Don't expect Monaco miracle, says Jag tech boss

Jaguar Racing technical director Steve Nichols is playing down expectations that the team will make a quantum leap in performance at this weekend's Monaco Grand Prix, despite its new aerodynamic package making its debut at the street race

Don't expect Monaco miracle, says Jag tech boss

The team's so far under-achieving R2 design will run in the Principality with a new diffuser and other aerodynamic tweaks, plus suspension tweaks. But despite drivers Eddie Irvine and Pedro de la Rosa giving the changes a thumbs-up in testing last week, Nichols remains cautious.

"We've made a few aerodynamic changes which include the rear diffuser," he said. "This has given us some encouraging results, but I hesitate to say too much at this stage because people's expectations are already too high. It should prove to be an improvement of three or four tenths of a second, but at the same time, if other people have improved one or two tenths, that's not a big jump in relative terms. The big gain will come gradually - not in one go."

Nichols said that the new package gave increased downforce, but had come at the expense of significant changes to the rear crash structure, necessitating a new crash test.

"It's just indicative of how difficult it is to make progress in this business," he said. "It takes time to make the bits, it takes time to do the FIA crash test and so on. We've been working on this in the Swift windtunnel in California since the beginning of March, so it shows you how long it takes for modifications to come through.

"It's a good step," he added, "and we need to make another couple of steps like that before we can start fighting consistently for points."

Irvine, too, played down prospects for the new package, saying it was not the ideal circuit to highlight the improvements made.

"It's a positive step forward with more development to come," he said. "However, its real benefits won't shine through on such a slow circuit, where other parts of the performance package play a greater role."

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