European GP: Jaguar preview

A re-designed Nurburgring will play host to the 9th round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship in Germany this weekend. With spectators now seated in the new infield grandstand, the best atmosphere is centred in the new four-corner...

A re-designed Nurburgring will play host to the 9th round of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship in Germany this weekend. With spectators now seated in the new infield grandstand, the best atmosphere is centred in the new four-corner stadium complex. With the circuit lengthened from 2.831 to 3.196 miles, last year's lap times are incomparable, making Friday's Free

Practice times the first real benchmark for the weekend ahead. Jaguar Racing finished in 7th and 8th places last year and the team will again be working hard to get both Jaguar R3's past the chequered flag. The track is notably low on grip and tyre choice is as ever, all-important. With an average race retirement rate of 41% over the past decade, the Nurburgring never fails to surprise and combined with the new first corner layout and temperamental weather, the Grand Prix of Europe promises to throw up an unpredictable race.

Niki Lauda CEO and Team Principal

"When the new Nurburgring circuit was completed in the early 1980s, it was a modern safe track, but I always felt that the spectators were too far away. In other words, no matter how good the race was, the spectators struggled to feel part of the atmosphere. This is why the new circuit could never compete with the old Nord-Schleife. Now that the fans are much closer to the first corner, I am very happy for all concerned."

"The first corner is one of the best places to watch the race and now that the spectators are part of it again, they can start to recapture the passion that the Nord-Schleife offered. Jaguar Racing has been working hard in preparation for the new aerodynamic package and although we do not expect to see any significant improvements on the track until later in the year, we will of course be pushing for a solid all-round performance this weekend."

Eddie Irvine

"Certainly not one of my favourite circuits on the F1 calendar. Three out of the last seven races here have ended in retirement for me. I guess this goes to show that this circuit can throw anything at you, even in the remaining few laps. The unpredictable weather adds to the challenge and along with Michelin, we'll have to undertake some diligent homework to decide on our tyre strategy. The high downforce requirements of this circuit will magnify the challenge for us."

"I will be pleased if we can come away with a finish here. Having not raced through the new opening section either, I think we could witness an interesting start to the race. With fifteen corners to master, there is no sanctuary for those who are distracted or suffer from problems. One thing is for sure, I cannot see this being a processional race."

Pedro de la Rosa

"I like the Nurburgring circuit. It has an interesting layout and having seen the new layout, it promises to provide the fans in the grandstand with some first corner action. I will, of course, be planning to avoid any 'action' that the circuit might throw at me. Last year I finished 8th and I'll be pleased with a repeat performance. However, with the changeable weather conditions, it seems to rain at least once during the race and the chances of finishing are greatly reduced for all concerned."

"Tyre choice will again be the deciding factor and coupled with the high downforce demands, it is going to be a tough weekend for us. Saying that, I am looking forward to the race. The short distance between the corners allows you to get into a good rhythm and while it isn't easy, overtaking is far from impossible here. If history repeats itself again this weekend, you can bet that the finishing line will not mirror the starting grid."

-jaguar-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Pedro de la Rosa , Niki Lauda
Teams Jaguar Racing