French GP: Jaguar Friday qualifying notes

The first of the two qualifying sessions at the Nevers Circuit in Magny Cours began wet but dried out completely as the session lengthened to the extent that Minardi-Cosworth secured their first ever P1 and P2 positions. Torrential fell in the ...

The first of the two qualifying sessions at the Nevers Circuit in Magny Cours began wet but dried out completely as the session lengthened to the extent that Minardi-Cosworth secured their first ever P1 and P2 positions. Torrential fell in the morning and even as the qualifying hour began, light showers were still falling on what was a heavily watered track.

Jaguar drivers Mark Webber and Antonio Pizzonia took to the track in 11th and 18th positions respectively and finished in 6th and 8th places. The team spent the morning working on the usual Friday job-list of set-up work, tyre comparisons and race preparation. Apart from a minor incident in the pit-lane when the Ferrari of Michael Schumacher collided in Mark's Jaguar R4, the team has suffered from no problems.

Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance:

"This morning went well for us despite the changing weather conditions. We made the most of the dry session that we had during testing but the rain soon fell and compromised our dry running programme. Nonetheless, both drivers did a good job this morning to keep their lap times consistent and we have been working very well with Michelin in an effort to better understand the options available to us here."

"Mark did an excellent job during qualifying at a time when the track was still wet. His lap was quick, error-free and he is well placed for tomorrow. In Antonio's case, we decided to opt for wet tyres because it looked like the track was still wet in the third sector. The Jordan-Ford of Ralph Firman was on the track at the time and with his dry tyres, he appeared to be losing time, especially in the first sector."

"Because of this, we took the conservative approach and sent Antonio out on wets. The weather here is very unpredictable and because of this, today's times mean very little versus grid positions for tomorrow."

Antonio Pizzonia:

"The car feels pretty good and apart from a minor issue with the gearbox this morning, I have experienced no problems. The balance and pace is competitive and with hindsight, we should maybe have opted for the dry tyre in qualifying."

"Qualifying positions from a Friday do not make a big impact to the weekend but it would have been nice to be on pole! We wanted to play it safe going into Saturday's qualifying and given how good the tyre/car combination is around this circuit, I don't envisage any real dramas as we go into the decider tomorrow."

Mark Webber:

"I'm pretty pleased with that lap but the track was getting faster and faster for each new man out. We have certainly prepared well for this weekend and our morning track time was valuable in helping us understand better the behaviour of the tyres. With weather conditions as dynamic as these, it is impossible to get a handle on where you really stand against the competition and let's hope for a bit of consistency tomorrow. It doesn't really matter to us whether it's wet or dry tomorrow because the car feels good in both conditions."

"As for this morning's incident with Michael Schumacher, I certainly do not hold him responsible. Ferrari was obviously undertaking some pit-stop practice and as I approached Michael in the pit-lane, the lollipop man lifted the lollipop and gave the 'go' signal to Michael. As it happens, I was driving past and he took my front wing off. I understand the FIA have fined Ferrari and as far as I'm concerned, that's the end of it - these things happen."

Antonio Pizzonia
Position: 6th
Best time: 1:24.642
Chassis: R4-05

Mark Webber
Position: 8th
Best time: 1:25.178
Chassis: R4-04
T-Car: R4-03

-jaguar-

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Antonio Pizzonia , Michael Schumacher , Mark Webber
Teams Ferrari , Minardi , Jordan