After leaving the United States Grand Prix on a high note last weekend, Jaguar Racing head off to the Suzuka Circuit in Japan for the final round of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship. The U.S. Grand Prix highlighted the race pace and ...
After leaving the United States Grand Prix on a high note last weekend, Jaguar Racing head off to the Suzuka Circuit in Japan for the final round of the 2001 FIA Formula One World Championship. The U.S. Grand Prix highlighted the race pace and reliability of the Jaguar R2 as Eddie Irvine successfully brought his car home in 5th place and Pedro de la Rosa in 12th. Eddie was subsequently promoted to fourth place after Jordan-Honda driver, Jarno Trulli, was excluded from the Official Race Results following a technical infringement. The team has now stepped up one place in the FIA Constructor's Championship moving from ninth to eight, with immediate rival Benetton-Renault in seventh place.
Suzuka is a tough, challenging circuit loved by all of the Formula One drivers. Attracting huge crowds, it is the only circuit in the world which is shaped like a "figure-of-eight" and boasts a variety of high-speed corners, including some tight radius turns.
"This is a very demanding circuit on the car and can be compared to the likes of Silverstone and Spa. We have the advantage that both Eddie and Pedro have done a great deal of racing in Suzuka and feel at home there. I think the biggest challenge for us will be getting the best out of the tyres. We are hoping that Michelin's latest construction tyres for this event will suit the many high-speed corners found on this circuit. As it's the last race this year and after our performance in the last two races, I am hoping that we can take this new found momentum and put it to good use in Japan. The team last week spent three days in Barcelona testing components for the next year's R3 and preparing for this race. We are all encouraged by the results in Monza and Indy, and this enthusiasm will be continued in our quest to end the 2001 season ahead of Benetton-Renault."
"I am looking forward to going to Suzuka, because it's my favourite circuit; very technical and very challenging. Obviously, the fact I raced here when I competed in Japan means I know it very well, but at the standard we are competing at, I don't think that gives me any great advantage over the other drivers. Pedro also has some "local" knowledge, so we should be working well as a team and get cracking with setting up the car right from the start of Friday's session. I gather they've made some changes to the Esses in the early part of the lap and it will be interesting to see what difference that makes. Although Suzuka is great fun to drive, there aren't exactly a host of overtaking opportunities, apart from the chicane before the pits and even there, it's not exactly straightforward. You have to really push through the 130R lefthander just before the chicane and that's a really fast turn with hardly any run off area. After finishing in the points in Indianapolis, it would be nice to round off the season by doing it again in Japan as it would give us all a boost over the winter. We had an encouraging test in Barcelona last week where I feel we might have found a few fractions of a second, so I am going to Suzuka in optimistic mood."
Pedro de la Rosa
"I raced in Suzuka with Formula 3 and Formula 3000 so I am familiar with the track. It's a real "drivers" circuit and I personally think it is the best race on the F1 calendar. It is a tough lap, as the majority of the track is made up of fast and slow corners; many of them are blind and lead directly into one another. I hear lots of people say that Eau Rouge in Spa is the most difficult corner to drive, but I think that some of the corners in Suzuka are harder. I hope to have a better start than the one I had in the States and will be fully concentrated on getting the best out of my car for this last race of the season. Eddie did a good job in Indy, and our aim now is to move in front of Benetton-Renault by doing our best to score some more points."