Jaguar Racing began their U.S. Grand Prix campaign with a pleasing performance during the two, one-hour long Friday Free Practice sessions. The first session began on a damp track but it soon cleared to allow all runners to switch to dry tyres. The session was short-lived, however, when the Ferrari of Rubens Barrichello smashed into the concrete wall on the exit of the last turn. A red flag signalled a temporary stop and after around 20 minutes the session was declared open again. Both Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa spent the two sessions working through a programme of tyre comparisons and set-up evaluations. With no testing allowed at ‘the Brickyard’ prior to this weekend’s Formula One race, maximum track time was the order of the day in an effort to generate as much data as possible for tomorrow’s crucial qualifying hour.
Niki Lauda – CEO and Team Principal
"It’s always hard coming to a circuit with no testing data at all. We obviously have data from the past two years but you really need maximum track time here in order to fully understand the demands of the circuit. The conditions looked quite slippery during the first session and many drivers fell victim to the general lack of grip. Apart from Rubens, the in-field section is where most drivers were caught out and while the grip level improved throughout the two sessions, we could do with hotter temperatures. The Jaguar R3 seems to be working quite well around this circuit but as always, I never read too much into the Friday lap times. It is impossible to know what the other teams are running in terms of fuel loads and with that in mind, our final standings must be taken with a pinch of salt. Nonetheless, both drivers are pleased with the handling and pace. Let’s see how this translates into qualifying positions for tomorrow but so far, so good."
Eddie Irvine Position: 2nd Best time: 1:14.123 Laps: 27 Chassis: R3-05
"We went through everything we aimed for and apart from a minor niggle with the brakes, I am happy with the car. We changed the brakes completely and also made some changes to the set-up and balance. The track is quite unforgiving in places and grip seems to be a problem for everyone. Apart from that, there isn’t anything to worry about at this stage. The pace of the Jaguar R3 is quite encouraging but it’s way too early to make predictions about the weekend ahead."
Pedro de la Rosa Position: 11th Best time: 1:15.304 Laps: 34 Chassis: R3-06 T-Car: R3-03
"A good start to the weekend but I haven’t completed a clean flying lap yet – hence the gap between Eddie and myself. Like Eddie, I too have worked through a checklist of set-up and tyre evaluations and in the process we have experimented with several ideas. The grip level could be better but having said that, we don’t seem to be suffering as many problems on this front as some of the other runners. There are still some things I want to try tomorrow morning but at this stage, I am quite encouraged with our performance."Published 27 September 2002