Geoff Willis Q&A

BAR has appeared to be on the brink of a major breakthrough since Jacques Villeneuve took an amazing third place in first qualifying in Melbourne. Austria was the team's best result to date this year, as Jenson Button finished a strong fourth. But it was another disappointing afternoon for Jacques, who ran just as strongly but was stranded in the pits at his second stop when the car stalled. Adam Cooper spoke to technical boss Geoff Willis

Geoff Willis Q&A



"We're still struggling on the circuits where the engine weight is an issue, like Barcelona. At Monaco I think we'll be OK. The power's good, the overall aero's good, and the car is working well, but turn-in stability is affected quite a lot by engine weight, and engine centre of gravity, and that's hurting us at the moment."



"A little bit mixed really. We're certainly very pleased in that both drivers did a very good job. Jenson got his just rewards, P4, and we let Jacques down a bit really. Certainly I think he was easily as quick as Jenson, and possibly had a slightly better race set-up. There's always that balance between qualy set-up and race set-up. Jacques said he made a hash of his lap, but we were pretty confident that the car was going to be quick, and we knew we had a good race pace, and we had quite a lot of fuel in it."



"I think Michael stopped the same lap as Jenson. I don't think anybody stopped later. We had both drivers on the same fuel, so whoever was ahead got the option to chose when they wanted to stop, so Jacques could also have gone to lap 23. In the race we had no real problems with Jenson. We put on new rears and scrubbed fronts at the stops, and we possibly should have runs scrubbed rears, but the tyres weren't bad."



"His steering wheel electronics failed on lap 2 or something like that. It was a strange failure, we haven't seen it before, but we'll have to work out what happened, whether it was mechanical or a board shorting or something like that. It didn't really faze him too much, apart from the fact that he had no pitlane speed limiter, and no pitlane speed display, so therefore his first run in was very cautious. On the second run we read him his speeds off the telemetry, which we should have done on the first one, but it was a little bit frantic."



"No, apart from the fact that he couldn't choose any other strategy. He couldn't change did set-up, or gearshift, or traction control or anything like that. And he had no information, no laptime, it was completely blank. So we were giving him that on the radio."



"As he pulled away there were quite a lot of revs and as it upshifted into second it stalled. The software should catch the stalling, but it didn't manage to. We try and run a software that's got the minimum number of control inputs, for reliability, but we are struggling with engine torque in this low rev area, and it's just a matter of Honda and ourselves focussing on it and sorting it out. Basically we should have had nine points out of this race."



"The performance level, yes. It's always difficult to decide exactly where you are, as the tyres colour your ability to judge, and the new qualifying regulations make it quite difficult. The best way to do it is to finish a race without incident, then you can probably judge where your pace it. We think we should be scoring points every race with both cars, and in some races we'll be getting close to the podium. Clearly we want to get on the podium, and we've got to see whether that's practical. The Ferrari is still very strong, and any of the other runners are very competitive. We've just to keep pushing forward."



"It's always difficult to know how much fuel people are running on Fridays, because people do run fuel. Our best information is that we are strong there."



"Yes, I think we would do. It has worked against us. The flipside is that the new scoring has worked with us. If you have three very strong teams, you would just have a points lock-out. It certainly helps the sport by having a bit more variability, but we've lost eight or 10 points through reliability, and it's just not good enough. If you want to be regarded as a top running team, which I believe we've got the capacity and ability to do, we've just got to get that sorted."

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