Jaguar encouraged for Monza

Jaguar is quietly confident that it can score points for the second consecutive race at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix - but team boss Niki Lauda is refusing to get carried away despite Pedro de la Rosa topping the times at last week's Monza test

Jaguar encouraged for Monza

The team believes that the R3 should be competitive in its low-downforce guise at the Italian track. Eddie Irvine finished sixth at the Belgian GP two weeks ago when Jaguar put in its most competitive performance of the season.

"We completed three days of testing last week in Monza in preparation for this weekend's race," said Lauda. "It was a constructive test that went quite some way towards highlighting the strengths of our package under low-downforce conditions.

"Nevertheless, one should never take test times too seriously and until everyone takes to the track for qualifying, it would be foolish to make any predictions about the weekend ahead of us."

Following a difficult start to the year, when the team considered switching back to last year's R2 after problems with the R3, the team believes that genuine progress has been made.

"There isn't one thing in particular that you could pinpoint and credit for our recently improved pace," said Lauda. "Instead, the team has been chipping away endlessly all season and combined with some good testing work, we are now seeing some encouraging signs.

"Both Jaguars were around a tenth off the Williams and McLarens at Spa compared to around two seconds earlier in the season. The Michelin tyres are undoubtedly playing a key part in this, but we are now exploiting the tyres better because of the downforce improvements that have been made to the Jaguar R3."

Jaguar lies eighth in the constructors' standings, a single point behind British American Racing.

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