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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles

 

May 18 2004

MONACO GRAND PRIX – PREVIEW

Jaguar Racing travels to Monaco this week to compete in the sixth round of the Formula One World Championship. Since the Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona two weeks ago the team has carried out further aero tests in a full-size wind tunnel in Stuttgart, Germany. This weekend sees the introduction of some aerodynamic upgrades to the R5, also the loss of the rear-wing fences due to further clarification of the rules. The street circuit of Monaco is notorious for its unforgiving barriers and limited run-off areas thus demanding zero error from driver and machine. Mark Webber (27) knows this track well and enjoys driving here, while team-mate Christian Klien (21) will be new to the track and will have to make the most of Thursday practice to familiarise himself with the racing line. A bumpy track with few overtaking opportunities it is no doubt going to be a challenging but hopefully competitive weekend for the team.

Driver Preview

Mark Webber (27)
“I have great memories of Monaco especially from my win here in 2001 when I was competing in F3000. The street-circuit tends to favour those who have experience here, so for me this is a track that I really enjoy although even with a few years experience it can still throw surprises your way. The on-track activities are starting on Thursday this week and we will be looking to make the most of having three cars on track in order to complete as much mileage as possible. The track is generally quite slow and also bumpy so the set-up and balance on the car can take some time to adjust. Mechanical grip is important here, perhaps more so than aero. I know that the team will be doing a good job in preparing the R5 so it will be down to me to keep it on track. You need 100% concentration on this track at all times as there is no run-off areas, you don’t get a second chance if you make a mistake. I will be looking to qualify well as there are few overtaking opportunities and as a result you need to make the most of attrition, of which I am sure there will be some! You also need to be careful about getting stuck behind some of the slower cars as traffic on the track can really mess up your strategy. Whatever way we look at it, it’s going to be an interesting race and the spectators are always guaranteed some entertainment here!”

Christian Klien (21)

“I don’t know this circuit at all so this is going to be a testing weekend for me on track. However saying that, this will not be the first track I will have raced at where I have no experience so I am going into it open-minded and motivated. I have read much about the circuit and the race weekend and I am looking forward to racing on a circuit that has so much history connected to it. My team of engineers has been doing their best to describe the likely challenges of the circuit to me but until I get out there I won’t really know. I will be making the most of the Thursday testing and working on my set-up and balance here. The circuit is also likely to be quite hard on the tyres and traction will be important here. We have a good competitive car in the R5 and I will be aiming for the chequered flag here and points would be a bonus. If I can bring the car home in one piece and avoid the barriers I will be pleased.”

Björn Wirdheim (24)

“I’ve raced on the Monaco circuit twice and both times have been exhilarating, especially last year when I was in F3000 and finished second. I love the street circuits and I have been fortunate enough to have raced in Macau (Malaysia) on their street circuit so this should stand me in good stead for Thursday’s practice. Monaco has got to be one of my favourite tracks. There is no margin for error and you have got to be in full control at all times, which is why I enjoy the circuit so much. Thursday should be quite interesting because there are going to be a lot of cars on track and not a lot of space. The circuit offers few overtaking opportunities so you need to be watchful not to get stuck behind too much traffic on your laps. The team has been working hard during these last two weeks to prepare the car so I will be doing my best to support Mark and Christian in their bid for some points. This is going to be one of my busiest races this year in terms of PR and Marketing events and I suspect that I will spend as much time on the circuit in my moped going to events as I will do driving it in the R5”.

Technical Preview
Dr Mark Gillan – Head of Vehicle Performance
“The Monaco street circuit is one of the most exciting and challenging tracks there is on the F1 calendar and it usually keeps us busy from the moment we get out on track. The lay-out is very tight and there are some good challenging corners for the drivers to get used to. We have been preparing the R5 both at the factory in Milton Keynes and at Stuttgart in Germany, focusing on the R5’s continuous performance development programme. As such we will be bringing a number of performance upgrades to Monaco including new aerodynamic, chassis and powertrain upgrades. The R5 is in good shape for the street-circuit and we will be looking to capitalise on the fact that Mark knows this circuit and enjoys driving it too. Christian is certainly going to find it more difficult here but he is very focused and is very quick to learn the layouts of new circuits. Bjorn has obviously gone well at Monaco in F3000 and thoroughly enjoys the circuit and we intend to use him extensively to help provide a good baseline set-up and tyre choice for Saturday running. Qualifying will be key to this weekend as with so few overtaking positions fighting your way up the field can be treacherous. We are looking forward to the on-track activities and suspect that we are in for a captivating and highly competitive weekend.”

David Pitchforth - Managing Director
“I am really looking forward to the Monaco race weekend, where aerodynamic load on the car is so important, we have so much going on both on and off-track. We have joined forces with our new one-race sponsor Steinmetz, Creators of the World’s finest diamonds and of course the much awaited Ocean’s 12 movie. The R5 is going to look fantastic on track and I know that the drivers are looking forward to racing in one of the most exciting races of the year. The street-circuit is exceptionally challenging and although Mark has had success in F3000, I know that both of our drivers have their work cut out to ensure they see the chequered flag. The team has been busy preparing the R5 and I am confident that we are making the incremental steps that we need to. We have been continuing with our aerodynamic development and spent some time this week at a full-size wind tunnel in Germany to continue development of R5 and evaluate conceptual designs for R6. We continue to build on our already strong relationship with Michelin and Cosworth and of course our sister company Pi Research. The weekend ahead will be challenging for us, but I am excited about our progress with the development of R5 and our ability to make our way up the grid.

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