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Is Ferrari fast enough?  
Issue 20 - The Heretic  
9 - 16 July News 

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16-July: The Austrian Grand Prix race results remain provisional pending further investigations on Mika Hakkinen's car after the FIA scrutineers found that one of the two official seals on the car's electronic box was broken. The box will be sent to London for further investigation to check if the seal was broken due to the pressures of the race or if the programming on it have been tampered with. This box controls all the car's electronic functions and the FIA introduced strict electronic management guidelines earlier this year to ensure that no form of traction control is being used.
The result of the investigation could take a few days. If Mika Hakkinen is disqualified, David Coulthard will be declared the winner with Barrichello second and Villeneuve third. This is the second time this season that a McLaren car has been under investigation. At the Brazilian Grand Prix, David Coulthard was disqualified because his car was declared illegal. However, this is the first high-tech investigation.

Benetton's Managing Director, Flavio Briatore and his Technical Director Pat Symonds have both slammed Alexander Wurz and described his performance as extremely disappointing after finishing 10th in Austria and losing a place on the last lap after failing an overtaking manoeuvre to pass the Minardi of Marc Gene. Pat Symonds said :"Alex has struggled all weekend to be competitive and the race was no exception. The performance was extremely disappointing and we must look into solutions".
Wurz's position has been in doubt due to the lack of performance. His home grand prix might be his last. Antonio Pizzonia has been testing for Benetton at the last 3 test sessions so don't be surprised if he takes over.

The Benetton team was also furious at the way Pedro Diniz hit Fisichella forcing him out of the race, Briatore described the move as unprofessional for someone in Formula 1. Giancarlo Fisichella described Pedro's move as ridiculous and was disappointed not to see the race stopped.
This is the second time Pedro Diniz causes an accident, in Canada he forced Pedro de la Rosa out of the race and was reprimanded.

Frank Williams was very surprised with the 2 points earned at the Austrian GP after both his drivers qualified in 18th and 19th positions. He said "We collected two points when we maybe shouldn't have done so."
Jenson Buttons efforts could have been wasted as he went off towards the end of the race but recovered and still managed to maintain 5th place despite being pressured by Mika Salo.
Earlier before the race, Frank Williams gave a bit of reassurance to Jenson Button as he told him not to worry about it (his future) and to do his best this weekend. Jenson Button certainly delivered.

16-July: At the winners press conference for the Austrian GP, Mika Hakkinen explains the Shift Revs sign which was showed to him by his pit crew during the race by explaining that it simply means to drop the revs on the engine as there was no point to push. He denied any team orders at that point of the race. As for the upcoming event in Hockenhiem, Mika indicated that they are very competitive on that track and he is very confident they will go flat out!.

David Coulthard acknowledged his superb start to the race although he wasn't deep enough to challenge Mika Hakkinen at the first corner. However after Michael retired on the first lap, he didn't feel that it was necessary to push Mika Hakkinen as it was better to get an easy 6 points than risk it all. When asked about his championship chances, he said that he does not need to think about the championship, he just concentrates on each of the upcoming events as they come and if he scores better than his rivals then he will win the title. He indicated that he is confident that he will do well at Hockenhiem.

Rubens Barrichello indicated that he was very lucky to survive the first corner accident and lucky to finish 3rd. At the first corner he was touched from the back (by Trulli) which forced him to go on the gravel trap and the balance of the car wasn't working until the first stop.

Michael Schumacher was dissapointed by his first corner exit but he didn't think Ricardo Zonta did it on purpose. Michael was hoping for the race to be stopped but the saftey car came out instead. He commented "from my opinion it (the race) should have ben red flagged, but the marshals did a good job - too good for me! I would have prefered the race to have been stopped".

16-July: Mika Hakkinen wins the Austrian GP ahead of teammate David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello is 3rd, followed by Jacques Villeneuve, Jenson Button and Mika Salo. Highlights: Only the top 3 finished on the same lap  ... Full Report  ... Timed Results.

16-July: Austrian GP - Warmup: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen. A surprise Jos Verstappen was 4th ahead of Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta.

Both Williams drivers appear to have improved on their qualifying performances with Ralf Schumacher in 8th and Jenson Button in 11th.
Ricardo Zonta did the most number of laps (20) while Alesi did the least (9). Most drivers did 15 to 18 laps.

The session started with all the drivers going out on their installation lap. Half of the drivers also shakedown the spare cars as well.

Jacques Villeneuve sets the first timed lap with a time of 1:18.342 followed by Ralf Schumacher with a time of 1:18.861.

The times start dropping quickly and 10 minutes into the session it is Pedro de la Rosa ahead of Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta. Pedro Diniz, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli make the top 6.

The lap times continue to tumble as they get close to the 1:14 mark with Pedro de la Rosa fastest at 1:14.182. Minutes later he crosses the 1:14 mark with a time of 1:13.931. The Arrows could be carrying a lighter fuel load.

Jos Verstappen goes fastest while David Coulthard goes off but recovers.

20 minutes into the session and it is Jos Verstappen ahead of Pedro de la Rosa and Rubens Barrichello. David Coulthard, Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta make the top 6.

Michael Schumacher goes fastest with a time of 1:13.765 then Hakkinen jumps to first with a time of 1:13.543. Both Williams are struggling with Jenson Button in 17th and Ralf Schumacher in 19th. Luciano Burti is running 22nd and last.
Mika Hakkinen improves further with a time of 1:12.890 but Rubens Barrichello goes even faster with a time of 1:12.825.

Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello exchange fastest laps in the final 5 minutes with Rubens ending up fastest while Mika Hakkinen survived a spin in the last minute of the session.
Heinz Harald Frentzen's car came to a top in the pit lane

Final Order: Rubens Barrichello ahead of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen. Jos Verstappen in 4th ahead of Michael Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta ... Timed Results.

15-July: Michael Schumacher has admitted that he is a little bit worried about his lack of pace in Austria being over 0.6 seconds slower than Mika Hakkinen and 0.2 seconds slower than his teammate Rubens Barrichello. He said "I am quite a long way off pole which worries me a little. Unlike our rivals I have been unable to find the right balance for my car and that is very important here. On my last run I had nothing to lose and I gave it my all and spun at the exit to Gosser Kurve".
Michael has been under a lot of criticism this weekend following his swerving at the start of the French Grand Prix two weeks ago in front of David Coulthard.
David called for measures to sanction such moves, Jacques Villeneuve describing his move as unethical and Eddie Irvine calling him a bully!

Ralf Schumacher had his worst ever qualifying in Formula 1 after qualifying in 19th position even behind his rookie teammate Jenson Button. Both drivers complained about lack of grip and are struggling to figure out why?. Ralf added "We have tried many things but we couldn't set up the car in the best way for this track."
It is worth noting that Ralf Schumacher did start from 21st position in the 1998 British GP but that was after he qualified 10th but was penalised due to ignoring yellow flags.

Eddie Irvine's condition has been described by doctors as fine and that there is no immediate cause for concern. He will undergo further tests in the next few days.

Meanwhile his replacement Luciano Burti is looking forward to his first ever Formula 1 race and despite only qualifying in 21st, he is satisfied with his time given the circumstances. Burti replaced Irvine on Saturday and on his first session he suffered a gearbox problem and only cruised around the track. He did 18 laps in the 2nd practice session to prepare him for qualifying. Being new to the track and given these circumstances, qualifying just 0.6 seconds slower than his teammate Johnny Herbert is a good result.
Jaguar's technical director Gary Anderson was also happy with the result and said "For someone who was thrown in at the deep end, Luciano did a very good job considering we didn't give him the best possible opportunity after his gearbox problems this morning".

15-July: At the post qualifying press conference, Mika Hakkinen indicated that he is very pleased with the result especially after struggling on Friday with major problems. He explained that getting pole position was due to several factors which include trying a different setup and getting his act together after taking a good break. He added that he is very confident for the race tomorrow and hopes to get through the first 2 corners without any major dramas (last year Coulthard and Hakkinen touched forcing Hakkinen into a spin and rejoining last).

David Coulthard blamed himself for not getting pole as he made a mistake going into the first corner on his last run which cost him the time needed to get pole. He added that on his last run the car setup was better but he was worse!. He did indicate that he is reasonably happy with the performance of the car and he is not too disappointed with the outcome. He added that due to the weather he elected to go for 3 runs with 2 timed laps for each run but the more sensible choice would have been 4 runs with 1 timed lap for each run.

Rubens Barrichello indicated that he likes the track and he is calm, relaxed and in a good mood and that is probably why he has managed to outqualify his teammate Michael Schumacher. He added that he was happy with the car setup and was hoping for a better position but he is still quite happy with 3rd on the grid.

15-July: Austrian GP - Qualifying: Mika Hakkinen grabs his 4th pole position of the season ahead of teammate David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Jarno Trulli and Ricardo Zonta make the top 6 ... Full Report  ... Timed Results.

15-July: "The Overtaking Problem" is the special issue you have been waiting for from the Heretic. Click here to read more about the problem and the suggestions proposed. We want to hear from you so let us start the debate.

15-July: Austrian GP - 2nd Saturday Practice: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the session just 0.08 seconds ahead of teammate David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher, Rubens Barrichello, Jacques Villeneuve and Johnny Herbert make the top 6 ... Full Report  ... Timed Results.

15-July: Austrian GP - 1st Saturday Practice: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the session 0.472 seconds ahead of David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher, Jos Verstappen and Giancarlo Fisichella make the top 6. Luciano Burti who replaces Eddie Irvine didn't set a timed lap due to gearbox problems ... Full Report  ... Timed Results.

14-July: Eddie Irvine pulls out of the Austrian GP due to abdominal pains possibly due to appendicitis. He will go back to England to undergo further tests.We wish Eddie as speedy recovery.
Ivrine will be replaced by test driver Luciano Burti for the remainder of the weekend. Burti has been impressive in testing and this could be his chance to prove himself under race conditions.

Jacques Villeneuve has attacked Michael Schumacher's race ethics after Schumacher cut across in front of David Coulthard at the start of the French GP forcing Coulthard to brake hard to avoid a collision. He said "These things do bother me. There's not many people doing such things. It seems there's just one guy doing it and he always gets away with it so why should he stop?". He also added that this issue has been raised at various driver's briefing but nothing has been done about it and therefore it becomes more of a personal ethic and that is not something learnt in the car but in everyday life!

Michael Schumacher on the other hand has indicated that he is surprised to see Hakkinen still driving for McLaren and added that if he had been with a team for 7 years and won 2 championships, he would have moved on and looked for a new challenge. He has not discounted Hakkinen yet though when he said "it is far too early to say that he is out of the race for the championship as he still has every chance.

14-July: At the Friday press conference for the Austrian GP, Jenson Button indicated that while in the car he doesn't think about all the speculation that surrounds his future but when he is out of the car, everyone is asking him the same questions which he doesn't enjoy.
He also indicated that he does get involved with the negotiations that are going on but not on race weekends as he needs to concentrate on the job at hand. As for his expectations of Formula 1, he said that he knew racing will be hard as he races against the best but off the circuit it is very difficult to know what to expect and there are good times and bad times. He finished by saying that he likes the A-1 ring as it is fast, wide and smooth however they need to get the balance right.

Jacques Villeneuve indicated that the BAR with the new aero bits is looking strong especially that his teammate Ricardo Zonta is also running strong. He also added that there are some new developments coming from Honda next race.
As for his quick starts this season, he simply said "It's all the cheating we are allowed to do". He explained further by saying that several factors come into play and it is all these factors combined that make a difference. He also complemented Honda for providing an engine that is very easy to drive.
And for his decision regarding next season, he indicated that he would like to make his decision as soon as possible as the longer he takes, the more nervous everyone becomes which is not useful for the team. He finished by saying that he  is not waiting for the sake of waiting, as soon as he is ready to make the decision he will.

Johnny Herbert indicated that it is possible that we won't see him in F1 next year and maybe a change is good for him. After 10 years in F1 maybe it is time to quit but if he finds the right seat for next year drive he will stay but it is looking more the other way. He added that his main objective was F1 but he also wanted to do Le Mans (which he did win in 91) and Indianapolis, so we might see him whizzing round in real circles.
As for his current team - Jaguar, he indicated that success doesn't come overnight and that the team doesn't have their own wind tunnel nor modern dynos and without these they cannot compete with Ferrari or McLaren. Jaguar is committed to the sport but one needs to give them another two or three years before they become competitive.

Gustav Brunner indicated that they have made a good step forward on the car even though they are still at the back of the grid. Looking at Minardi 2 years ago, they were 5 seconds off the pace, now they are only 2.5 seconds and believes that next year they will be competing with the rest of the field. He added that (as  in most seasons) they have not decided on what engines to use for next year and as for offers from other teams, he indicated that he is too much involved with Minardi to listen to these offers.

Gerhard Berger indicated that it is hard to make comparisons from Friday practice as Ralf suffered a car failure early in the second session and they concentrated on race set-up on Jenson's car. He added that their car is suitable for both fast and slow circuits as long as they get the set-up right.
When asked about what advice he can offer to Alexander Wurz, he indicated that he cannot offer a lot of advise, in Formula 1 you either survive or you don't. Once anyone gets himself in a difficult situation, no one can help and it is up to the driver to do it all himself.

Driver and team movements.

14-July: Austrian GP - 2nd Friday Practice: David Coutlhard sets the fastest time of the day 0.247 seconds ahead of teammate Mika Hakkinen and Mika Salo. Michael Schumacher, Ricardo Zonta and Jarno Trulli make the top 6 ... Full Report  ... Timed Results.

14-July: Austrian GP - 1st Friday Practice: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time 0.237 seconds ahead of Jarno Trulli. Ricardo Zonta, Jos Verstappen, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

13-July: At the Thursday press conference for the Austrian Grand Prix, Rubens Barrichello indicates that he does a lot of testing for Ferrari and a week without talking about racing every two months is needed to get refreshed. He will be going back to the testing schedule from next week where he will test at Mugello and Fiorano.

David Coulthard indicated that at the test session he had at Mugello, he did a lot of practice starts but didn't do a lot of laps and added that the track is challenging and the food is nice!.
As for who he fears most, once again he stressed that he doesn't fear anyone, he added that naturally the challenge comes from your teammate as both have the same equipment but since Michael Schumacher is leading the championship he will be trying to close the gap this weekend.

Alexander Wurz indicates that it is very disappointing to have 0 points so far but did say that there have been rumours about differences in material between his car and Fisicehella's. When asked about these rumours, he just said that there is no point looking at the past and added that he will have a very similar car to Giancarlo Fisichella at this race and for the rest of the season. Wurz also indicated that qualifying this weekend will be very close.

After spending 5 days with Jacques Villeneuve on a boat, Craig Pollock is no closer to signing Villeneuve for next year in fact it looks unlikely that Villeneuve will sign. Pollock said "I tried very hard, I offered him a concrete waistcoat in case he didn't sign but I couldn't catch him so that didn't work out. I would love to think he will be staying. I have now done everything I can".
Pollock also indicated that their car is more suitable to the low downforce circuits like Monza and Hockenhiem and scoring 4th at the French grand prix was a good result given that they didn't expect such a good performance on that track. He did add though that whatever circuit it is one can only be dreaming if they look for a better position than 4th given the pace of Ferrari and McLaren.
Regarding the 'works' Honda deal with Jordan, Pollock indicated that he looks forward to the challenge and that BAR needs to have a better chassis and team since the engines will be the same.

Takefumi Hosaka indicated that when Jordan gave Mugen a termination notice of their engine contract, Jordan inquired about the possibility of having a 'works' Honda engine for next year. Honda did a feasibility study which took a month and then decided to provide Jordan with the same engine as BAR.
Hosaka also indicated that BAR Honda expect to use the 'Athena' technology from next year. This technology is Honda's own electrical control system which controls both engine and chassis management. He added that they have been testing a lot of new chassis elements which they could introduce to racing if they appear to provide an advantage. He finished by saying that BAR is their teacher as far a chassis development is concerned.

13-July: "Is Ferrari fast enough?" is the title of the 20th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2000 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix - Check it out here !!

13-July: Luca Badoer was at the Vairano track testing for Ferrari. He completed 46 laps as the regulations prohibit testing for more than 50 KM in the week before the race. Badoer carried out aerodynamic tests.

David Coulthard is hoping that he can make it 2 in a row at Austria on his 100th Grand Prix start. Amazingly, David has finished second here in the last 3 years despite qualifying 10th in 97 and 14th on 98!. Will the trend continue?

When asked about his best moments of this season, Alexander Wurz simply said "the good parts are yet to come". That sums it all for the Austrian's season so far. He will be hoping to make a recovery this weekend as his chances of retaining his seat at Benetton are almost negligible and he might even be out of Formula 1. He indicated that he will be talking to other teams this weekend but he thinks that Jacques Villeneuve (who is strongly rumoured to move to Benetton replacing Wurz) will stay at BAR for 2001. Click here for the latest on driver and team movements for next season.

12-July: Eddie Jordan is determined to fight for third place in the constructor's championship despite having a bad start to the season. He indicated that despite showing signs of competitiveness during race weekends during the first half of the season, the team has not been able to convert this potential into points. He added that the Honda engine deal for next year gives everyone in the team a boost. Jordan will use an upgraded engine for the qualifying and the race in Austria.

After finishing 4th in France, BAR is confident that they can keep the momentum going and finish in the points here in Austria as well. Jacques Villeneuve won here in 1997 and is hoping to have a good result this year.

BMW's Motorsport director, Gerhard Berger is hoping that Williams BMW will have a points finish at his home grand prix. He believes that if they manage to get a good set-up and a reliable car then they should be on target.

The competition between these 3 teams is very close knowing that they can only hope for a 5th or 6th place unless a Ferrari or McLaren runs into problems. And then there is Benetton and possibly Jaguar, Sauber and Arrows to fight with !

12-July: "Your responses to the Heretic" is a growing collection of responses by you to the Heretic's issues. Check it out here.

11-July: Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard were both present at the Mugello track last week during testing. It was thought that they will talk about their overtaking incident during the French Grand Prix. That didn't happen as each concentrated on his own testing program. David Coulthard commented on the situation by saying "I am here to test and develop the car and not for anything else. I will only talk about the present and the future. I haven't got time for problems in the past".

Following Jordan's Honda deal, Heinz Harald Frentzen appears set to stay at Jordan rather than move to Jaguar. This gives Dario Franchitti a real chance to secure the seat for 2001 replacing Johnny Herbert. Franchitti wants to move to Formula 1 but is waiting for the right opportunity. He said "I believe I am ready for Formula 1 and I've just been waiting for the right opportunity". Franchitti finished runner up to Montoya in last year's CART series.
Jaguar are taking their time in confirming their line-up and Neil Ressler expects to announce that in the next month or two.

The relationship between Prost and their engine supplier Peugeot appears set to come to and end at the end of this season. Prost is trying to find an alternative supply of engines and Mugen Honda and Ferrari are being looked at. Since Honda will be supplying works engines to Jordan, Mugen Honda could pull out of F1 engine supply and concentrate on their other motorsport activities. Ferrari already supplies Sauber with customer engines and this might be Prost's only short term option. The cost of engine supply is said to be around $25 million a year.

10-July: Is Rubens Barrichello up to it ? is the topic of the week - Have Your Say

9-July: Can David Coulthard make it two in a row ? The Austrian Grand Prix preview is now available ... Race Preview.

Austrian Formula 1 Grand Prix schedule:

Friday Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2
Qualifying Session
Warmup Session
11 AM Spielberg Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Spielberg Time / 11 AM GMT
9 AM Spielberg Time / 7 AM GMT
10:15 AM Spielberg Time / 8:15 AM GMT
1 PM Spielberg Time / 11 AM GMT
9:30 AM Spielberg Time / 7:30 AM GMT
2 PM Spielberg Time / 12 PM GMT

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