Austrian GP: Stewart Preview

STEWART-FORD NOTES & QUOTES Austrian Grand Prix: Preview The Stewart-Ford team completed four days of testing (13-16 July) at Monza last week. The testing programme focused on engine and exhaust system modifications which will be run over a...

STEWART-FORD NOTES & QUOTES Austrian Grand Prix: Preview

The Stewart-Ford team completed four days of testing (13-16 July) at Monza last week. The testing programme focused on engine and exhaust system modifications which will be run over a race weekend for the first time in Austria. The team also evaluated the aerodynamic efficiency of the SF3 in low-downforce trim for the races ahead.

The workload at Monza was shared by Johnny Herbert and Stewart Racing's Formula Three driver, Luciano Burti. Both drivers produced competitive times over the four days.


Fifth on the grid for Stewart-Ford in 1997 and 1998. How do see qualifying this year?

'I'm very optimistic. The improvement we have found in the car's aerodynamics and the extra power from the engine add up to a much better package this year. I went home to Brazil for a break after Silverstone. I've been doing a lot of gym work and running, so I feel refreshed -my batteries have been re-charged. I'm expecting to qualify well. With Michael (Schumacher) not racing this weekend, the way will be open for other drivers to take advantage.'

What distinguishes Austria from other races?

'From a driver's point of view there are chances to overtake under braking which makes a nice change from other circuits. There is a quite a lot of load on the front tyres so tyre conservation and race strategy are important. Because the track is surrounded by mountain ranges, the weather can close up very quickly and rain can appear from nowhere which can make strategy a bit of a gamble.


Following last week's test, how do you rate your chances this weekend?

'I left the test in a very positive frame of mind. Monza was the first time I had run the new exhaust and aerodynamic package together. There was a noticeable difference in performance with the modifications we tested. I'd say the new exhaust system made the engine run a lot cleaner. I will be aiming to be at least in the top eight in qualifying which will give me a solid base for the race. If you look at Silverstone, I was running on the verge of points until the stop-go penalty, at Imola I was fifth until my retirement five laps from the end and I finished fifth in Canada. If I can get a race finish in Austria, I would expect to be in the points again.'

What is the key to a quick lap at the A1-Ring?

'Because there are no real high-speed corners at the circuit, it's important to find time in the middle sector. This starts at the entrance to Remus Kurve, which is a very tight second gear 40mph turn, where you're pulling about -3.5g under braking. You have to have the car well balanced because you can experience big understeer here. The sequence of turns which follows starts with Gosset, a double right-hander (2nd gear, 50mph) and takes in Niki Lauda and Power Horse which are 90-100mph turns. You can lose or gain lot of time through this section. Putting it all together here can make or break your lap.'

GARY ANDERSON, SGP Technical Director

'At Silverstone we proved that we can run two cars at the front which has been our target all season. Rubens' puncture and Johnny's stop-go penalty for overtaking while the safety car was out deprived us of points. However, we have to recover from those setbacks and aim to qualify both cars well in Austria. We took a significant step forward in the Mona test. If we can run reliably on Friday and Saturday and stay clear of trouble in the race we should add to our points tally.'

MARTIN WHITAKER, Director, Ford Racing, Europe

'We had a very successful test at Monza last week during which we carried out reliability testing on several new engine specifications. We completed a simulated race distance on the new Series 3 specification of engine and as a result we will introduce it at the A1-Ring this weekend where we intend to practice, qualify and race it. This engine specification gives improved top end performance and a wider spread of power to help acceleration. Apart from internal changes within the engine, the most obvious external difference is the adoption of a new exhaust system, featuring a short tailpipe exiting through the top bodywork. This new system was the result of close co-operation between Cosworth Racing and Stewart Grand Prix and, after months of dyno development work, we have jointly produced a system that is good for both the engine and chassis.'

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Luciano Burti , Johnny Herbert , Niki Lauda
Teams Stewart Grand Prix