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Silverstone Test Session (17-19/4) Photos (Hakkinen, Coulthard, R Schumacher, Montoya,...)

Will Mika Hakkinen bounce back ? 
 Have Your Say  
The Watershed  
Issue 11 - The Heretic

21 - 26 April News  
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26-Apr: At the Thursday press conference for the Spanish GP, Ralf Schumacher (Williams) has indicated that winning at Imola hasn't changed anything and said "There's no reason for anything to have changed. I was happy for the team, happy for the result itself. But then coming to the next race, there are a few pressures on us to prove that we are competitive."
Regarding the new driver aids, Ralf said "I think it was the right decision to change the rules to stop all the discussions about it. I think the situation would have been a lot easier in all this if the press problems hadn't have been there, I think I would have preferred to leave it the way it is but I think it's the best decision the FIA could have taken to be honest."

Mika Hakkinen (McLaren) indicated that he is encouraged by Coulthard's performance so far this season nut that is not his main focus and said "David has driven an extremely fantastic start of the season, finishing Grands Prix every time on the podium, and winning in Brazil for example. I think he's done a fantastic job for himself and for the team. Overall, that result has given a lot motivation for the team to work hard and find the solutions to make the McLaren to handle even better. Generally, I look at that as being very positive. Yes, you're fighting against your team-mate, but that's not the driver who you are fighting against most. It should be fighting and winning Grands Prix and winning the championship. That's the most important."
When asked if it was vital for him to finish on the podium this weekend Hakkinen said "It's always vital to get on the podium! My target is just to maximize the performance for the car, for myself and for the team and try to win Grands Prix. So far I haven't been able to do that so I will try again this Grand Prix and the next Grand Prix after this. It's definitely going to be interesting to see what happens through the year but I'm just going to do my own race for myself and the team. Maximize - try to win it."
On the return of driver aids, Hakkinen said "It has always been a challenge to set the car up for different circuits in different conditions, but certainly now, with the new regulations, it gives more options to drivers and teams to find different limits in different corners, and you can definitely now set the car up differently in high speed and low speed corners. In the past, it was definitely a case where high speed and slow speed circuits were very similar in terms of electronics. I definitely think it is a very positive thing for Formula One. It definitely brings more safety because coming out of the corners with traction control does much more control the back end in wet conditions."

Mario Thiessen (BMW) indicated that he was not too surprised by winning at Imola especially after the pace they demonstrated in Brazil and said "Before the first race of this season, I would have been surprised about a victory in the fourth race. After then having seen the first races, it wasn't that much of a surprise any more. We showed our performance in those first three races, certainly in Brazil, already, Juan Pablo was in the lead for more than half the race distance. So apparently we saw that we could win races on our own, so we were very happy that Ralf did it last time."
On the issue of driver aids, Thiessen said "The three issues are traction control, launch control and automatic gearshifts that are basically what has changed from now on. All I can say is in terms of hardware it's not a big deal, virtually nothing's changed because all the tools were on board already. In terms of software it's quite a complex thing. We are allowed to use engine management for torque reduction but not the brakes, which we do in production cars so the system is certainly different to what we are using in road cars. In terms of engine management you can talk about ignition, injection and throttle, which means air supply and the tricky thing is to get all these things in order to have an orchestrated system."

Pierre Dupasquier (Michelin) has indicated that traction control will make a lot of difference on slower speed circuits and said "The main area of traction control is when the wheel is spinning. If you don't have any spinning, you don't need it. It doesn't play any role. So on circuits where you have a lot of stop and go, it is very different but apart from the start where it is very important, if the circuit is high speed that doesn't oblige you to go under third gear, traction won't change a lot. We'll see, we'll find out. Monte Carlo will be significantly different. But not too much here."

Hiroshi Yasukawa (Bridgestone) has indicated that while they try to make the best tyres, they are not everything as there is also the car and the driver and said "The package is very important. If we are working badly, but if driver and car is good, then perhaps we can make a good result. But consider the opposite: if we are going to make good tyres, but perhaps it doesn't work, but the team work and package is very important, then we are going to try the most suitable tyre in the race. Hopefully we will find a good specification for this race. Race is race, no one knows the result."

26-Apr: Michael Schumacher who currently leads the championship with David Coulthard has indicated that he is not worried about his bad result at Imola and said "I am not worried after Imola, during a season you have some good times and some bad times and that's normal. After the first two races everybody spoke about an unbeatable Ferrari, now they speak about a crisis. You can't take everything serious."
Schumacher is confident of getting a good result in Spain and said "I do not think in Imola we saw a turning point and that Ferrari would not be competitive any more. We did not maximise our possibilities, but we can do that again in the future. In my view Barcelona is a normal situation again, everything starts new. I think we will be competitive again and I believe we will be up at the front."

David Coulthard will be hoping to maintain his record of finishing every race on the podium this season and said "I am looking forward to the Spanish Grand Prix, where I hope to build on the results achieved so far this season in order to maintain my position in the Drivers� World Championship. We test regularly at the circuit so we know it well, it�s fairly technical with a good mix of corners and straights."

Mika Hakkinen who has scored just 4 points so far this season has indicated that the championship is still wide open and he hopes to make it 4 wins in a row and said "The results so far this year have not been ideal for me, however the championship is still a very open situation. No one is too far ahead and there are still plenty of points to be scored. I have a successful record at Barcelona, having won the past three races, which I am hoping to extend this season."

Juan Pablo Montoya has yet to finish a race in Formula 1 mainly due to reasons beyond his control. He is hoping to finish the race and score some points keeping the expectation low despite his knowledge of this track and said "Barcelona has been a good track for me so far. I have raced there before in �98 in Formula 3000 and I won. We just have to see what happens now. I think it will be quite a tough race to be honest. During testing in the beginning in December and January we were really strong there, but for the last few tests we have done the car doesn�t seem to have been working quite as well. I am sure when we get there we will figure it out and hopefully be competitive. It will be quite interesting. For me I am really looking forward to getting to the end of a race to score some points."

25-Apr: Former F1 driver Michele Alboreto was killed in a car crash while testing for Le Mans driving an Audi R8 on the Lausitzring circuit near Dresden in Germany. His car flipped over while travelling at high speed. Police are investigating the cause of the crash.
Alboreto started his career in Formula 1 in 1981 with the Tyrell team then in 1984 he moved to Ferrari and drove for them until 1989. When he left Ferrari he drove for several teams including Lola, Arrows and Footwork before quitting Formula at the end of 1994 and moving to sportscar racing.
In Formula 1 he started in 194 races and won 5, 2 with Tyrell and 3 with Ferrari. In 1985, he finished 2nd in the championship 20 points behind Alain Prost
In 1997 he won the Le Mans 24-hour race with the Porsche team and last year driving for Audi his team came third.
Ferrari President Luca Montezemolo paid tribute to Alboreto and issued a statement that read "Michele Alboreto played an important role as a driver in the history of Ferrari. He was intelligent and paid a great deal of attention to the technical problems involved in the development of the car. His death has been a hard blow to take and has filled me with a deep sadness. Michele continued to race, driven on by an irrepressible passion, proving that in our sport which is totally involving, risk is always around the corner."

25-Apr: "The Watershed" is the title of the 11th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2001 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Spanish Grand Prix - Issue 11

25-Apr: The FIA have finalised the 100 year commercial agreement for Formula 1 with SLEC which is now 75% owned by Kirch and EM TV while the remaining 25% is owned by Bernie Ecclestone. The statement issued by the FIA yesterday read "At an extraordinary meeting held today in Paris the FIA World Motor Sport Council confirmed the 100-year agreement for the commercial rights of the FIA Formula One World Championship with the company SLEC, represented by Mr. Thomas Haffa and Mr. Dieter Hahn, and with FOA/FOM, represented by Mr. Bernie Ecclestone.
This agreement will not affect in any way the current Concorde Agreement, which expires the 31 December 2007.
This is a further important step by the FIA towards complying with the European Commission's requirement to separate commercial and promotional activities from the sport.
SLEC and the Kirch Group have confirmed that the Championship will continue to be shown on free-to-air television."

Now that Formula 1 will remain on free-to-air TV, it is expected that a deal between Kirch and the car manufacturers could be reached in order to avoid the creation of a rival series (related story).

24-Apr: "Will Mika Hakkinen bounce back ?" Topic of the week - Have Your Say

24-Apr: Quotes from teams and drivers on electronic aids returning to Formula 1 ... Report

24-Apr: Mika Hakkinen has won the Spanish Grand Prix for the last 3 years in a row. Only Jackie Stewart has managed to achieve the same when he won it from 1969 to 1971. McLaren's impressive record doesn't stop there, David Coulthard has finished second to Mika Hakkinen in the last 3 years in a row as well. 
In terms of number of wins, Alain Prost and Nigel Mansell have also won 3 times but not consecutively. Mario Andretti, Emerson Fittipaldi, Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher have each won twice. Jacques Villeneuve is the only other current driver to have won here and that was in 1997.
McLaren holds the most number of wins with 7 ahead of Lotus and Williams with 6 and Ferrari with 5.
Ayrton Senna holds the most number of Pole positions with 4 ahead of Michael Schumacher with 3. Ferrari and McLaren have won Pole position 7 times each.
Can McLaren hold off the fierce competition from Ferrari and Williams and make it 4 prefect results in a row ?

23-Apr: The German group Kirch are close to finalising a deal with the car manufacturers over the control of Formula 1 commercial rights. The car manufacturers comprising of Fiat, DaimlerChrysler, Ford, Renault, BMW AG along with the backing of Toyota and Honda earlier decided to proceed with plans to setup a rival series (story) in a move which intended to put pressure on the Kirch group to give in to their demands. One of the main concerns of the car manufacturers was the continued availability of Formula 1 coverage on free-to-air TV. It appears that this demand has been agreed to.
A Kirch spokesman said "There are some details that have to be cleared up.  We expect to sit down and discuss a concrete deal with them this week."

23-Apr: "Traction Control, the unknown factor" The Spanish Grand Prix Preview is now available ... Race Preview

Spanish Formula 1 Grand Prix Schedule:

Session Time (Local / GMT) - Current local time
Friday Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2
Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session
11 AM Barcelona Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Barcelona Time / 11 AM GMT
9 AM Barcelona Time / 7 AM GMT
10:15 AM Barcelona Time / 8:15 AM GMT 
1 PM Barcelona Time / 11 AM GMT
9:30 AM Barcelona Time / 7:30 AM GMT 
2 PM Barcelona Time / 12 PM GMT
Go to the Spanish GP Page

22-Apr: Michael Schumacher has indicated that he didn't expect Michelin to become competitive in such a short period and said "I honestly did not think the Williams could be so strong so soon. Not as much for BMW, but for the tyres, because I thought Bridgestone would be able to keep their advantage a little longer. Clearly Michelin has done a great job and this has made the Williams-BMW very competitive." He also added that Ralf Schumacher is now ready to win races and challenge for the title and said "If you look at the recent races and his comments about his races, he downplayed his performances. You could see what his potential is and even if he doesn't like to admit it, now he is and he likes to be in the circle of favourites. He made no mistakes from start to finish and he deserved to win, it is clear that he can be contender."

Meanwhile his brother Ralf Schumacher has discounted the the possibility of teaming up with his brother at Ferrari and doesn't think it is a good idea and said "There's no need to do that because one of us would lose. Why not keep in different teams and make it more exciting." He also added that he sees Michael as just another driver that he wants to beat and said "Basically Michael is just another driver because I always did things my own way. I don't have a real rivalry. I'm pretty happy for him if he wins races, as he is if I do. But there's no doubt I think, that he wants to beat me and I want to beat him."

21-Apr: Niki Lauda has indicated that Alain Prost asked him prior to the San Marino GP if he can borrow the services of Pedro de la Rosa during the races as he wasn't happy with Mazzacane. Lauda rejected the request but that opened the way for the deal were Burti moved to Prost and de la Rosa got his seat at Jaguar (story). Lauda said "Just before Imola Alain Prost rang me and asked if there is a possibility, because he was not happy with Mazzacane. He asked if he could borrow Pedro back and let him race for Prost and test for Jaguar. I told him very simply this it wasn't possible because we wanted to use de la Rosa in his full way of testing. But I think we found a deal that is good for everybody."

21-Apr: Silverstone test session photos are now available featuring McLaren, Williams, BAR, Jordan, Jaguar, Prost and Benetton drivers ... Click Here

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