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

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Issue 11 - The Heretic

27 - 30 April News  
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30-Apr: When David Coulthard stalled on the grid just before the start of the formation lap at the Spanish Grand Prix, McLaren's boss Ron Dennis accused David Coulthard of having 'brain fade'. After the race, David Coulthard was furious at the comments and hit back by saying "I think it is fair to say that Ron has had a bit of brain fade to make that comment without consulting me or the engineers first. We are still trying to find out why the engine stalled and we�re are a bit confused about that."
Further investigation indicated that a software problem was the cause of the problem and Ron Dennis retracted his statement and praised Coulthard for scoring 2 points in the end and said "Based on an initial analysis we felt that David was responsible for stalling on the dummy grid but closer scrutiny confirmed that a glitch in the software was at fault. His recovery from this and a first corner incident gave him two well-deserved points."

David Coulthard also claimed that he was so frustrated at the start of the race starting from the back and then colliding with Bernoldi that he wanted to spin off into the gravel and go home and said "I was so frustrated I just wanted to throw the car into the gravel and go home. It's disappointing when I think of what might have been as I am certain I could have got another podium, but I had some good luck in the end to get the two points."

Mika Hakkinen who was leading the race until a hydraulic leak forced him to stop on the final lap described his feelings as 'super-disappointed' and said "It would be great to have a punch bag in the motor-home because I need to hit it to relax, I am super-disappointed at this."

29-Apr: What the teams and drivers said following the race at Spain ... Report

29-Apr: At the post Race press conference for the Spanish GP, Michael Schumacher has indicated that he felt sorry for Mika Hakkinen who was leading the race until the very last lap when he retired with an engine failure and said "I felt simply sorry because we both have done a very good race, very entertaining until the last pit stop then he jumped me at the last pit stop because he did a better last section in his second pit stop and I had some traffic and was in some trouble on top. But we have done a great race reminding me of the races we had last year. Seeing him retiring on the last lap with 5 corners to go is shocking because he did everything right. I went and saw him after the race because it is not the way you'd like to win a race. But this happens in racing and it happened to me in the past and it has happened to Mika today so that is the way it goes sometime."
As for the problems he encountered following the second pit stop he explained " I had a huge vibration most likely in the tyres and I was going very slow on the straight to avoid a tyre explosion and we had enough of a gap and we were thinking to come in for another stop to change the tyres but it stopped getting worse and we decided to stay out but it was a worry until the end of the race."
Michael was asked if is worried that he has had 3 races in a row where he suffered from one problem or another. He answered by saying "You probably read much more into it than there is, but that's natural. I'm not concerned at all, because what has happened in the last stint with the set of tyres, I'm pretty sure we will find the reason and solution for that. Otherwise the car was perfect. As you saw, it was a close fight and battle with Mika and things were going in our favour until then. I'm not concerned for the rest of the season."
Michael indicated that he used launch control and traction control.

Juan Pablo Montoya didn't expect to finish second after starting 11th and said "The first 4 races have been very hard for me, some competitive and some not so. Here I was not expecting to be on the podium - really. I started eleventh, and the start was really good and moved me a lot of places up and then I just kept pushing all day long."
As for the how the car felt during race after struggling all weekend, Montoya said "It was a bit better but it wasn't massively different. The car was quite tricky to drive and compared with Michael and the McLarens as well, they're in a different league this weekend. There's a lot of work to be done for the next race."
Montoya added that he started using launch control but didn't use traction control during the race."

Jacques Villeneuve was delighted to deliver the first ever podium finish for BAR and said "It's great. The whole team, everybody in the team has worked really hard for the last three years, and the beginning of the season has been really really hard and to finally get a podium is great. I think it's the boost that everyone was needing."
As for the true performance of the BAR, Villeneuve said "Well, we couldn't have gone any quicker today. The car was hard to drive but it looks like it was difficult for everybody, so we're a little bit lucky that a few cars dropped out, but then the team did a great job in the pit stops and that allowed us to jump Trulli at the first pit stop and then we just hung in there."
Villeneuve indicated that they didn't use launch control at the start and although he didn't lose any places at the start he lost a place to Montoya at the first corner and that woke him up and said "The start went okay but I braked very early into Turn 1 and Juan got me there, it woke me up. So I was awake then for the rest of the race! We didn't use launch control today, we had some problems with it. The start was just acceptable, not very good I lost a bit of distance on the guys in front of me but nobody passed me and I was just concentrating on the guys ahead and just took Turn 1 too cautiously."

29-Apr: Spanish GP � Race: Michael Schumacher wins the Spanish Grand Prix after Mika Hakkinen retires on the final lap. Juan Pablo Montoya and Jacques Villeneuve make the top 3. Trulli, Coulthard and Heidfeld make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes 

29-Apr: Spanish GP � Warm-up Session: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher, Olivier Panis and Heinz Harald Frentzen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes 

28-Apr: What the teams and drivers said following Qualifying at Spain ... Report

28-Apr: At the post Qualifying press conference for the Spanish GP, Michael Schumacher has indicated that he is happy to be back where he should be and said "Well, I haven't seen that we have been in a slump situation. The media likes to see it that way very often. Anyway, the fact is we are back up where we want to be and we have worked hard as usual. There is pretty much good hope for the rest of the weekend, because we have been working very precisely to prepare every eventuality for the weekend and things look good, but as you see, things are very tight."
As for the race, Michael indicated that it will be tough and that strategy and the new driver aids will play an important factor tomorrow and said "There is more than 60 laps which is going to be tough, and strategy will play a big factor as we have set launch controls and see how they work between individual teams will be interesting tomorrow. It is the first race we do under proper race conditions with all these new systems, so it will be interesting to see what is the effect for whom"

Mika Hakkinen indicated that he managed to get his fastest lap with traction control turned off as he struggled in his earlier runs with it enabled and said "I disconnected the traction control in the end so it helped me a little bit as I had some problems with  under-steer, so it was good, but generally it was a big push."
He added that winning here for the last three years will give him an extra boost and said "Yes I suppose there is a little bit of a different attitude and feeling about this Grand Prix and I believe that it is probably also going to help me a little bit tomorrow."

David Coulthard indicated that he couldn't get an optimum lap and that Michael's time was achievable and said "My first run was a baseline tidy run and every run thereafter was riddled with little difficulties and mistakes. Certainly my last run I lost a lap with the Sauber, which had to pass me in its lap, so I can only presume he felt I held him up and was returning the favour. So no I don't feel I got the maximum out of the car. I think that where Michael was, was achievable if you were able to hook all your sectors and all your corners together. But ultimately this is where I ended up so I will have to make do with this and look to the race tomorrow."
With regards to the start tomorrow with launch control he said "None of us know as we sit here today just how the traction control at the start is going to work. I think that being on the clean part of the track has got to be potentially better because the system works out how much grip is available and will optimise that. But the driver still plays a part in the reaction to the lights. There could well be a lot of cars sitting on the grid tomorrow not moving anywhere because the systems don't work quite the way they expect them to."

28-Apr: Spanish GP � Qualifying: Michael Schumacher grabs pole position ahead of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and Jarno Trulli make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes  

28-Apr: Spanish GP � 2nd Saturday Practice: Michael Schumacher remains fastest despite not improving his time from the first session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. Kimi Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld and Jarno Trulli make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

28-Apr: Spanish GP � 1st Saturday Practice: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session over 0.6 seconds faster than Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard. Rubens Barrichello, Jarno Trulli and Heinz Harald Frentzen make the top 6  ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

27-Apr: At the Friday press conference for the Spanish GP, Frank Williams has indicated that once they sort out the reliability issues with their car, he believes that Juan Pablo Montoya will finish on the podium frequently and said "Clearly it's more frustrating for him than it is for the team, but we are very short of results, the Imola race excepted. We just need to be consistently reliable - it's our greatest requirement - in the next half a dozen races, and if that is achieved, Juan will be on the podium I believe quite frequently."
He also indicated that he wasn't very optimistic about the upcoming race here and said "Well a lot has changed in a fortnight. We were looking good twelve days ago but after today's events there's not a great deal of confidence to which I could say 'no problem, mate' so don't be too sure for us."

Jean Todt has indicated even though they would prefer to win, they haven't done that bad in the last 2 races and said "You know it would be annoying for everybody - but good for us - if we could keep winning each race. Surprisingly enough when Michael finished second in Brazil it was like a disaster. I remember a few years ago finishing second was like reaching the moon! We won six races in a row and we unfortunately finished second, Michael didn't finish at Imola, Rubens finished third. We hoped to do better. But we must keep our feet on the ground even if the others don't keep their feet on the ground for us."
He talked about the issue surrounding the TV rights and said "Well I don't think that this commercial agreement is only involving television. I mean the new company - I think 75% belongs to Mr. Kirch and 25% still to Mr. Ecclestone - have bought the FIA's whole commercial rights and doesn't include only television. About television we have the guarantee that until the expiration of the Concorde Agreement we will have live TV as it is now, which is very important for us. The position of the manufacturers is up to Mr. Cantarella, the chairman of the European group of constructors, and he is running one action with the intention of running another championship at the expiration of the Concorde Agreement. That's all I can say."
Todt also added that if the new series goes ahead it will be run with the same players and said "I don't think you should say a 'constructors championship' because if something will happen it will be a championship probably with the same players. Probably it will just change the name. But in my opinion the championship will remain the same - with different organisation - the same principle and from what I understand under the FIA sporting and technical rules."

Juan Pablo Montoya indicated that the new rules makes it more difficult to set-up the car and said "It's a bit more difficult. There's a lot more electronics, a lot more things can you do to the car to make it better, but at the same time you can get lost a lot easier. There are so many things to do in the car that you have to be really focused on what makes the car go faster and slower and work on them. There are a lot of things you can twitch here and twitch there so they can make much difference. But in the races you have to focus on the bigger things that make a difference in times. For us it has been quite difficult. We had a problem today. Fridays for me haven't been very friendly. We seem to struggle a lot with set-up today but at least we did some laps, and we're trying to learn from today to make it better for tomorrow."
He also indicated that he still doesn't have a handle on the car yet and said "The only real race where we didn't have any problems was Brazil and that was really good. We haven't really got a handle yet on the car, there's a lot of things still to learn. We need to get to finish races and score points and learn how much you can really push the car and each set of tyres - one stop, two stops, like my first two stop race was the last race and I didn't know how to push."

Pedro de la Rosa indicated that it is much easier to go from testing to racing rather than the other way around and said "I think to go back from to testing to racing is easy, but going from racing to testing is when you have problems to re-adapt yourself. But coming back to racing you feel much at home."
As for his feelings when he lost the Arrows drive he said "I was angry of course, because all racing drivers want to race. You prepare yourself during the winter, you test, you feel you are at your maximum after two years in Formula One and suddenly you have no drive. You are very upset, but nevertheless you have to look for another drive, because there are plenty of teams and plenty of opportunities out there if you look for them and you are good enough, so I kept working and here I am. I never thought it was over, that's for sure."

Luciano Burti has indicated how relaxed he is with the Prost team despite joining them last week and said "It has been quite strange, because I had been with Stewart since 1997 which became Jaguar so I lost that feeling of changing teams and getting to know new people but I have to say that I've felt very welcome since I joined Prost. That's the best thing for me. I don't know anyone so I'm just trying to learn everyone, getting to know how they work. But I have to say that they are very friendly and I've felt really really welcome. I think this weekend I feel like I know everyone even though I've only had one day at Silverstone and one day at the factory, yet I feel very relaxed. It's been pretty good actually."

Fernando Alonso asked other drivers for more respect towards Minardi and said "Maybe when you see the two Minardis on Saturday, it's difficult to do a clear lap because everybody waits until the end of the session. For us it is always difficult because we can't overtake anybody. I hope that people have a little bit more respect for us in the next races."

27-Apr: What the teams and drivers said following Friday practice at Spain ... Report

27-Apr: Spanish GP � 2nd Friday Practice: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Eddie Irvine and Rubens Barrichello. Olivier Panis, Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen make the top 6 ...Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

27-Apr: Spanish GP � 1st Friday Practice: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. Ralf Schumacher, Mika Hakkinen and Olivier Panis make the top 6 ...Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

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