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Podium for Ralf?  
Issue 28 - The Heretic  
 6 - 10 September News

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10-Sep: Michael Schumacher explained that the win today was even more emotional for him than his win for Ferrari at Monza in 98. He added that winning in Italy after a number of difficult races was a big relief and it showed. Schumacher also apologised if he caught any of the drivers out (Button) while braking and accelerating when the safety car was about to leave the track.

Rubens Barrichello was very bitter about the first lap accident and blamed Heinz Harald Frentzen for braking too late and hitting him causing a big accident at the second chicane. He was happy that Ferrari managed to win the race proving that their car is competitive. Heinz Harald Frentzen on the other hand indicated that it was Barrichello who braked very early leaving him no room to go and they touched. He was even more disappointed that his accident with Barrichello took out his teammate Jarno Trulli as well and said "It's very sad for the team."

David Coulthard commented on his first lap accident by saying "It really goes without saying that I'm extremely disappointed with the outcome of my Monza race particularly since I was an innocent victim in the incident which took place behind me. I made a good start which saw me move from fifth to third but it was all over at the second chicane. I'm not sure exactly what happened.

Pedro de la Rosa described the first lap accident by saying "I just saw the yellow flags and braked and then saw pieces of car all over the place, lots of tyre smoke and after the smoke cleared there were 2 cars travelling very slowly and I just couldn't slow down my car enough. I think it was Zonta and I hit him on the rear wheel, this launched me into the air and then I just barrel rolled until the car stopped. Fortunately I am okay, there is no problem. It is a racing incident. I wouldn't say I was unlucky as I am lucky to be here.

Jacques Villeneuve had a good start but was stuck behind Barrichello who had a very bad start, at the first chicane he had dropped to 8th but the accident at the second chicane cleared 5 cars in front of him and he ended up in 3rd. A few laps after the safety car left the track his car suffered an electrical problem that stopped the engine. He commented on the race by saying "This was one of the best opportunities that we had to get a podium finish this season, so it is a big shame that we did not finish the race."

Jenson Button explained what happened when he went off the track behind the safety car, he said "When the light of the safety car went off Michael Schumacher slowed down (which is normal) and then he accelerated away and then he slowed down again, I don't know why. I had nowhere to go, everyone was spread across the circuit and I finished on the grass in order not to hit Villeneuve's car. I hit the barrier and obviously damaged the car.

10-Sep: Formula 1 teams and drivers send their condolences to the family of the fire marshal who died after being hit by debris at the Italian GP. A number of teams have issued official statements while most of the drivers have expressed their sympathy and sorrow for what happened.
The McLaren team issued a statement that read "The West McLaren Mercedes team's thoughts are with the family of the fire marshal who lost his life whilst fulfilling his duties at the time of the accident at the second chicane"
Jean Todt said "The result has been saddened by the death of a track official. He was one of a group of people without whom there would be no motor racing. I dedicate this victory to them."
Michael Schumacher said "I am very sad to hear about the death of a track official. Under these circumstances, what happened in the race has only a secondary significance."
Ralf Schumacher said "My joy would be great, but it's shaded by the fact that somebody who was working to protect our lives has been accidentally involved."
Pedro Diniz said "We were lucky that none of the drivers were hurt today. But we should not forget the fireman at the side of the track who died as a result of the accident."

The 5 cars involved in the crash (1 McLaren, 1 Ferrari, 2 Jordan's and an Arrows) have been impounded by the police to aid in the investigation.

10-Sep: 30 year old Fire marshal Paolo Gislimberti has died in hospital after sustaining head and chest injuries from flying debris resulting from the first lap incident at the Italian Grand Prix. Rubens Barrichello, Heinz Harald Frentzen and Jarno Trulli touched just before the second chicane and they all went off taking David Coulthard with them. Pedro de la Rosa then hits the back of Johnny Herbert's Jaguar and then flips on top of Coulthard's stationary car in the gravel and lands next to Barrichello's car. There were debris flying everywhere and the unfortunate fire marshal was hit by a piece believed to be tyre. There will be a police investigation into the death and the drivers involved will certainly be questioned over the incident.

10-Sep: A very emotional Michael Schumacher was speachless at the winners press conference and burst into tears when he was asked if matching Senna's record of wins meant much to him. Mika Hakkinen was then asked if he felt that the Ferrari was quicker today and after asking if they could have a break given Michael's emotional condition he asked that they move on to Ralf.

Ralf Schumacher was asked to describe the accident on the first lap as he was behind the cars that went out and said that he just saw a cloud of dust and debris flying everywhere. He was surprised how he and Jacques (who was running ahead of him) managed to go through without damage.

During the race Jos Verstappen and Ricardo Zonta managed to pass Ralf and when asked if he was worried then he indicated that Zonta was on a lighter fuel and was not worried about him while Verstappen who was on the same strategy but had to pit earlier which allowed Ralf to pass him through the pits.

Mika Hakkinen was then asked again if he felt that Ferrari were stronger here and he said that they were little bit and while he managed to go faster after his pit stop it was not enough to catch Michael Schumacher. He complained about Gaston Mazzacane who held him up as well as holding up Michael Schumacher during the race but said that was not an excuse for him finishing second.

Michael Schumacher was then asked why does 41 wins mean so much to him but Schumacher refused to answer.

10-Sep: Italian GP - Race: Michael Schumacher wins the Italian GP ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Ralf Schumacher. Verstappen, Wurz and Zonta make the top 6. Retirements: Villeneuve, Heidfeld, Button, Coulthard, Barrichello, Frentzen, Trulli, de la Rosa, Herbert and Irvine ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

10-Sep: Italian GP - Warmup session: Ricardo Zonta sets the fastest time during the session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. David Coulthard, Jos Verstappen and Mika Salo make the top 6.

Rubens Barrichello was slightly off the pace in 7th after qualifying in 2nd position while Villeneuve is in 8th. However this could indicate that both are planning to run a heavier fuel load.

Jenson Button struggled early in the session but managed to get into 9th place minutes before the end. Pedro Diniz completes the top 10.

Both Benetton and Jordan were off the pace during this session which could be due to heavier fuel loads.

1 second separates the top 10 and 2 seconds separate the top 20.

The session didn't have a lot of incidents apart from David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine spinning but recovering.

With Villeneuve 4th on the grid and Zonta fastest in the warmup, it appears that the BAR Honda package is about ready to challenge the top 2 teams particularly on this kind of circuit. It will be interesting to see how they perform during the race.

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

9-Sep: Jacques Villeneuve (4th) and the BAR Honda team have recorded the team's best ever qualifying position and Villeneuve is feeling great about it. He felt that the car was well balanced and the engine was strong. He also hopes to be making a good start as he doesn't want to be caught in the middle of the pack to avoid wheel banging and the possibility of someone going off.
Despite recording the fastest speed at 352 km/h, his teammate Ricardo Zonta only managed 17th and that was mainly due to an electrical problem he suffered with the car and had to use the spare which was setup for Villeneuve.

David Coulthard was unhappy with 5th on the grid as he didn't manage to get all his best sectors together in 1 lap. He also encountered traffic on his last run ruining his chances of improving. He is looking forward to the race where he is hoping to score points.

Jarno Trulli (6th) had a very difficult time during the practice sessions due to a hydraulics problem which severely affected his preparations for qualifying. Despite that he managed to get in the top 6 and is pleased with the result especially that he is ahead of Williams and Benetton.
His teammate Heinz Harald Frentzen had equally bad practice sessions following a spin early in the first session. He managed to recover and qualify in 8th position which he accepts but believes that he could have done much better.

Ralf Schumacher considers 7th as not too bad although he should have done better but he made mistakes on 2 of his runs which he had to abort. He expects the first corner to be tight tomorrow.
His teammate Jenson Button qualified in 12th and was quite disappointed and suspects a setup problem. He realises that it will be hard to get into the points tomorrow.

Alexander Wurz (13th) also had a terrible time during practice today as his car stopped on the track during both sessions leaving him unprepared for qualifying. He was so upset as he likes this circuit and goes very fast here. Given the circumstances, he believes that he should be satisfied with the result but was extremely disappointed.

Eddie Irvine (14th) claims that he never got into a rhythm and that was partly because Ralf Schumacher messed up one flying lap for him while Heinz Harald Frentzen messed up another. He even accused them of trying to mess it up for everyone! He does acknowledge though that the car is not yet up there and there is a lot more work to be done.
His teammate Johnny Herbert was 18th and was dissapointed that he couldn't beat Eddie but addded that he felt that they will struggle at Monza and he wasn't feeling confident.

9-Sep: At the post qualifying press conference for the Italian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher was happy to see the two Ferrari's competing for pole for a change as that will help them tomorrow in the race in both championships. He added that it also indicates that the car is competitive.
As for finishing his session early he indicated that he made a mistake on his first run and decided to go for an additional lap and use 4 laps instead of 3 which left him with 2 laps at the end of the session that he could not use.
Regarding the race setup, he believes that they are stronger here than they were in Hungary and hopes to show that tomorrow.
Schumacher also hopes that the drivers will be reasonable tomorrow at the start in order to have a clean start and avoid a first corner pileup but if there is no discipline with the drivers then a crash is inevitable.

Rubens Barrichello avoided the question of supporting Michael in the race tomorrow and preferred to talk about how happy they were to have qualified on the fornt row. He added that he thought that he could have grabbed pole on his last run but he couldn't improve but he is still happy.
As for his lack of good qualifying results recently, he indicated that he was simply unlucky in those races whereas here he was much happier with the car.

Mika Hakkinen indicated that there were some handling problems that affected his pace and 3rd was the most he could get out of the car for qualifying.
After the qualifying session, Mika had a good look at the back of the Ferrari and when asked why he did that, he said that it is always interesting to look at what your competitors are doing and sometime you wonder why they are doing something one way while you are doing it in another way.
Mika Hakkinen ended by saying that he was confident that they can work on improving the handling of the car for the race and getting a good result.

9-Sep: Italian GP - Qualifying: Michael Schumacher grabs pole position ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen. Jacques Villeneuve, David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

9-Sep: Italian GP - 2nd Saturday practice session: Michael Schumacher fastest ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello. David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Jenson Button make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

9-Sep: Italian GP - 1st Saturday practice session: Michael Schumacher fastest ahead of Jenson Button and David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella make the top 6 ... Full Report ... Timed Results

8-Sep: Michael Schumacher (2nd fastest) described his car as a pleasure to drive following the Friday practice sessions. He added that it is a good way to start the weekend. Regarding the modified chicane, he hopes that everyone will be sensible at the start but he believes the modification is good from a safety point of view.

Mika Hakkinen (4th fastest) didn't set a timed lap in the first practice session due to a gearbox problem and believes that they have a long way to go before finding the optimum setup. Despite that, he is very optimistic about qualifying and the race.

David Coulthard (5th fastest) spun early during the second practice session and lost valuable time. He wasn't sure if the spin was just a mistake or a problem with the car but he is not too worried as he did a lot of testing here last week.

Jarno Trulli (3rd fastest) was happy with the progress they have achieved and describes the car as nicely balanced and just as good as it was during the test last week. He hopes to maintain the pace for qualifying tomorrow.

8-Sep: At the Friday press conference for the Italian Grand Prix, Jean Alesi (22nd fastest) indicated that he felt very old compared to Jenson Button and Ralf Schumacher who were present!.
When asked about how he felt running with the top teams at Spa, he said that it was a shame that he couldn't finish the race as it would have been a great boost for the team had they managed to score their first points of the season. But it was still encouraging for the team to see their car on the TV screens running competitively.
As for the Italian GP, Alesi indicated that this is a special race for him as he has only claimed 2 pole positions during his career and both were at this track. He would love to score points here but realises that they are struggling with everything.
Jean Alesi finished by confirming that he will make it to 200 GP's next year and hinted that he is confirmed to drive with the Prost team next year

Jenson Button (11th fastest) indicated that this is the first time he will race at Monza although he took part in testing at this track. He enjoys this track especially Parabolica and Ascari but he was not too sure about the first chicane as he and a number of other drivers went straight on which means a disallowed time in qualifying and could mean a 10-second stop-go penalty in the race.
Button was excited about the prospect of Luciano Burti racing in Formula 1 next year as Burti also comes from F3 to F1 without going to F3000 and they raced against each other in F3. Button believes that F3 is a lot more technical than F3000 an that racing is a lot closer too.
Regarding the upcoming race in Indianapolis, Button cannot wait as it is a new track and he will be learning it like everyone else. He is looking forward to racing on part of the oval track and is excited about 250,000 spectators watching F1 and hopes to please them.

Rubens Barrichello (Fastest) was surprised to be at the top of the timesheets and indicated he was not happy with his car in testing last week but they have used almost the same setup they had in testing but on a different chassis it made a big difference which surprised him.
As for being a Ferrari driver racing at Monza, he indicated that the feeling is just like at Interlagos (his home GP) as he can almost hear the crowd roaring when leaving the pits.

Ralf Schumacher (21st fastest) indicated that their work concentrated on race setup and hence his position of 21st! but he is also not as happy with his car as he was last week in testing. He is confident that he'll find a solution but he feels that they are not as good here as they were at Spa.
When asked about Button going to Benetton, he indicated that they make a good team and fitted well together and it is a shame to let Jenson go. He added that Frank Williams has different ideas that he has to respect but cannot judge yet. He doesn't know what will happen when Montoya arrives but he hopes that Montoya is not going to be too quick.

8-Sep: Italian GP - 2nd Friday practice session: Rubens Barrichello fastest ahead of Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli. Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine make the top 6  ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

8-Sep: Italian GP - 1st Friday practice session: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Jarno Trulli and Michael Schumacher. David Coulthard, Pedro de la Rosa and Jos Verstappen make the top 6. Mika Hakkinen has not set a time ... Full Report ... Timed Results.

7-Sep: At the Thursday press conference for the Italian Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher does not consider the Italian Grand Prix as the crucial race in the fight for the championship as it is one of 4 races remaining and whatever happens the championship will not be finished. He added that the result could make life more or less difficult for them.
Schumacher indicated that apart from the natural developments on the car, they have nothing special to point out for this race.
Schumacher doesn't consider the Monza track as one of his favourites and if fact does not find it really challenging. As for the effect the tifosi has on lap times, he indicated that it is great to have the extra motivation and is looking forward to repeating the success he had when he raced here last time in 1998.

Mika Hakkinen considers this race as an important race like any other GP race. He enjoys some of the corners of the Monza track and considers them challenging but does not like some others. He added that psychologically, the track is very demanding and difficult to drive compared with other circuits.
When asked if the tifosi are fair to him, he said that most of them are pleasant but there are some bad fans but understands the Italian temperament and also understands that emotions can be quite high.

Ricardo Zonta indicated that he thought that the overtaking move by Hakkinen at Spa was a dangerous one although it worked well. He added the he didn't see Mika Hakkinen until he was in the middle of the straight and he didn't move all the way over to the right because the track was damp but then Hakkinen managed to get through there.
Regarding his future, he indicated that he is talking to a number of teams for a drive and that McLaren have offered him a test role for next year but he is hoping to have another season racing in Formula 1.

Giancarlo Fisichella described his lack of results lately as being unlucky as he failed to finish in the last 4 races in a row. Two of them were due to first corner accidents while the 2 others were reliability related. He added that the 2 big accidents he had recently (1 at the warmup for the Belgian GP and the other during testing at Monza last week) have him a bit worried about the race especially that the crash he had at the Monza track was caused by brake failure. He also has a bit of pain in his right ankle from the crash but it will be OK for the race on Sunday.

Jarno Trulli has been very busy since the Belgian GP as he took part in the Belfast Motorsport of show then took part in the Monza test then celebrated the 10th birthday of Jordan Grand Prix at Donnington park.
As for the Italian GP, he is hoping to do well in front of his home crowd especially that his car has been competitive over the last few races.

7-Sep: Jaguar's test driver Luciano Burti has signed for Jaguar to drive alongside Eddie Irvine in 2001. Burti has been the favourite to secure the second seat that became available once Johnny Herbert announced that he will be moving to the American CART series next year.

There have been a number of candidates for the drive including Dario Franchitti, Tomas Scheckter and even Jean Alesi but it appears that the team has decided to go with their current test driver who also raced for Jaguar this year at the Austrian Grand Prix when Eddie Irvine had to pull out for medical reasons.

Burti commented on the deal by saying "Securing a Formula One drive is what I have been working at since I first began karting at the age of 16. I am thrilled that it has finally happened but the most important thing for me now is to seize the opportunity I have been given and focus on making a contribution to the success of the team.

I feel privileged to be starting my Formula One career with Jaguar Racing. Jaguar is such an emotional marque, it has a proud motor racing history and now I have the chance to play a part in an exciting new era in motor sport for Jaguar. I’m looking forward to working with Eddie. Besides being a lively character, he has a load of experience. He has won races and finished second in the World Championship. I have tested with him this season and learned a lot. Together we can take Jaguar Racing to the next stage of its development."

Neil Ressler the CEO of Jaguar has commented on the deal by saying "Luciano is a very confident, competent young man, which he proved in Austria when he stood in for Eddie at very short notice. He has contributed greatly to the development of the team this season in his role as test driver and we have rewarded him accordingly. Signing him to partner Eddie brings continuity to Jaguar Racing because he knows the car as well as anyone and he is integrated into the team.

Of all the available options we had, I believe Luciano has the most potential of the young breed coming through. I have every confidence that he will form a formidable partnership with Eddie as we continue to work at improving our competitiveness in 2001 and beyond."

The latest in driver and team movements

7-Sep: "Podium for Ralf?" is the title of the 28th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2000 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Italian Grand Prix - Check it out here !!

6-Sep: Michael Schumacher refused to be drawn into picking who the best driver is this season but did indicate that he has respect for Mika Hakkinen when he said "I have never claimed to be the best driver, and this topic needs to be pure speculation, as the only way to find out is to sit both drivers in an identical car and let them race against each other. But Mika absolutely is a top driver, he has become world champion twice, he most of the time outraces his teammate, if you are able to do that, you must be good. He has driven a lot of wonderful races, and you need to have respect for that."

David Coulthard did an exhibition run in the 2-seater McLaren in red light district of Hamburg in front of 20,000 fans. He insisted that there will be no team orders within McLaren at the Italian GP and that he is still in for a chance but he must win in Italy. He said "I don't believe there will be any team orders. Things have been said in private that make me very confident I will be given my chance to race for the title, I am certainly not giving up on it. Why should I? There are 40 points available for maximum finishes in the next four races and I am only 13 points behind Mika."

Ralf Schumacher strongly disagrees with the decision Frank Williams made in releasing Jenson Button for 2 years and replacing him with Juan Pablo Montoya (an official announcement is expected at the US Grand Prix). Ralf questions Montoya's ability and said "I feel that him (Button) leaving us is nothing positive, it's a pity to tear apart our team and put Montoya in the car. No one can tell how well he will perform. I think we could and should have kept the driver line-up as it is this year. It will not be as easy as the switch to Champ Cars (from F3000). I cannot see him coming into F1 and starting to win right away. But I cannot exclude it since I do not know him. All I know is that he was not too impressive when he was testing for Williams. But that is a couple of years ago and he has gained experience since then." Expect fireworks at Williams next year!

6-Sep: A grand prix race has been held at Monza 49 times in the last 50 years. In 1980 the Italian GP moved to Imola only to be returned to Monza the following year with Imola having its own Grand Prix (San Marino).

During this time, Ferrari had the most number of wins with 12 followed by McLaren with 7 and both Lotus and Williams with 5. Ferrari also had the most poles with 15 followed by Lotus with 7, McLaren with 6 and Williams with 5.

On the driver side though, no driver has dominated this track with Juan Manuel Fangio, Sterling Moss, Ronnie Peterson, Nelson Piquet and Alain Prost all having won here 3 times. 9 drivers have won here twice.
Pole positions however are dominated by two of the sports greatest. Both Juan Manuel Fangio and Ayrton Senna had 5 poles each.

Of the current drivers, only Michael Schumacher has won twice with Johnny Herbert, Heinz Harald Frentzen and David Coulthard each winning once.
Jean Alesi has the most number of poles with 2 and Mika Hakkinen, Michael Schumacher and David Coulthard all have one pole each.

The number of times Monza had a wet race in its history is 1 and that was in 1956. This weekend is set to continue the tradition of a dry race with sunny conditions and 30 degree temperatures forecast all weekend.

Italian 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 Monza Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Monza Time / 11 AM GMT
9 AM Monza Time / 7 AM GMT
10:15 AM Monza Time / 8:15 AM GMT
1 PM Monza Time / 11 AM GMT
9:30 AM Monza Time / 7:30 AM GMT
2 PM Monza Time / 12 PM GMT

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