FEBRUARY 3, 1997
Nick Wirth on the B197
RORY BYRNE and I worked together on this project.
"The rear is the area where the biggest changes were made but, basically, we did a lot of work in all areas. We knew that the 1996 car was not good enough. It was too heavy. It had some aerodynamic disadvantages which we could not cure, so we set out with a clean sheet of paper to do this car; to fix the areas which we felt were wrong and build on the areas which had been good. I think we all realized that there was a fundamental lack of performance in the car. That hampered us in qualifying particularly. There were other things which meant we were much closer to Williams in the races than our theoretical performance should have allowed us to be, so we tried to keep those aspects. I hope we have achieved that. I think we have.
"We worked on all areas of the car and all areas have improved. Traditionally aerodynamics is what makes a difference in the lap times so obviously we concentrated on that. The aerodynamic improvement has come, I think, from packaging rather than producing better wings and bodywork.
"We are still using the old windtunnel. We are building a new one and we are making enormous program with computer technology as well. We are working very hard to cement a very solid engineering foundation in Benetton."