The 2002 French Grand Prix came to an abrupt end for both Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda drivers today, as did Olivier Panis' hopes of securing a good result in front of his home crowd. His race was effectively over in the first corner after his car was...
The 2002 French Grand Prix came to an abrupt end for both Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda drivers today, as did Olivier Panis' hopes of securing a good result in front of his home crowd. His race was effectively over in the first corner after his car was struck by that of Takuma Sato. After pitting so that the team could assess the damage, he made a valiant attempt at continuing to race. However, when an unidentifiable vibration surfaced, the team concluded that retiring Olivier's car was the safest option. Jacques was equally disappointed to suffer an engine failure on his 35th lap.
"We had a bad start and then with the mayhem in front of me into turn one, I ended up going wide and losing a lot of places. The car was actually quite quick but I was stuck behind McNish, who was very quick down the straights but slow in the corners. After I got past him, the race wasn't going too badly and the car was actually quite quick. Then the engine let go suddenly. This is the first weekend that we've raced with this engine and it hasn't been tested before. We knew there was a risk involved in running it but it was a risk we were prepared to take if it meant we could benefit from the extra horsepower. I'm disappointed but we had been expecting a difficult race here anyway."
"What can I say? I'm very disappointed and, to be honest, very angry with Sato's move into the first corner but I think it was very clear for everybody to see. I came into the pits and it looked like I just had damage to the bodywork. I went back out again and despite being a lap down, I continued to push and improve my lap times. The car felt very strange though and I was very conscious of a vibration which we couldn't pinpoint. I kept going while the team looked at everything on the telemetry but I had lost so much time that it wasn't worth the risk to continue. This is the last race I would have wanted to retire from because everyone wants to do well at their home grand prix. As always, the team have done a great job all weekend and to lose both cars in the race is very disappointing for them also."
David Richards, Team Principal
"We came to Magny-Cours expecting a difficult weekend and that's exactly what it turned out to be. The first corner incident which saw Sato take out Olivier also affected Jacques, who was forced to run through the gravel. Races like this bring you back down to earth with a bang but with only one week before Hockenheim, there's no time to dwell on misfortune but rather consider how we can progress for next weekend."
Position: DNF (35laps)
Best lap: 1:16.667
Position: DNF (29laps)
Best lap: 1:16.278