Japanese GP Jaguar Saturday notes

Today's qualifying session saw the Jaguar Racing team produce grid positions that were much as expected for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix. Eddie Irvine will start the race from 13th position on the grid and Pedro de la Rosa from 16th. The team...

Today's qualifying session saw the Jaguar Racing team produce grid positions that were much as expected for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix. Eddie Irvine will start the race from 13th position on the grid and Pedro de la Rosa from 16th. The team has struggled in qualifying all season to adapt the Jaguar R2 to the aerodynamic demands of low to medium downforce circuits, and today's qualifying session proved no different. Tomorrow's 53-lap race will be a tough challenge for the team. Jaguar Racing need to finish the Japanese Grand Prix ahead of Benetton-Renault if they are to secure 7th place in the Constructor's Championship. With Benetton-Renault having qualified 6th and 9th for tomorrow's race, Jaguar Racing will once again rely on a clever race strategy in pursuit of the chequered flag and in this case, hope that the Benetton-Renaults retire.

Eddie Irvine
While we have nothing to celebrate by qualifying 13th , I am surprised at my qualifying time. We simply didn't expect it to be that quick relative to what we found during the morning warm-up sessions. I was expecting to post a time in the 1 minute 35 second bracket and to be honest, I have no idea why I managed a better time. The car felt well balanced throughout the session but, as we've experienced all season, we are not performing well in the high-speed corners. My concern before qualifying was Benetton-Renault and it proved correct. As was the case in Spa, the Benettons have taken advantage of their new aero package and compared to us, they certainly have the upper hand at this circuit. We have beaten them on high downforce circuits this year, but this is where they are strong. It's a very tall order to make something out of tomorrow's race, but that's what we thought in Indianapolis and look what happened!"

Pedro de la Rosa
I'm disappointed, yes, but not that surprised. It's so difficult finding enough grip out there. Normally, you tend to find more grip as the weekend gets longer, but there doesn't appear to have been that much of an improvement for me. I suppose I could have got an extra tenth or two, but it really wouldn't have made that much of a difference today. We have, however, learned things from the past two days and that's always positive. We will feed this data into the development work that is currently underway on next year's car. Getting 7th in the Constructor's Championship means a lot to everybody here and we'll do everything in our power to achieve this tomorrow. Far from easy, I know, but far from impossible too."

Niki Lauda, Team Principal
No surprises there. Both drivers extracted what they could from the package and we'll just have to push hard tomorrow in the hope of finishing above Benetton-Renault. We may not have the quickest car on the grid, but as we showed recently in Indianapolis and Monza, it performs well in race trim. When you're suffering from aerodynamic problems like we have been, there is very little you can do about it over the course of a race weekend. You just have to live with it and do the best you can. It's frustrating for everybody here who has worked so hard all season and to take 7th place in the Constructor's would be just reward for these efforts. We have also been working very hard on next year's car for quite some time and that explains why we haven't developed this season's Jaguar R2 since Hungary. With Benetton-Renault, we have a very tough job ahead of us tomorrow. Let's see how successful we are in taking on this final challenge of the season."

Chassis
Irvine: R2-04
de la Rosa: R2-07
Spare (de la Rosa): R2-05

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Pedro de la Rosa , Niki Lauda
Teams Benetton , Jaguar Racing