Wednesday February 28th, 2001
British American Racing are convinced that their impressive pre-season testing will pay dividends when they begin the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday.
The Brackley-based team scored their first ever World Championship points in Melbourne last year as Jacques Villeneuve finished fourth and Ricardo Zonta was sixth, and they now expect to at least equal that result.
"I expect that the first race will be as good as last year," said Villeneuve. "I love going to Melbourne. It's often our best showing of the season and I'm looking forward to racing there."
The chief engineer of BAR Steve Farrell backs up the expectations with conviction, and although all teams are heading into the unknown with the Bridgestone-Michelin tyre war, he believes BAR have done enough.
"We cannot be sure of our relative performance until running starts on Friday, but we have done our best over the winter," said Farrell.
"We feel in good shape having completed a very intensive pre-season test programme, and I think we are quietly confident that we can at least carry on where we left off last year."