A fine fifth place in the first session of free practice in Sepang has given Eddie Irvine cause for optimism. As in Suzuka two weeks ago, Eddie was happy with the set-up of his car, and despite dropping back to 14th in the afternoon as other...
A fine fifth place in the first session of free practice in Sepang has given Eddie Irvine cause for optimism. As in Suzuka two weeks ago, Eddie was happy with the set-up of his car, and despite dropping back to 14th in the afternoon as other drivers used new tyres, he's confident of a strong performance tomorrow.
"We were on the pace straight away this morning but we didn't progress at the same rate from the first session to the second as some other teams," he commented. "There's nothing untoward happening with the car and we know it is suited to this circuit. We have the set-up just about right. I think we are in pretty good shape for qualifying."
Team-mate Johnny Herbert also went well in the first session, setting the eighth quickest time, although he was unhappy with the feel of the rear end of his R1, complaining that it was too nervous. The car was improved for the second session, but Johnny dropped to 13th
"We made a change between the two sessions today which calmed the car down a lot," he explained. "Before that we had a fair bit of rear end instability which seems to be the problem here, compared to the understeer we had last year. It seems to be a problem for a lot of people as there were a few spins and slides out there today. All we need to do now is work on calming the car down even more which should stand us in good stead for qualifying."
Both drivers used only one set of tyres for the two sessions, and technical director Gary Anderson believes that the drivers who did use a new set had a substantial advantage. "We concentrated on finding a good balance in race trim," he said. "We stuck with the one set of tyres on both cars. Looking at the timesheets there seems to be a significant gain from new tyres, so we should be able to make a leap forward tomorrow. I'm reasonably content with our day's work -- we laid some solid foundations foe qualifying and the race."