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Was the Indy GP a success ?
This could be the decider
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24-Sep: Mika Hakkinen (DNF) was disappointed with the outcome of the race but hasn't given up and said "Obviously I'm disappointed not to get any points today but we still have two races to go. I was stuck behind a Minardi for quite a number of laps, but once I got past I was catching Schumacher with more than half a second per lap. Unfortunately I had to retire with an engine failure."
David Coulthard (5th) indicated his frustration at jumping the start when he said "I'm sorry and frustrated that I jumped the start, which meant I received a 10 second stop-and-go penalty. I worked my way through traffic but my second set of tyres was not as good as my first one and as a result I couldn't push as hard as I would have liked and had to settle for fifth.
Jacques Villeneuve (4th) was fighting with Heinz Harald Frentzen for a podium finish and said "Today was a lot of fun and we were really quick in the race, but it's frustrating to get so close to a podium. I made a couple of mistakes, but it probably wouldn't have made a difference in the end. I wasn't really close enough to pass Frentzen but I just decided there was no sand trap and no tyre wall, so I'd take a chance. I lost track of where the corner was and as soon as I touched the brakes I knew I was not going to be able to stop. We were a lot closer to the pace of the McLaren today and the car was much better than in qualifying."
Ricardo Zonta (6th) was pleased with his second 6th place finish in a row and said "It's a great result for the team to get both cars in the points and I'm pleased to finish in the top six for the second race running. In the early laps the other cars were faster because of our wing settings and fuel load, but I could keep up with them and we were then faster as the race went on."
Ralf Schumacher (DNF) was very disappointed following his retirement and said "I am very disappointed that I had to retire when I was second. We had a problem with the engine air pressure system and I had to stop to avoid a complete engine failure. In drying conditions I was one of the quickest cars; I overtook quite a few cars and caught up to Hakkinen, it was great ! I was able to keep up with Michael and - no doubt - I would have been second."
Jenson Button (DNF) was sorry not have finished the race and said "I stopped when I was trying to overtake Barrichello on the straight. I hit something and the engine just died. I am so sorry I could not finish this race, the crowd has been fantastic here and the circuit is great. At the beginning of the race I had a puncture due to contact with Trulli. He was in front of me and from my point of view he was in the right position, he wasnt moving around or anything. I got alongside him and then maybe because of the braking it seemed to me that he slightly crossed onto my side of the circuit and we touched."
Jarno Trulli (DNF) was not happy about Jenson's move and said "Button was pushing me hard and tried to outbrake me - but it was too late. He collided with me and we went off. I'm obviously very unhappy about that because I had a flat tyre as a result and had to make a pit stop and then I retired from a mechanical problem which we think was caused by the impact
Johnny Herbert (11th) was the only driver to start on dry tyres and was running 5th at one stage but it all went wrong at the first stop. Johnny said "It was the right decision on tyres, but I can't believe the pit stop. I came in such a little amount over, and from what they said there was a puddle, and I hit it. That was the thing that put me off. Unfortunately it wasn't just missing the stop, but it actually damaged the front wing, and then I lost all my time because of that. I must have been half a kilometre too fast in the pits when I hit that puddle, and that was just enough to push it off line. It's just damn annoying because we did a good strategy, the pace was good during the race, but I haven't got anything."
Benetton (Fisichella - DNF, Wurz - 10th) had a bad result and they blamed their result on the race strategy, Pat Symonds (Technical Director) said "It was very difficult today to determine a sensible strategy with the slightly unpredictable weather conditions. With our grid positions we had to take some risks and we didn't get them right, so I don't think we gave our drivers a chance worthy of their abilities today. I hope that Alex's seventh-fastest lap was a truer reflection of our abilities."
24-Sep: At the post Race press conference, Michael Schumacher described his win at the first US GP as the best and said "It's the first time we have been here and I guess nobody really expected to have such a great welcome from the American fans, although its probably not only the Americans because they came here from all over the world. But seeing so many people here celebrating here with us this victory, one-two for Ferrari, it's the best."
As for spinning five laps from the end while leading, Schumacher put it to lack of concentration and said "I wasn't concentrating any more because I was just cruising. I mean I had such a big gap that the team asked me all the time to go slower and slower. And I did. And I just caught a bit of grass which was a bit damp still, and it spun me around. These things do happen if you are not concentrating properly."
And regarding McLaren's tactics at the start, Michael didn't have a problem with Coulthard's attempts to slow him down but wasn't too happy with the way Coulthard made it hard for him to overtake and said "On the overtaking side I think although he is not really in the Championship he tried really a little bit too much in my view. He pushed me wide and actually touched me. He probably will go back to Magny Cours and say it was simply like that. But on the other side he is not really in the Championship, and he was in my view doing something for his team and his team mate which I'm not sure whether that should be done or not. Anyway, we won it, we overtook the guys, we beat the guys fair and square and that's all that counts."
Regarding the fight for the championship, Schumacher said that he hopes that this 8 point swing will be decisive in his favour and added "But I know 8 points mathematically, still everything is open. Even though we now have a good advantage. But I will start to believe about the Championship once it is finished and not before. Because you have seen what has happened earlier this year and you never know what can happen in the last two races. So we will be highly concentrated, working very hard for these last two races and hopefully use our opportunities."
Rubens Barrichello indicated that he stopped for dry tyres after having too much oversteer on the wets but he should have done that a few laps later while the track dried as he struggled with the car and found it difficult to keep the car on the track.
Barrichello also complained of too much wing which made his car difficult to overtake other cars but apart from that the setup was good.
Heinz Harald Frentzen said that he had a really hard race and added "I was fighting really for every tenth today, and I had my car set up for being quick on the straight, but I was struggling a bit on the infield. So all the competitors were catching me up on the infield. I could manage to be in front on the straight, but like Jacques in the end came close enough on the tow so he had a chance."
Frentzen was really happy with the result and said "I am glad we made it here today. And I feel happy for the team. We went through a difficult period of time this year and I think this gives us another big boost and motivation for higher expectations."
24-Sep: United States GP - Race: Michael Schumacher wins ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Heinz Harald Frentzen. Jacques Villeneuve, David Coulthard and Ricardo Zonta make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
24-Sep: United States GP - Warmup Session: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. Jacques Villeneuve, Jarno Trulli and Jos Verstappen make the top 6.
The session was run under damp conditions and the drivers ran wet tyres most o the time.
David Coulthard ended up over half a second faster than anyone else possibly indicating a lighter fuel load in an attempt to get ahead of Michael Schumacher and slow him down during the race?.
The cars were running with a lower downforce configuration than in qualifying and BAR and Arrows have set competitive times with Villeneuve in 4th, Verstappen and de la Rosa in the top 10. Both cars are more suited to the low downforce configuration. Sauber on the other hand who struggle with low downforce configurations are running in 21st and 22nd even behind the Minardi's.
Weather conditions will remain cloudy with a 60% chance of showers during the day.
24-Sep: The location of Pole position is expected to be moved back one row after Ferrari have raised concerns with the FIA that being so close to the yard of bricks could affect the start for Michael Schumacher (who is on Pole). Drivers will still start on the same side of the track but their postition will be moved back one row.
23-Sep: Rubens Barrichello (4th) is confident for the race and said "I am still confident because the performance levels of the top four cars are very similar. Its a shame not to be on the front row like in Monza, but I a made a terrible start there so I hope to make a good one tomorrow. There is still some work to do to find the right compromise to suit both the slow and quick parts of the track. A lot will depend on the weather conditions."
Jarno Trulli (5th) is happy with his result and added "I am very excited as tomorrow will be my first race in Formula One racing in the USA. I am confident for our performance and I think it will be a very interesting race, especially with the chance of overtaking in the slip stream on the long straights."
Jenson Button (6th) would have preferred to be on the second row but pushed too hard on his last run. He is still happy with his position especially that he is not far behind the top 5. He is looking forward to the race and said "Driving through the banked corners was good fun also today and I can't wait to race through it. It's been a good weekend for us so far and I hope we can still improve tomorrow."
Heinz Harald Frentzen (7th) was happy for the team but raised some concerns about the kerbs when he said "My only concern is the kerbs, which are very challenging and hard to drive over. We will have to be careful during the 73-lap race. But the atmosphere here is really good."
Jacques Villeneuve (8th) described his session as a difficult one and on his final run he tried too hard and said "I went into the hairpin too fast. I guess I was just trying a little too hard. We will now try to get the car to survive the whole race because it's very slippery and the tyre pressures will go up during the race, so we need to find a set-up that doesn't give us a crisis after ten laps."
Giancarlo Fisichella (15th) was very disappointed and said "I don't really understand, this morning the car was good then in Qualifying it seemed to have lost grip and was really difficult to drive. I'm really disappointed with fifteenth position."
His teammate Alexander Wurz has outqualified Fisichella for only the 2nd time this season. Wurz was praised by the Benetton team while Fisichella was critisised. Flavio Briatore (Managing Director) said "Alex applied his mind to this race and studied everything carefully before arriving at Indianapolis. Giancarlo tried to rely on his talent which is no substitute for hard work." while Pat Symonds (Technical Director) said "This is a very unexpected result. Alex did a good job and has shown that he and his engineers have got to grips with the new circuit this weekend. Giancarlo, on the other hand, does not seem to have understood the circuit, which may be a result of his mistake on Friday which cost him valuable circuit time, but even so it is hard to understand why he is so slow."
Eddie Irvine (17th) was very frustrated for the lack of pace and can only look forward to the future when he said "I guess we put the last two days to yet another stage in our learning experience. What we are building as a team will take time, but we have to ensure that what we take away from each race weekend like this, we put to good use in the future."
23-Sep: At the post Qualifying press conference, Michael Schumacher indicated that the reason he didn't go out early in the session was that he was confident that it was not going to rain and on his outlap he got a few spots on his visor and became a bit concerned but in the end that didn't affect his time.
As for going out on the track together with his teammate Rubens Barrichello on their 3rd and 4th runs. Michael inidcated that they were hoping to get a tow from each other because there is such a long straight. It was a bit of team tactics and it worked.
Schumacher also indicated there is always a worry at the first corner at the start of the race but not more than any other circuit. The important thing is to go through the first corner leading then you're out of trouble.
On the prospect of rain, Schumacher indicated that they'll know what to do if it does rain and hopes that there won't be too many rivers running across the circuit as they haven't run on this circuit under full wet conditions.
David Coulthard talked about the tactic used on his last run and said "Adrian came across and asked if it would help for Mika to give me a tow. To which my answer was, of course, that it would help. It did work quite well for me, and although I am not sure exactly how much time it gave me, it certainly gave me a little bit down the straight."
"I won't know until I look at the data exactly how much time advantage that gives. It's a great thing, and I have to thank him for doing it, but then I had the rest of the 13 corners to do alone. I am still quite happy with my effort, it was not enough to beat Michael, but I still made a big gain on that last run."
As for the amount of wing they will be running in the race, David indicated that they will take some wing off for the race but they will still need some for the infield section. The most important thing is to have the quickest race race car.
When asked if he preferred to start from the dusty side of the first row or the clean side of the second row he said "Well, pole is what you prefer. The dusty side is no advantage, but a good start is all about reaction time and not getting too much wheelspin. If you look at where I will be starting from on the grid, the bricks are directly in front of my starting position, and that will be a disadvantage. From where I am, I hope to get the car moving, and it is quite a drag down to the first corner. I hope to be able to get the jump at the start."
Mika Hakkinen indicated that he was comfortable with 3rd and not disappointed about the fact that helping Coulthard on his last run put him back one place.
Asked of he expects Coulthard to help him in the race tomorrow he said "At the moment we go into the race tomorrow we both expect to win. Me and also David. Let's wait and see how the race goes. We will have to understand what chances we have, which positions we are able to get. So let's see how the race develops."
As for his thoughts on the first corner at the start of the race, Hakkinen said "The first corner is always difficult because everyone wants to be first. That's a long, long straight before that first corner and we're going to get up to a very high speed. Luckily there is a lot of run-off area there in case anyone realises he is going too fast. But it's still going to be difficult.
23-Sep: United States GP - Qualifying: Michael Schumacher grabs pole ahead of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen. Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
23-Sep: United States GP - 2nd Saturday Practice: Michael Schumacher fastest ahead of Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. Jenson Button, Mika Hakkinen and Heinz Harald Frentzen make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
23-Sep: United States GP - 1st Saturday Practice: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time ahead of Jenson Button and David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
22-Sep: At the Friday press conference for the US Grand Prix, Eddie Irvine describes the circuit as a mix between Monza and Budapest with sections of the infield even slower than in Budapest. As for the fast section he said "You've also got this very fast section, which is quite easily flat at the minute. In the rain it could be spectacular, although in the dry it's not much of an issue. But it's definitely a good venue."
When asked about what he thought of Luciano Burti who will drive alongside him at Jaguar next year, Eddie said "I think he's very capable. He's clever. There's no doubt about that. He definitely has a good head on his shoulders. On the speed and all that, I really don't know yet. But I think he has a good feel for the car and he is intelligent and they're two basic requirements."
Heinz Harald Frentzen indicated that they are taking the banked corner flat because the are running quite a bit of downforce and expects that the teams will go for a downforce configuration similar or less than at Spa for the race.
Frentzen was then asked what he thought of Rubens Barrichello's comments after the first lap accident at Monza and said " Well, generally I understand what Rubens said right after the race. I mean, he was basically very upset with the situation that he has been kicked off the road in the end by me; and he was racing in Monza, in Italy, and he had great expectation for the race. But what he said after the race probably was overheated. I mean, it's now hard really to say whose fault was the accident but it was a race incident. I'm not upset about what he said. I mean it made life for me a bit difficult afterwards. But I never went to the press, I never went too detailed into what happened afterwards. But I think the press afterwards explained the situation and what happened and I think it is all cleared out now."
Pedro de la Rosa indicated that there are 2 corners that are too slow and are taken in 1st gear but he also expects to end up in a very low downforce configuration in the race for overtaking on the straight. He added that the only complaint he had was that the track surface was quite slippery and they were unable to generate enough grip from the tyres.
As for who will he be driving for next year, de la Rosa said that he doesn't see any reason why he shouldn't continue with the Arrows team and they just have to wait a bit more before it is official.
When asked to comment on the circuit, Sir Frank Williams said "All I care about racing circuits is that it allows sensible overtaking or easy overtaking and the event is run the same for everybody. Whether it's a good track or difficult track, I've always felt the team with the best mental and technical approach will do most of the winning."
He was then asked about his expectations from Juan Pablo Montoya next season and said "Clearly, we think that he is a very talented driver and I don't think he's done anything but learn and improve by racing over here for two seasons. These cars, after all, have 900 horsepower which is embarrassingly more than we have. Beyond saying those words, no one can be sure exactly what his achievements may or may not be. And whether we all like it or not, all drivers' achievements are covered by the team and its equipment; and his success will be very much a measure of our possible success. I think it will be exciting to watch that."
When asked if he expects Montoya to match or beat Ralf, he said "We hope so but every team principal who signs up a driver hopes he's acquiring somebody who's better than his present incumbents. But there's no telling. It's not really on my mind right now."
Sir Frank Williams also added that they are very sad to let Jenson Button go elsewhere for period of time but they had a verbal commitment with Juan Pablo and Button and his management knew that.
Jean Todt explained the details of the
Prost engine deal and said that Ferrari will open up a new shop completely independent
from Scuderia Ferrari and will be responsible for supplying engines to their 2 clients,
Prost and Sauber. He added that the engines will be one year old.
When asked about David Coulthard's role this weekend, Ron Dennis said "I think nothing has changed from the previous races. The objective that David should have and does have is to qualify on pole and try and win the race. Of course, that's the same objective for Mika. It's easier said than done. If a situation develops where it's in the interest of the team for the team to intercede in the outcome of the race to optimize the World Championship, we'll do it. That's something that we have the contractual right to do at the first Grand Prix and any Grand Prix. Simple fact is that we've done it about three times, I think, in the last ten years, to my knowledge. Possibly will not occur here. The most important thing to always remember is that an incident between Michael and Mika could see David win the race and he'd be back in championship contention. So it's absolutely illogical to come here and say, you know, you will need to do everything we tell you to do and it's ridiculous. The most important thing is for him to the start the best possible and if he can contribute following the outcome of the race, then we will step in; and if we step in, then we will make that known to all the media. But so far this year we haven't had to do it."
22-Sep: The Prost Formula 1 team announced today that they will be using Ferrari customer engines for a period of 2 years starting in 2001. Similar to the Sauber engine deal, Ferrari will supply Prost with this year's engine specification for next season.
Team boss Alain Prost was delighted to have secured the Ferrari engines and said "I am delighted to have been able to secure one of the most competitive and prestigious engines in Formula 1. This deal with Ferrari gives a great boost to our team, which has gone through a difficult season. Now we can start putting in place next season's programme and strategy, with renewed confidence and strength."
The team has yet to name their second driver to partner Jean Alesi next year. Nick Heidfeld will move to the Sauber team.
22-Sep: United States GP - 2nd Friday Practice: After missing out most of the first session, David Coulthard sets the fastest time ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. Rubens Barrichello, Heinz Harald Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
22-Sep: United States GP - 1st Friday Practice: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen. Jenson Button, Jacques Villeneuve and Alexander Wurz make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.
22-Sep: "This could be the decider" is the title of the 30th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2000 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming United States Grand Prix - Check it out here !!
21-Sep: At the Thursday press conference for the US Grand Prix, Neil Ressler said that he has been looking for a long time for someone to join Jaguar and found that Bobby Rahal has participated in motorsport at the top levels, has business acumen, is good with people and has shown good leadership abilities. He added that Bobby has kept up to date with the European motorsports and in particular Formula 1. He realises that Bobby has a steep learning curve but is confident that he will become a credible person in his job in a very short period of time.
Craig Pollock is feeling fantastic about
returning to Indianapolis and hopes that they acheive the same result as they did when
they were here 5 years ago. (Craig Pollock and Jacques Villeneuve won the Indy 500 in 95).
Craig added that BAR were strong in Monza and had a real chance of finishing on the podium
but that's racing.
Michael Schumacher believes that Ferrari
and McLaren are very close and at Monza Ferrari got it right while McLaren didn't. When
asked about the difficulty in learning this new circuit, he said "I would say no, to
be honest, because we have all been around long enough to understand new circuits quickly
enough. We also have simulations to give us a rough direction on how to get the car
working. Then to optimize the cars will be as difficult as it always is on other circuits.
So it might be a little more difficult, but not as much as some people might think. And
you can always get it wrong."
Mika Hakkinen expects the circuit to be very difficult to learn and added that he'll try to follow Jacques Villeneuve as he has been here before!. As for McLaren's lack of pace at Monza he said "I don't really want to say this, but the reality is that you can't get it right every time. That's what the target is, to try and get the set-up and everything right, but at Monza our car was not as good as it should have been. And that's why the Ferrari was quicker."
Jacques Villeneuve is hoping for a good
result here but added that the car he last drove here 5 years ago at the Indy 500 was a
lot more competitive than the car he is driving now in Formula 1 but he still believes
that they have a small chance as they were competitive at Monza and were able to keep up
with the McLaren's before he retired.
When asked to compare the '500' and the Formula 1 Grand Prix he said "Well, the '500' is the biggest race in the world, with a lot of pressure and its own championship, just in the one race. However, although this race is the first in the States for a long time, it is also just another race in the World Championship. The course looks quite interesting. A car that's quick at Monza should be quick here, too, so that's good for us. There are just a couple of very tight corners that don't seem to have any reason for being there. But the rest of the course is a very nice layout".
As for the differences between Indy and Formula 1 he said "The level of technology is quite a bit higher in F1, even though you use the same composites in an Indy car. But there are two or three manufacturers of Indy cars, which are available on sale to the teams, so of course things are not going to be pushed to the limit like they are in F1, where everyone builds his own cars and develops it race after race. There is also a lot more money involved in F1, which pushes it. There is a lot of racing in North America, so it is going to be very difficult to get the American public interested in Formula 1. There'll be no problem getting them interested in what happens at Indianapolis each year, but it's going to be a lot more difficult getting them to watch the racing and follow the rest of the season."
And or the prospect of rain on Saturday and Sunday, Villeneuve indicated that it would be the first time for cars to race here in the wet and that would be very interesting.
It is finally official, the Williams BMW team have today announced that Juan
Pablo Montoya has signed a two-year contract and will partner Ralf Schumacher
The 25 year old Colombian has won the Indy 500 and the CART Championship but has never raced in a Formula 1 car before. He did however complete over 8000 km of testing in the Williams FW19 in 1998. Montoya is looking forward to the challenge and said "I think Formula One will be a new process of learning. I have to learn to understand the car at the beginning and understand how the team works. I've been there before and know some people, so that helps. It's going to be a good experience and it will be interesting to see what happens."
Jacques Villeneuve who successfully moved from CART to Formula 1 winning both championships believes that Montoya has what it takes and added "Both Frank Williams and Patrick Head are racers at heart and they live to get results, they live to race. You just need to know what you want and to stick to your principles and make sure there is a good amount of respect within the team. If that works then the results should come. And with Juan Pablo having worked with the team in 1998, he is already very comfortable with the team."