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Your thoughts on the 2000 season 
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What is the strategy now? 
Issue 34 - The Heretic  

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 "It’s 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 didn’t 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. I’m 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. I’m okay. I have a bit of pain from the left knee but nothing too serious. There’s 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 wasn’t 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. It’s a great pity to be leaving. Everyone in the team has been excellent and I can’t 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 couldn’t even think about chasing the cars in front of me as I was suffering from big understeer. Even after the pit-stop my car’s 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.
Michael indicated that he had a bad start and lost 2 places and he was not aware that Mika Hakkinen had jumped the start. But their strategy paid off and they ended up winning the race.
Michael Schumacher finished off by saying that he and the team are planning a big party tonight but he is not planning to take his hair down!

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.
David also indicated that he had apologised to Michael for some of the public remarks he made during the season. He added that he felt embarrassed at what he did and told Michael that he should have discussed those issues with him personally first.

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 - Race: Michael Schumacher wins the race ahead of David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello. Hakkinen, Villeneuve and Irvine make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

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.

Click here for the history of the session
Click here for the timed results

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. It’s 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.
I want to thank the people who work with me and who have supported me for the last three years in the team."

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."

21-Oct: 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.
Regarding Barrichello's 4th position after he was 2nd until the last minute, Schumacher said the it was hard on him as Barrichello is suffering from the flu and being 2nd then dropping to 3rd then 4th in a matter of seconds was disappointing.
When asked what it felt to compete in a race where there is no pressure, Michael said "We are racers because we love it and this situation is ideal as there is no pressure. You just drive freely to the limit as good as you can without any thinking behind it and that gives you the extra pleasure that you are looking for."

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.
He indicated that they couldn't get the maximum out of the car and would be hoping that the car is better suited to race conditions but that all depends on the conditions tomorrow.
When asked if the heat will affect his race, David indicated that a grand prix is a grand prix and there is nothing in particular that they do differently here and they just get on with it.

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.

Click here for the latest in team and driver movements

20-Oct: 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.
Johnny added that he is hoping to score his first points of the season here as the car is looking good.
Regarding the offer from Frank Williams for a test role with Williams next year, he said "Frank had a little chat with me about it. But realistically I am looking further a field. I want to race, that is what I really want to do. Testing would be a very last resort anyway. Even if I don't race in CART, I think I would do some racing somewhere else, because I still enjoy it and that's what I want to do. Obviously things change, often quite quickly, but negotiations in the States are still going very well. It is looking very positive."
Johnny finished by giving some very good appraisal to Jenson Button and said "He's still got a bit to learn. He has shown how determined he can be. But the best thing about Jenson is that he is very obviously enjoying it. We haven't seen anything like that for a long time. He races very strongly, too. He has also been rattling Ralf's cage a little bit. That's good to see, because Ralf is still a young boy, too. As long as everything goes well for him at Benetton next year, which I really hope it will do, then he looks set to be a world champion. That's really good for British motor sport."

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."
As for his expectations at Benetton next year, Jenson said "It's very difficult to know what to expect. I won't drive the car until the end of the year. But from what I have seen, the team can do a very good job, especially now that Flavio is back in charge. Also, with the new Renault engine, I can't see why we won't have a good car. I am with Benetton for two years, so let's hope we get some good results."

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."
As for next year, Nick is certain that it would be better than this year and said "As always it is very difficult to predict anything. I am sure I won't have as many problems next year as I did in 2000, because there is no way that could happen. I am sure we will get some points next year, but I have no idea how many."

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.
Regarding his second driver for next year, he said "We had two tests with Kimi Raikkonen in Mugello, which were very good. He impressed us a lot and we are thinking of working together."

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.

19-Oct: 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."
As for the reason his performance slipped mid season, he said "It was a combination of what I was doing and what we were doing as a team, which meant that we didn't score as much in the second half of the year. I was still there, or thereabouts, in terms of pace and qualifying. It's just the race results that haven't been as strong."

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."
Mika also denied the speculation about him retiring at the end of this season and indicated that he has the motivation to continue.

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 out."
As for his role at Ferrari so far and what he is aiming for next year, Barrichello said "If we go back over this year, with the experience I have now, it could have made quite a big difference. But next year is quite far away. There will be different cars and new engines. On past experience you have to count on Ferrari being able to work on a really good car again, and that's the way it is going. The good thing is that I feel optimistic. My main target this year was to be the hardest teammate Michael ever had, and I think I got that. Next year is next year: I hope we can have good races together. I am here to win, and to fight for championships, so I hope to be able to do that in the future."

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 Japan.
Once again he indicated that he is thirsty for more wins and said "I have seen big waves of emotions - good and bad ones - and these waves make life interesting and joyful. I feel I am too young not to experience many more of these. Yes, I definitely look forward to a few more seasons of racing."

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.
Regarding his future with the Ferrari team, he indicated that he will be thinking about that when his contract expires at the end of next year and said "The future is something that I have to decide myself before I am able to make any announcement. At the moment my decision is to go forward with the contract that I have until the end of next year, to fulfil it. Then we will see."

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 watch."
He indicated his surprise at the good results Williams BMW have achieved this year and said "It went better than we expected, no question, but on the other side we have good facilities, a good budget, good people, so we had everything we needed to do a proper job. It ended up good - sometimes with luck, sometimes with hard work, and sometimes it just worked out well for us. But in the end the only thing that counts is the results, and the result seems to be OK."
As for next year, he is hoping that Williams BMW will move 2 steps ahead while the others only move 1 but is also aware of the pitfalls and said "Everyone will improve their package for next year, and if we want to get closer we basically have to make two steps. Most of the time, two steps forward means also taking one backwards. So we know how critical is our situation. We are working very hard, but it's going to be very difficult."

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 !!

Malaysian 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 Sepang Time / 3 AM GMT
1 PM Sepang Time / 5 AM GMT
9 AM Sepang Time / 1 AM GMT
10:15 AM Sepang Time / 2:15 AM GMT
1 PM Sepang Time / 5 AM GMT
10:30 AM Sepang Time / 2:30 AM GMT
3:00 PM Sepang Time / 7 AM GMT

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