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Can McLaren continue their
Schumacher MUST win
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28-Aug: Nick Heidfeld is leaving Prost and joining the Sauber team after the option Prost had on Heidfeld expired. The Sauber team signed the former F3000 champion for 3 years replacing Mika Salo who will be testing for Toyota next year. It is not clear yet whether Heidfeld will drive alongside Pedro Diniz or someone else at Sauber.
Nick Heidfeld was happy to join the Sauber team and said "I am happy about the
contract and the possibility to work with Team RED BULL SAUBER PETRONAS. I believe that
the team has the potential to make further progress and I will give my best to make a
Alain Prost indicated that Nick Heidfeld wouldn't fit into the team's plan for next year when he said "Nick did a good job for us this year, but we decided he would not fit into the strategy we are putting in place for next year. I sincerely wish him the best success for his future
28-Aug: Patrick Head was excited about the race and very pleased to have one of his drivers on the podium once again this season. He was not as pleased though with Jenson Button who finished fifth and said "Jenson's little contretemps with Trulli certainly ended Trulli's race, it also took Jenson away from a chance of a podium." Jenson Button's point of view on the incident was certainly different when he said "I tried to move to his (Trulli's) inside but when he moved across on me there was not way I could avoid him." Jenson also described the car better in the wet than in the dry as David Coulthard managed to pass him towards the end of the race on a dry track.
Jacques Villeneuve who finished 7th and was aiming at a points finish before the race described his race as very boring and complained of understeer which he couldn't understand as they had a lot of oversteer all weekend. He added that while he was very disappointed to miss out on the points he was satisfied by the fact that the straight line speed he had enabled him to stay ahead of Barrichello during the first part of the race
Both Arrows drivers would rather forget Belgium after each driver had to pit 4 times!. Pedro de la Rosa was penalised with a 10 second stop-go penalty for overtaking Pedro Diniz while the safety car was on track and had a puncture after his first stop forcing him to pit again! Pedro didn't think that the penalty was fair as he passed Diniz while he was trying to avoid hitting him as Diniz was struggling on dry tyres. Jos Verstappen also had 4 pits stops. He hit the back of Fisichella when Fisichella suddenly stopped and had to go in for a front wing, then he flat spotted one of his tyres and had to go back to put on new tyres. He was happy to go home and forget about the race. Team boss Tom Walkinshaw described the race as a character building exercise and added that he had never seen a race with so much pit activity for the team and thought that the only thing they didn't do to their cars during the pit stops was to wash them.
27-Aug: David Coulthard expressed his disappointment to have finished 4th as he was hoping to win. He indicated that he lost a lot of time when he stayed on wet tyres and everyone switched to dry and after that he was frustrated to be stuck behind Frentzen until he passed him in the pits. He was satisfied though that he managed to pass Jenson Button on the track. Ron Dennis described Mika Hakkinen's overtaking manoeuvre as one of the greatest in Formula 1 history and acknowledged that David's result was hampered by the teams decision to bring one lap after Hakkinen but he assured Coulthard that the team will continue to give both drivers equal status at the upcoming Grand Prix in Monza.
Jarno Trulli who retired on the 5 lap of the race after Jenson Button touched the back of his car forcing him into a spin and retirement thought that Jenson Button was too aggressive too soon as he (Trulli) was being passed at the same corner by Michael Schumacher and Button should have waited. He considers himself unlucky yet again and for now he looks forward to Monza.
Giancarlo Fisichella describes this
weekend as disastrous as on Saturday he only managed to qualify in the last 10 minutes of
the session after having to share the spare car with Alexander Wurz, this morning in the
warm-up he crashed heavily after spinning out of control and during the race his car just
stopped due to an electrical problem. Giancarlo Fisichella has now failed to finish in the
last 4 races. Before that he had the most reliable record this season after finishing the
first 9 races of the season!
Jean Alesi retired from the race with a
broken fuel pipe but prior to retiring was running 4th at one stage thanks to his decision
to switch to dry tyres very early in the race. A decision that helped him move from 17th
to 4th. Unfortunately for himself and the team he retired and lost the chance of scoring
the first points for the team this season. He said "What is important is to show how
much I am willing to bring a good result to the team. There are still four races to go.
All we need to do is to work and to believe. At least I hope this race brought a bit of
oxygen to the team.
At the winners press conference, Mika Hakkinen described the
race as incredible, very difficult, very enjoyable and fabulous to drive!. He considers
himself lucky to recover from the spin early in the race and described his overtaking
manoeuvre on Michael Schumacher as great. He added that he had to go on the inside of
Ricardo Zonta when Michael went on the outside as there was no point of him following
Michael and then try to pass as Michael would have closed the door.
Michael Schumacher said that nothing could have helped him keep Mika behind him as he was so much faster on the straight. When Hakkinen overtook him, he thought that he was lucky to have Ricardo Zonta there as he thought only 2 cars can fit next to each other however Hakkinen made an outstanding manoeuvre which Schumacher didn't expect and managed to pass both Zonta and himself. Schumacher added that even of he didn't pass him on that lap he would have managed to pass him in the next couple of laps as he was simply too fast. He concluded by saying that they managed to get six points so the championship is still alive despite slipping back a little but they will keep going for it and it is not the end now.
Ralf Schumacher was happy with 3rd place as it was the best they could have hoped for. He was confident that they will be strong in wet conditions and proved that. He hopes that Williams will maintain their 3rd place in the constructors championship by scoring more points and possibly podiums in the 4 remaining races.
27-Aug: Belgian GP - Race: Mika Hakkinen wins ahead of Michael Schumacher in a thrilling race between the 2 drivers. Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard, Jenson Button and Heinz Harald Frentzen make the top 6 ... Full Report ...Timed Results
The session had a number on incidents with Pedro Diniz stopping on the track on the installation lap then 18 minutes into the session Fisichella lost control of the car and spun backwards into the tyre barrier. His car flipped in the air and landed upside down. Fisichella was not hurt but the session was stopped for 22 minutes to clear the track and rebuild the damaged tyre wall. Towards the end of the session several drivers went off but managed to recover however Jacques Villeneuve spun and hit the tyre wall damaging his car slightly.
Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Mika Salo did the most number of laps with 13 while Fisichella did the least with 6. Jenson Button only did 9 laps but still managed 3rd just 0.002 seconds slower than Michael Schumacher.
Rain is expected throughout the day which should make the race even more exciting!
Michael Schumacher (4th) has indicated that being 4th on the grid and almost a
second off pole position is not satisfying and that they will need to work on improving
the performance before the race. He added that he didn't get a clear run on any of his
attempts as yellow flags and traffic slowed him down. He expects the race to be
interesting especially that the weather is expected to change.
David Coulthard (5th) indicated that he only had 1 real run in qualifying as all his other attempts were slowed by traffic or yellow flags. He added that the balance of the car was reasonable but he had struggled with overall grip.
Heinz Harald Frentzen (8th) has admitted that he unintentionally blocked Coulthard as his didn't see him until the last moment but he believes that Coulthard blocked him twice afterwards which he felt was unfair especially that the second time he had to cut across the corner to avoid Coulthard causing his time to be disallowed.
Jacques Villeneuve (7th) admitted the he didn't take Eau Rouge flat as promised as the back of the car was a bit loose. He also said that he made a small mistake on his final lap which cost him a few tenths which would have pushed him into the top 6. He expects a strong performance tomorrow and is aiming for a points finish and possibly a podium. His team-mate Ricardo Zonta qualified in 13th and indicated that he was still losing time through Eau Rouge but his confidence was getting better.
Both Benetton drivers had very bad luck when both their cars suffered from engine problems before setting any timed laps. They had to share the spare car. Fisichella went into the car with 7 minutes to go and did the best he could to qualify in 11th with only 1 run. Wurz was very disappointed given that he was faster than Hakkinen on the first sector early in the session and only managed 19th in the spare which was not setup for him.
26-Aug: At the post qualifying press conference, Mika Hakkinen went out early in the session to try out some radical changes to the car after the practice session. As for the Ferrari's lack of pace, he pointed out that Michael Schumacher was very competitive in the first 2 sectors during his last run but had to slow down because of traffic. When asked if he will have a third super start tomorrow he said that he will try to maintain his consistent starts but it also depends on how the drivers around him will start.
Jarno Trulli was very pleased with his result as he was targeting a top 5 position but indicated that the car worked very well. He has equalled his best qualifying this year (Monaco) and is hoping to go one better tomorrow.
Jenson Button was just a little bit amazed at his 3rd place on the grid. He was hoping for a top 6 position but he was so pleased to be in 3rd for the first time. He added that the steering was a bit heavy towards the end of the session and his muscles were not big enough for F1 yet!. He also described Eau Rouge as a great corner although he didn't take it flat!
26-Aug: Belgian GP - Qualifying: Mika Hakkinen grabs pole position ahead of Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button. Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6 ... Full Report ...Timed Results
26-Aug: Belgian GP - 2nd Saturday Practice Session: Mika Hakkinen stays at the top of the timesheets ahead of Jenson Button and Jarno Trulli. Heinz Harald Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard make the top 6. Michael Schumacher is 7th while Rubens Barrichello is 9th ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
26-Aug: Belgian GP - 1st Saturday Practice Session: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Heinz Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli. Ralf Schumacher, David Coulthard and Jenson Button make the top 6. Michael Schumacher was 7th and Rubens Barrichello was 14th ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
25-Aug: Jacques Villeneuve (4th) was pleased with the work they have done on Friday and is looking forward to an interesting qualifying session. He did admit that he has not taken Eau Rouge flat yet but is saving that for Saturday!. His team-mate Ricardo Zonta (15th) wasn't so confident attacking Eau Rouge and said "I am losing half a second to Jacques through Eau Rouge, so I need to get my confidence back through this corner after last year's accident." Both Villeneuve and Zonta crashed heavily at Eau Rouge last year.
Michael Schumacher (5th) wasn't too concerned about his position on Friday practice and described his car as "not too bad". He did indicate though that they must improve in the middle sector as they were losing a lot of time there. His team-mate Rubens Barrichello (9th) was not happy with the balance of his car and is will be looking on how to improve the performance for qualifying.
Pedro de la Rosa (20th) had a hydraulic problem after his first run in the first session but also lost half of the second session while the car was being fixed. Despite that he was reasonably happy with the car as he ran a few laps with old tyres and a lot of fuel. His team-mate Jos Verstappen (7th) had some electrical problems which affected his progress. He also made a lot of changes to the car to get it right. He is hoping to get on top of those problems and do well in qualifying.
Jenson Button (13th) raced before at Spa but this was his first time in a Formula 1 car. He said "Its simply amazing how different it is to run in an F1 car on this track. I have raced here before in an F3 car, which is much slower of course. The right word for it is "outrageous". His team-mate Ralf Schumacher (12th) indicated that they appear to be struggling on the slow parts of the track and that is something that they'll need to work on.
Jean Alesi (21st) indicated that the times set shows that the car isn't competitive and they'll be working hard to improve the situation. His team-mate Nick Heidfeld (22nd) echoed Alesi's comments and said "Although I don't like admitting it, the car is very difficult to drive here and up until now, we have not found the right balance.
25-Aug: At the Friday press conference for the Belgian GP, Jos Verstappen doesn't know who will he be driving for in 2001 but indicated that he is talking to Arrows and another team and thinks that he will be in F1 in 2001. He added that Arrows must work hard as they have lost ground to other teams.
Heinz Harald Frentzen enjoys the challenge from his team-mate Jarno Trulli. He praised Trulli by saying that he is a very talented driver and is always fighting for a win or a podium position. He added that it a good situation to be in because it gets the best out of him and otherwise it would be boring.
Jean Alesi indicated that his experience in F1 has helped him cope with the current situation at Prost, he prefers to have a better car but that won't change immediately. As for next year, he confirmed that he will stay at Prost if Alain Prost stays.
Corrado Provera indicated that Peugeot is very pleased with the AMT deal given that AMT have already started work on the next evolution of the Peugeot engine. He added that the new engine will be tested in the Arrows in October and that AMT will introduce a completely new engine in 2002. He also said that budget constraints have prevented them from building the best engines but now that AMT is prepared to significantly increase funding, he expects to show everyone how competitive they can be.
Jean Todt was first asked about the
current situation at Ferrari given that they have lost the lead in both championships. He
said that the situation makes them even more determined to get back into the lead but
admitted that is has been a very difficult championship. As for the rumour stating that
Adrian Newey is going to Ferrari for an estimated $36 million. He answered by saying that
the last time Ferrari talked to Newey was in 1995 and they have not been in contact since
then. He added that the best thing is to keep the current team together at Ferrari and
that there is no truth to this story. Ron Dennis commented as well on
this issue and said that he and Adrian were amused about the rumour and doesn't believe
that there is any truth to it. He added that while Adrian is not a shareholder he is truly
part of the operations and is involved in every aspect of the team. He also said that
Adrian is paid well but not in his wildest dreams would they pay him as well as the $36
million the article suggested.
Both Jean Todt and Ron Dennis
answered a question regarding the letter sent by Ferrari to the Austrian GP Stewards. Jean
Todt started by saying that Ferrari respect McLaren but they have to fight and
felt that they should comment on the situation and sent a letter to the FIA and the team
involved. Ron Dennis first expressed his disappointment that this issue
was raised again but stated that he wanted to correct what Jean said as the letter was
addressed to the Stewards of the Austrian GP and there is no provision for letters to be
addressed to the Stewards which is a fact and that is why the Stewards ruled that the
letter was inadmissible and was disregarded in the first 30 seconds but that was after
they have read it. He added that it is not productive to Grand Prix racing or to the
relationship with Ferrari which is a difficult one. He finished by saying that they will
fight Ferrari on or off the circuit in any way that is required.
25-Aug: Belgian GP - 2nd Friday Practice Session: David Coulthard fastest ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Johnny Herbert. Jacques Villeneuve, Michael Schumacher and Alexander Wurz make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results
25-Aug: Belgian GP - 1st Friday Practice Session: David Coulthard set the fastest time of the session ahead of Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. Trulli, Barrichello and Villeneuve make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results
At the Thursday press conference for the Belgian GP, Michael Schumacher
first said that he was not very unhappy following the Hungarian race and had worst days
but he was not very excited either. As for his starts, he indicated that in Hungary he and
a few other drivers had a good start however Hakkinen had an even a better one. He went on
to say that he already had a few good starts this year but it is not something that can be
done at every race.
Mika Hakkinen described keeping the lead
in the championship as very hard work. He knows that it will be very tough and said that
life will not be easy to maintain the lead. He went as far as describing the feeling as
terrible and added that being in the lead gives a fantastic feeling, keeping the lead
until the end is what is hard!
David Coulthard took a break from testing
last week and when asked if that will help him win, he indicated while he is hoping to be
quick this weekend, he doesn't believe that taking a break will win you races but if he
does win and the press puts the reason down to having a break, he will not mind!.
Alain Prost indicated that the Prost team
has nothing to announce as they have nothing signed and nothing fixed. He hopes to be
announcing something next week and is quite optimistic about that.
Egbhal Hamidy (Arrows designer) indicated
that he was very pleased with this year's Arrows but not as pleased as he would have
liked. He added that starting work on the car late has caused the reliability problems
they have encountered at the start of the season but they are getting more reliable and
also working on the pace of the car.
The group were also asked about the prospect of bringing back Friday qualifying, Alain Prost said that the teams will have a discussion about the future of Formula 1 next week in London. Prost favours 2 qualifying sessions (Friday and Saturday) with combined time rather than the best time. All three drivers however were in favour of removing Friday all together and having practice and qualifying on Saturday and making the even a weekend event.
24-Aug: The Sauber team has confirmed that Mika Salo will leave the team at the end of this season to join the new Toyota Formula 1 team. He will be the test driver for Toyota in 2001 and drive for them in 2002 when they enter the sport. from 2001. An official statement by the Sauber team said "Peter Sauber accepts the decision of Mika Salo and is convinced that he will give his best for team Red Bull Sauber Petronas in the remaining races of this season."
Despite the fact that Salo is contracted until the end of
2001, it is believed that Salo has a performance clause that allows him to be free to join
The Toyota Formula 1 team made an official announcement
regarding their driver lineup for the 2001 test program.
24-Aug: "Schumacher MUST win" is the title of the 26th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2000 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Belgian Grand Prix - Check it out here !!