Stewart Italian GP Preview

Johnny Herbert was second fastest overall during the Stewart-Ford team's three days of testing at Monza last week. On Thursday he set the quickest time of the day with 1:24.180. The team concentrated on finding a good aerodynamic balance with the...

Johnny Herbert was second fastest overall during the Stewart-Ford team's three days of testing at Monza last week. On Thursday he set the quickest time of the day with 1:24.180. The team concentrated on finding a good aerodynamic balance with the cars running in low downforce trim which is vital for the fast, sweeping corners of Monza.

RUBENS BARRICHELLO Car No.16 (SF3-04) Has it been difficult to stay focused following the Ferrari announcement? 'There has been a lot of media attention, but Ferrari is next year - it's still a way off. I am still very committed to helping the Stewart-Ford team finish as high as possible in the Championship. My focus has not altered. I want to keep on delivering, keep on pushing, until the season is out. I'm sure we can pick up more points this season and secure fifth place in the Constructors' Championship at least. Everyone in the team deserves it.' What are the set-up characteristics required for Monza? 'Monza is all about power and hard braking. Curva Parabolica, probably the most important corner on the circuit, is a good barometer of how well the car is set up. You're hard on the brakes at the entrance to Parabolica and down to third gear (100 mph). Up to fourth on exit and fifth (170 mph) as you enter the Rettifilio Straight. Your whole lap time can be determined by the speed of entry and exit here so you need to have the car well balanced and braking effectively.'

JOHNNY HERBERT Car No.17 (SF3-05) What was the most pleasing aspect of the recent Monza test? 'The fact that I was able to produce competitive times compared to our rivals while running on heavy fuel loads was very encouraging. To be just two tenths down on the Ferraris on their home turf bodes well for the weekend.' What are your expectations for the weekend? 'Obviously I'd like to repeat my victory of 1995 but with the McLarens and Ferraris still dominant that is not realistic. My goal is to be the best of the rest and finish in the top six though it's going to be tough. I enjoy the circuit - the atmosphere created by the tifosi is something special.'

PAUL STEWART, Stewart-Ford Chief Operating Officer 'Following the results of our three-day test at Monza last week, we are optimistic that we are well placed to score much-needed points. There will no doubt be a lot of attention on Rubens in Monza following his decision to join Ferrari next season. Having said that I know he is totally committed to ensuring that Stewart-Ford end the season on a positive note. I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him and thank him for the tremendous contribution he has made to the team over the last three years. I wish him well and I look forward to racing against him next year!'

MARTIN WHITAKER, Director, Ford Racing, Europe 'At the Monza test we went through a programme aimed at improving the driveability of the engine. We did suffer a few minor reliability problems which meant we didn't get quite as much done as planned. Nevertheless, we were competitive, with Johnny setting quickest time on Thursday - a time which was amongst the quickest all week. Monza is a very quick circuit where good power and low drag are crucial and the Stewart-Ford seems well suited to the track. If our pace from the test is maintained, we should be in a position to qualify both cars well and challenge for points.'

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Johnny Herbert
Teams Ferrari , McLaren