European GP Jordan preview

After six consecutive `fly-away' events the Formula One fraternity heads to the Nurburgring next week for the first European event of the 1996 season. The Benson and Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot team were at Silverstone this week, preparing for...

After six consecutive `fly-away' events the Formula One fraternity heads to the Nurburgring next week for the first European event of the 1996 season. The Benson and Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot team were at Silverstone this week, preparing for the 68 lap race which takes place next Sunday (28th April) at the historic Eifel mountain venue.

All three Jordan drivers were on hand with new signing Gianni Morbidelli undertaking his first official test for the team. "1 just drove the 196 for a few `shakedown' laps before the cars went to Brazil!" said the Italian "this was my first proper test and it was a good opportunity to acclimatise myself to the team, and to the Jordan-Peugeot 196". He was joined on Wednesday by Martin Brundle, who handed over to team-mate Rubens Barrichello for the final day of running on Thursday. "As well as doing a shakedown with the three race cars before they went out to Germany, we also tested some new things" said Rubens. "The test went well, and there are a couple of aerodynamic tweaks which we tried out, which will have on the cars for the European GP"

Martin Brundle will carry out an additional exclusive test before he heads out to Germany. The team are heading to the Pembrey Circuit in South Wales where Brundle wilt spend Monday and Tuesday testing the Jordan-Peugeot 196

"The main aim of the test is for me to explore the parameters of the car away from the pressures of a race weekend" explained Martin. "It's also an opportunity to spend some time with Gary Anderson, and with my new engineer Paul White, developing our working relationship and getting to know each other's `modus operandi' a bit better

"We did masses of testing before the start of the season - probably more than I have ever done before - however, the emphasis of the work was on reliability" continued Brundle "It's undoubtedly paid dividends because we've had very few problems on that front. What I need to do now though is play around a bit with set-ups and generally experiment with the car; try out some of the ideas I have to adapt the 196 so that I can get the most out of it.

"Rubens and I have a notably different driving style. He comes into a corner slower than 1 do, but he's back on the power much quicker and he's developed a method of doing that without losing traction. I tend to attack much further into the apex, but in order to have a good balance through the corner I need to have the car much more secure at the back At the moment it's too loose; I'm sliding around which is costing me time.

"The problem was particularly evident at Melbourne and Argentina; both low grip circuits. You can't just dismiss certain events because they take place at tracks which don't suit your car so well. Rubens is driving brilliantly at the moment, but Jordan is a two car team and we both need to be right up there pushing hard at each and every event. I was genuinely quickest in the warm-up in Brazil, on old tyres, so the speed is still there. You don't suddenly lose the ability to drive quickly, as I'm sure David Coulthard would agree! I could change my driving style to suit the car, but it's far more productive to change the car to suit my driving style so that's one specific area were going to look at I've got a whole list of things I want to explore though, really just to broaden my knowledge of the way the Jordan car works.

"It's also an opportunity to develop my working relationship with the engineers here, because each team operates in a different way. The chemistry between a driver and his race engineer is very important. He needs to be able to interpret my impressions of the car and use that in conjunction with the information he's getting from the telemetry. He has to trust my instincts and I have to trust misjudgements and, as with any new relationship, it takes time to build up that trust. It also takes time to develop the relationship to the extent that the engineer can pick up on all the nuances of what the driver is saying. My race engineer, Paul White, had to step in at short notice just before the Brazilian GP after Tim Holloway suffered a heart attack Ifs in everybody's best interests for Paul, Gary, and I to have some extra time working together so that we can understand each other that bit better before we head off to Germany.

"It's one of my biggest regrets that I never raced at the old Nurburgring. I find the new circuit a bit bland; the comers are all pretty much the same. The good thing about this race is that we'll have our trucks and motor homes back again. Six flyaways on the trot is an epic undertaking for the teams, and it'll be nice to be back in the comfort of familiar surroundings in the paddock. Judging by the weather forecast, that could be very important because it's certainly not going to be very comfortable when we're out on the track!"

-- Stephen M Baines

"[The Autosport sticker] started to peel off in the middle of Eau Rouge and it distracted me. In fact it was the first thing to hit the barrier" Tiff Needell - Jaguar XJR-15 Challenge - Interview with Autosport


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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers David Coulthard , Martin Brundle , Tiff Needell , Paul White , Gianni Morbidelli , Gary Anderson
Teams Jordan