Malaysian Grand Prix- Preview 15th, 16th, 17th March Jaguar Racing may have scored three points in the opening race last week but the team is well aware that luck was an important element in Melbourne. The Jaguar R3 may have proved reliable...
Malaysian Grand Prix- Preview
15th, 16th, 17th March
Jaguar Racing may have scored three points in the opening race last week but the team is well aware that luck was an important element in Melbourne. The Jaguar R3 may have proved reliable from the onset, but the need to extract more speed through aerodynamic improvement is critical to the team's chances of fulfilling its pre-season target of competing amongst the top midfield runners. Contrary to on-going media speculation, the team is planning to use the Jaguar R3 in Malaysia and no firm decision has yet been taken on whether to re-introduce last year's car, the Jaguar R2, from Malaysia onwards. The team has conducted no testing between the first two races and will, therefore, race the same cars at Sepang that crossed the finishing line in Melbourne.
Niki Lauda, Team Principal
"Apart from the three points we took away from the Australian Grand Prix, there was very little cause for celebration after an incredibly difficult weekend. There is no question about it - we must improve quickly and address the issues we have with the Jaguar R3. There is very little we could do with the cars between Australia and Malaysia because they didn't return back to the factory. Only after Malaysia will we have an opportunity to modify the car and do a proper post-mortem on the package before the Brazilian Grand Prix. The weather conditions in Australia were uncharacteristic in that we never once had stable conditions - apart from race day. Changing weather conditions marred the Free Practice and Qualifying sessions and I am hoping for stable conditions in Malaysia. Rain or sun, I don't care, but as long as the weather conditions are not variable. We need stable conditions to be able to judge properly the limits of the Jaguar R3 and only then will we be able to make definitive conclusions about the car. Albert Park was tough, yes, but Sepang will be even tougher on us and setting-up the car correctly is crucial to understanding it better. We will effectively use the Free Practice sessions as testing opportunities and while the reliability of the Jaguar R3 was pleasing, the need to extract more speed from the package is paramount to our chances of moving up the grid. We haven't taken any decisions yet as to what will happen after Malaysia and given that our race pace in Melbourne was significantly better than our qualifying performance, it is obvious that we have yet to unlock R3's true potential over a proper one hour qualifying session. Judgement day beckons, as they say!"
"Melbourne was a nightmare! While we were aware of our problems before turning a wheel in anger at Albert Park, I don't think anybody expected a qualifying slot behind the Minardis. That's not to take anything away from Minardi. On the contrary, we simply didn't perform to our maximum ability over the qualifying hour and the changing weather conditions compounded the problem. Malaysia will provide yet another challenge for us, but I certainly don't expect us to be at the back of the grid this time. I won here a couple of years ago with Ferrari and in 2000 I picked up the sixth place point for Jaguar Racing - a very tall order this time round. I haven't been testing since Australia, so I've had plenty of time to concentrate on keeping fit and preparing for what is one of the most physically demanding races of the year. Fitness and preparation are particularly important at Sepang as I understand it could be even hotter than when we were here last year. At this early stage in the year, hot weather is not what you need for the cars either, but at least Melbourne confirmed our feeling that our cars would be reliable, so hopefully we can build on that now and start making progress on our aerodynamic package."
Pedro de la Rosa
"This will be a tough weekend for me, especially since I haven't raced at Sepang for two years. I will familiarise myself with the circuit during Free Practice and work hard at understanding this challenging layout. The Malaysian circuit is one of the most modern circuits on the calendar. The track offers a good combination of slow and fast corners and more importantly, we are blessed with overtaking areas - a rarity in this business these days! Safety standards are high and the facilities are simply excellent. Nevertheless, the Malaysian Grand Prix is one of the hardest races because of the hot temperatures and the intense humidity. Coupled with the difficulties we are presently experiencing with R3, it's a race weekend that will undoubtedly push everybody to the limit."