Magny-Cours, June/ 26/ 1999 1999 FRENCH GRAND PRIX -- QUALIFYING France 2, Brazil 1 Just as in last year's World Cup, all the attention today was on Brazil and France. On a track which started wet and got wetter, the advantage was with the...
Magny-Cours, June/ 26/ 1999 1999 FRENCH GRAND PRIX -- QUALIFYING
France 2, Brazil 1
Just as in last year's World Cup, all the attention today was on Brazil and France. On a track which started wet and got wetter, the advantage was with the drivers bold enough to make the first moves: this explains why the qualifying times set by Stewart-Ford's Brazilian star Rubens Barrichello and France's local favourites Jean Alesi (Sauber) and Olivier Panis (Prost) will allow them to start the French Grand Prix from the first three positions on the grid. The Bridgestone rain tyres, first seen this year in Brazil, coped well with heavy rain and difficult track conditions throughout this first wet qualifying session of the season.
Yoshihiko Ichikawa, Bridgestone Motorsport Technical Manager:
"Congratulations to the three fastest drivers and teams of today. The track conditions changed drastically after the first 10 minutes of the qualifying session, preventing the drivers who had not yet gone out from being able to set good lap times. With the constant rain and so much water on the track, it was difficult for the drivers to avoid aquaplaning. At each race there are two choices of Bridgestone rain tyre, each using the same tread pattern but with Hard or Soft compounds. Although the pattern of the wet tyres performs well in damp, intermediate and heavy rain conditions, the rain today was so heavy that there were some difficulties with aquaplaning. Congratulations, too, to David Coulthard who set an unbelievable time when all the others were having difficulties keeping their cars on the track. "
Robin Gearing, Engineer, Stewart Grand Prix:
"We had planned initially to go out quite early because we couldn't be sure which way the weather would go. It was good for us to see Jean Alesi going out just before us, because it gave Rubens a target time to challenge. Although the car was not fully set up for the wet, Rubens pushed very hard on his fifth lap and got his pole position. Afterwards we went to a full wet set up but by then the track conditions were so bad that it was impossible to go any faster. The wet tyres provide us a good balance on the straights, but it was so wet at the end that it was too slippery to hope for an improvement in lap time. Tomorrow it will be interesting to see what happens after the first corner."
Humphrey Corbett, Race Engineer on Olivier Panis's Prost-Peugeot:
"After receiving a message from the weather forecasters that the weather would deteriorate after 1:30pm, we thought it was better to have a few laps early in the session. Olivier put in a lap straightaway and set his qualifying time when the track was reasonably clean without too much water on it. Even then he was aquaplaning on the straight, due to the large quantity of water already standing on the track surface.
TEMPERATURES AIR TRACK WEATHER Morning 21