Luciano Burti Q&A

Jaguar test driver Luciano Burti was thrown into the deep end when he took over Eddie Irvine's car at the A1-Ring on Saturday.

Luciano Burti Q&A

He'd never driven round the circuit before, never driven the car in qualifying trim, never done a pit stop, and never done a practice start - and that was just the beginning of his troubles! However, he acquitted himself well and brought the car safely home on Sunday afternoon.

Having missed Friday's practice, he had an awful lot to learn - and clutch problems on Saturday morning did not help. However, the 25-year-old quickly got down to competitive times, despite only getting in 10 flying laps. He went into qualifying with no experience of a low fuel load, and in the circumstances his performance was very impressive.

Although he was down in 21st spot he was only 0.5s off the Williams pair, and very much in the ballpark. On Sunday he was forced to start from the pits after his race car had a problem on the grid. The spare was set up for Johnny Herbert, which caused problems with the Englishman being much shorter than Burti. But at least he was able to duck past the first corner chaos - in Austria the pitlane joins the track after turn 1.

Despite a host of problems, Luciano battled away to the finish. At the end he seemed barely to have broken into a sweat, and retained the calm composure he'd shown all weekend. Adam Cooper caught up with the friendly Brazilian.

"Yes, I think I'll realise a bit more on Monday or when I read the magazines or maybe watch the race on TV. In a way that helped me to stay calm. I didn't think about it too much."

"Put it this way. No one can really make a conclusion, because we had so many problems, it's impossible to make a fair conclusion. But I'm pretty sure it was positive, anyway. It might not change my situation, but maybe it will help a little bit."

"Nothing really. When they told me about it, it was already for sure that I was going to race, and it was just a question of getting approval from the FIA. After that it was fine. To start with I thought it wouldn't happen, but when I realised it was happening I just went to the truck and just talked about the car and the set-up with the engineers, as if it was a normal test day.

"I didn't. It was quite a drama for the team. They had to hire a plane to bring my stuff from England. Maybe we should have had it all here, but it's one of those things that you never expect to happen. The seat was here, but they had to bring pedals, helmet, overalls, ear plugs - everything."

"As well! They were at home. I only wear them for driving, and even then not all the time."

"I finished quite late because we had to do the pedals and belts, so I left the track about 11.30pm. So when I got here in the morning it was all done, all set. I had a good night's sleep."

"My brother called. I didn't want to speak to too many people so I didn't get overexcited. I'm just pretending that's it's a normal race weekend."

"The main thing was going to be learning the track. I've never been here before. But then we had a problem with the clutch, so we didn't do any laps in the first session."

"I knew it was going to be hard anyway, so it was just a bit harder now. So I didn't think about it too much. In the second one again we had a few problems with fuel pressure, so I didn't do too much, and I wasn't able to run on low fuel in the morning."

"The lines are not difficult to learn, but it's very low grip, so it's very easy to make a mistake. You must be very confident to get a lap time. My main target was to stay on the track today. I couldn't afford to go out and lose track time. But it was OK in the end."

"After that you have to push very hard. The set-up must be right and you need to have low fuel. Finding the extra is when you have to really work the car hard. We tried new tyres, the car wasn't right, and we had to stop because of the problem with the car, so we guessed the set-up a little bit for qualifying."

"Actually it was the first time this year that I ran with low fuel in the car. It's quite a bit different in terms of how much you can push. I had to learn the track in qualifying, I had to learn how to drive the car on low fuel. The car was pretty good I have to say, but it wasn't perfect. But it was good enough to be up there, I think. Unfortunately on the last run we didn't make the right change for the car, and actually I went slower. With one more run I'm sure I could go at least 0.5s quicker, which would put me maybe in the top 15, which would have been pretty good."

"I have to say it was pretty good! Of course he does have his own driving style, which is very aggressive. He always very fast on the entry to the corners, and to be able to drive the car like that you need to be confident with the track, you need to know the track well, so you can push hard on the entry. It wasn't the case for me today, because I didn't know the track. I just had adjust the car for myself a little bit."

"I think there was a water leak. I was about to put my helmet on and jump into the car, and they said run to the pits and get the spare car."

"Like me Johnny is a right foot braker, but because he's so short I couldn't use the rest, so I had to left foot brake for the whole race, even though the pedals are for right foot braking. It was one more thing to learn, but considering everything that happened it was easy, I have to say!"

"I saw dust and prices flying, so I knew I was going to gain a few places. As I Ieft I saw guys spinning and everything, and I had a drag race with Villeneuve and Zonta down to the second corner. I passed Ricardo, and I could have tried to overtake Jacques, but I thought that would be too much!"

"After that the car was fine for a few laps, but then the tyre pressures came up too much, and I had big oversteer, and lost traction, so the others pulled away from me. Johnny's pedals were so close that my knees were touching the cockpit, and I think I was pushing the brake even in the straight sometimes, so that made the brakes overheat, and I lost a lot of braking as well. There was one more thing. My right mirror turned down, so I couldn't see. When Pedro and Ricardo were behind me I had to guess that they were trying to overtake me, because I couldn't see properly."

"Fine. I took it easy because I wasn't really in a rush, fighting with someone. So it was OK. When I came back the car was heavier, so the brakes were really a problem, so I was losing a lot of time under braking. In the end when the car was lighter again it wasn't a bad problem, so I pushed a bit harder again, just to show that if I wanted I could be faster."

"Yes, but every time I could see the blue flag. I could see a little bit, but I was lifting so they could pass."

"Actually it was a surprise, because my board was to 71 laps. I thought there was still one to go, but I was lapped. Then I got the chequered flag, so I realised."

"I think they were pretty happy. They know more than anyone what I went through, all the problems that we had, so I think they were happy with what happened."

"I don't know, it just happened! They are all nice guys. Of course Rubens I know very well, and I have to say thanks because he helped me in every way. I could race with Ricardo and Pedro in the race, which was good as well. It was a nice feeling."

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