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- 12 August News
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12-Aug: Prost's new recruit Heinz Harald Frentzen had his first taste of the Prost AP04 at Magny Cours. With the FIA testing ban in effect between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix, Frentzen shook down the car for 50 kilometres, the maximum allowed by the FIA. Frentzen was cautiously optimistic following his first drive and said "I can say that I am quite happy with the Prost AP04 as there have been no problems at all. As the track was pretty dirty, I can hardly comment the times. But I am quite satisfied in that regard as well. Now I am looking forward to Budapest. This race will be a huge challenge for the Prost team and me."
Sam Michael, the Chief Operations Engineer for Williams has
indicated that Ralf Schumacher will become a World Champion as he
believes that Ralf has overcome the inexperience and immaturity he has
shown in the past and now has what it takes to become a World Champion and
said "He will definitely be a world champion. He has always had speed
and pace. In the beginning he made a few mistakes but they all do. In the
early days it was just a case of inexperience and immaturity but now he is
experienced and mature and he has the right car. It's one thing to have a
good car but another to handle the pressure and he is up to that now."
10-Aug: Jean Alesi who will be
driving for Jordan from the Hungarian Grand Prix has indicated that he
wanted to leave the Prost team following the British Grand Prix and said
"Things really didnít go the way Iíd expected at Prost. Thereís
no need to dwell on the subject, but on the Monday after Silverstone I
received a letter from Alainís solicitor which really upset me. After
that, all I wanted was to leave."
9-Aug: The Toyota Formula 1 team
was at Silverstone this week for a 3 day test session with the aim of
familiarisation with the Silverstone track as well as testing their launch
control systems and pit stop practices.
Note that even though there is a testing ban between the German and the Hungarian GP for the existing Formula 1 teams, Toyota have not yet entered Formula 1 and have a special arrangement with the FIA.
8-Aug: It is finally confirmed that Jean Alesi will drive for the Jordan team from the Hungarian Grand Prix onwards while Heinz Harald Frentzen who was sacked from Jordan just before the German Grand Prix will take Alesi's seat at Prost Grand Prix.
Eddie Jordan was delighted with the announcement and said "I
am delighted that Jean is joining us again. His experience will be
invaluable to us, but equally important will be his energy and enthusiasm.
He is a great motivator and will drive the Jordan Honda EJ11 with real
fire in his belly. With Jean alongside Jarno, Jordan now has a charismatic
and vibrant pairing which we hope will be transferred into powerful
results on track."
Eddie Jordan stressed that they didn't sign Alesi until he was released
from Prost and said "We only struck this deal once Jean was free to
join Jordan. Alain Prost and I are also very good friends and it is
important to make clear that there is absolutely no animosity over the
course of events which have lead to Jean joining Jordan."
Meanwhile Alain Prost said of Alesi's release and Frentzen's
signing "It is essential to preserve our teamís serenity in this
moment when we are building up Prost Grand Prixís future and
consolidating our strategy for the upcoming years. This is why I chose to
The Prost team have changed both of their 2001 drivers announced at the start of the season. Gaston Mazzacane was replace with Luciano Burti following the San Marino GP (story). It is also the second driver swap the team get involved in with Luciano Burti who was driving for Jaguar was swapped for Pedro de la Rosa who signed for Prost and then decided to join Jaguar (story)
8-Aug: Michael Schumacher appears set to win the Drivers' Title for the 4th time in his career. It is more a question of when he will do it rather than if he can do it even though David Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello all still have a mathematical chance!
Michael Schumacher has a 37 point advantage going into the Hungarian GP on the 19th of August. There are a maximum of 50 points available to a driver until the end of the season (50 points can be scored by winning all the remaining 5 races)
David Coulthard's chances are very slim but here they are
Ralf Schumacher's chances are even slimmer but here they are
As for Rubens Barrichello, it is well known that he is not a challenger (due Ferrari team orders) but mathematically:
Even if Michael Schumacher fails to score a lot of points in the coming races the fight between those 3 will most likely be enough to give Michael Schumacher the title.
6-Aug: "Michelin and BMW ?" is the title of the 25th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2001 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the aftermath of the German Grand Prix - Issue 25
Jean Alesi's manager Mario Mikayawa has confirmed that Alesi
wants to leave Prost for a drive with Jordan and believes the matter
will be settled in the next couple of days and said "We are still in
the process of discussions with Alain and Jordan because I can confirm
that Jean wants to leave the team and we want to find a friendly solution.
As of today (Friday) nothing is confirmed and we are in a very delicate
situation which will develop and should be solved by the weekend."
Mika Hakkinen who was strongly rumoured to be retiring at the
end of the season but announced at the British GP that he is in
negotiations with McLaren for 2002 (story),
has admitted thinking about retiring and indicated that being in Formula 1
for 11 years is a long time and said "I think every grand prix
driver, every year, thinks about retirement. F1 is racing, which is much
more losing than winning, and so it comes to the point when you think to
yourself 'I've had enough of travelling and driving these things'. It's
happened to me and it's happened to a lot of other drivers. It's a normal
thing, but still you look to the future and still you continue. But I know
there will come a day, sooner or later, when I will quit. I've been in
Formula One for 11 years now, which is a long time.
Heinz Harald Frentzen has indicated that he was taken by surprise when
a fax arrived informing him of the termination of his contract. He is
still unclear on the reasons behind Jordan's decision and said "I
don't know what was behind it. You'd have to ask Eddie Jordan. He can tell
us himself. He could at least be honest and say what was wrong. We
had a discussion after Silverstone and had a difference of opinion. But
there was no row and nothing was said when I was fired. There was no
discussion, nothing. Just the fax and then it was all in the hands of the
Following 2 impressive
testing sessions with Minardi. Alex Yoong appears set to take the
second Minardi seat from Tarso Marques possibly as early as
the Belgian GP but not later than the US GP. Minardi team boss Paul
Stoddart has confirmed his desire to get Yoong in the car as soon as
possible and said "I would love to be testing right through the month
of August, I'd put him in every other day. If he keeps continuing the way
he has done so far he's going to make it. I would think it is not
unrealistic to say that he will make it for Monza, and if he does very
well Spa. Either one of those. I mean, last resort the last two fly-aways,
but I actually do think that he'll be earlier than that."
2-Aug: Ross Brawn talks about the
German Grand Prix and indicated that while Bridgestone provided them with
a good tyre, the Michelin were just superior to them and said "The
fact that four of the top six finishers were on Michelins is not just down
to the reliability problems suffered by others. Bridgestone did a very
good job and on some tracks their tyres are much better than the
Michelins. On others, like Hockenheim, the opposite is true. We and the
Japanese company have made some progress, but the Williams-BMW-Michelin
package still has an advantage on this type of track. We have to do
something about this and together with Bridgestone we are working on it.
The problem at Hockenheim was not degradation: looking at our lap times,
our performance was pretty much constant, but we were not quick enough.'
British American Racing are currently 5th in the Constructors'
championship, thanks to the second podium finish of the season for Jacques
Villeneuve. Prior to the German GP, BAR were running 6th and had failed to
score any point since the Monaco GP.
At the team launch earlier this year Pollock targeted 3rd but with the rise of Williams as a dominant team, BAR found themselves fighting with Jordan and Sauber. Prior to the German GP they were 6th.
1-Aug: Australian Mark Webber has
been waiting to get a Formula 1 drive since the 2000 season and it seems
that his best chance so far would be a drive with Minardi in 2002. Webber
is Benetton's test driver and Renault have taken up their option of
retaining Webber for next season. Renault are currently looking at the
possibility of supplying their engines to another team and Minardi is one
of their options.
Craig Pollock has indicated that BAR have yet to make up their mind on their tyre supplier for next season and doesn't expect to make a decision until the end of the season and said "We're still open at the moment, we've got to make up our minds, and I think the decision is going to be made at the end of the season. I feel Bridgestone have done better than we had expected them to do because we were worried about their reaction time and they have actually started to react pretty well."