Adrian Reynard Q&A

After a troubled and pointless first season in 1999, British American Racing has been a much stronger force this year, much to the delight of co-founder Adrian Reynard. Jacques Villeneuve has enjoyed a series of fourth places, and with the occasional contribution from Ricardo Zonta the team currently lies fifth in the points table, just ahead of Jordan. Fourth place or better in Malaysia, with Benetton failing to score, could move BAR up another spot - better than anyone could have expected 12 months ago. Next year the team benefits from the extended commitment of Villeneuve, and the arrival of McLaren test driver Olivier Panis as his new team mate. However, rumours of political manouevering behind the scenes continue to plague the team, and the F1 paddock awaits developments with interest... Adam Cooper spoke to Reynard about the season so far

Adrian Reynard Q&A



"The verdict is that we had to make a big improvement over last year, because we didn't do a great job. We're getting a bit closer to Ferrari and McLaren, especially in qualifying, and that's our aim. But it's very, very difficult, still very tough."



"I think it is. They're a great company to work with, with loads of resources, very enthusiastic young engineers, and great systems. We're learning a lot from them. They're making their engine better all the time, and they're helping us with our chassis. So it's been a very, very good relationship, and we've got quite a few good plans for next year as well."



"They've got a lot of great R&D people. I'd say this year is very much a learning year for them. They've taken our cars, our chassis, our components, and they've brought themselves up to speed in terms of how racing cars work. They've given us some quite useful information with regard to their rig testing of our cars, but it's more been reinforcing the ideas that we've already had. I think as in everything with R&D, it's a longer term feedback, it's not exactly immediate. But I think next year we're going to get some of that feedback."



"What you have to understand is that McLaren and Ferrari are really, really good at what they do. If there's even a small improvement that they discover, then they have the resources and the budget and the facilities to put it on their car at the earliest convenience. That's something that last year we certainly didn't have the resources to do. This year we're getting much better. We have regular updates, but the inclination with us is still maybe to wait for a few races, and put things on as a package. Malcolm [Oastler, BAR's Technical Director] still isn't able to say, 'There's another 5lbs of downforce, just go and make it, whatever the price.' I'm sure that the top people in F1 do have these totally uncompromising decisions to make, and they make them, and that's how they get every little increment of their performance out. And we've just got to get ourselves into that mindset."



"That was a bit special, and it's actually been as good a result as we've had all year. It may have given us a bit of false hope, because we thought, wow, we're really on stream to have some very good results this year. That was exceptional, and was probably as good as a win really. It's a very tough challenge, so every point that goes towards our objective of trying to be fifth in the constructors' championship is satisfying. They're all stepping stones, and they're all going the same way. The trouble is that in racing every point you don't get, or every time you're seventh or just miss out, it's a devastating blow. But I'm quite pleased that the whole team has that reaction. They're devastated when we don't get a point, and that's the spirit that we need to build on."



"I'm sure he's going to help us a lot. I've worked with him before, and he was an F3000 champion with us. I'm sure that while not giving any confidentialities away, the methodology, the way of working, the experience that he brings to the team will reinforce a lot the way we think - for example, the way we go about our development, the driver/engineer relationship, and those sort of things. I think it's going to be a big help."

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