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Editor/Photographer : Mark Charles

 

October 4 2004

JAPANESE GRAND PRIX – PREVIEW

8TH, 9TH, 10TH OCTOBER 2004

After the inaugural Chinese Grand Prix just one week ago the Jaguar Racing team now make their way Suzuka in Japan for the penultimate race of the Formula One season. Since driving in Shanghai, team drivers Mark Webber (28), Christian Klien (21) and Björn Wirdheim have been training as well as acclimatising in Australia in preparation for racing this coming weekend at one of the toughest circuits on the calendar. In the shape of a figure of eight, the Suzuka track is technical with a variety of fast and slow corners. The team, back at the factory in Milton Keynes has been focusing on fine-tuning the new R5b-06 chassis which Mark will drive this weekend.

Mark Webber (28)

“Japan always seems to come around so quickly and this time it will be weird to not have it as the last race. Since racing in China just over a week ago I have been training as well as taking some holiday time in Australia. Looking ahead to Suzuka, it’s a tough track on both the driver and the car but this sort of circuit allow us to really test ourselves. With only two races to go I am very keen to score some more points for the team. The guys at the factory in Milton Keynes and the team up at Cosworth Racing in Northampton have all really pulled together over these last couple of weeks and I would like to reward them with points before the season ends. I will be racing this weekend in our new chassis the R5b-06, which was actually first raced last weekend by Christian.

Christian Klien (21)

“It’s hard to believe that the end of my first season in Formula One is only two races away. I have been having a fantastic time with the Jaguar Racing team and I am really enjoying driving the car. I am going to make the most of the next two races with the aim of coming away with a couple of points so that I can finish the season on a high. Suzuka is going to be a new track for me so I have been doing some work with my engineers on layout and demands on the car. I understand from them and from talking with Mark that the circuit is tough on the car and on the driver. Over taking is also not that easy so I will be looking to achieve a good qualifying position and have a strong strategy in place. Friday will be an important day for me and this is when Björn’s help comes into play. We will have a lot to work through but I know having spoken with Dr Mark Gillan that the team is well prepared coming to Japan this weekend. I am really enthusiastic about this coming weekend and will be giving it my all in the pursuit of points”.

Björn Wirdheim (24)

“ I enjoyed driving at the new Shanghai circuit very much and now I will have another new track to get to know in Japan. I have been working closely with my engineers so that I am as well prepared as I can be. The track looks like it has some good fast corners and also some slightly slower more technical ones. I am keen to get out on Friday and complete as many laps as I can. We will, as always, have a detailed programme to work through and I need to be reliable in gathering this data for the team to help them with their decisions ahead of Saturday and Sunday. Since China I have been spending my time in Australia where Christian and I have been working on our fitness training programmes. Racing somewhere like Japan is both mentally and physically demanding on the driver and so we need to be well prepared. I am excited about the next two races and I will be doing all that I can to help the team score more Championship points”.

David Pitchforth

“We have been extremely busy here at Jaguar Racing over the past couple of weeks and I am extremely pleased with the team’s commitment during this time. We went to China with our heads held high and although we scored no points, we clocked up a lot of miles in this time and the car was very reliable. We took the decision to have Christian race the R5b-06 in China and now it’s Mark’s turn. The team has been fine-tuning the car over the past month or so and we are really prepared going into these last two races. Both Cosworth Racing and our tyre partner Michelin have been very supportive and focused on delivering the best results for us. Looking ahead to Suzuka, it is not the easiest of tracks to race at but this can often make scoring points more likely if other teams experience attrition or lack of reliability. All three drivers are currently in Australia and so will travel directly to Japan. The rest of us have been working here at the factory and will travel this week to Suzuka. I am keen to see the team score more points before the season is over. We have a fantastic package in the R5 and we know what it is capable of”.

Technical Preview

Dr Mark Gillan – Head of Vehicle Performance
“The Suzuka circuit in Japan is a fantastic track. Mark has raced at Suzuka before and he is comfortable with the demands on him and the car. Christian and Björn on the other-hand have no experience here and will be relying on Friday practice sessions to get the most out of the car. Although both drivers are currently in Australia undergoing fitness training they have been in contact with their engineers ensuring that they are as prepared as they can be for this coming weekend. The track is technically a very difficult track but that only motivates us to push the R5 and drivers as much as we can. The down force level is medium to high and overall there are few overtaking opportunities. We have been preparing very hard back at the factory and we have taken the decision to have Mark use the new R5b-06 chassis. I am really looking forward to these last two races and I know that the team is determined to score some points”.

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