Australian GP Jordan preview

BENSON AND HEDGES JORDAN-PEUGEOT AUSTRALIAN GP PREVIEW March 1, 1996 - Just three months after leaving Adelaide, Formula One heads `down under' once again for the Australian GP. After an absence of forty years the newly...

BENSON AND HEDGES JORDAN-PEUGEOT AUSTRALIAN GP PREVIEW March 1, 1996 - Just three months after leaving Adelaide, Formula One heads `down under' once again for the Australian GP. After an absence of forty years the newly revised Albert Park circuit in Melbourne will play host to the race, which, this year opens the Formula One World Championship. For Jordan Grand Prix, the final weeks leading up to the start of the season have extremely busy. Following hard on the heels of a comprehensive eight-day test in Estoril came yesterday's announcement that Benson and Hedges are to sponsor the team. The new all-gold livery was revealed for the first time yesterday, when Gianni Morbidelli drove the Jordan-Peugeot 196 for the first time at Silverstone. Morbidelli, who is currently in discussion with Eddie Jordan about a possible role with the team as a test and reserve driver, completed a number of shake- down laps in the three cars prior to their departure for Mel- bourne today. The Australian Grand Prix marks the start of Rubens Barrichello's fourth season in F1 with Jordan Grand Prix. Follow- ing the recent Estoril test, where he set the fourth fastest time, the Brazilian is in a very positive frame of mind as he looks forward to the year ahead. ``1995 was not a very good year in terms of results, but if you take it as a learning year it was in fact good,'' Barrichello said. ``I had all sorts of different problems to overcome, I was under a lot of pressure at the start of the year and I was over- driving and had reliability problems too. At the end of the season I had a really good break and I looked back on everything that had happened. I decided that the best thing I could do for myself was to try and learn from it all. I realize now that I was putting too much pressure on myself, trying to be someone we will never have again. I was too young to be worrying about that - I have a lot of time ahead of me. ``Since the start of this year I've been feeling much bet- ter. I've decided that I'm not going to set myself any targets. Rather than tell myself I'm going to finish third and then be really disappointed when I finish fourth, I'll just make the most of every result that comes along. I am feeling positive and I know the car is good - and so far reliable too. So I will do my best. ``This will be a lucky year for me anyway. because I am racing with number 11. I have only ever raced with three numbers in my whole career. I had number 11 from 1980 until I came to Europe. I got some good results with it, so I am very excited to have 11 for my number again. I know its superstition ... but it makes me feel good. Barrichello's up beat mood was evident at Estoril. ``I really enjoyed my driving,'' he said. ``You get a good feeling of confidence from this year's car, which helps. It's also very good working with Martin. He is very open - he talks with me about everything, from the set-up of the car to the line he takes around a particular corner. It's good to have this kind of dis- cussion within the team.'' Along with Damon Hill and Mika Hakkinen, Barrichello is one of only three drivers in the top teams who have retained their seats for 1996. How does he think the change-around will affect the sport this year? ``I think F1 will be better in 1996,'' he said. ``The teams and drivers are more evenly matched. I think Williams will be the ones to beat, but with Michael Schumacher at Ferrari and Alesi at Benetton it makes things closer. The fight will be stronger and there will be more people in there with a chance. I think you can expect to see the smaller teams like Jordan, Sauber and Tyrrell catching up with the big ones. Our new sponsorship from Benson and Hedges will definitely help us get closer. It will give us the resources to do more things; more testing and R & D work. I think that will make Gary (Anderson) happy. ``That is for the future though. Right now I'm looking forward to the first race. I haven't seen very much of the cir- cuit in Melbourne, but what I have seen looks very interesting. It looks to be very quick; certainly faster than your average street circuit. I think we'll be hitting a top speed of 190 to 195 kph about five times during the course of a lap, so hopefully there will be some good places for overtaking. Rubens' new team mate for 1996, Martin Brundle, believes the new track will be `a bit of a leveler.' ``It's a brand new track so nobody has any prior knowledge to draw on,'' Brundle said. ``We get an extra day of practice on Thursday and it doesn't take long to learn your way around. What does take time is finding a good set-up when you have no data from previous years to help. You need to work very quickly - that can sort out the men from the boys.'' How is Brundle preparing himself for his first season with Jordan? ``Mentally and physically I'm in very good shape. This is the best opportunity I've has since I was with Benetton in `92. As each week has passed the morale in the team has gotten better and better; good testing results, the announcement of our new sponsor, it's all looking quite positive for us. The time when it really counts though is when we get to Melbourne ... and I'm confident we can do a good job.'' Circuit details. Albert Park, Melbourne. Length: 5.269 kilometres. Race distance: 58 laps (305.602 km).

MC --- þ 1st 1.11 #8604 þ Who ordered the turnip, ice cream and garlic parfait?

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Michael Schumacher , Mika Hakkinen , Eddie Jordan , Martin Brundle , Damon Hill , Gianni Morbidelli
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , Williams , Benetton , Jordan