Jaguar Saturday Qualifying This morning's practice sessions at a hot Sepang circuit enabled the Jaguar Racing team to gather further valuable data from the Jaguar R3 and allow Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa to explore set-up options for the...
Jaguar Saturday Qualifying
This morning's practice sessions at a hot Sepang circuit enabled the Jaguar Racing team to gather further valuable data from the Jaguar R3 and allow Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa to explore set-up options for the afternoon's qualifying hour. With the track temperature reaching 40 degrees during qualifying, the Michelin tyres were made to work more effectively by the Jaguar R3 and both Jaguar Racing drivers were able to lap quicker in qualifying than they had earlier in the day.
Nonetheless, the team is far from pleased with today's final qualifying positions. Pedro recorded a lap time of 1.38.374 and will start tomorrow's Malaysian Grand Prix in 17th position. Eddie worked through a programme that sought to provide him with an improved chassis balance and he was unfortunate to be held up by the BAR-Honda of Olivier Panis on his best lap. Thus, his earlier time of 1.39.121 remained his fastest and ended-up 20th overall.
Niki Lauda, Team Principal
"With the R3 arriving in Malaysia last week direct from Melbourne, we were not expecting to find a great deal of additional speed here compared with Australia. Therefore, the qualifying positions are representative of what the car is capable of at this time and it is no more than we expected. Although we have made some progress towards understanding more about the new car this weekend, we still haven't unravelled the mystery that is `R3.' We have tried some minor modifications here and while there has been some progress, it is simply too marginal to make a noticeable difference."
"Eddie could maybe have squeezed into the mid 1m 38secs, but it wouldn't have changed what is obviously a very disappointing performance. I very much doubt that half the field will retire tomorrow, as was the case in Melbourne, and we will therefore aim to generate as much data as possible from the race."
"This, combined with next week's back-to-back test with last year's R2, will dictate what we do from here on. We must keep our cool, be logical and move forward in a systematic way. We are disappointed, yes, but everybody is keeping their heads up and thinking positively about the challenge ahead. This commitment is not just evident within our Jaguar Racing team, but also from our partners like HSBC, EDS, AT&T and Hewlett Packard, to name but a few, all of whom are working tirelessly towards our mutual goal of getting over this problem."
Pedro de la Rosa
"We did the best we could today with the R3 and for the first time, we took this car to the limit. The final qualifying position is not exactly worth celebrating, I know, but that's what this car is capable of at this point in time. We certainly didn't get the best out of the package in Melbourne, but I don't think there's anything else we could have done today. The car was handling quite well for me, but speed is what we lack. Simple. The Michelin tyres worked very well and while I could probably have squeezed a bit more from my final lap, the overall position wouldn't have changed that much. Tomorrow's race will be very tough indeed with R3 - probably the toughest of the year when one considers the extreme heat too!"
"I couldn't do anymore out there. Maybe my last lap could have been better had Panis not blocked me, but when you are fighting for positions at the back of the grid, I can't say it makes a massive difference, to be honest. I am finding it very hard indeed to get to grips with this car. Pedro has done a better job with it and that's probably down to his style of driving, particularly the way he tackles the corners. I like carrying speed through the corners and this car isn't conducive to my approach into corners - particularly the slower ones. Not much has changed in the cars between Melbourne and Sepang."
"We tried some revised bits and pieces but, to be honest, our problem is much bigger than that. Last year, I qualified two seconds faster here and that would have meant 7th position on the grid today! I'm not saying we should have come here with R2, but it goes some way to justifying the reason for doing the comparison test next week and taking it from there. Either way, we need to find a way out of this quite fast. Together with Niki and Guenther, I'm sure we'll find a way. I really don't think it's a case of `if' we'll find a way out - it's more a case of `when.' Next week is critical to our season and everybody is working to the limit now in an effort to break through this difficult issue."
Weather: Dry/hazy sun Air temperature: 32-33 degrees Track temperature: 39-40 degrees
Pedro de la Rosa Position: 17th
Best time: 1.38.374
Eddie Irvine Position: 20th
Best time: 1.39.121
T-car chassis: R3-01