It may have been largely overlooked amid the scenes of jubilation that greeted Ferrari''s first World Drivers'' Championship title in 21 years, but this year''s Japanese Grand Prix also gave Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda team members good reason...
It may have been largely overlooked amid the scenes of jubilation that greeted Ferrari''s first World Drivers'' Championship title in 21 years, but this year''s Japanese Grand Prix also gave Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda team members good reason to celebrate. A tigering drive to sixth place by Jacques Villeneuve gained the team a single point, that point boosting Formula One''s youngest team into sole possession of fifth place in the World Constructors'' Championship. Both Villeneuve and team mate, Ricardo Zonta, who finished a fine ninth after starting 18th, had decided on two-stop strategies for fuel and tyres in the 53-lap race. Combined with slick pit work, BAR Honda achieved a highly creditable result on an important weekend for the team.
"All told, we did a good job this weekend. The car was pretty quick in the middle and at the end of the race. Unfortunately, I didn''t make a good start, but once things settled down in the race, I had a good fight with the two Jaguars. Most of the race was spent attacking. I passed the two Jaguars and then tried to close on Button, but unfortunately, I just couldn''t overtake him at the second pitstop. It is, of course, very important for us to stay in the top five of the Constructors'' Championship, but our target now must be to beat Fisichella in the Drivers'' Championship and Benetton in the Constructors'' Championship. It is definitely possible."
"Starting from near the back of the grid, this was probably going to be about the best we were going to do today. Ninth is probably good for the team in that we finished in the top 10, but disappointing for the driver since there were no points to be gained. I just raced as hard as I could and the only moment I had was when Michael (Schumacher) lapped me. I moved over as far as I could to give him room, even going on to the grass, but he still managed to come over so much that touched my wheel as he went by."
"It was a hard-fought race for a very important point that gained us a place in the Constructor''s Championship. Jacques and Ricardo both drove hard races and gained their positions by good overtaking manoeuvres. Overall, this was a very good team performance."
"I would like to offer my congratulations to Michael Schumacher for his World Championship. The front two have been the fastest all season and were very quick again today. We tried to get the best from the car this weekend, but unfortunately, it was not enough, although it was good to score a point today. I am sorry for the Honda fans who have given us excellent support and I promise them that we will be more competitive when we return to Suzuka next year."