FEBRUARY 14, 2003

Jaguar signs up for Friday testing

Jaguar announced Friday that they will join Renault, Jordan and Minardi in the two one-hour testing sessions on the Fridays of grands prix. By doing so, the team will be limited to 20 additional testing days during the season with one car at each test, a variation on the deal originally offered by the FIA of ten additional testing days with an unlimited number of cars.

In an effort to cut team operating costs, the FIA offered teams late last year a chance to have more track time at each grand prix in lieu of unlimited testing during the season. The teams who signed up for the extra track time were to be limited to just ten days of additional testing during the season, reducing testing costs considerably. Renault, Jordan and Minardi signed up for the program in November.

Jaguar says they have been offered an alternative deal, however. Rather than the ten additional testing days with an unlimited number of cars originally offered, the team has the opportunity to test twenty days with just one car.

"The management have done their sums very carefully on this, weighed up every alternative and we are convinced that this gives us considerably more bang for our buck," said team spokesman Nav Sidhu. "Within the new framework, we can now have 20 one-car test sessions which, to be honest, isn't too different to what we had planned in the first instance." The team had initially planned 26 testing days during the season.

Jaguar says that the extra track time for their young drivers will be the main advantage of the program, and it will also allow the team to simplify its testing program.

"First and foremost, our drivers will now have an extra two hours to familiarize themselves with the circuits and in Antonio's case, this is invaluable given his debut season as an F1 driver."

"In addition, it makes our logistical operation more efficient in that we are not having to continuously transport cars from races to tests."

"Instead, we can have one car dedicated to testing and three others dedicated entirely to the race schedule. There is no transferring of cars, equipment or people."