Belgian GP Saturday Bridgestone Notes

Today's qualifying session provided spectators at Spa-Francorchamps with some exciting but also frightening moments when the BARs of Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta had apparently identical accidents at exactly the same point on the...

Today's qualifying session provided spectators at Spa-Francorchamps with some exciting but also frightening moments when the BARs of Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta had apparently identical accidents at exactly the same point on the Belgian track. Fortunately, although the two cars were seriously damaged, both drivers climbed unaided from the protection of their monocoque chassis without injuries. The official qualifying session was subsequently delayed, making it more difficult for the teams to improve their lap times. The McLarens of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard set the fastest times, followed by the Jordans of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and last year's winner here, Damon Hill.

Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager: "As we predicted, the Soft tyre was the popular choice today. The degree of degradation on either the front or rear tyres will influence the teams' race strategy for tomorrow. Regarding the durability of our tyres, anything between one and three pit stops is a possibility."

Mike Gascoyne, Technical Director, Jordan Grand Prix: "In this race last year we qualified third and won the race, a great memory which obviously gives us plenty of enthusiasm to try to repeat the result tomorrow. Heinz-Harald has been very quick and confident all weekend, and it is very pleasing to see Damon pushing him so closely. We have had a good balance in the cars and we are very happy with the Soft Bridgestone compound, which is the specification we have used all weekend. Although we had hoped to be closer to the McLarens, we are very satisfied to have both cars starting from the second row of the grid. As we already showed once before this year at Magny-Cours, and in this race last year, we can be very competitive if it rains tomorrow. We think we have the best strategy and the ability to beat anyone in the wet."

Robin Gearing, Barrichello's engineer, Stewart Grand Prix: "Although we tested last week at Silverstone for three days, our only real worry has been a rear end instability under power on Rubens' car. We have concentrated on improving this, to avoid the rear of the car snapping out coming out of the corners. I think we were the only people on the Medium compound yesterday, when we were trying to if it would help reduce the rear end instability. However, the difference in lap times between the two compounds persuaded us to join everyone else in choosing the Soft compound. We have also played around with wing levels, which can have an important effect on performance here. It is essential, though, not to have too much wing, because that can give rival drivers the opportunity to take advantage of your lower speed on the straights."

TEMPERATURES AIR TRACK WEATHER Morning 16:-18: 20:-23: Sunny - dry Afternoon 21:-21: 26:-30: Sunny - dry

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Mika Hakkinen , Ricardo Zonta , Damon Hill , Mike Gascoyne
Teams McLaren , Stewart Grand Prix , Jordan