Interview with Jaguar's
March 29, 2004
Jaguar managing director David Pitchforth answers questions ahead of
the Bahrain Grand Prix.
Q: What happened on the start-line in Malaysia and what has been done
since to ensure it does not happen again?
DP: To launch an F1 car from the grid requires a delicate balance
of torque, too much and you have wheel spin, not enough and the
engine revs drop and causes bogging and in turn the anti-stall kicks
in. The engineers spent a lot of time in Malaysia working out the
torque levels but there are a lot of factors involved and we had
underestimated the amount of grip that the tires would have on the
grid after the formation lap. After the anti-stall kicked in, Mark
had to re-set but of course by then we had already lost numerous
This was disappointing for us but the main thing is we understand
what happened and we can now work on correcting this for future
races. We are undertaking a one-day test today with Bjorn at Santa
Pod to help us understand all the variables better. Although we were
frustrated with the start, we all have to learn these things and now
what is important is taking the action to ensure you don’t suffer
again. We are on a steep improvement curve and there are highs and
lows along the way and as long as we keep learning, we will keep
Q: The rest of your weekend was strong, were you surprised with the
competitiveness of the R5?
DP: The performance of the car was very pleasing and we knew we
would be strong there, and although top six was more in line with our
expectations, second was rewarding. The factory here in Milton Keynes
(UK) has done a fantastic job in preparing the car for the race
weekend and this coupled with Mark doing a perfect lap on Saturday
gave us our deserved second place. We are continuing to work closely
with Michelin and along with Cosworth we have a very motivated and
pro-active team, which is what we need to move up the grid and score
points. We are continuing with our engineering led approach and I
have no doubt that we will improve.
Q: Christian Klien has finished both races and has made no driver
errors along the way, are you impressed?
DP: We are very pleased with Christian and the progress he is
making. With a new driver you would normally expect a few mistakes
along the way, but since he started winter testing and racing we have
been very fortunate. He is continuing to improve as he gets to know
the R5 and also the team. His lap times are always getting faster and
this is what we are looking for, particularly on a track that he does
not know. He has a steep learning curve and as we progress into the
European circuits and his normal territory we will expect to see the
gap between him and Mark lessen. At Bahrain there is no advantage to
either driver so this will be an exciting race for them both.
Q: How is Björn settling in and how is he helping the team?
DP: Björn is doing an excellent job and providing us with
valuable feedback. The information that we have recorded from Friday
running has proven the worth of running a third car. Björn is
focusing mainly on tyre work for us and also on putting mileage on
our test parts. We had to rely on Mark and Christian for testing in
the past so this is a great step forward.
Q: You announced a second wind tunnel in September last year (DERA,
Bedford); can you give us an update?
DP: The building dates from the 1950s and we have been
demolishing the parts that we do not require. We are nearing the end
of this stage now and we hope to be starting the renovation and
modernisation by the spring. We are hoping to be using the wind
tunnel by mid 2005, but there will be a long hand over period from
the current wind tunnel that is running three shifts.
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