The 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix again confirmed that Jaguar Racing is making clear progress on both the reliability and competitiveness of the Jaguar R4 with drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia finishing in 7th and 9th places respectively.
The 71-lap Austrian Grand Prix again confirmed that Jaguar Racing is making clear progress on both the reliability and competitiveness of the Jaguar R4 with drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia finishing in 7th and 9th places respectively. Mark's 7th place finish means the team has scored championship points in two consecutive races taking them above Toyota in the championship standings. The point's tally, however, could have been a lot higher had Mark not suffered a ten-second stop-go penalty.
For tactical reasons, the team choose to start Mark from the pit-lane and not 17th position on the grid where he qualified. Antonio began the race from 8th on the grid. Because FIA regulations prevent teams from re-fuelling before the race has officially started, Mark's stop-go penalty was actually incurred as a result of the race being re-started on the third attempt - thereby making the first start officially null and void.
Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance:
"Yet another very pleasing performance from a race which didn't exactly go our way. Given that Mark was due to start the race from 17th on the grid and combined with the race pace we knew the car was capable of, we decided to take a measured risk and start Mark from the pit-lane. We fuelled-up the car for a long first stint but because the race didn't officially start until the third attempt, our fuel top-up was declared illegal and consequently we were given the ten second stop-go penalty - strange given that we didn't actually gain a competitive advantage of any sort from doing what we did.
We knew the rules stated this but we simply didn't expect the race to suffer two aborted starts! Nonetheless, both cars demonstrated great pace today and all the work back at base is paying dividends on the reliability side. Mark drove a very determined race today and worked his way up to the points. He was eating chunks of time out of Ralf Schumacher ahead of him and posted the third fastest race lap behind the two Ferraris. Simply fantastic!
Antonio also drove a strong and committed race and was unlucky not to have got into the points. He suffered a minor 'off' which cost him some time but his scrap with the Renault of Jarno Trulli proved his credentials today. He was unlucky not to pass Jarno but made his point nonetheless. All in all, we are very pleased to have left the A1-Ring with more championship points and in particular, the on-going improvement in the Jaguar R4. The pace, balance and reliability of the Jaguar make for some very interesting races still to come."
"The work we undertook here on Friday and Saturday paid dividends today. The balance and pace of the car were excellent and I wish I could have actually stayed out there for longer. I really enjoyed being behind the wheel of the Jaguar today and two more points is very satisfying for all concerned. My qualifying run from Saturday wasn't the best and that cost me this weekend. A higher place on the grid could have meant something very different this afternoon but you cannot win them all."
"Both Antonio and I finished the race and given the reliability issues we suffered at the start of the season, you've got to credit the team for making some impressive improvements recently. The pace of the car was also very strong this weekend and when you add all this together, you can see why I have decided to hang around Jaguar until at least 2005. Monaco is next on the list and it's one of my favourite tracks. The all-round team performance at Jaguar Racing just continues to go from strength to strength and I cannot wait for Thursday morning in Monte Carlo."
"I am obviously pleased to have finished the race but being only one position away from a points finish is a little frustrating. The aborted starts were very confusing because I had no idea what was going on or why the race kept on being declared stopped. This didn't help my preparations on the grid and because the delay affected tyre temperatures, it made the first few laps quite tricky. This, however, didn't last long and it wasn't long before I started getting into a stride and posting some pleasing lap times."
"I posted the 8th fastest lap of the race and the car's performance was very good indeed - something we have been demonstrating all weekend. Because of the light rain showers mid-way into the race, I ran wide at one of the corners through lack of grip and this cost me some time. I think many other drivers suffered the same fate, particularly at turn one where grip was a problem. Nonetheless, the potential of our race car is becoming clear for everyone to see and being a consistent points challenger is something we are very fast turning into."
Best time: 1:08.966