STEWART-FORD NOTES AND QUOTES 1998 Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Sunday 1st November 1998: RACE (laps 51) * The 1998 season ended disappointingly for the Stewart-Ford team with both drivers having to retire from the Japanese Grand...
STEWART-FORD NOTES AND QUOTES 1998 Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Sunday 1st November 1998: RACE (laps 51)
* The 1998 season ended disappointingly for the Stewart-Ford team with both drivers having to retire from the Japanese Grand Prix. Jos' race ended with a gearbox problem on lap 21 while Rubens retired his car with hydraulic failure on lap 25.
Paul Stewart, Managing Director: 'Not the ideal way to end the season. Unfortunately, yet again unreliability with the car cost us a race finish. What we have to do now is put the disappointment of this year behind us and put to good use all that we have learned in what has been a difficult season. We now realise that we have an awful lot to do over the winter - a few tweaks here and there are not going to be enough to lift our level of competitiveness for next season. We were warned that the second year in Formula One was always going to be the hardest and that certainly rang true for us. We have five months before the start of the 1999 season, so it's out job to throw all our energy and resources into ensuring we make a strong debut with the SF-3.'
Alan Jenkins, Technical Director: 'Having come to Japan with hopes of a good performance following some encouraging tests, this weekend has been a disappointing end to a very hard year. In particular it is a poor reward for all the efforts of the team and our partners at Cosworth Racing. Hindsight says that running new components in a race after relatively little testing was not the best of ideas but it has at least taught us some things for next year. The team has grown a lot during 1998, and the inevitable disruption caused by this process will be turned into genuine progress as the existing team and significant new recruits evolve into a stronger practice. The 1999 car and engine will be on the track much earlier than was the case this year and this fact alone will allow us to develop a more reliable and competitive package for the start of the racing season.'
Martin Whitaker, Ford European Director of Motorsport: 'Throughout 1998 we engaged in an extensive engine development programme resulting in six major upgrades with the latest engine specification making its trouble-free race debut today. This is a process which will continue next year with the introduction of the brand new Ford Formula One engine which is currently under development at Cosworth Racing - the third Ford Formula One engine introduced in as many years. During this season a lot of developments have taken place which we expect to prove beneficial in 1999 - in particular the purchase of Cosworth Racing is a further step on the road to give us an even better and more powerful engine. We aim to see improvements in the Stewart-Ford partnership from year to year, hopefully culminating in a fully competitive and successful package. There is no doubt that we want to get back to the front of the Formula One grid and with the hard work put in by the team, Cosworth Racing, Visteon and Ford we hope this will be sooner rather than later.'
Rubens Barrichello: Car no.18: SF-2/05 Retired: hydraulics Laps: 25
'I'm bitterly disappointed because I was expecting great things in Japan after the progress we made prior to the race. But it just didn't happen at all this weekend - we couldn't get the car to work at all. I made up a couple of places at the start but the rear of the car became very loose and since I wasn't really going anywhere in the race, we decided to retire.'
Jos Verstappen: Car no.19: SF-2/02 Retired: transmission Laps:21 'Obviously this is not the way I would have liked my last race for the Stewart-Ford team to end. We had problems throughout the weekend finding a good set-up so I was not expecting too much from the race. After only a few laps I had a gearbox problem so it was probably inevitable that I had to retire.'