Bobby Rahal knew that F1 would not be easy, but there seems to be a conspiracy to make his life even harder. Twice in as many races he's watched from the pit wall as lead driver Eddie Irvine has been turfed off the road on the first lap. When...
Bobby Rahal knew that F1 would not be easy, but there seems to be a conspiracy to make his life even harder. Twice in as many races he's watched from the pit wall as lead driver Eddie Irvine has been turfed off the road on the first lap. When you're demoted to the back, there is nothing you can do, and it's as frustrating for the guys in the pits as for Irvine himself.
To make matters worse, when the rain came both drivers dashed into the pits before the team could ready their wet tyres. Jaguar wasn't the only team in trouble - Ferrari, Williams and others also had delayed and convoluted pit stops - but that didn't hide the fact that the team could have done a better job. Bobby was only too aware of that.
After the flag he reflected on an eventful afternoon.
"The spin was unfortunate for Eddie, a real shame," he said. "But if we qualify further up we won't have to deal with so much garbage. The engine was overheating badly when he came in, so we had to stop."
On the positive side Luciano Burti again got to the finish, this time in 10th place. It proved that the R2 is a reliable package, which gave the team some encouragement. However, the Brazilian was not as fast as he would have liked to have been.
"His strategy wasn't quite right," said Bobby. "He lost a lot of time because he had a lot of fuel on board. His times were reasonably good, but it just took too long for them to come. We probably lost one position. But at least he brought it home.
"Now that the Pacific tour is over the team will have time to properly regroup back at Milton Keynes, and lessons learned from the first two races can be put into practice before Brazil. And that concerns improvements not just to the car, but also to the organisation, which changed so much over the winter.
"We can certainly improve in places. From a technical standpoint there wasn't much we could do between these first two races. I think more and more stuff will be coming on line. At least we're getting them to the end."
As far as the car is concerned, work starts with a major test at Barcelona this week.
"We've got some aero stuff to try, and a few other things."