After a productive three-day test at Monza last week, Jaguar Racing continued to make progress today in preparation for this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix. Today’s two one-hour Free Practice sessions provided Jaguar Racing with a further opportunity to evaluate set-up and work on tyre comparisons ahead of tomorrow’s crucial qualifying session. Both Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa experienced trouble-free sessions and were pleased with both the overall balance and pace of the Jaguar R3. Eddie completed a total of 37 laps and managed a best time of 1:23.460s, placing him 4th overall. Pedro completed a total of 38 laps and ended up 8th fastest with a best time of 1:24.183s. Despite the lower than expected temperatures, the circuit remained dry throughout the session and warmer weather is expected over the course of the weekend.
Niki Lauda – CEO and Team Principal
"A pleasing all-round day which has given us a good measure of the car’s capability around this very fast circuit. Our three-day test programme last week was quite encouraging and we came here in a positive frame of mind knowing that the Jaguar R3 is quite competitive under these conditions. The long straights and sweeping fast corners are very conducive to extracting the best from our Cosworth V10 engine and of course, the competitive Michelin compound is suited well to Monza. Our programme today was very similar to the usual Friday job list although we did concentrate on several specific areas in preparation for the punishing race conditions. Engines are running at full throttle for over 70% of the lap and like us, I’m sure everyone has concerns about the demands placed on brakes because of the chicanes at the end of the straights. Nonetheless, we will endeavour to prepare ourselves thoroughly in an effort to make the most of the strengths we have at this circuit."
Eddie Irvine Position: 4th Best time: 1:23.460 Laps: 37 Chassis: R3-05
"The good news is that we are quick, but the bad news is that we are worried about the brakes. We have suffered from a brake issue all season and if there is one circuit that exposes the fact more than any other, it’s Monza. Having said that, I’m sure we’re not the only ones concerned about this and we’ll just have to do the best we can. Outside of that, however, I am pleased with the balance and speed, but let’s wait until qualifying tomorrow. Everyone is working with different fuel levels and tyres and subsequently there is no point in reading too much into today’s times. Suffice to say that we are pleased with the pace of the Jaguar R3 but let’s see where we stack up after qualifying tomorrow."
Pedro de la Rosa Position: 8th Best time: 1:24.183 Laps: 38 Chassis: R3-03 T-Car: R3-06
"I’m very pleased with today’s results. The car feels well balanced and feels like a solid race car. It hasn’t, however, come as a big surprise given what we have learned during our tests at Monza. Combine this with the on-going work being undertaken to correct issues from earlier in the season and we are now beginning to reap some reward. The Michelin tyres are very good and the Cosworth V10 is a major asset around this super-quick track. Today was a problem-free day apart from a narrow escape in the second session when I ran wide at the Parabolica. I went off at very high speed, kept my foot buried on the throttle and somehow managed to correct the car and find my way back onto the track. It was a lucky escape which could well have ended-up as a big shunt. One has to explore the limits and let’s just say that I now know where the limit is around that particular corner!"
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