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Issue 36 - The Heretic  

1 - 11 December  

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11-Dec: Several drivers have expressed different views regarding the re-introduction of traction control during the 2001 season. Several teams have been testing traction control systems during the last testing session at Jerez in anticipation of the new rules.
David Coulthard is against it and said "I want to change my own gears and I don't want computers to help prevent wheelspin".
Heinz Harald Frentzen believes it will make it harder for drivers to shine and said "It takes most of the skill out of wet weather driving and although it will never turn a bad driver into a good one, it could make him look a lot better than what he really is."
Rubens Barrichello doesn't believe it will be good from a driving perspective but said "I think that traction control will not be good for pure driving. But saying that, there are a lot of people who believe that some teams are already using traction control and I am all for equality. It is important for the cars to be similar. To do that, if we have to have traction control, that is the way it has to be."
Ralf Schumacher who never drove a Formula 1 car with traction control agrees with it as it will create a level playing field and said "
I have had no experience of traction control but I say get the electronic aids back. Some people seem to start regularly without wheelspin, I don't know how they do it. If we can all do that legally it must be better for Formula1."
Jenson Button echoed his former teammate comments and said "I'm not sure how different it will be but I suppose it will be better because we will be on the same playing field."

Patrick Head wants Juan Pablo Montoya to raise his game the same way Jacques Villeneuve did when he moved from CART to F1. Patrick Head indicated that Montoya is 5kg heavier than when he was a test driver in 98 and that he needs to work on his physical fitness levels if he wants to make it in Formula 1. Patrick added that Montoya will need to follow Jacques' example "When Jacques came into Formula1, I think he thought 'Oh this is going to be tough'. To his credit he went away and worked his arse off to get himself fitter and tougher and harder."

S10-Dec: Juan Pablo Montoya was delighted with the way his first test at Jerez went. He felt very comfortable with the car and felt like he has been driving it all year. Montoya added "These three days in Jerez have certainly exceeded my expectations. I didn’t expect to be on the pace right from the beginning and I’m obviously delighted with my return to Formula One.
I’m very surprised at how I’ve adapted to my return to this team."

Montoya was impressed with the Michelin tyres but expects more from them, he was also happy with the new BMW engine and said "Michelin still have some work to do, but they deserve credit for being at this stage of development. I’ve been driving the FW22 with the 2000 spec BMW engine and I’ve been pleasantly surprised at its power and drivability when compared to my last F1 experience."

Regarding the groove tyres and the lack of grip, Montoya said "Contrary to what people told me beforehand, I didn’t suffer any problems with grooved tyres and subsequently grip levels, everything felt good and comfortable with the car."

9-Dec: The FIA World Motor Sport Council has accepted the recommendation of the Technical Working Group that traction control allows for smoother starts, reduce wheelspin and provide more grip in the corners and in the wet.
But the council wants the Technical Working Group to propose measures that will absolutely guarantee that no additional electronics will be used as an aid to competitive driving in Formula 1.

If the team bosses approve these new measures on February the 14th and the World Motor Sport Council accepts them on the 1st of March, unrestricted use of engine electronics could be permitted in time for the Spanish GP on the 29th of April.

8-Dec: Rubens Barrichello has indicated the no one believes David Coulthard when he talks about winning the World Championship because he said that every year for the last 5 years!. Barrichello also indicated that he believes that he can mount a challenge to Hakkinen and Schumacher and said "At the moment I think I can be up there with Mika and Michael, because I feel more confident."

Following the FIA's granting of a superlicense to Kimi Raikkonen, Ralf Schumacher has warned against drivers being allowed into Formula 1 without going through the lower Formulas of F3 and F3000. Ralf said "I'm not saying anything against Raikkonen personally but there are rules that you must respect. In my opinion you should not go directly from Formula Renault into F1.
To become an F1 driver you have to go through at least one Formula Three season, if not one in Formula 3000."
Those Formulas are the schools for F1 and if you don't need to go through them anymore, they might disappear. It wouldn't be a good thing because that's where you learn the job."

Ralf also indicated that he and Montoya spoke a bit and got on well. He added that Montoya seemed to be a nice guy. As for lap time comparison between the two at Jerez, Ralf said "I didn't look at the times, but I know what to expect. There's no number one at Williams. Whoever is the fastest will be the number one."

8-Dec: Olivier Panis who clocked the fastest time on the final day of testing at Jerez this week has indicated his surprise for such a result and said "We had a very good day, we improved the car and made various set-up changes that we were happy with. I was a little surprised that I went quickest, but obviously I am happy to be at the front!"

BAR Test team manager, Andrew Alsworth was very happy with the way the testing at Jerez went and said "Its nice to be testing again after our short break. Everyone was looking forward to working with Olivier. We have had three good days with wet and dry running. Today Olivier was quickest, so its a nice ending to the test. Darren also did a good job on the chassis development and traction control programme, so all in all we have had a very productive test here in Jerez."

Jenson Button had his first taste of the Benetton car this week at Jerez and he has indicated his satisfaction with the way things went despite the weather and said "We have had a satisfying first test, in spite of the weather. With all the rain and wind it has been more like England than Spain! The team and I have completed some good groundwork with the tyres and I'm happy with how the car feels. I also feel I have settled in well with the team already."

7-Dec: Olivier Panis seems to carry on the form he demonstrated at McLaren last season when he was a test driver but this time in the BAR. Panis set the fastest time of the day on the final day of testing at Jerez ahead of Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. Nick Heidfeld, Jarno Trulli and Kimi Raikkonen make the top 6.
The session was interrupted by heavy rains in the afternoon preventing anyone from improving their times set in the morning.

16 drivers and 9 teams were present on the final day. Rubens Barrichello covered the most number of laps with 88 Olivier Panis (BAR) with 75 laps and Jarno Trulli with 72 laps. Juan Pablo Montoya covered the least number of laps with 25 while Alex Wurz covered only 27 laps. Japanese driver Takuma Sato was given an opportunity to test the Jordan and he completed 42 laps and was 14th overall ahead of Irvine and Gene.

It appears that the Michelin tyres are not a match for Bridgestone in the dry. The highest Michelin runner was Ralf Schumacher in 9th place 2.5 seconds slower than Olivier Panis in the BAR. Next week the teams go to different venues with several Bridgestone running teams move to Valencia while the Michelin running teams move to Barcelona.

Click here for the timed results 

Luca Badoer has concluded his testing for Ferrari at Fiorano for the week, he continued testing new components and did a number of practice starts. he covered a total of 66 laps with a best time of 1:01.138. Badoer will continue testing at Fiorano next week.

Click here for the timed results 

7-Dec: The FIA World Council have granted Kimi Raikkonen the superlicense. The Sauber team immediately confirmed their driver lineup for 2001 with Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen. Sauber were waiting fir the FIA decision on Raikkonen before confirming him. Raikkonen's recent form at the Jerez test must have impressed the FIA. Raikkonen said "This is a fantastic opportunity for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the F1 testing I did earlier this year, and although there was pressure to prove myself to the FIA in Jerez, I believe that I demonstrated my potential successfully. Now I will be doing everything I can in 2001 to justify the faith that Peter Sauber, his team and the governing body have placed in me."
Sauber's team principal Peter Sauber said "Kimi was able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the FIA the qualities that attracted us in the first place. We are delighted to establish a relationship with a young driver who shows such clear promise for the future."

The latest in driver and team movements

6-Dec: The third day of testing at Jerez started with circuit staff using pumps to clear standing water on the track following heavy rain overnight. The track remained wet for most of the day with teams testing full wet and intermediate tyres throughout the day. The top times recorded were very close with Rubens Barrichello setting the fastest time 0.2 seconds faster than an impressive Juan Pablo Montoya who tests a Formula 1 car in the wet for the first time since 1998. David Coulthard was third ahead of Jenson Button (Benetton), Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine.

17 drivers and 9 teams were present. Only Prost and Minardi are not at this test. Olivier Panis (BAR) covered the most number of laps with 57 followed by Luciano Burti (Jaguar) and Ralf Schumacher. Fisichella covered the least number of laps with 13 after suffering problems with the new Renault engine.

Despite Barrichello being fastest in the Ferrari today, 4 of the top 6 drivers were running on Michelin tyres possibly indicating an advantage for Michelin in the wet. However, this is testing and the times could be misleading. Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the timed results 

Luca Badoer continued testing for Ferrari at Fiorano, he concentrated on testing new components and covered a total of 70 laps with a best time of 1:00.378 which is 0.152 seconds off the lap record at Fiorano

Click here for the timed results 

5-Dec: Luca Badoer continued Ferrari's testing programme at Fiorano where he tested new components and electronics. He completed a total of 53 laps with a best time of 1:01.484.

5-Dec: On the second day of testing at Jerez, David Coulthard (McLaren) sets the fastest time of the day ahead of Olivier Panis (BAR) and Rubens Barrichello (Ferrari).

Here are the highlights of the day:
David Coulthard smashes the lap record set at Jerez by Eddie Irvine in 2000. Coulthard is the first driver to set a time under 1:23
Olivier Panis had his first run in the BAR Honda and he certainly impressed clocking the second fastest time of the day 0.72 seconds slower than David Coulthard.
Nick Heidfeld had his first run the the Sauber and he was impressive as well clocking the 4th fastest time just behind Barrichello.
Jenson Button had his first taste of the Benetton and he set a time faster than any of the Williams drivers.
Juan Pablo Montoya on his first run in an F1 car since 98 was only 0.137 seconds slower than Ralf Schumacher. They were 11th and 10th.
It was the first time that Michelin and Bridgestone go head to head on a large scale.  Michelin had 3 teams (Jaguar, Benetton and Williams) while Bridgestone had 6. Eddie Irvine was the fastest of the Michelin runners setting the 5th fastest time.
A number of disappointing results with Luciano Burti (Jaguar) setting a time 2 seconds slower than his teammate Irvine. Alexander Wurz (McLaren test driver) was almost 5 seconds slower than David Coulthard and Marc Gene (Williams test driver) was over 5 seconds slower than the Williams pair of Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya. Wurz and Gene however only covered a limited number of laps.
Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the timed results 

4-Dec: The McLaren Formula team was the first to start testing at Jerez with David Coulthard at the wheel. Coulthard completed a total of 58 laps during the day. He concentrated on tyre and aerodynamic testing.
Other teams will start their testing at Jerez tomorrow including Ferrari, Williams, Benetton and Jaguar.

Luca Badoer started the testing season for Ferrari at Fiorano. Badoer completed a total of 42 laps with a best time of 1:01.866. He concentrated on testing new mechanical and electronic components. Badoer will continue testing at Fiorano tomorrow while Rubens Barrichello will start a 3 day test at Jerez.

BAR have signed Anthony Davidson who has recently won the McLaren Young Driver of the Year Award. Craig Pollock, BAR's Managing Director said "All of us here at BAR are extremely excited about the signing. We fully believe that we have found an outstanding talent in Anthony and were not surprised by the outcome of the McLaren Young Driver Award in recognition of this. We are looking forward to a successful partnership and welcome him on board as a test driver

4-Dec: Marc Gene who drove for Minardi in the 99 and 2000 seasons will be a test driver for the Williams BMW team in 2001. Gene is hoping that he will secure a drive with a top team in 2002 but has indicated that he is prepared to remain as a test driver for 2 years as long as he can secure a competitive drive.
He believes that he has made the right decision by moving to Williams as a test driver rather than drive for a team that struggles to score points. He is hoping to follow in Panis' footsteps who gave up the drive for Prost and moved to McLaren as a test driver in 2000 where he impressed a lot of people and has secured a drive with the BAR Honda team driving alongside Jacques Villeneuve in 2001.
Marc will be driving the Williams BMW this week at Jerez and has indicated that the amount of testing he will do for Williams in December alone will equal the total amount of testing he has done for Minardi last season!

3-Dec: The holders of the British Grand Prix rights, Octagon have done a deal with the Silverstone circuit where the circuit will hold the British Grand Prix for the next 15 years. The circuit will have major improvements carried out.
FIA president Max Mosely heavily criticised the British Grand Prix this year calling it a "third world standard" circuit.
Octagon chairman Frank Lowe said "Silverstone is one of the most famous tracks in the world and needs the facilities to match that reputation. It will be the ambition of Octagon and the British Racing Drivers Club to create a circuit that is the envy of the motor racing world."

Jackie Stewart, the president of the British Racing Drivers Club said "The BRDC is delighted that we have structured a partnership to ensure the future development of the Silverstone circuit as the centrepiece of British motor sport. This deal is good for Britain as the capital of motor sport in the world."

2-Dec: Jaguar have confirmed that their technical director Gary Anderson has left the team and has been replaced by Steve Nichols. Jaguar's chairman Neil Ressler said "During 2000 Gary has worked hard to make the Jaguar R1 a competitive challenger in Formula1, but at this stage of our development we believe that a change in the team's technical direction will benefit Jaguar."
Bobby Rahal said "I fully support these changes. Our immediate objective is to step-up our overall competitiveness in 2001, but our longer term goal is quite clearly to challenge for the top honours in the sport."

Steve Nichols has worked at a number of Formula 1 teams in the past in different roles. He was the head of future projects at McLaren, Chief Designer at Jordan and Technical Director and Sauber. Neil Ressler said of the appointment "Steve will bring a new technical dimension to the team. His experience at the highest levels of Formula1 racing, together with his engineering skills, will give new impetus."

The FIA have announced the provisional entry list for 2001. Kimi Raikkonen appears as a Sauber driver despite him not obtaining a super license yet. Minardi have yet to announce both of their drivers and Prost have yet to announce their second driver. A team can change their entries up until the 1st of March provided the driver holds a super license. Click here for the Provisional entry list

1-Dec: Benetton, Jordan, Arrows and Jaguar were present at Silverstone for a shakedown their cars in preparation for the upcoming test at Jerez on the 5th of December. Weather conditions were wet and the teams only completed a few laps.
Mark Webber shookdown the Benetton fitted with the new Renault wide-angled engine. He covered 5 laps.
Ricardo Zonta drove the Jordan car fitted with Honda engine management system running last year's engine.
Gaston Mazzacane drove the Arrows A21 prototype fitted with AMT (ex-Peugeot) engines. He covered a total of nine laps.
Luciano Burti and Tomas Scheckter tested both the Jaguar R1 and R1B. Tomas had a spin early in the session and managed a total of 6 laps. Luciano Burti managed to cover 13 laps.
Both Benetton and Jaguar are using Michelin tyres while Jordan and Arrows use Bridgestone tyres.

1-Dec: Pedro Diniz has purchased a significant stake in the Prost Formula 1 team and has decided to give up racing in 2001 for a management role with the team. Pedro said "Obviously Alain gave me the option of driving for Prost next season. It was a hard decision to make because I am a driver and I love racing but since we have made a big investment in Prost Grand Prix, I have to think about long-term plans for my future and commit entirely to the success of the team."

Alain Prost whose team has struggled during the 2000 season and failed to score a single point was delighted with this deal and said "The alliance of Prost Grand Prix with Pedro Diniz is excellent news for the team. It widens our commercial objectives and reflects our strategy, which is to become truly international. In the short terms, these new funds will be aimed at increasing our budget.
I am delighted because I have found in Pedro Diniz and his family not only a solid business partner for my team but also a great group of people and friends. Pedro and his father Abilio share entirely my views and ambitions on the future of Prost Grand Prix."

Prost will run customer Ferrari engines next year instead of the Peugeot engines. They are also expected to use Ferrari gearboxes.

The latest in driver and team movements

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