After the crucial 60-minute session was red-flagged by a huge accident for McNish, Jacques Villeneuve transformed a difficult start to his weekend by placing his BAR004 inside the top 10 for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix. Gearbox problems...
After the crucial 60-minute session was red-flagged by a huge accident for McNish, Jacques Villeneuve transformed a difficult start to his weekend by placing his BAR004 inside the top 10 for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix. Gearbox problems surfaced for Olivier Panis after his first run and the red flag provided the team with a much-needed window of opportunity. The problem returned at the restart however and he was forced to switch to the T-car with only 24 minutes of the session remaining. He lines up in 16th place tomorrow for his final race with Lucky Strike B.A.R Honda.
"That was a huge crash for McNish so I'm pleased he was OK. That's the important thing but the red flag obviously disrupted the session. I had to abort my first run after the restart because Montoya completely blocked me, so it's lucky I managed to get a clear lap on my last run. There was still some time left in the car but not enough time left in the session to make the most of it. Top 10 is good for us today and the Suzuka engine had enough power to make a difference. The team have done a great job to salvage the weekend after yesterday's lack of running. We ended up being more competitive than we expected."
"What can I say? I'm really frustrated because this isn't what I'd hoped for at my last Grand Prix with B.A.R. The qualifying session was very difficult anyway but when you get technical problems and cannot exploit your runs, you're up against the wall and there's nothing you can do. I hope the team can resolve the problem so it doesn't occur in the race tomorrow and I will do my best to finish the season on a more positive note."
David Richards, Team Principal
"After a difficult start to the weekend, it's gratifying to qualify at least one car in the top 10 today. It's very disappointing that we haven't achieved the same for Olivier however. We were unable to supply him with the same development parts that Jacques has for this race and, on top of that, he's suffered gearbox problems today. Nonetheless, it's very encouraging that three Honda-powered cars qualified in the top 10 today and bodes well for their plans to make a significant step forward in performance next season."
Best lap time: 1:33.349 (11 laps)
Best lap time: 1:34.192 (10 laps)