After a relatively quiet day in France, Eddie Irvine was happy with the progress made by Jaguar Racing in free practice for Sunday's French Grand Prix. Eddie was fifth in the morning session, but failed to improve on his time in the second...
After a relatively quiet day in France, Eddie Irvine was happy with the progress made by Jaguar Racing in free practice for Sunday's French Grand Prix. Eddie was fifth in the morning session, but failed to improve on his time in the second session and dropped to 11th.
However, he remains confident for qualifying tomorrow. "Typically for the Friday of a grand prix, you're never quite sure what the rest of the pit lane is up to, so we have to rely on the findings of our test here last week," he said. "From that point of view, I think we are in pretty good shape. I tried three key set-ups today and I now have a clear indication of which direction to head in an effort to improve the car for Sunday's race.
"As has been the case for most of the season, the competition in the mid-grid bunch is going to be very competitive - there's very little, a couple of tenths, between six and 11th place. We'll keep tinkering away with the set-up tomorrow to find the edge we need to put us in the thick of the battle."
Irvine has twice been on the podium in France, including a second place in 1998. Last year he was caught out by the changeable qualifying conditions, but fought back from 17th on the grid to finish sixth.
After a strong pre-race test last week, Johnny Herbert was disappointed with his performance in free practice today. Herbert was quick in the morning session, ending up seventh, but finished the day in 13th place after he failed to improve his time.
Johnny was unhappy with the balance of his R1, which he believes is due to the change in weather conditions since the test. "The usual Friday fare in Magny-Cours, in that the track is different to what it was in the test," he said. "It's a lot warmer which increases the tyre degradation and makes it all react differently. The balance of the car has changed but everyone will have had that problem. We'll have to see what we can come up with tonight in order to make the car more driveable as she's not a nice car to drive at the moment."
Jaguar Racing's technical director was more pleased with the day's work. Feeling that preparations for Sunday's race are going as planned. "The plan today was to complete the remainder of the test programme, which we did," said Gary. "We stuck rigidly to a game plan which was to run the same tyres and evaluate how they stood up to the heat and wear in preparaton for the race. Unlike Canada, where we lost out way a bit, we didn't veer off the programme and we completed everything we had planned. Based on the times we achieved at the test and the set-up we were running, we definitely made gains today. We're relatively content at this stage."