Jaguar managing director David Pitchforth answers questions ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix Q: What happened on the start-line in Malaysia and what has been done since to ensure it does not happen again? DP: To launch an F1 car from the grid...
Jaguar managing director David Pitchforth answers questions ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix
Q: What happened on the start-line in Malaysia and what has been done since to ensure it does not happen again?
DP: To launch an F1 car from the grid requires a delicate balance of torque, too much and you have wheel spin, not enough and the engine revs drop and causes bogging and in turn the anti-stall kicks in. The engineers spent a lot of time in Malaysia working out the torque levels but there are a lot of factors involved and we had underestimated the amount of grip that the tyres would have on the grid after the formation lap. After the anti-stall kicked in, Mark had to re-set but of course by then we had already lost numerous places.
This was disappointing for us but the main thing is we understand what happened and we can now work on correcting this for future races. We are undertaking a one-day test today with Bjorn at Santa Pod to help us understand all the variables better. Although we were frustrated with the start, we all have to learn these things and now what is important is taking the action to ensure you don’t suffer again. We are on a steep improvement curve and there are highs and lows along the way and as long as we keep learning, we will keep progressing.
Q: The rest of your weekend was strong, were you surprised with the competitiveness of the R5?
DP:The performance of the car was very pleasing and we knew we would be strong there, and although top six was more in line with our expectations, second was rewarding. The factory here in Milton Keynes (UK) has done a fantastic job in preparing the car for the race weekend and this coupled with Mark doing a perfect lap on Saturday gave us our deserved second place. We are continuing to work closely with Michelin and along with Cosworth we have a very motivated and pro-active team, which is what we need to move up the grid and score points. We are continuing with our engineering led approach and I have no doubt that we will improve.
Q: Christian Klien has finished both races and has made no driver errors along the way, are you impressed?
DP: We are very pleased with Christian and the progress he is making. With a new driver you would normally expect a few mistakes along the way, but since he started winter testing and racing we have been very fortunate. He is continuing to improve as he gets to know the R5 and also the team. His lap times are always getting faster and this is what we are looking for, particularly on a track that he does not know. He has a steep learning curve and as we progress into the European circuits and his normal territory we will expect to see the gap between him and Mark lessen. At Bahrain there is no advantage to either driver so this will be an exciting race for them both.
Q: How is Björn settling in and how is he helping the team?
DP: Björn is doing an excellent job and providing us with valuable feedback. The information that we have recorded from Friday running has proven the worth of running a third car. Björn is focusing mainly on tyre work for us and also on putting mileage on our test parts. We had to rely on Mark and Christian for testing in the past so this is a great step forward.
Q: You announced a second wind tunnel in September last year (DERA, Bedford); can you give us an update?
DP: The building dates from the 1950s and we have been demolishing the parts that we do not require. We are nearing the end of this stage now and we hope to be starting the renovation and modernisation by the spring. We are hoping to be using the wind tunnel by mid 2005, but there will be a long hand over period from the current wind tunnel that is running three shifts.