A busy week for the Stewart-Ford team began with the official announcement at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday that the team will become Jaguar Racing for 2000. Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert were confirmed as the drivers for next season.
A busy week for the Stewart-Ford team began with the official announcement at the Frankfurt Motor Show on Tuesday that the team will become Jaguar Racing for 2000. Eddie Irvine and Johnny Herbert were confirmed as the drivers for next season. On Wednesday and Thursday, Herbert completed two days of testing at Magny Cours. Despite heavy rain on Wednesday, Herbert completed a full test programme in preparation for the European Grand Prix.
RUBENS BARRICHELLO Car No.16 (SF3-04) What are the characteristics of the Nürburgring circuit? 'Nürburgring has a lot to offer. It is a good combination of low speed corners and faster third and fourth gear corners. The ITT-bogen curve is one of the most exhilarating. From the 180mph approach, you sweep round at 165 mph. By contrast, at Dunlop Kurve you're hard on the brakes down to second gear and 50 mph. Cars experience a lot of understeer at Nürburgring so it's important to have the front of the car working well to cope with that. The SF3 works well in high downforce so I am confident of a good result.'
What experiences do you have of Nürburgring's fickle weather? 'The weather is so unpredictable. Because of the mountains surrounding the track, the rain can appear without warning. A few years ago I was rounding the final turn heading for the main straight in brilliant sunshine. Next thing some damp spots landed on my visor, the sun disappeared - it was snowing. '
JOHNNY HERBERT Car No.17 (SF3-05) What are your aspirations for the weekend? 'The test at Magny Cours last week was very fruitful. We were on the pace of the front runners which was encouraging. We have also identified where I lost time in Monza. Basically we suffered a drop-off in downforce from Saturday morning to qualifying. We worked on some modifications to rectify the problem in testing and I am confident of being in much better shape this weekend than I was in Monza.'
What are you thoughts on Jaguar's foray into F1 next year? 'I think it's fantastic to have such a high-profile, famous racing marque in F1. From the team's point of view we will be a truly British effort with two British drivers, Eddie and myself, and British racing green on the car. Jaguar have had great success in Sports Cars and there is no reason why we can't achieve similar success in Formula One particularly with input from Cosworth and building on the foundations the team has already laid.'
PAUL STEWART, Stewart-Ford Chief Operating Officer 'It is imperative that we consolidate our fifth place in the Constructors' Championship with another solid performance this weekend. Our target must be to pick up points in the three remaining races of the 1999 season. This is the first Grand Prix since the announcement that Stewart-Ford will be renamed Jaguar Racing next year. While our efforts are focused on the present, we are all excited about the future.'
MARTIN WHITAKER, Director, Ford Racing, Europe 'During last week's two days test at the Magny Cours circuit in France we completed a variety of engine system development work and completed a very tough reliability test. In terms of performance our times at the test were encouraging, and, coupled with our promising result from the Italian Grand Prix at Monza two weeks ago, we are confident that we can remain competitive at the Nürburgring.'