After completing a gruelling schedule of back-to-back races and a three-day test at Monza (Italy), Jaguar Racing's next stop is less than 15 miles away at it's home track of Silverstone. The British Grand Prix is by far the busiest race weekend of...
After completing a gruelling schedule of back-to-back races and a three-day test at Monza (Italy), Jaguar Racing's next stop is less than 15 miles away at it's home track of Silverstone. The British Grand Prix is by far the busiest race weekend of the year for Jaguar Racing and with it's ever-improving form, the team is hoping for better fortune than it experienced at the last race in Magny-Cours. Despite starting the race in 12th place, Eddie Irvine drove a committed race to climb up to 7th place and within 0.3 seconds of championship points before an air valve system problem forced him to retire on lap 55. On a circuit which is regarded as being difficult to overtake on, Eddie passed the two Honda-powered cars of Oliver Panis (BAR) and Heinz-Harald Frentzen (Jordan). The team's ongoing efforts to climb to the top of the midfield pack is now manifesting itself to the extent that the Jaguar R2 is one of the quickest cars on the track in race trim - a point proved again in Magny-Cours with Eddie claiming the sixth fastest race lap. The challenge now, however, is to move further up the grid during qualifying thereby providing a better chance at fighting for race points.
Bobby Rahal - Chief Executive Officer & Team Principal
"I'm pleased at the rate at which we continue to move forward but there's a fair way to go. We are pushing forward at a relentless rate and compared to this time last year, we have come on leaps and bounds. You only need look at our recent performances to see the progress that's being achieved by everybody in this team. We finished right behind the top three teams at the Nurburgring two weeks ago. Then at Magny-Cours last week, Eddie drove a storming race to the extent that we would never have been able to overtake the BARs and Jordans in a straight fight earlier this season. He then marched forward into 7th place to within 0.3 seconds of Nick Heidfeld's Sauber before a technical glitch sidelined him. The message, however, is clear ^Ö we are on target to meet our objectives for this season and our goal now is to qualify higher up the order. The British Grand Prix is special for many reasons and in our case, it's an opportunity for all 321 employees of Jaguar Racing to see the fruits of their hard labour. The workforce will undoubtedly be flying their ^ÑLeaping Cat' flags this weekend and in addition to their support for our F1 boys, they will also be behind our ^ÑYoung Jaguars' in the shape of the F3 team. It all adds to a very special weekend in our racing calendar."
"This is not as much of a home race for me as people think, as I didn't spend that much time racing here in the early days. Last month's test didn't do me any favours as I hurt my neck after just one lap. The injury was treated and I raced at the Nurburgring and Magny-Cours without any problems. At Monza this week, however, I felt a slight pain in my neck again after a few laps and as a precautionary measure, I decided to retire from the three-day test. Time is the best healer and I don't anticipate any problems at all as far as the British Grand Prix is concerned. I know this track well and it's interesting enough with Becketts being the most challenging corner. With the area being so flat, wind can affect the handling of the car in different ways at different parts of the circuit and you have to be ready for that. The only problem is a lack of overtaking opportunities. A good aero package and balance is the key ingredient here and although we are making progress in this area, I don't think Silverstone will turn out to be one of our better tracks. Nonetheless, you can't but help absorb the terrific atmosphere and come race day, there will be over 200,000 ^Ñmad-for-it' Brits making their presence felt. Amongst them will be many friends, family and of course, the workforce from Jaguar Racing. While a podium finish is a very tall order here, I intend to race in the same aggressive manner that I have done so far this season - it should be quite entertaining for the British fans."
Pedro de la Rosa
"I know Silverstone quite well because of the testing hours we spend here. Although it is not one of our best tracks, there have been several improvements to the car recently that have given us the edge we need to race competitively. The team is working hard to extract the best from what we have and also developing new aero parts. The testing programme is generating positive feedback from the areas that we are looking into and I'm quite pleased at the pace of our development. Mark Handford (Chief Aerodynamicist) and John Russell (Chief Designer) are constantly working on new ideas and it's encouraging to see the steps we are taking forward. The aerodynamic package is the most critical in terms of finding that extra tenth and we are pushing the boundaries to the limit with the resources we have. It is important for us to qualify well but we also know how hard this track will make it for us."
The 60 lap British Grand Prix gets underway at 13:00 hrs BST on Sunday 15th July