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Your thoughts on the 2000 season
What is the strategy now?
19 - 22 October News
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22-Oct: Mika Hakkinen who finished 4th after virtually starting last as a result of a 10 second stop-go penalty for jumping the start believes that he could have won the race and said "My one stop strategy would have been correct and my car was working well, so I believe I could have won. I'm generally happy with the season and have some good memories. I'm now looking forward to a break before we start testing in December to prepare ourselves for 2001 when we want to renew our championship challenge."
Jacques Villeneuve finished 5th putting the BAR team on equal points of Benetton and ahead of the Jordan team was pleased to have a package that finishes races and said "We have made good progress and improved the car throughout the season. We have got to know the car better in terms of set-up which has allowed us to push harder in races and challenge consistently for points. The Honda engine started well and the guys have worked hard throughout the year, but more importantly we have had a car and an engine package that was able to finish races and that has allowed us to finish fifth in the championship.
His teammate Ricardo Zonta finished his last race for BAR with a blown engine and said "I lost my concentration at the beginning because I saw Mika Hakkinen jump the start. Then I overtook four or five cars in the first few laps and the car was really good - I was quicker than the Jordan, the Williams and the Jaguar. After the first stop I was up behind Irvine, we both ran over oil at turn six. He kept on the track, but I went through the gravel, lost time and picked up a lot of grass. Then the engine got hotter and hotter and my race was over.
Eddie Irvine was pleased to earn his 4th point of the season and said "Its pleasing to end the season with a point a very hard-earned point at that. Whenever the top four finish, the battle for the crumbs is tight so, we can be proud of our efforts today. Everything just seemed to click. We didnt make one change to the car and our strategy was spot on. In the latter part of the season we have begun to understand the problems with the car. If those theories prove correct, we can look to make a big step forward in 2001."
Teammate Johnny Herbert left Formula 1 with a bang after his car's rear suspension broke during the race putting him into a spin and crashing heavily into the tyre barriers. Johnny said "I guess it was inevitable that because I began my career being carried to the car, I would end it being carried out of it. Im pretty disappointed to have a good race ruined by a failure such as that. I was running well early on until the problem at the pitstop. I braked for the line in the pit lane and the engine cut so I had to coast into the box. Im okay. I have a bit of pain from the left knee but nothing too serious. Theres nothing like ending your career with a bang. When the car pitched, I was trying to work out which way I was going in so I could position my legs for the impact but I lost my sense of direction."
Alexander Wurz was Benetton's hope for scoring points here as Fisichella struggled all weekend. Wurz however only managed to finish in 7th place and said "I had a good start and retained fifth place after a little battle with Villeneuve. This was all fun and I was enjoying the race, but then I realised I had a problem with the brakes. It was very difficult to keep the car on the road so I am happy that I finished in seventh place. But all in all it is very disappointing as I had been very quick all weekend and so I at least expected to finish in the points. Now I would just like to thank the team for four years we have spent together."
Teammate Giancarlo Fisichella finished in 9th place and described his race as difficult and said "This was difficult race. I was on a one stop strategy and it didn't work much in our favour as I had a lot of oversteer on the car. But the important thing is that we are fourth in the Constructors' championship and I am still sixth in the Drivers' championship, so I'm happy about that."
Jenson Button who suffered from an engine failure was disappointed but described his year as the best of his life and said "That definitely was not the way I wanted to end this season. The start was good, I managed to jump from 16th to 10th position. It wasnt looking too bad and with our strategy I think it could have worked out very well. But suddenly I saw some smoke coming out from the back of the car and the engine just died on the straight. This has been the best year of my life. I say thanks to the BMW WilliamsF1 Team, they have done a great job. Its a great pity to be leaving. Everyone in the team has been excellent and I cant wait to come back in 2003"
Teammate Ralf Schumacher also retired and was very disappointed and said "I am massively disappointed, as starting from the eighth position I could have scored some points. My start was good even though my car was quite heavy, because of our one-stop strategy. I lost seventh place on lap one, when I was forced onto the grass when I was alongside a Jaguar. I couldnt even think about chasing the cars in front of me as I was suffering from big understeer. Even after the pit-stop my cars behaviour was only slightly better. When I was called in by the radio, my race was definitely over."
22-Oct: At the winners press conference for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Michael
Schumacher described the race as very tough but in the end they achieved what
they wanted and that was winning the Constructors' title. He added that they did it not by
just scoring 3 points but by finishing 1st and 3rd.
David Coulthard indicated that they didn't
plan to have the first pit stop that early in the race but as a result of him going off
the track and collecting a lot of grass, his car started to overheat and the team decided
to stop early rather than risk a failure.
Rubens Barrichello indicated that he started the race still not feeling very well from the flu but once he got into the car he felt good. He added that he was slow getting the car into gear at the second pit stop which prevented him from getting close to the 2 front runners. He was still satisfied that he finished 3rd in the race and indicated that he hopes to start the coming season on a high.
22-Oct: Malaysian GP - Warmup Session: A surprise Ricardo Zonta was the fastest man on the track during the Warmup session. He was 0.048 seconds ahead of Mika Hakkinen and 0.214 seconds ahead of Michael Schumacher. David Coulthard is 4th ahead of Alexander Wurz and Rubens Barrichello.
Both Zonta and Wurz have produced exceptional results here and both will not be racing next year!. Zonta is going to Jordan as a test driver and Wurz to McLaren as a test driver. Perhaps when the pressure is off these two can make wonders!
Heinz Harald Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher were both very slow setting 19th and 20th however that could indicate that they are runner heavier fuel loads and planning to stop less during the race.
There were no major incidents during the session. Several drivers went across the gravel but recovered and Marc Gene had an engine problem and abandoned his car and ran back to the pits to get the spare.
Alexander Wurz covered the most number of laps with 15. Nick Heidfeld covered the least number of laps with 7 followed by Rubens Barrichello with 8. The rest of the field covered between 11 and 14 laps.
The latest weather forecast predict partly cloudy skies, a temperature of 33 degrees and very high humidity for the race.
21-Oct: Suffering from the flu, Rubens Barrichello gave it all during the qualifying session and was set to share the front row on the grid. In the last minute both McLaren drivers took second and third. Rubens said "After suffering with small health problems over the past few days, I gave it my all at the end of the session to do a great lap and I feel I succeeded. Its a shame both McLaren drivers went quicker than me, both by a very small margin. I am sure our car is very competitive. For tomorrow, we will try to improve the set-up still further and I hope to be feeling even better than today. I think we will see a good race and I will be giving it my best shot to get a great result and help the team take the Constructors title, which is so important to us.
Alexander Wurz considers 5th place as Pole
position when he said "I'm very happy with fifth place and to qualify right behind
the McLaren's and Ferrari's is really pole position for me. I'm very happy that I achieved
this in my last qualifying session with the team and I hope that this helps to put pay to
the rumours that have followed me this year.
Jacques Villeneuve was disappointed with 6th and said "On the last run the car was quick, then part way around the lap, a cylinder must have gone down in the engine or something, and I lost a lot of power. It cost me six- or eight-tenths of a second in straight-line speed alone, so I just aborted the lap."
Eddie Irvine wasn't happy with 7th and was hoping for 5th and said "The car was not as good this afternoon as it was this morning so I struggled a bit and was disappointed not to make fifth. I could have nailed a quicker time on the last run but I just backed off slightly at the last comer because I was conscious of keeping it all together. Ultimately it cost me fifth place. As for the race, I have a strong claim on points, which would be a great way to end the season."
Jenson Button who only managed 16 admitted the he just couldn't get a good lap together and said "Disappointing qualifying session for me. I hoped I could start the last race of this season with Williams from a much better position. I set my best time on the first run and after that I just couldn't get a good lap together."
At the post qualifying press conference for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Michael
Schumacher indicated that grabbing pole position with only 3 runs did not look as
easy as it seems but they didn't see a reason to go out early as the track is dirty and
they would rather save the tyres for the race.
Mika Hakkinen indicated that second position was the best possible outcome today as they couldn't get the perfect setup at this circuit.
David Coulthard indicated that the
difference between himself and Mika was incredibly close but he was disappointed to be so
far behind Michael Schumacher.
21-Oct: Malaysian GP - Qualifying Session: Michael Schumacher grabs his 9th pole position of the season ahead of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello, Alexander Wurz and Jacques Villeneuve make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
21-Oct: Malaysian GP - 2nd Saturday Practice Session: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Michael Schumacher and Alexander Wurz. Mika Hakkinen, Rubens Barrichello and Johnny Herbert make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
21-Oct: Malaysian GP - 1st Saturday Practice Session: Alexander Wurz surprises everyone by setting the fastest time of the session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher, Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
21-Oct: Alexander Wurz will not be racing in Formula 1 next season but he will stay involved as a test driver with one of the best teams in the sport in the hope that he can get a drive the following season. Just like Olivier Panis did when he tested for McLaren this year and will drive for BAR next year. Alexander Wurz was happy with deal and said "I'm extremely enthusiastic about the challenge and the opportunities offered by becoming part of the West McLaren Mercedes team. I'm sure that I will have a significant role to play as third driver for the most successful team in Formula One and I will be able to learn and develop further as a driver. To become part of the West McLaren Mercedes team is a strong career move and I am looking forward to being a contributing factor to the team's success."
Ricardo Zonta has also made a similar move joining Jordan as a test driver after a disappointing season with BAR.
At the Friday press conference for the Malaysian Grand Prix, Johnny Herbert
indicated that he has made up his mind very early about when to leave Formula 1 and added
"It will probably hit me harder next year when I watch the race from Melbourne next
year, in an armchair with my feet up, my slippers on my feet and the dog by my side. The
good thing then is that I will be able to say, "look at that, I would have done it
better". It will hit me then.
Jenson Button indicated that his first
season in Formula 1 went better than he expected and said "It's gone very well, a lot
better than I expected. When I first stepped into an F1 car I thought, "hey, this is
easy, it's not a big problem at all" until I got to the first race and realised I
would have to push a lot harder than I had in testing. That was a bit of a shock. This
year both Williams and BMW have done a great job, which has also helped to increase my
confidence. All round it has been a very good year."
Nick Heidfeld on the other hand indicated
that he had one of his worst seasons and said "For me it went a lot worse than I had
expected. I once experienced a year with a lot of trouble, it was back in my karting days,
and at that time I thought it would be enough. I never expected to have another equally
bad year, especially not in F1."
Pedro Diniz indicated that he is negotiating with Prost for a drive next year and said "I have had a very close contact with Prost, to join him next season. As Nick said, the team wasn't very good this year, but for 2001 they will have the Ferrari engine and they should improve a lot. I hope that goes ahead and we can do the deal." Pedro couldn't give any indication on when the deal might be done. He also denied any knowledge that his father was buying into the Prost team.
Peter Sauber has indicated that Sauber's
main sponsors Petronas will continue to work with the team on a long term contract.
20-Oct: Malaysian GP - 2nd Friday Practice Session: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the day ahead of Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
20-Oct: Malaysian GP - 1st Friday Practice Session: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. Mika Hakkinen, Eddie Irvine and Jacques Villeneuve make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
At the Thursday press conference for the Malaysian Grand Prix David Coulthard
indicated that securing third place in the Drivers' championship means nothing to him as
he has finished third so many times in the past but has never finished first or second and
added "I have been third a few times now, so I guess it doesn't mean quite the same
as having been a double, or triple, world champion. It doesn't mean anything to me. It's
about winning. I have never finished second or first, so I guess it would seem like a step
forward to be finishing second in the championship."
Mika Hakkinen didn't want to explain what
made him turnaround mid-season and said "It's not a conversation that I would want to
share with everybody. I want to keep it a little private at the moment, with myself. I
maybe want to explain later, to certain people. I don't want to tell everybody."
Rubens Barrichello is hoping to win the
race and if Coulthard finishes outside the points Barrichello will finish 3rd in the
Drivers' championship but he realises that it will be difficult and said "It will be
quite difficult, because I have to win and David has to finish outside the top six. It's
not that I wish to him, I wish us to have a good race, and then we'll see how it comes
Michael Schumacher had a very quite time
with his wife on an island since Suzuka and said "I just got into the mood of lying
around, moving from one sun bed to the other, having a little lunch, then back on to the
sun bed to read my books." He hopes to do as good a job in Malaysia as he did in
Jean Todt has cautioned that while Ferrari
have 'almost' won the constructors' title, the job is not done yet and reminded everyone
that at Indianapolis Ferrari scored 16 points while McLaren only scored 2 and if that is
reversed here then the title will go to McLaren.
Gerhard Berger described the race at
Suzuka as outstanding and said "As an ex-driver, a race like Suzuka was outstanding
to me. Knowing that you are going to win or lose the championship in a part of the race
where there was a little bit of rain, to make it a bit more exciting. To drive flat out
from the first lap to the last, and then to win it by a few seconds because you had a
better strategy. That is all together something that hasn't often been seen in the history
of Formula 1. I want to congratulate everyone who was involved in it. It was great to
19-Oct: "What is the strategy now?" is the title of the 34th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2000 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix - Check it out here !!