As usual, Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda team members today tried their hardest to secure the best possible grid positions for their drivers during qualifying for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix. Despite their efforts, though, the best that drivers...
As usual, Lucky Strike Reynard BAR Honda team members today tried their hardest to secure the best possible grid positions for their drivers during qualifying for tomorrow's Japanese Grand Prix. Despite their efforts, though, the best that drivers Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta could achieve was ninth and eighteenth places respectively on the grid for the penultimate Formula One race of the 2000 season. Both drivers felt that although their BAR Honda 002 chassis were well enough balanced in Suzuka's challenging corners, they were lacking a little in overall grip. Zonta's efforts were also hampered somewhat by a decision to make some late changes to his car between practice and qualifying, which meant that the afternoon's one-hour afternoon session was effectively reduced to 30 minutes. With rain a possibility for the Suzuka area tomorrow afternoon, however, anything could happen and both BAR Honda drivers will be hoping to secure a better result in the race than they achieved in qualifying.
"It was a good qualifying session, but it's disappointing to have a good qualifying and just end up ninth. In general terms, the problem comes down to a lack of grip. This year's car is better than last year's, but Suzuka is a track where the car has a bigger effect than at others because you're turning the whole time and at quite high speed. The only major thing is that I am having a hard time with the tyres we have here. They've got a different characteristic to drive on and I'm having a hard time adapting to that. I don't think we're likely to be better in the race tomorrow because we haven't been competitive on old tyres. If we can score one point here, I'll be happy because we're not as competitive as we have been lately."
"I think the result is very disappointing. The guys worked very hard to make some last-minute changes and get me out into the qualifying session as quickly as possible. I think we ran too much downforce that I couldn't make full use of in the corners and that cost me too much speed on the straights. I don't know yet why I was so slow in the first sector."
"In Jacques' case, he probably got everything out of the car that it had to offer today. Ninth isn't great, but we can race from there and we'll be aiming to improve our position in the Constructors' Championship tomorrow."