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Mixed thoughts for Jaguar [14 Aug 2002|02:40am]
[ mood | optimistic ]

After a three-week summer break from all on-track activities, Jaguar Racing head to the Hungaroring in Budapest to contest the thirteenth round of the FIA Formula One World Championship.

With high ambient temperatures and a tight and twisty lay-out, it is one of the more challenging tracks for teams and drivers alike. "This is a difficult circuit for the teams. The dirty track is very hard on the car and especially challenging on the tyres," said CEO Niki Lauda.Jaguar ahead of another car!

"The drivers are under a lot of pressure throughout the race because of the lack of straights. There are just so many corners and this makes it a hard task to overtake. The slow corners coupled with the heat provide a challenge just to stay on the circuit and this really tests the fitness of the driver.

"Eddie has had a podium here before so he certainly knows the circuit well. I know that he enjoys this track, as does Pedro so both drivers are looking forward to the race weekend.

"Since the circuit is so complicated the team are working with Michelin to achieve the best strategy for the weekend. Even with a good strategy, however, I know that this weekend is going to be tough for a lot of teams."

Eddie Irvine enjoys racing on the track and last managed a podium finish there in 1999. "The Hungaroring can be good fun and it's certainly a track I enjoy racing at even though it is very twisty and overtaking opportunities are few and far between," he said.

"My best finishing position to date at this track was in 1999 when I came third. Although it's a difficult circuit it is not a fast one. Some of the corners are very slow and this can make the race very long for us.

"In the high temperatures it also becomes a race of physical strength. Add this to the fact that the circuit is used very little and is not renowned for offering maximum grip levels.

"A good qualifying position at this track is even more important because of the extreme difficulties in overtaking. However, saying that, I enjoy the fact that the circuit challenges you and there is no doubt that the spectators have a great view of the action here.

"Since the circuit is so close to Budapest it is also one of the favourites of the teams. All in all, I am looking forward to this race. After the short break it will be good to get back behind the wheel and start racing again."

His team mate Pedro de la Rosa is not such a fan. "This weekend is going to be tough for many teams. The track is usually really dirty making it more difficult than normal to stay on the black stuff," the Spaniard said.

"It's a race that is dictated through tyre strategy because of the abrasive nature of the tarmac - as I discovered last year when after only five laps in the warm-up session my tyres were blistered.

"I suspect that this year, the track will be in much the same condition and with the expected high temperatures, we will be working hard with Michelin to understand the optimum tyre strategy.

"With so few races left we need to know as much as we can about the package in an effort to build these factors into next year's package. I know that the team has been working hard over the short break so I am keen to see what we can do at this circuit."

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Arrows don't want to race in Hungary [14 Aug 2002|07:59pm]
[ mood | cynical ]

Arrows Grand Prix International yesterday (Tuesday) confirmed that it will take no part in the Hungarian Grand Prix.

After a troubled mid-season, it remains in detailed discussions with potential investors and, therefore, has been advised to do nothing that could interfere with these discussions.

Arrows' problems became known to the public at the British Grand Prix in early July, when neither car took to the track during Friday practice amid much speculation regarding the state of the team's relationship with current shareholder Morgan Grenfell and other, as yet unnamed, potential investors.

This continued into the French Grand Prix, when not only did the cars not surface on Friday for free practice, but they only completed one run each in qualifying resulting in neither driving making the 107% cut to race.

In Germany the team competed as normal, but Heinz-Harald Frentzen took the decision to withdraw his services from the team soon afterwards, leaving them with just one named driver, Enrique Bernoldi.

Arrows added that they hoped to be in a position to release a fuller statement in the near future.

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Davidson to replace Yoong [14 Aug 2002|08:04pm]
[ mood | calm ]

BAR test driver Anthony Davidson will make his competitive Formula One™ racing debut at this weekend's Hungarian Grand Prix. Davidson will drive for Minardi, in place of Malaysian driver Alex Yoong, who has failed to qualify for three races this season.BAR - Davidson

Davidson, who finished runner-up to Jordan's Takuma Sato in last year's British Formula Three championship, has been released by BAR for both the Hungaroring race and the Belgian Grand Prix, after which Yoong is expected to rejoin Minardi.

Briton Davidson comes to Minardi with strong credentials, having developed his racing skills in karting before commencing a rapid ascent of the single-seater racing ranks.

Notably, he won the 2000 Formula Ford Festival, at Brands Hatch, and the European Formula Three Championship title in 2001. The 23-year-old has also covered over 12,000 km in a Formula One car in his capacity as BAR test driver.

"This is a fantastic opportunity, as Formula One is something I've been dreaming about since I was a child," said Davidson. "I want to do a professional job for (Minardi boss) Paul Stoddart and the Minardi team in Hungary, and my primary target is to qualify for the race.

"If I can do that in my first Grand Prix, I will be more than happy. I've not been to the Hungaroring before, so this will be a new experience for me. I love learning new circuits, though, as it's all part of the challenge of motor racing."

Davison remains under contract with BAR until the end of 2006 but the team have excused him from his usual programme of testing to allow his participation in the next two rounds of the 2002 FIA Formula One World Championship™. He is expected to resume his BAR testing duties after the Belgian Grand Prix on September 1st.

"We are happy to release Anthony to Minardi for the next two races," said BAR boss David Richards. "It is a great opportunity for a talented young British driver to race in Formula One and we wish him every success. I'm sure he will do as good a job in the Minardi race car as he has in testing for us over the last couple of years."

Meanwhile, Yoong, who has failed to make the grid three times for Minardi this season, will take part in an extensive test programme aimed specifically at assisting him to improve his performance in qualifying. The intention is that Yoong will then reclaim his seat with the Faenza squad and compete in the remaining three Formula One races of the season, at Monza, Indianapolis and Suzuka.

Though disappointed, Yoong understood the reasons for the team's move. "I accepted Paul's decision, which resulted from a frank discussion with him," he said. "It was a mutual decision, as both he and I felt a rest would be beneficial for me in the medium term. The breather will allow me to regroup and recharge in order to take on these challenges again."

Minardi boss Stoddart added: "It has obviously been a difficult decision to 'rest' Alex for two races, but it's clear he is struggling with his qualifying pace at the moment. Ours is not a team that abandons its drivers, though, and it therefore seemed like the most constructive course of action was to let Alex have a short break from the pressure-laden environment of Formula One weekends.

"During the intervening time between now and the Italian Grand Prix, he will take part in a testing programme tailored specifically to addressing any loss of confidence he may have suffered and to assisting him improve his qualifying performances, so that he can rejoin the team for the final three races of the season. It's a tough call, but I believe the right one for Alex and his career. We obviously welcome Anthony to the team and look forward to working with him in Hungary and Belgium."

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