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2001 McLaren Presentation Model
2001 McLaren Presentation Model
... more die-cast

Was it the right decision to 
stop the race ? -  Have Your Say 

Will Schumacher try? The Heretic 

1 - 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."
Sam Michael worked at Jordan from 1994 to 2000 in different capacities before moving to Williams this year. He was Ralf Schumacher's race engineer in 97 and 98 and then Heinz Harald Frentzen's race engineer in 99 and 2000.

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."
Alesi never expected to move to another team so quickly and was glad that he was not on the market for too long. He believes that he will be driving a car capable of podium finishes and said "I never for a moment thought Iíd find another seat so quickly. Iím very relieved that I didnít stay on the market for too long! From Budapest, Iíll have a car which is capable of being on the podium. Thatís a real boost for my motivation. Iím looking forward to showing that Iím as fast as Iíve always been. Watch out!"
As there is a testing ban between the German and Hungarian Grands Prix, Alesi will only be able to do a few shakedown laps but he doesn't believe that will be a big problem for him and said "I leave for Silverstone on Monday, where Iíll only be able to do 50km in the EJ11 because testing is banned during the break before Budapest. Itís not a big problem, though Iím keen to see what the car can do."

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.
The team had to cut short their test due to power steering problems that didn't allow their drivers to push their cars to the limit. Dago Rohrer, General Manager - F1 Chassis said "There is no point in doing reliability tests if the drivers cannot push the car to the maximum. We will postpone this until our test next week in Belgium."
Meanwhile Toyota driver Alain McNish was satisfied with the launch control system and said "We started our launch control testing and the first results were quite encouraging. However, this obviously has to be refined. Also Mika did some pit stop practice which from the outside looked quite good. It was nice to drive at Silverstone being my home circuit, and I can't wait to come back."
The times set by both McNish and Salo were over 6 seconds slower than the fastest time set during the British GP on the 15th of July. Allan McNish covered 45 laps with a best time of 1:29.96 while Mika Salo covered 41 laps with a best time of 1:31.80.

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."
Jean Alesi said "I am overjoyed by this development in my career. Eddie launched me into Formula One, so to return to race for him after all this time is something very special. Although I will not be able to test the car before racing in Hungary, I feel so motivated that I don't believe this will be a problem. I am very excited."
Jean Alesi returns to Jordan twelve years after winning the 1989 F3000 Championship for Eddie Jordan Racing.

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."
Eddie Jordan also indicated that Alesi is on contract only for the remainder of the season and that they will evaluate the situation for next year at a later stage.

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 release Jean.
I am delighted to welcome Heinz-Harald Frentzen in our team. His achievements in the last few years place him among the best drivers, and his large experience within top Formula One teams will be a strong asset for us for the remainder of the 2001 season. His arrival allows us to prepare the teamís future with confidence."
Heinz Harald Frentzen said "I am happy that Alain Prost offered me to drive for the last five Grands Prix. It was very difficult to turn down the opportunity to tackle this new challenge and I am looking forward to support the team for the rest of the season."

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)

Michael Schumacher

Result in Hungary Comments
Wins  Schumacher wins the Title regardless where the others finish as he'll have a gap of more than 40 points with only a maximum of 40 points remaining.
M Schumacher - At least 94 points, D Coulthard - Maximum of 93 points, R Schumacher - Maximum of 87, R Barrichello - Maximum of 86.
2nd Wins the title if Ralf Schumacher doesn't win and David Coulthard finishes 4th or lower. 
M Schumacher - At least 90 points, D Coulthard - Maximum of 90 points but Michael wins based on more 2nd place finishes, R Schumacher - Maximum of 87, R Barrichello - Maximum of 90 but Michael wins based on more number of wins.
3rd Wins the title if Rubens Barrichello or Ralf Schumacher don't win and David Coulthard finishes 6th or lower.
M Schumacher - At least 88 points, Coulthard - Maximum of 88 points but Michael wins based on more 2nd place finishes, R Schumacher - Maximum of 87, R Barrichello - Maximum of 86. 
4th Wins the title if Rubens Barrichello doesn't win and Ralf Schumacher finishes 3rd or lower and David Coulthard fails to finish in the top 6. 
M Schumacher - At least 87 points, Coulthard - Maximum of 87 points but Michael wins based on more 2nd place finishes, R Schumacher - Maximum of 85, R Barrichello - Maximum of 86. 
5th or lower Title decided at Belgium or later

David Coulthard's chances are very slim but here they are 

Result in the final 5 races Comments
Wins all 5 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 13 points (for example, 4 4th places and 1 6th places)
D Coulthard - 97, M Schumacher - 97 (Coulthard wins on more wins 7 - 6)
Wins 4 and finishes 2nd in 1 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 8 points (for example, 3 5th places and 2 6th places)
D Coulthard - 93, M Schumacher - 92 
Wins 3 and finishes 2nd in 2 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 4 points (for example, 4 6th places)
D Coulthard - 89, M Schumacher - 88 
Wins 2 and finishes 2nd in 3 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher fails to finish in all the remaining races.
D Coulthard - 85, M Schumacher - 84
Anything less Title lost!
Note that there are a few more options in between the 1st and 4th scenarios.

Ralf Schumacher's chances are even slimmer but here they are 

Result in the final 5 races Comments
Wins all 5 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 7 points (for example, that is 2 5th places and 3 6th places)
R Schumacher - 91, M Schumacher - 91 (R Schumacher wins on more wins 8 - 6)
Wins 4 and finishes 2nd in 1 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 3 points (for example, that is 3 6th places)
R Schumacher - 87, M Schumacher - 87 (R Schumacher wins on more wins 7 - 6)
Wins 4 and finishes 3rd in 1 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 1 point (that is 1 6th place)
R Schumacher - 85, M Schumacher - 85 (R Schumacher wins on more wins 7 - 6)
Wins 4 and finishes 4th in 1 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't finish in all the remaining races.
R Schumacher - 84, M Schumacher - 84 (R Schumacher wins on more wins 7 - 6)
Anything less Title lost!

As for Rubens Barrichello, it is well known that he is not a challenger (due Ferrari team orders) but mathematically: 

Result in the final 5 races Comments
Wins all 5 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 5 points (for example, that is 5 6th places)
R Barrichello - 90, M Schumacher - 89 
Wins 4 and finishes 2nd in 1 Wins the title provided that Michael Schumacher doesn't score more than 1 points (that is 1 6th place)
R Barrichello - 86, M Schumacher - 85
Anything less Title lost!

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

4-Aug: 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."
A Prost team spokesperson has also confirmed that Alesi wants to leave while Alain Prost is trying his best to keep him and said "I will not say there is not a problem, but Jean has not signed with Jordan or with anyone else. He is under contract and we don't want him to leave. Alain is ready to defend his rights on Jean."

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.
I think a person will feel inside when he is ready to quit. I do think about it but I don't know yet when it will be."

3-Aug: 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 lawyers."
Frentzen denied any contacts with Toyota and indicated that up until last week he was with Jordan until the end of 2002 and said "I was never with Toyota in Cologne. I was not in negotiations with Toyota about a deal. I signed no contracts or anything. Until last week I assumed I would be driving for Jordan Grand Prix this year and next year."
Frentzen is hopeful of staying in Formula 1 but if that doesn't work out he'll look at other motorsport options and said "The fire still burns inside me and I will remain in international motorsport, and my first priority will naturally be Formula One."

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."
Stoddart though is worried about the pressures on Alex to perform giving that he is set to become the first Malaysian to drive and Formula 1 and said "He's done everything we've asked him to do, he's not screwed up at all, technical feedback is good, but what I am worried about is he has got so much pressure to perform. If you're carrying the pride of not just your own nation but arguably half of Asia, then that must be one hell of a responsibility. Reality is the kid has the talent, but I have seen a lot of people's spirits broken by being pushed with all the wrong pressures."

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.'
Barwn also explained the problems suffered by Michael Schumacher during the race and said "Michael had a gear selection problem. It had already come up on the formation lap, but at those speeds the engine is not running the way it does in the race and so we thought it would be alright. However it turned out to be a different problem of a mechanical nature. Then the fuel pump broke, leaving Michael without any fuel pressure. We had previous pump failures at Interlagos and the Nurburgring, but on those occasions it was spotted as soon as the car was on the track: it was caused by procedure which must have taken place between the warm-up and the race. We changed it and felt the problem was solved. What happened yesterday, after over twenty race laps, is strange and we will have to work out what happened. At first, I thought the fuel had not gone in during the pit stop, but the engineers told me everything had gone well. The fact that the telemetry signals are hard to receive in Hockenheim makes it harder to understand the problem. The radios don't work too well there either and so we could not talk to Michael."

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.
It appears that team boss Craig Pollock is once again making ambitious statements by targeting 4th in the Constructors' championship once again ahead of both Sauber and Jordan. He said "I got more satisfaction from this race than Spain because there has been so much criticism about the team. It basically shows you that through hard work and finding the right set-up you can do it with this car and that is what I have said all along. I have always believed we have got the potential with this car. It is also more satisfying because we can say it was a pure team effort to get there.
You cannot just simply say we have got a podium because we were there to get the podium. A lot of cars fell out in front of us, but the reason they fell out in front was because of a lack of reliability and mechanical problems. We didn't have that because we worked as a team. It is not just purely the driving and what happens in the garage that matters, it is what happens back at the factory as well.
We have to set our sights on fourth place in the constructors, I think we are only three points behind it now so we have got a good chance to go for it."

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.
Mark Webber said "Flavio told me at the weekend that he would like to have me in F1 next year and he would do his best to find me a seat. I've just got to keep my head down and keep focused. You never know, I could be in a Minardi, it depends on what's bolted onto the back of the chassis.
All the team bosses know each other pretty well and we are the pawns in a big game of chess who get moved around so hopefully I'm in there somewhere."

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."

Click here for the latest on the 2002 Team and Driver Line-up

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