MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, March 11, 2000 - On a hot, slippery track that claimed a number of high-profile victims, Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda drivers, Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta, qualified comfortably for tomorrow's Australian Grand...
MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA, March 11, 2000 - On a hot, slippery track that claimed a number of high-profile victims, Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda drivers, Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta, qualified comfortably for tomorrow's Australian Grand Prix. The 1997 World Champion starts from the fourth row of the grid, his time the eighth quickest of the one-hour, 12-lap session. Zonta's efforts were hampered by an electrical problem in morning practice and a spin during qualifying, when he was caught out by a loss of front downforce as he closed in on another competitor. As a result, he qualified a disappointed 16th, but is confident of improving his position in the race.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE Position: 8th Fastest lap: 1:31.968 Speed: 207.580km/h
"The car is well balanced and I think we got as much from it as we could. I could perhaps have improved by two or three tenths, but I would still have been eighth. We are in the middle of the chasing pack, which is around where we expected to be. The only approach is to be aggressive tomorrow and see if we can score points. Others will have to fall off for us to get on the podium, but this is the first race of the season and anything can happen. This has always been a good track for me, though, so I feel optimistic."
RICARDO ZONTA Position: 16th Fastest lap: 1:33.117 Speed:205.019km/h
"We went the wrong way on set-up this morning and that meant we weren't able to do a back-to-back comparison between new and scrubbed tyres, which would have helped us in qualifying. We found that we had a lot of understeer on new tyres, and on my last run, when I was up on my previous best time, I had Wurz in front and lost downforce as I got close to him. As a result, the back end of the car stepped out and I spun. I am also disappointed that with less fuel in the car than yesterday, I couldn't improve my time. Anyway, now we concentrate on the race."
ADRIAN REYNARD, Technical Development Director, British American Racing
"Both cars are a place down on where we thought they would be today, but we didn't optimise either of them - there was definitely more to be had. Disappointingly, we had a return spate of electrical component difficulties which we haven't experienced in the last few thousand miles of testing, and this affected Ricardo's car in particular. That said, we're generally pleased and relieved with our performance so far this weekend. We're in a good position for the race, and certainly in a much better position than last year. It is also very pleasing to see how well the BAR Honda personnel are working together, even at this very early stage of the season."
ROBERT SYNGE, Team Manager, British American Racing
"We didn't get the best out of the cars today. Jacques in particular was held up on his last run and also affected by several yellow-flag incidents, while we know Ricardo can be closer to Jacques than he was today. We feel we have a very good race set-up and are therefore looking forward to tomorrow."
Chassis Allocation <pre> Jacques Villeneuve BAR002/03 Ricardo Zonta BAR002/04 Spare car BAR002/01 </pre>