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21-Nov: The Mercedes team has confirmed that Jean Alesi will drive for them in the DTM series in 2002. A statement released by the team read "Mercedes-Benz today announced that Jean Alesi will join the brand's line-up for the 2002 DTM. The former Formula One driver, who competed in the 2001 Formula One World Championship for the Prost Acer and the Jordan Honda team is the first new Mercedes-Benz driver to be confirmed for the 2002 season starting on 21 April at Hockenheim.
Mercedes-Benz and Jean Alesi are happy to announce a two-year contract with an option to continue the co-operation after the end of 2003.

Alesi who tested the Mercedes DTM car at Hockenheim two weeks ago said: "I'm very happy to join Mercedes-Benz for the 2002 DTM season. I've always liked the DTM with its close competition. Without the electronic aids assisting you in Formula One the DTM cars are very challenging, that's what I like very much. Therefore my decision to join Mercedes-Benz for the DTM in 2002 comes as the result of the test I had in Hockenheim a few weeks ago. I'm very much looking forward to compete in the best touring car series in the world and to race against the best touring car drivers world wide. I consider my DTM involvement to be a big challenge for my further racing career"

Mercedes boss Norbert Haug added: "Jean Alesi is the perfect completion to our line-up of experienced drivers and young talents. He performed impressively during his test and I am sure he will successfully contribute to our team's performance in the upcoming years. In the last 13 years in Formula One Jean was always one of the fastest drivers and his style of driving and his personality is very much liked by the public. When the opportunity to contract Jean for the DTM arose we didn't hesitate and now all team members are very happy to have him in a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM next year."

18-Nov: Takuma Sato who will be driving for Jordan next year in Formula 1 has won the Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup at Macau. Sato has now won the British F3 Championship, the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort and the F3 Intercontinental Cup at Macau. Sato was very happy to win at Macau especially after crashing out of the event last year and said "I am totally happy now. This is obviously my last major F3 Grand Prix race ever and I am so happy to come back here. It is always difficult to race here. But in the end I drove hard, enjoyed my racing and won."
Sato will be driving for Jordan alongside Giancarlo Fisichella.

Luciano Burti was very pleased with the announcement that he'll be a test driver for Ferrari describing it as a 'real dream'. He said "From a personal point of view, all I can say is that I am very happy. It is fantastic to be able to work with a team like Ferrari. I am really very pleased. To be able to drive for them is a real dream for any racing driver. From a professional point of view, I am aware of the importance of the role of test driver in a team like Ferrari, which is fighting for the championship title."

17-Nov: The Williams team have signed Antonio Pizzonia as their second official test driver for the 2002 season testing alongside Marc Gene and the 2 Williams regular drivers. Pizzonia will continue to compete in the International F3000 series.
Frank Williams said "We know Antonio well as he has already done some testing for us and he is a good choice in addition to Marc Gené, a very experienced driver. The demands for instant feedback from tests is becoming more and more important, so having two test drivers is necessary. Our engineers were very impressed with the work he has done in the past and so we are sure he will be a great asset to the team.”

16-Nov: The Ferrari team announced today that former Jaguar and Prost driver  Luciano Burti has signed with them as a test driver working alongside Luca Badoer. Burti first drove in Formula 1 at the 2000 Austrian GP when Eddie Irvine pulled out of the race. In 2001 he replaced Johnny Herbert at Jaguar but only drove for the team in the first 4 races. He moved to Prost from the Spanish GP and drove 10 races for them. At the Belgian GP, Burti had a massive crash that left him out of action for the remainder of the season. 
Since his crash, Burti hinted that he won't be driving for Prost and that his return to Formula 1 will have to be with a competitive team. 
If he proves himself in testing at Ferrari, he could get a seat in 2003 ?


Renault Formula 1 announced that they will be launching their 2002 contender on the 27th of January.
This marks the official return of Renault to Formula 1 after the French team left Formula 1 in 1985 after a 9 year stint with their best result in 1983 when they finished 2nd in the Constructors' Championship behind Ferrari.
Renault bought the Benetton team in 2000 with the team changing its name to Renault in 2002.
Team boss Flavio Briatore has recently indicated that they are hoping to challenge McLaren for 3rd in 2002 with their eyes set on the title in 2003. He said "Our aim is to fight for the championship from 2003. It will be difficult to go and upset Ferrari and Williams in the short term but why not McLaren?."
Renault's drivers for the 2002 season will be Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button with Fernando Alonso as their test driver. Alonso is expected to take Button's seat in 2003 when his contract with the team expires.

15-Nov: The Toyota Formula 1 team has submitted their official entry form for the 2002 Formula 1 season right on the deadline of the 15th of November. They have done so in order to maximise the amount of testing they can do before the test ban applies to them.
The Toyota team issued a statement that read "Toyota has officially submitted its entry form to take part in the 2002 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. The team will run using the name Panasonic Toyota Racing.
The deadline for all applications to enter the 2002 FIA World Championship is 15 November. As a result of this formal application all teams must subsequently adhere to a testing ban, which runs until January 2002.
In accordance with the rules, Toyota's formal application coincides with the end of the team's final test session of 2001, which was concluded at Circuit Paul Ricard in the south of France earlier today. Both Mika Salo and Allan McNish were in action during the two-week long session.
Since the launch of its test car in March, the Toyota team has carried out test sessions at 11 Grand Prix circuits worldwide in addition to numerous visits to its home track of Paul Ricard. In this 8-month period, Allan and Mika have completed a combined total of over 3000 laps on these circuits. The Scot has around 9,000 kilometres under his belt, whilst Salo has driven in excess of 6,000 kilometres. 
Toyota will unveil its 2002 contender - its first ever F1 race car - Cologne on 17 December 2001."

12-Nov: Australian Ryan Briscoe has for the first time tested the Toyota F1 car at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. The Toyota team wanted Briscoe to test drive the car before the 15th of November when they will stop testing until January 2002.
Briscoe was delighted and impressed with the test and said "It's just great to drive the Toyota F1 car. The power, the brakes, the handling everything about an F1 car is just so impressive. This has been a great opportunity for me to get up to speed and get the feel of an F1 car.
Driving the F1 car is something I've always wanted to do, but it's all very low key at the moment, I'm just doing some laps before the test ban comes in later this week."
Toyota have signed Briscoe in their young drivers' development program but it is not yet clear whether Briscoe will secure a Formula 1 test deal with the team for 2002.
Briscoe has won the 2001 Italian Formula Renault Championship and is expected to drive in Formula Three in 2002. 

11-Nov: At the traditional Granja Vianna 500 karting event in Brazil, Rubens Barrichello driving for the Tic-Tac team won the race with co-drivers Tony Kanaan and Mario Haberfield. 
The race was interrupted by rain which helped Barrichello make up a number of places and take the lead. Rubens said "This is a very important win for all three of us, as none of us managed a win in our own disciplines this season. I had driven on this track a few days earlier and I knew there was a chance of rain today. We therefore set up the kart to be good in these conditions. Despite this, we did not have the quickest machine on the track as it lacked a bit of straight line speed, but the rain wiped out the difference with the other karts. Our team worked very well, putting all our plans into operation. After three hours, I started to feel a bit tired and, at the end, my hands were hurting a lot because of all the driving I had done."
This was Barrichello's and Kanaan's 3rd victory in the event having won in 1998 and 2000. Christian Fittipaldi drove with them then.

Formula 1 drivers Enrique Bernoldi and Ricardo Zonta who were part of the Red Bull team finished in 13th place.

9-Nov: Ferrari's Technical Director Ross Brawn has admitted that the team may have to start the 2002 season with their 2001 car. As a contingency plan, Ferrari may have to revert to using this season's car for the first few races of next season. This would be mainly due to the limited amount of track testing available to test the new engine and transmission units between the start of pre-season testing in January and the beginning of the season on the 3rd of March in Melbourne, Australia.
Speaking to the BBC, Brawn said "There are some development items on the new car, and because of the testing restrictions we won't know what position we're in until we can start testing in the new year. It's unusual this time in that you can start the new season with the old car. Because of rule changes, that has not been the case for some time. So we have it as an insurance policy. But it has been a bit exaggerated in the press."

7-Nov: Gary Anderson who is a founding member of the Jordan team has decided to go back to Jordan after 3 years working at Jaguar Racing and Reynard Motorsport. He left Jordan in 1998 to join the Stewart team and continued with Jaguar for 1 year before moving to Reynard Motorsports in the US. He rejoins the team as the Director of Race and Test Engineering. 
Eddie Jordan commented on the appointment by saying "Gary has been a huge part of Jordan Grand Prix's history. I believe his capabilities have been strengthened by his time spent in other teams and he will be an enormous asset to Jordan."
Gary Anderson said "I am thrilled to be returning to Jordan Grand Prix. Working at Jaguar and Reynard has been an important phase in my career. I am now able to use additional experience gained from those projects to work with Jordan on building for future success."

5-Nov: McLaren's boss Ron Dennis is confident that the team will overcome the problems they faced last season and will be able to challenge for the Championship in 2002. He indicated that while their aim is to win, the changes they will undertake will not be revolutionary adding that the team is undergoing a detailed self-analysis of every aspect of their operations.
Dennis also announced a new technical steering committee with the aim of ensuring a more focused technical approach. The committee is comprised of Technical Director Adrian Newey, Managing Director Martin Whitmarsh, Hans-Peter Kollmeier from Mercedes and Mario Ilien from Ilmor. 
Dennis also addressed the concerns over the current economic conditions indicating that they are fully prepared and said "We know where we are going. We have for example 99.9 percent of our 2002 budget. Far more impressive, we have in excess of 90 percent of our 2003 budget, in excess of 85 percent of our 2004 budget, in excess of 80 for 2005. We have stability, we are supported by many blue chip companies who like us are facing a difficult commercial period but are rising to the challenge. When the going gets tough, the tough get going and we have been working hard since June to improve our performance. We are just bullish about the future and are very determined to achieve our goals.


Following the announcement that Williams Chief Aerodynamicist Geoff Willis is heading to BAR as their Technical Director from March 2002 (story), the team decided to promote 2 Engineers to fill the role of Willis. Nick Alcock and Jason Somerville will take on the responsibilities of Willis and so will Gavin Fisher, the Williams Chief Designer. 
This move is similar to the decision taken by Williams in '97 when Adrian Newey left for McLaren and Willis and Fisher were promoted to take over.

3-Nov: Spanish sensation Fernando Alonso will be the test driver for the Renault Formula 1 team in 2002. The 20 year old Spaniard drove for Minardi last season and impressed everyone particularly in Qualifying where he often put the Minardi ahead of other - more capable - teams. The announcement is not much of a surprise particularly when Flavio Briatore who runs the Renault Formula 1 team has a contract with Alonso. Briatore said "We have followed Fernando's performance very closely this season. He did an excellent job, and we therefore decided that it was important to integrate him quickly into the Renault F1 program. As our test driver next year, Fernando will have the opportunity to fully develop his talent and, in the seasons to come, I'm sure that he will be a strong asset in the team's challenge for the championship."

Speaking to F1-Live.com, Fernando Alonso was happy with the decision and believes that testing for a year will not affect his career and said "That was one of the options I had for next year and I think it was the best choice. Integrating myself as fast as possible into the team with which I should be racing in the future is something important to me. This year I learned what a GP is, but I believe that with Renault there is a future full of hope and more importantly test and development work. To start working with the engineers and members of the team is important for later on. Competition is important, but at my age I can stay as a test-driver for one year in order to learn and my career will not be altered by this."

Alonso is likely to take over from Jenson Button in 2003 when Button's contract with Renault expires (Button is on a 2 year loan from Williams).

It is not clear what the future holds for Australian Mark Webber who was the official Benetton (now Renault) test driver in 2001. He may be offered Alonso's seat at Minardi in 2002 to drive alongside Alex Yoong.


British F3 Champion and newly signed Jordan driver Takuma Sato is setting his target high even before racing in Formula 1. He is aiming for the World Title and said "I will be world champion. Winning in Formula One is my ultimate target and, one day, when I have the opportunity, I will take it. It is not going to happen immediately. I want to develop myself little by little, step by step. I just want to concentrate on my job and, hopefully, soon I will reach the same level as my team-mate. That is my target for next year."
Sato's team-mate at Jordan in 2002 is Giancarlo Fisichella.

Click here for the team and driver line-up for 2002

2-Nov: The partnership between Pedro Diniz and the Prost team didn't survive for long. Less than a year ago, Pedro Diniz purchased a significant stake in the Prost team (story), now he is walking away away. Diniz said "I do not want to go into details, but I didn't agree with the technical and financial strategy, so I left. Alain Prost in the main shareholder and now it's his responsibility. I hope the problems will be solved but the future of the team was affected by decisions that I did not agree with. I believe we will know what the future of the team will be by December."
The Prost team have yet to make an official statement.


Jaguar becomes the 3rd team to announce the launch date of their 2002 contender. They will launch their car on the 4th of January and aim to take the car to Barcelona on the 8th for the first test session of the 2002 season.
Niki Lauda said "We are working flat out on to start testing on the 8th and hopefully the car will work. The more testing we get in the easier it will be to finish in Melbourne.”

Click here for the team and driver line-up for 2002  

1-Nov: Mika Hakkinen has revealed that he may ask Ron Dennis for a test drive of the 2002 McLaren if he feels the urge to return to racing and said "If I suddenly get the feeling that there is no sense in being away and I must be able to race again, then there we go again. When it comes, then we will see what happens. I know that if I want to test again, everything is possible. Ron Dennis understands me very well in this kind of a situation. If my fingers are going to itch too much during next year, I believe that McLaren will be able to find one extra car for me to test."
Hakkinen once again indicated that he is not ready to retire and is confident that he will return to Formula 1 racing in the future and said "Like I have said many times before, I feel that driving is the thing I can do better than anything else and I know that the spark to race has not died. It was only a question of my body needing some rest. It is very likely that I will be racing an F1 car again, but it is impossible to say exactly when. Ask me again in a few months."


Toyota announced their launch date for the 2002 contender. The launch will take place in Cologne in Germany on the 17th of December 2001. Toyota have earlier confirmed their driver line-up with Mika Salo and Allan McNish to drive for the team in their debut season. 
Most of the Formula 1 teams are expected to launch their 2002 contenders in January however BAR are expected to launch their contender on the 18th of December 2001.

Click here for the team and driver line-up for 2002  

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