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 Will Schumacher win the  championship - The Heretic  

29 June - 2 July News 

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French Grand Prix Results
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2-July: At the post race press conference, David Coulthard apologises for the hand gestures he gave Michael Schumacher when he first attempted to pass. He added that he acknowledges that it is unsporting gesture but at that moment, emotions were running high and he felt that Michael drove him wide and did not take his normal racing line.
He described the race as hard and fair and didn't think he could win the race after dropping a place at the start, but once he settled in the car he managed to pass both Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher on the track. He now hopes to do well in Austria so that he can close the gap further to Michael Schumacher.

Mika Hakkinen wished he was a second a lap quicker than anyone else but at the end of the day he was happy with second place given the way the race had developed. After he passed Michael Schumacher who retired with engine problems, he settled for second place as David was too far in front and he thought to himself that a 1-2 result is great for the team so instead he concentrated on making sure that Rubens stays behind.

Rubens Barrichello indicated that at the beginning of the race he tried to make it easy for Michael Schumacher to build up a lead however he struggled with grip and had to give way to David Coulthard who passed him on the track. He was not happy with both his pit stops as the first one was a slow pit stop and the second one was even slower because of problems with the front right tyre. When Michael Schumacher retired with engine problems, the team told him to take it easy as Jacques Villeneuve was more than 30 seconds behind and it would be too risky to try and catch Mika Hakkinen.

2-July: French GP - Race Result: David Coulthard wins the French GP ahead of Mika Hakkinen. Rubens Barrichello is third ahead of Jacques Villeneuve. Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli make the top 6. Michael Schumacher retired with engine failure ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
Michael Schumacher's
lead in the driver's championship is down to 12 points ahead of David Coulthard while Ferrari are just 6 points ahead of McLaren in the constructor's championship.

2-July: French GP - Warm Up: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time ahead of teammate David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine make the top 6.

The top 3 are the only drivers with a time under the 1:20 mark.
Ricardo Zonta is up in 8th place possibly running a lighter fuel load while Ralf Schumacher is way back in 16th place possibly testing a heavier fuel load for the race. There were several incidents during the 30 minute session, mainly spins due to the drying track after rain overnight.

The session started with most drivers going out on their installation lap. The track was wet due to overnight rain and the drivers have wet tyres on. Heinz Harald Frentzen spins and stalls.

Ralf Schumacher is the first to set a timed lap with a time of 1:45.618 however the track is drying very quickly and a few minutes later the fastest time is set by Ricardo Zonta with a 1:30.797.
Alexander Wurz stops just outside the pit lane while Eddie Irvine spins but recovers.

Order after 10 minutes: Mika Salo, Rubens Barrichello, Ricardo Zonta, Pedro Diniz, Jarno Trulli and Jos Verstappen.

Times are dropping as the track is drying. Mika Hakkinen goes fastest 13 minutes into the session with a time of 1:27.026, 2 laps later he drops the fastest time to 1:23.222. Meanwhile Giancarlo Fisichella spins but recovers after braking hard to avoid the BAR of Jacques Villeneuve.
David Coulthard goes fastest 20 minutes into the session.

Order after 20 minutes: David Coulthard, Mika Hakkinen, Heinz Harald Frentzen, Eddie Irvine, Giancarlo Fisichella and Ricardo Zonta.

Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard exchange fastest laps! while Ricardo Zonta is up in 3rd place!
Mika Hakkinen retakes the top spot and is the first to lap under 1:20 but moments later David Coulthard goes fastest with a time of 1:19.507 only to be eclipsed by Mika Hakkinen yet again!.
Ralf Schumacher spins and is stuck in the gravel trap.

Final Order: Mika Hakkinen ahead of David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine make the top 6 ... Timed Results.

1-July: Mika Hakkinen has expressed his disappointment at being off the front row for the 3rd time in a row but indicated that they had a small problem on the car that they couldn't figure out. He hoped that they will be able to fix the problem for the race. Hakkinen added that 4th is still better than last year's grid position of 14th!

Ralf Schumacher indicated that he was surprised with 5th position as his target was between 7th and 10th but his team sorted out the problems they had earlier and were ready for the qualifying session. Patrick Head, Williams Technical Director and Gerhard Berger, BMW's Motorsport director both praised Ralf and indicated that what he did in the last lap was very impressive.

Eddie Irvine indicated that he was pleased with 6th position and this gives an indication of the competitiveness of the car. He indicated that after a bad testing session last week, the team sorted out a few problems and found some big improvements. He is hoping to add more points to the 3 points he gained at Monaco.

Jacques Villeneuve was very pleased with 7th place and indicated that it is the best he could have hoped for as the car performed better than he thought. He added that he got as much as he could possibly get out of his car.

Heinz Harald Frentzen was not happy with his 8th place on the grid and indicated that they have a serious problem with the hot weather as the car started to lose grip. He added that he will try to make the best out of it and hopes that it will rain.

1-July: At the post qualifying press conference, Michael Schumacher did not think that tyre wear was a problems at this circuit although tyre wear is higher than some other circuits. When asked about his formula for success here since he has won 4 times in the past, he indicated that he is not particularly in love with this circuit and on the contrary, he finds this circuit not much fun and bit boring in the summer time as the track gets slippery. He did say though that the circuit is a great circuit to drive on in the winter time!.

David Coulthard indicated that it has been an incredible two days with problems in almost every session. For qualifying he did two runs in the spare car and then 2 runs in his race car and he didn't quite get into the flow that was necessary to get the best lap time so he was pleasantly surprised with his lap time given that he made a number of small mistakes and had he had another run, the result could have been different but that is qualifying!.

Rubens Barrichello indicated that they have tried something new on the car and his first outing was good so he tried to change the setup more but that didn't help. He then spent the next 2 runs changing the setup without success so he reverted to the initial setup he had and improved his position to 3rd. So given the circumstances he was satisfied with his result. Rubens described the car difficult to setup under changing track temperatures and indicated that this will make for a good race.

1-July: French GP - Qualifying: Michael Schumacher grabs pole position 0.1 seconds ahead of David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello is 3rd ahead of Mika Hakkinen, Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

1-July: French GP - 2nd Saturday Practice: David Coulthard remains fastest ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello. Ralf Schumacher, Jarno Trulli, and Heinz Harald Frentzen. Only a few drivers have improved their times this session ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

1-July: French GP - 1st Saturday Practice: David Coulthard fastest 0.18 seconds ahead of Mika Hakkinen. Jarno Trulli, Heinz Harald Frentzen, Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

30-June: At the Friday press conference for the French GP, Alain Prost has indicated that their biggest and most obvious problem is reliability.The team couldn't test much during the preseason and even until Imola they could test no more than 20 laps on a given day. The results of the past 2 races showed that the car is not too bad but admitted that when you start behind, it is difficult to catch up during the season.
Regarding the new evolution engine that Peugeot engine has introduced, Prost indicated that during testing last week it showed better results than expected, however they have not used the engine during Friday practice and will only use it for qualifying.

Pierre Dupasquier (Michelin) has indicated that they are trying to understand more about grooved tyres and how to cope with them. He added that currently no one pays attention to the state of the tyre at the end of the race and how deep the groove is as there is only one tyre supplier and all tyres are the same. However with two suppliers, there could be protests after each race claiming that the tyre was worn down to become a slick tyre. He has asked for a clarification from the FIA on this issue in writing but clearly indicated that the best way to go is to reintroduce slick tyres. Michelin however will abide by whatever regulations the FIA puts in place but requires clarifications on how the tyres will be checked after the race and if they don't succeed in finding a way, they will be protesting the results of every race!.
On the subject of coloured tyres, he indicated that although it is technically feasible, the current rules do not allow for such as the FIA has the right to pick tyres at random and hand them to teams which rules out matching tyres and car liveries!

Hiroshi Yasukawa (Bridgestone) indicated that concentrating on 6 teams rather than the whole field will certainly make a difference and he welcomes Michelin and is pleased to see people talking about tyres again.
As for the situation with grooved tyres becoming slick during the race, he first indicated that the current regulations do not specify how deep the groove can be and added that they don't know how much the tyre can improve lap times when it starts to lose it's groove and become a slick. He finished by saying that they prefer to stay with the current regulations.

Jos Verstappen has indicated that he can only do well here if it rains during the race. He added that he has a lot more work to do here as this is a completely different circuit to Montreal and he didn't conduct enough testing at Magny Cours due to the big accident he had.

Giancarlo Fisichella indicated that he doesn't expect much here at Magny Cours as the car is very nervous and loses grip at the rear. He hopes to do better in Austria and Hungary. He also added that he was disappointed with the car during the first 2 tests of the year but there has been excellent development since and things are going well.

Jarno Trulli said that there will be quite a lot of changes at the team when Honda provides works engines from next year. He added that the Honda deal will give them an opportunity to get closer and make racing more competitive. He finished by saying that despite their bad luck this year, the Honda deal will make everyone Jordan very motivated.

30-June: McLaren have re-signed David Coulthard for the 2001 season to drive alongside Mika Hakkinen who already has a long term agreement with the team. The early decision is said to have been made so the David Coulthard can concentrate on the task at hand which is winning the championship. Ron Dennis said "It is an unprecedently early decision for us. But we took the decision on who we thought were the two best drivers available."
Despite this announcement, Mika Hakkinen is still rumoured to be retiring at the end of this season.

Toyota have confirmed that they will only be entering Formula 1 in 2002. Ove Anderson, Toyota Motorsport President has indicated that they are well on schedule and can confirm that Toyota will race in 2002. Full scale testing will start in early 2001. Toyota have signed Allan McNish as their test and development driver. Toyota will use Michelin as the tyre supplier.

Jenson Button could be staying at Williams afterall as Sir Frank Williams has indicated that Montoya might not be released from his current contract with Chip Ganassi a year early. If this is the case, Jenson Button is set to retain his seat at Williams for another year giving him a chance to gain more experience and prove his potential.

30-June: French GP - 2nd Friday Practice: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the day despite suffering major problems during both sessions. He was 0.221 seconds ahead of Michael Schumacher. Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello, Mika Salo and Giancarlo Fisichella make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

30-June: French GP - 1st Friday Practice: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time 0.213 seconds ahead of Mika Hakkinen and an impressive Nick Heidfeld in the Prost. Ralf Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and Giancarlo Fisichella make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

29-June: At the Thursday press conference for the French GP, Jean Todt believes that staying at the top for the last 7 years is a record and in Formula 1, it is hard to stay at the top. His successful formula has been to find good people, get them working together and be able to keep them. He added that there is always a chance that people do get fed up with you and want to send you back home!
On the new regulations, Todt has indicated that these new regulations were a result of a common understanding within the Technical Working group which has been then accepted by the F1 Commission and the World Council.

Sir Frank Williams commented on the new regulations by saying that it is appropriate that the cars should be made safer albeit at the expense of being pretty. He stressed the importance of having injury free racing.
As for the way the FIA treated the Silverstone organisers following the British GP, Sir Frank Williams strongly disapproves of the FIA's decision and has indicated that has told Max Mosely so and believes that it was not necessary for Silverstone to be given such a hard time.
Regarding how the Williams team will fare for the rest of the season, he indicated that he has no idea but like everyone else the team will be doing their very very best.

Michael Schumacher indicated that the engine failure he suffered from during testing at Magny Cours last week does not worry him too much as the engine was an experimental one. Schumacher indicated that the first half of the season was close between Ferrari and McLaren and will remain close until the end of the season as he does not believe that their is much potential for improvement at both camps.

Mika Hakkinen indicated that he was uncomfortable with the reliability problems at McLaren during the first half of the season however that is in the past and he is confident about the remainder of the season as McLaren have strongly committed and great people who can make the car go even faster.

Corrado Provera has indicated that he has no news regarding Peugeot's future in Formula 1 but made it clear that they are on the right track and will make an announcement when they are ready. He did note that they will have a lot of good things to say to their people when things are ready to be said.
Provera added that the Prost team will be using the latest specification engine for qualifying here after they had a successful test session last week.

Jean Alesi indicated that he was pleased with the new version of the Peugeot engine when they tested at Magny Cours last week. He also indicated that they are quite happy to see improvements on the car since Monaco. He added that they have been struggling with reliability but the speed of the car and the performance of the engine are promising.

29-June: "Will Schumacher win the championship?" is the title of the 18th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2000 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming French Grand Prix - Check it out here !!

29-June: In a major breakthrough described by Eddie Jordan as "the biggest ever deal for Jordan Grand Prix", Jordan will receive works Honda F1 engines from the beginning of the 2001 season that are of equal specification to those supplied to BAR.

Despite this new commitment, Honda will still be involved in the CART and Motorcycle championships. A senior representative from Honda commented by saying "Along with our joint development of chassis technology with BAR, the supply of works engines to Jordan represents a new challenge in Honda's third period of participation in F1. Through these efforts we will continue to do our utmost to meet the expectations of motor sport fans. In addition we will continue our challenge in the American CART series and Motorcycle Championship races at the same level of commitment as the present".

Could this be a sign that Jacques Villeneuve has already signed for Benetton for next year leaving Honda with no choice but to sign another team ? It will be interesting to see what BAR's reaction to this deal will be as they have claimed that they have an exclusive deal with Honda that continues through 2001.

If Michael Schumacher wins the French Grand Prix, his total number of Grand Prix victories becomes 41 equaling the number of Grands Prix won by the late Ayrton Senna which is the 2nd all time behind Alain Prost who won 51 races. But Michael Schumacher asked not to be compared to the great Ayrton Senna and said "I think any comparison would be unfair anyway because Ayrton did not have the chance to win more races because of what happened to him".
Michael Schumacher is looking forward to the French Grand Prix aiming to win but acknowledges that the competition from McLaren will be tough. Michael Schumacher has won the French Grand Prix 4 times, in 94, 95, 97 and 98. Last year he suffered problems with his Ferrari and only managed 5th ahead of his teammate Eddie Irvine who was told not to pass him.

Jordan will be hoping to become more competitive when they race with the latest specification engine from Mugen. The new power unit is said to be more powerful however Jordan are remaining tight lipped about it. The team has been testing the new unit in the recent test at Magny Cours and both Frentzen and Trulli where high up in the timesheets behind McLaren and Ferrari. Jordan plan to race with this engine at the Austrian Grand Prix. Let us hope that they can also fix some of the reliability issues that has been hampering them all season.

French 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 Magny Cours Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Magny Cours Time / 11 AM GMT
9 AM Magny Cours Time / 7 AM GMT
10:15 AM Magny Cours Time / 8:15 AM GMT
1 PM Magny Cours Time / 11 AM GMT
9:30 AM Magny Cours Time / 7:30 AM GMT
2 PM Magny Cours Time / 12 PM GMT

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