sessions."
Pedro de la Rosa
"The car felt very good both in wet and dry conditions. Overall, the package is better than what we expected. I suffered a transmission oil leak about twenty minutes from the end of the second session and that cost us some important information. Nonetheless, I am pleased with our performance and in particular, the handling characteristics of the Jaguar R3. Compared to how the car felt at the last test in Silverstone a week ago, we have certainly taken another step forward in development. It would have been nice to have done some laps at the end with a new set of tyres and consequently the lap times aren't worth reading into. Tomorrow is a different story and we'll see exactly where we stand relative to our immediate competition."
"I am pleasantly surprised with the car. It seems very well balanced, but we need to extract more speed from it. I suffered some hiccups this morning but the last couple of runs were pretty good. We worked through our planned programme and made some changes between the two sessions which worked well. The problems in the first session were aero-related and the changes we undertook made sense in relation to what we have subsequently learned about last year's car. It's the first time this year that the car has handled that well. The challenge now is finding the speed. We didn't have much time over the winter testing period to work on set-up and we must now do what we can to understand this car better and make the most of what is a well-balanced package."
Weather: Overcast/Showers/Sunny intervals
Air temperature 16 degrees; Track temperature 15-24 degrees
Pedro de la Rosa
Best time: 1.30.566
T-car chassis: R3-02
Best time: 1.30.973