STEWART-FORD NOTES AND QUOTES 1998 Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Alan Jenkins, Technical Director: 'Despite the Japanese Grand Prix being the last race of the 1998 season a considerable amount of work has been carried out at ...
STEWART-FORD NOTES AND QUOTES 1998 Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka
Alan Jenkins, Technical Director:
'Despite the Japanese Grand Prix being the last race of the 1998 season a considerable amount of work has been carried out at Stewart Grand Prix and Cosworth to improve the performance of the SF-2 package. The results have been encouraging with tests at Barcelona and Silverstone producing lap times near the top of the time sheets. Of course Stewart-Ford are not the only team working flat out at the end of the season. The 1998 regulations have necessitated unprecedented revisions to car designs from teams throughout the grid. Changes to 1999 tyre regulations in the form of a fourth groove on the front tyre could mean that this uncertainty about the ideal design concept could carry through into the start of 1999 season. The FIA have with Bridgestone taken the unprecedented step of staging a special tyre test after the race in order to gain an initial impression of the new tyres and to provide directional information as to the effect on performance, wear and car balance. In the eyes of the spectating public, the main event is the championship decider between Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher, but you can be sure that everyone at Stewart- Ford will be working hard for a good result to reward the enormous efforts of everyone this year and to encourage us and our supporters through the winter months ahead.'
Martin Whitaker, Ford European Director of Motorsport:
'A tremendous amount of effort has been put in since Luxembourg with tests at Barcelona, Santa Pod and Silverstone. From an engine point of view, the work has been split between work on the Series 6 engine and development for next season. Our first test at Barcelona saw a failure with the Series 6 engine, but a lot of subsequent work from our engineering and build groups led to a new version of the Series 6 engine for the three Silverstone tests. At each of those tests we ran one of the new versions of the Series 6 engines to distances in excess of 300km so we are now confident that we should race the engine at Suzuka. The added performance in power through the rev range and the improved driveabilty that both drivers confirm is a significant step forward and should help us to get the best possible end to the season. Ford believes it is vitally important to keep pushing on engine development and that will carry into next year when we introduce a brand new Ford Formula One engine. Considering that this year's Ford Zetec-R V10 was also a new engine which first ran on the dyno only 10 months ago, and we have had six significant upgrades through the year, there can be no doubt that Ford's commitment to winning is very real.'
Rubens Barrichello: Car no.18: SF-2/05
'The long break since Nurburgring has done me good. I feel fit and refreshed after spending time with my family back home in Brazil. I have been training hard on my physical conditioning between testing. I'm looking forward to returning to racing in Suzuka. I'm encouraged by the testing we have done since the Luxembourg Grand Prix. We have found some big improvements in the car's handling, so much so that if we have a reliable weekend, a points finish would not be out of the question in Suzuka.'
Jos Verstappen: Car no.19: SF-2/02
'This is my last race for the Stewart-Ford team so naturally I would like to end my short stint with the team on a high with a good finish at Suzuka. I like the uniqueness of Suzuka, it's challenging from a driver's point of view, but some sections of the circuit can be a little dangerous if you push too hard. We have made some excellent progress with the car since Nurburgring. I'm optimistic that we'll end the year with a good performance.'