September 15th, 2002

Milk Carton

Minardi Happy with qualifying performance

Mark Webber and Alex Yoong claimed 19th and 20th places for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix, final European round of 2002 Formula One World Championship, and professed pleasure with their achievements.

Both drivers spent the morning honing aerodynamic downforce settings and engine control software for their cars prior to this afternoon's one-hour qualifying session.

MW - MinardiIn common with a number of other drivers who had hoped to put in their quickest laps during the final runs of the afternoon, Webber and Yoong lost out when red flags were displayed with minutes to go in the session following a collision between Kimi Raikkonen and Takuma Sato.

"It was a very good qualifying session for us. We had quite a frustrating morning today, but we looked hard at all the data and were able to sort the problem," Webber commented.

"We worked towards taking fuel out of the car and it was a lot better. Like everybody, we got stuck with the red flag at the end of the session. It would have been nice to have an extra run, but it's the same for everybody.

"Overall, it was a good job for our little team here at a circuit that is tough on the efficiency of everything and also that's a high-power track. Together, everybody has done a good job."

Yoong also corrected problems on his car throughout qualifying. "When we started out, the car had a lot of understeer. It got better toward the end, but then, unfortunately, due to red flags, I lost my last two timed laps," he said.

"I was on a much better lap at that point and we could undoubtedly have improved quite a lot. I wanted to show I can qualify well, and I'm just disappointed that it didn't work out today, particularly after having a good first practice session."

Team Principal Paul Stoddart added: "While the Minardi drivers line up P19 and P20 for tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix, we're reasonably content with today's performance, despite the fact neither driver was able to show his full potential in qualifying this afternoon.

"Mark's third run represented a near-perfect lap, and he was denied the chance of improving still further on his last run by heavy traffic.

"Alex's two-race break clearly has paid dividends. With his confidence restored in qualifying and driving on a track with which he is familiar, he did a good job this afternoon.

"With both cars comfortably on the grid, we now look forward to tomorrow's race."
  • Current Mood
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Milk Carton

Gary Anderson's view of the Sato and Raikkonen clash

Director of race and test engineering at Jordan, Gary Anderson, condemned the high-speed collision between Takuma Sato and Kimi Raikkonen in qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix as absurd.

"Takuma did not get a good lap and then on his last run there was the incident with Raikkonen, who was on an out lap, which is absolutely absurd. I think we should give him some of our wing mirrors because he obviously needs them!" he stated afterwards.TS - Jordan

The Japanese now starts from eighteenth while his team mate Giancarlo Fisichella is twelfth. "Giancarlo's result is about as good as we can expect at the moment," Anderson added. "I can't say I'm content, because we're not in the top ten, but I don't think we could have done much to improve today. The race should be better because the tyres are very consistent and we've got a reasonable place to work from."

The Italian also admitted that he had found the session difficult, but is hoping to give his home fans something to smile about in the race. "That was tough, as I expected. Our strategy was to do two timed laps and we were a bit unlucky because I'm sure my best run was the second flying lap on the outing when the session was redflagged," he commented.

"There was a possibility to be tenth but it wasn't easy and we are still struggling with grip. Tomorrow we should be better for the race but we need to find something more because the competition is so quick."

Sato added: "That was the most difficult qualifying session of my career. There was a combination of factors; the car was not perfect and also I made a couple of mistakes and couldn't complete a whole flying lap. The final outing was my last chance and it was going to be three consecutive timed laps.

"On the third one, Kimi was on his way out from the pit and he took a wider line before turn 2. I was on the inside, following him in the slipstream, but at the braking point I moved out. He had plenty of time to look in the mirror and see me but obviously he didn't realise I was there. We tangled at high speed but luckily I managed to slow down a lot before I touched the tyre barrier. A big shame. I hope the race is exciting."
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Milk Carton

Jaguar end up 6th and 8th on the grid

Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa today produced their best qualifying performances of the season and will start tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix from 6th and 8th places respectively. After showing considerable promise in recent races and test sessions, both Jaguars today fought head-to-head with the front runners for a top spot on the grid for tomorrow's 53- lap race.

Both Jaguar R3s ran faultlessly over the qualifying hour and despite a late charge from David Coulthard, Irvine's final timed lap improved further to keep him ahead of the McLaren. With de la Rosa starting from right behind the McLarens, the Jaguar R3s are well placed to score more points from the race tomorrow, although the punishing nature of the Monza circuit will make reliability a bigger concern than normal for all runners.

Niki Lauda - CEO and Team Principal - stated: "A fantastic performance and testament to everyone at Jaguar Racing who have all worked tirelessly to find the improvements that we are now benefiting from. Credit must also go to Eddie and Pedro for their very solid performances. Both drivers drove faultlessly today and made progressive improvements to their lap times, albeit under considerable pressure from the runners around them.

"In Pedro's case, Jacques Villeneuve was pushing him very hard indeed and in the end, I think less than two-tenths separates them. Eddie's battle with David Coulthard went right to the bitter end and despite a late charge from DC, Eddie went one better and was rewarded with a place on the third row for tomorrow's race.

"We have been chipping away all season in an effort to correct the issues on the Jaguar R3 and over the past few weeks, we have begun seeing some very encouraging signs of competitiveness. The team produced a very solid all-around performance at the last race in Spa and we now have the opportunity to go one better tomorrow. Getting through the first chicane is always the challenge at Monza and once through, the reliability aspect will come into play.

"This circuit is very tough on engines and brakes and reaching the finishing line is an achievement in itself. The pace of the Jaguar R3 usually tends to be better in race trim than qualifying and suffice to say that everyone at Jaguar Racing is very excited at the prospect of tomorrow's Italian Grand Prix."

Irvine overcame minor technical problems to record his sixth place. "There has been a lot of work undertaken on the Jaguar R3 and I have to say, there is little to criticise today. The balance of the car was very good, the new qualifying engine from Cosworth made a significant difference and combined with a low downforce configuration, we are very much on the pace, especially when you consider where we were not too long ago," he said.

"My first two runs were slightly compromised by a gear-change problem but it was fixed for the last two runs. I was caught in a battle right between the two McLarens and while getting ahead of Coulthard was always possible, catching Raikkonen was always going to be tough. Getting points is more than a possibility tomorrow, but it's far from a formality.

"We have always suffered from a mid-corner understeer problem but that's no longer the case. I can now attack the corners very aggressively and get straight onto the power. The Jaguar R3 feels like a very different animal to the one we started the season with. It feels like a real racing car now and I cannot wait to take it racing tomorrow."

His Spanish team mate was just thrilled with their achievement. "The car was very quick today and to have got both Jaguars into the top eight is simply fantastic for the team!" he exclaimed. "An awful lot of work has been going on behind the scenes and at our test at Monza last week, we got some very encouraging signs that have manifested themselves today.

"The balance of the car is very good and combined with Michelin rubber and Cosworth's new qualifying engine, the whole package is now delivering results. The aim now is to translate this into championship points and assuming we are reliable, there is little to stop us from putting on a good show tomorrow.

"The team has done an excellent job in turning around a difficult season and it would be great to reward them with points tomorrow."

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen later had his fastest qualifying time deleted by the Stewards of the Meeting for "causing a collision contrary to Article 53 of the sporting regulations".

This demoted the Finn to sixth place, in turn promoting Irvine to fifth.
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Milk Carton

Stewards look into Sato Raikkonen shunt

Both Kimi Raikkonen and Takuma Sato have been summoned by the Stewards to explain the circumstances surrounding their high-speed collision, which red-flagged qualifying in Italy today.

Sato, who was seen discussing the incident with McLaren team boss Ron Dennis in their silver garage soon after the end of qualifying, commented:

TS - KR"I went there because it was not a good situation for both of us, so I wanted to create a better situation. We also went to see the Stewards, Raikkonen and myself. They are not going to do anything at the moment, maybe later. I had a discussion with Ron. I don't know what is going to happen now."

Jordan team boss Eddie Jordan added: "I went to see Ron (Dennis) because I think it is not a matter of team principles. So when I saw Taku going to see Ron I thought I better go and see him.

"There is a certain code of conduct and code of practice and there was a slight lapse this time. It was a big accident and as to what Ron said to Taku I wouldn't like to make a comment on it.

"These things do happen, and it was fortunate that neither driver got hurt. The fact is he (Raikkonen) was on an out lap and Taku was on a flying lap. That's it."

The Stewards have also not commented on their findings so far.
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Milk Carton

Raikkonen penalised

McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen has had his fastest qualifying time for the Italian Grand Prix deleted after being judged to have caused his collision with Jordan's Takuma Sato.
Both drivers were summoned by race stewards following the accident which came late in Saturday's qualifying hour at Monza. The FIA later issued a statement, which read:

TS - KR - Monza"Having heard the explanations of both drivers and viewed video evidence, the Stewards of the Meeting decide to impose a penalty in accordance with Article 119 of 2002 FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations to delete the fastest qualifying time of the Driver of car number 4 (Kimi Raikkonen) for causing a collision contrary to Article 53 of the aforementioned regulations."

The penalty means that Raikkonen drops one place to sixth on the grid, promoting Jaguar's Eddie Irvine to fifth
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Milk Carton

Bahrain to host a GP in 2004

The tiny Gulf emirate of Bahrain took a big step towards achieving its dream of hosting a Formula One™ Grand Prix on Saturday.

Crown prince Sheikh Hamed Al-Khalifa announced that he had signed a agreement to host a grand prix from the 2004 season.

The statement read: "The Kingdom of Bahrain has signed a long-term agreement with Bernie Ecclestone to host a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship™, starting from 2004."
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Milk Carton

Rubens wins a comfortable victory

Rubens Barrichello has won this afternoon's Italian Grand Prix at Monza ahead of teammate Michael Schumacher and an impressive Eddie Irvine for the Jaguar team. Barrichello managed to muscle his way past the Williams drivers at the start of the race and looked fast and controlled at all times.

Ralf Schumacher managed to lead the race from the start, but a move on his own teammate resulted in jumping the first chicane and an order from the FIA to let Juan Montoya through again. As soon as his teammate was ahead, Schumacher‘s BMW engine let go in a cloud of smoke.

In the confusion, Montoya made a mistake and Rubens took a lead, which he would only lose to his teammate in between pit stops.
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  • henman

Eagle eyed or seeing things?

Did anyone else notice the British flag they flew for Eddie Irvine (on the podium) at the Italian Grand Prix today? I was watching it on video, so I could pause it and I'm sure the flag was wrong! It looked like red diagonal cross (for N.Ireland) was missing!? Did anyone else notice? Unfortunately I can't find any photos of the podium which include the flags.

[Cross-posted in my LJ.]


that was the greatest ferrari race this season. i mean come on, it was perfect. rubens places first and michael places second in front of the home crowd. that's great news for rubens, he deserves it. i can't wait to see what happens at indianapolis.
Milk Carton

Asiatech lanch their new car

The Asiatech company have launched a wind tunnel model of the car they hope to race in the near future. The French-based company currently supply engines to Minardi, but have been developing a car, which they hope to sell to a team or to raise sponsorship for the coming seasons.

Speaking at the presentation in the Monza paddock this morning, Asiatech President John Gano said: "Our ambition is to run an integrated engine and chassis team like Ferrari and Toyota, but whether we make it that far depends on economic and technical circumstances."

"Technically we're ready; financially we don't have the package together at the moment. We believe we can produce a quality chassis for half of the current cost and we aim to enter in the midfield and go upwards."

There remains one slot on the grid available to a new team and Asiatech are keen on joining in the near future. Minardi are set to run with Ferrari engines from 2003.
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