After an encouraging outing at the
Brazilian Grand Prix and a productive three-day test at
Valencia, Niki Lauda heads for Imola in a confident frame of
"I was very encouraged by our improved form over the whole of
the Brazilian Grand Prix weekend," said the Jaguar Racing
boss. "We understood the R3 better than we have done so far
this season and our progress was rewarded with a good set-up
that worked well at Interlagos. Combine this with a very good
Michelin compound and it isn't hard to see why we climbed up
the order relative to the opening two races of the season."
But if the bumpy, humid Interlagos circuit provided a stern
test in terms of driver stamina, Lauda knows that Imola offers
a different but equally demanding challenge.
"Imola will be tough. Not only might the cooler weather affect
tire performance, but the low downforce nature of this circuit
makes for a bigger challenge than Brazil. We have made some
good progress in recent weeks, but there isn't a significant
new development on the Jaguar R3 for Imola."
Lauda expects bigger strides in development when testing in
the new wind tunnel, opened in Bicester last week, begins in
earnest. The state-of-the-art facility is expected to operate
around 16 hours a day and represents a major step forward in
practicality terms from the previous wind tunnel which was not
owned by the team and located over 7,000 miles away in
California. This, coupled with the arrival of Ben Agathangelou
from Renault, could see Jaguar Racing improve towards the
middle of the season.
"It will be a few weeks before we see a noticeable step
forward in aero terms and in the meantime, we will continue to
extract the best from the package we have," added Lauda. "Our
wind tunnel is now operational and with Ben Agathangelou's
impending arrival from Renault F1 in three weeks time (Jaguar
Racing's new head of aerodynamics), there is a renewed
optimism going into the European rounds."
"R3's reliability record speaks for itself and from the
progress we made in Brazil, it's clear that there's a lot of
untapped potential in this package. Our immediate aim,
therefore, is to understand how we can extract more pace from
the R3 and this is why the arrival of our own windtunnel is so
critical towards achieving this goal quickly."
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