Montreal, June 12, 1999 - British American Racing will start its first-ever Air Canada Grand Prix from the 16th and 17th positions on the grid Sunday after struggling with set-ups during free practice and qualifying today. Both Jacques...
Montreal, June 12, 1999 - British American Racing will start its first-ever Air Canada Grand Prix from the 16th and 17th positions on the grid Sunday after struggling with set-ups during free practice and qualifying today.
Both Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta encountered a variety of niggling problems, especially during the hour-long qualifying period, and were never able to get within two seconds of the leading Ferraris and McLarens. Ferrari's Michael Schumacher broke McLaren's Mika Hakkinen's stranglehold on pole positions in 1999 with a scintillating 1 min 19.298 seconds lap in hot and dry conditions on the 4.421 km circuit, and will start on the front row with the Finn, who was .029 seconds behind him in 1:19.327. It will also be a Ferrari-McLaren pairing on Row Two with Eddie Irvine and David Coulthard lined up right behind their respective team-mates.
The 69-lap (305.049 km)race gets under way Sunday at 1300 hrs local time.
JACQUES VILLENEUVE 1:21.3O2 - 16th "Today did not go well for us. We didn't have any mechanical problems - we just didn't get it right. There are still a lot of things we can try to get the balance right for this track, and we will just have to take some risks Sunday in warm-up and see if we can improve the settings for the race.
RICARDO ZONTA - 1:21.467 - 17th "Not a good session for me: I had traffic on my first run, I was blocked by Ralf Schumacher at Turn Two on my second, and on my third I had to back off because of Fisichella's accident brought out the yellow flags, so my only quick lap was set right at the end of the session. However, we changed the car back to Friday's settings and that improved the handling, so that it something positive for Sunday. I shall have to push harder in the race."
CRAIG POLLOCK Managing Director. British American Racing "After a promising start Friday, it is disappointing that we are behind Williams and Benetton when we would have expected to outqualify them. Also, we especially wanted to put on a good show here to reward our Canadian fans for their fantastic support. The team worked very well together under considerable pressure, however, and you can be sure that we will be trying hard for a good result in Sunday's race."
ROBERT SYNGE. Team Manager British American Racing "We have no benchmark to work to at this track so I don't think our qualifying positions are a good reflection of our true potential. We experienced grip problems all weekend and seem to be suffering from a lack of straight-line speed. In Ricardo's case, he lost track time this morning with a fuel pressure problem, so he did not get as much time as we would have liked to work on his set-ups. His crew made some suspension changes during the break and we changed the differential on Jacques' car, both of which seem to have improved the handling, but certainly we would have hoped to be higher up the grid."