U.S. Grand Prix - Preview

After the season’s best performance so far, Jaguar Racing travels to Indianapolis this weekend for the U.S. Grand Prix. Following the team’s on-going efforts all season to improve the competitiveness of the Jaguar R3, Eddie Irvine out performed both BMW Williams and McLaren-Mercedes to finish third behind the two Ferraris at last weekend’s Italian Grand Prix. In the process, Jaguar Racing climb up into 6th place in the Constructors’ Championship with two races left on the calendar. This followed on from the team’s solid performance at the Belgian Grand Prix two weeks earlier where Eddie qualified 8th and finished with a championship point in 6th place. After the success of the Monza weekend, the team travelled to Barcelona for a three-day test aimed at tyre and driver evaluation. Pedro de la Rosa was on-hand to undertake test duties and so too was BMW WilliamsF1 test driver, Antonio Pizzonia (22). Jaguar Racing as part of their on-going driver evaluation programme were testing Antonio at what was the last official test session of the 2002 season.

Prior to arriving in Indianapolis next Wednesday, Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa will lend their support to Jaguar’s "Tribute to Style on Rodeo Drive" in Hollywood on Monday 23rd September. Leaders from the entertainment, fashion and automotive industries will pool their talents to benefit the Entertainment Industry Foundation's (EIF) National Arts Education Initiative. A steel and aluminium sculpture of the Jaguar R3 F1 car has been installed on the corner of Rodeo Drive and Dayton Way for 10 days during Jaguar's "Tribute to Style on Rodeo Drive." Weighing 4000lb and 24ft high, it depicts the Jaguar R3 alongside gleaming metal curves to symbolise the car running in wet weather conditions. Since its inception in 1996, the bi-annual charity gala has raised nearly $3 million for a variety of inner city and arts education organizations. This year's ‘Art & Performance’ theme will also include an auction featuring a 2003 Jaguar XKR with its luggage compartment filled with items from Rodeo Drive boutiques. Past guests at the charity gala have included the likes of Elizabeth Hurley, Catherine Zeta Jones, Sharon Stone, Cindy Crawford, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Donatella Versace and Samuel L. Jackson.

Niki Lauda – CEO and Team Principal "Monza was a fantastic weekend for us. Securing third place has rejuvenated the team and is clearly just reward for the hard work that has been carried out over the season. Indianapolis, or ‘The Brickyard’ as it’s known, is a similar circuit to Monza and Spa and there is no reason why we cannot be competitive there. Although I have never raced at the circuit, it remains one of the most famous. It boasts a high-speed banked corner that leads on to the longest full-throttle stretch in Formula One of around 20 seconds. Not only does this place a high demand on the engine and brakes, but also the set-up is made even more difficult as the infield section of the circuit requires a relatively high downforce configuration. Combine this with the data we have from last year when Eddie finished the race in 5th place and I’d say we are far better prepared for this race than we have been previously. Although we have not added any new developments to the car since Monza, we will be looking to continue with the reliability that we have witnessed in recent races. I know that after last weekend Eddie and Pedro are both happier with the R3’s balance. Given the magnitude of changes that we have made since the beginning of the season, the most important reward comes in the shape of a credible benchmark for our next challenger, the Jaguar R4. To put this season’s upgrades and development work into context, these are just some of the areas we have addressed and turned around:

  • New rear uprights prior to the start of the season
  • New rear suspension and new rear uprights again mid-season
  • Stiffened front uprights
  • New floor with new profiled diffuser
  • Silverstone aero update including new front wing mountings, front wing main plane, front flap, new front wing endplates, new floor and diffuser and new bodywork, new barge boards and a new rear suspension set-up with new rear uprights
  • Another specification front wing end plates with new adjusters
  • New rear brake ducts & wheel infill assemblies
  • New front suspension with revised geometry and new specification front uprights, new specification of front brake ducts and front wheel infill panels for Spa onwards
  • New specification power steering with increased response and assistance for Spa onwards.
  • New rear wing endplates and new rear wing elements for Monza
  • Small detailed changes to the new front brake ducts for aero improvements.
  • Improved engine response and power updates from Cosworth Racing through out the year.
  • Improved power from fuel and oil development from Castrol through out the year
Eddie Irvine "Monza was unbelievable. What a race! I am certainly planning on taking some of that good feeling to Indy with me. The team has been given a real boost, and deservedly so. I managed fifth here in Indy last year and since then the car has changed completely so it will be a different race altogether. The circuit is not the easiest to set-up for, you are trying to have high downforce for the infield and then you are travelling for nearly 20 seconds down the longest flat-out stretch on the F1 calendar! The team is naturally concerned about the pressure that is applied to the brakes and engine as a result, although since this circuit is similar to Monza, we go in to this race encouraged by our recent performance. With only two races to go, I will be pulling the stops out to ensure that we push as hard as possible to secure our 6th place in the championship or maybe even grab 5th. I have no doubt that this race is going to be as tough as the last two, however, it’s about time our hard efforts were rewarded and lets hope that we can generate the points that we now know we are capable of."

Pedro de la Rosa

"After my frustrating race in Monza I went straight to Barcelona to complete some set-up work and tyre evaluations. We have not made any new developments on the car for the U.S race, although we have a good package already in place from Monza. Indy can be hard on the brakes and engine failures have been high in recent years, but despite that, most teams have opted for a one-stop strategy. I believe that after a two-year learning curve we are better placed this year to have an optimum tyre and race strategy. The race will be at its fastest, about 225 mph as we cross the famous yard of bricks. We actually run in the opposite direction to usual, heading into a tight right-left before twisting around the infield golf course. The course then opens out into two faster corners, the second of which is turn one on the oval, sweeping back out onto the front straightaway. It’s a circuit I enjoy and I go to Indy upbeat about the race and what Jaguar Racing can now offer."

Published 20 September 2002 Melanie Carter
 

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