German GP: Jaguar race notes

A disappointing end to what began as an encouraging weekend for Jaguar Racing at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. Drivers Mark Webber and Justin Wilson started the 67-lap race in 11th and 16th positions on a grid that boasted a track...

A disappointing end to what began as an encouraging weekend for Jaguar Racing at the German Grand Prix in Hockenheim. Drivers Mark Webber and Justin Wilson started the 67-lap race in 11th and 16th positions on a grid that boasted a track temperature of 48 degrees Celsius.

Both drivers opted to go for a two-stop race strategy but in Justin's case, it came to very little as he became a victim of the first corner accident involving several cars. He sustained damage to his front left suspension and while the Safety Car was out, the team did an excellent job of fixing the damage and in the effort to strengthen Justin's race experience with Jaguar, he was sent back out on lap 4, albeit for five laps only because of a gearbox issue. Sadly, Justin had no choice but to retire from his first Grand Prix with Jaguar Racing.

Mark, however, made up several places because of the first corner incident and found himself in fifth place come the re-start. The position, however, could not be sustained and towards the end of the race, Mark found himself chasing for an 8th place finish with the BAR-Honda of Jenson Button. With grip being a problem for all runners today, Mark's efforts to overtake Button ended in vain on the last lap when he spun and retired.

Dr Mark Gillan - Head of Vehicle Performance:

"A very disappointing end to our race. Justin simply found himself to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. The left-hand suspension was damaged in the first corner melee and even though the team did a good job of repairing it, we had no choice but to call him in on lap 9 and call it a day."

"Mark made a very good charge through the field but struggled with grip quite early into the race. It then became very difficult to sustain the 5th place he achieved after the first lap and he found himself falling back quite quickly despite his very determined drive. The pace simply wasn't there for us today and in an effort to capture at least a point at the end, Mark made an effort to overtake Button but slid off the track at the penultimate corner. We obviously have a lot of work ahead over the remaining four races."

Mark Webber:

"A very tough and frustrating race. I got onto the right side of the action on the opening lap and after overtaking the Mercedes-McLaren of David Coulthard at turn two, I was in 5th place. After that, however, it was all downhill. The race pace was suffering and I struggled a lot with balance and we clearly have some work ahead of us. I fought very hard to keep up and get past with Jenson Button and on the last lap, I could either choose between a no-points 9th place or take a stab at passing Jenson for a championship point. I did the latter but with grip and balance being such an issue, the car spun off in the Stadium section and that was that. I have no regret about making the move at all. The opportunity for a point was there and I had no choice but to have a go."

Justin Wilson:

"I am very disappointed indeed. The charge towards the first corner was very strange in that I came into the corner and literally everyone in front of me braked early because of the accident. I then saw Villeneuve cutting in front of me and he hit my front left. As I took corrective action to avoid him, the Jordan of Ralph Firman hit me from behind. The team did an amazing job of fixing the car and getting me back out but a transmission issue forced my retirement. It's been quite a weekend for me and all in all, I walk away having learned an awful lot, albeit with so much more to learn. The car, team and everyone involved are great to work with and I can only hope for better joy at the next round in Hungary."

Mark Webber
Position: DNF
Best time: 1:17.754
Chassis: R4-04
T-Car: R4-03

Justin Wilson
Position: Retired
Best time: 1:19.441
Chassis: R4-05

-jaguar-

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Mark Webber , David Coulthard , Justin Wilson , Ralph Firman
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Jaguar Racing , Jordan