Jaguar Racing drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Eddie Irvine posted the third and sixth fastest lap times respectively in today's two hour-long Free Practice sessions, in preparation for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix. During the two sessions the...
Jaguar Racing drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Eddie Irvine posted the third and sixth fastest lap times respectively in today's two hour-long Free Practice sessions, in preparation for this weekend's Japanese Grand Prix. During the two sessions the team worked through a series of set-up evaluations and tyre comparisons. Both drivers enjoyed a trouble- free morning, although Eddie struggled to find enough grip on the dirty track during the first session, while Pedro was slightly hampered by understeer problems. Throughout this season, Jaguar Racing has not performed too well on circuits characterised by high-speed corners and tomorrow's task to qualify within the top ten will again be a very challenging one for the team.
Pedro de la Rosa
"Today offered us a good test session. We have spent the Free Practice sessions gathering information and preparing ourselves for what lies ahead this weekend - a tough challenge, that is! I enjoy driving at this circuit, but to really get the best out of the package we have, we need more front and rear end grip. The Michelin tyres seem OK, but we don't seem to be getting the best out of them. The balance of the car is quite good - it's just lacking general grip and sliding too much through the high-speed corners. The car feels great through the Esses, but loses grip through some of the faster corners like 130R. We'll see what, if anything, can be done about the problem. I doubt there is much we can do before tomorrow and we'll simply have to give it our best shot."
"It's good to be back at Suzuka. We achieved everything we had planned, but I think we are going to struggle at this circuit. This year, we have not been strong on medium to high-speed corners and this circuit is full of them. It's going to be tough and we've just got to do the best we can. The tyres are good, but we are not pushing the optimum performance out of them. I found the circuit quite slippery when I first went out this morning and couldn't quite understand why the car felt so twitchy. This problem, however, got better over the course of the two sessions. Aerodynamically speaking, we are suffering from the same problems we've had all year in that we can't get the car to work well on low to medium downforce circuits. It's no surprise, and we'll see what can be done in an effort to lessen the problem before qualifying tomorrow."
Niki Lauda, Team Principal
"That was a perfectly normal job list for a Friday and we achieved everything we set out to do. The final classification times are not worth reading into. We have a well-balanced car that works very well through the slow to medium speed corners. The problem, however, is the longer high-speed corners and to be honest, it's the same issue we have been fighting all season. This lack of high-speed grip is losing us valuable time and the drivers are having to correct the car in places where they shouldn't. Nonetheless, we have proved many times this season that we can make up for such handicaps and the team will work hard in an effort to address the issues before tomorrow's qualifying session."
de la Rosa: R2-07
Spare (de la Rosa): R2-05