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2001 Season Review
|Michael Schumacher 2001 Ferrari ... more die-cast||
Best Driver, Best Team and Best
Rookie of the year
6 - 31
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30-Dec: The Heretic reviews the 2001 Season - Issue 33
29-Dec: It was reported earlier this month that Ferrari may opt for using their 2001 car for the first 3 races of the 2002 season due to the limited amount of testing available until the 1st race in Melbourne. Michael Schumacher recently indicated that the 2002 Ferrari will have a brand new engine and chassis and hopes to use it in Australia for the first race of the season. He added that they are more prepared for the upcoming season that they were this time last year.
28-Dec: With the uncertainty continuing to surround the Prost team, Heinz Harald Frentzen is looking more likely to sign for another team in 2002. The Arrows team is the most likely candidate. Rumours have it that he has already signed for Arrows, a claim that he denies but indicated that a decision will be made soon. It is expected that Frentzen will take Verstappen's seat with Verstappen going to Minardi.
24-Dec: The rumours of Jacques
Villeneuve leaving BAR continue. At the team launch on the 18th
of this month, Villeneuve was clearly unhappy with the news that his close
friend Craig Pollock was told to go. Even though he indicated that he will
be driving for BAR next season as contractually he has to, he did indicate
that if it was physically possible to walk away he would. It appears now
that a Villeneuve - Button swap is a possibility. Villeneuve is unhappy
with BAR and Renault's boss Flavio Briatore had serious negotiations with
Villeneuve a number of times in the last couple of years. Briatore is also
not too happy with Button's performance in 2001 and Button will return to
Williams at the end of 2002 anyway. The sticking point though is whether
Villeneuve can get out of his contract at this stage and would Renault be
willing to pay Villeneuve similar to what he is getting paid at BAR.
21-Dec: The Australian Grand Prix
remains provisional in the 2002 calendar even though it is the first race
of the season. This is due to the Coroner's investigation into the death
of race marshal Graham Beveridge at the 2001 event. A two week hearing has
been completed and while the Coroner's recommendations won't be released
until the middle of January, he has indicated that the safety measures
recommended would be possible to implement before the event starts on the
28th of February.
Alain Prost has admitted that his chances of making it to
Melbourne are getting slimmer by the day. He indicated that the September
11 attack have caused Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal to call off the deal to
buy a stake in the team. He added that there are still a number of
investors interested but they are taking a cautious approach and said
"There is a real problem today, especially when you know that
advertising budgets have been cut by 40 per cent. Our situation is not
very different from that of other teams, except that we are really in need
of immediate funding and the timing is very unfavourable. We are dealing
with people who are taking a very long time and being very cautious."
20-Dec: Following the announcement
at the BAR 2002 car launch that Honda extended their partnership with BAR
for 3 more years, the Jordan team issued a statement re-affirming
that Honda intends to continue supplying the team with 'works'
engines. The statement read "Jordan Grand Prix has just completed the
first year of a three-year contract with Honda. At a meeting of the two
companies last Friday, both parties re-affirmed their commitment to this
agreement. An option exists for the supply to be extended for 2004 and
2005 and this will be discussed at the appropriate time.
McLaren have denied rumours that they are planning to start the
2002 season with the 2001 car. A spokesperson for the team indicated that
they have every intention of starting the season with the 2002 car. Recent
reports indicated that the new McLaren has a design flaw that may prevent
them for having it ready in time for Melbourne. The team spokesperson
pointed out that for the last 2 years McLaren have started preparing for
the new season with a hybrid car that contains new and old components.
Niki Lauda has indicated that he wants to test drive the new
Jaguar R3 with the intention of getting a better understanding of how it
works and said "I want to understand the car better, to see how it
works. My goal is not to go faster than Eddie Irvine or Pedro de la Rosa.
I'm only interested in the technical details."
19-Dec: Jacques Villeneuve has
indicated that he won't be driven by emotions following the departure of Craig
Pollock from BAR. Villeneuve added that as a professional he has a
contract to race for the team and he intends to do just that and said
"I have a contract with the team and I intend to be at the first
race. It would be stupid to make any decision at an emotional time. If I
could physically walk out I would, but I have a contract. Last year I
worked really hard and made a lot of changes. We will see how these
changes are coming along this year."
18-Dec: At the launch of the 2002
contender BAR, Jacques Villeneuve has indicated that the news of
Craig Pollock leaving the team would be difficult to digest and said
"I only found out recently. I haven't had time to think about it or
react to the news. It's probably better this way, not too much time to think and get
happy or angry. It's been tough for three years, it's been very tough and
there have been changes before and every change is unsettling. This one is
definitely the most difficult for me to digest. Only time will tell if its
for the best or worse."
18-Dec: British American Racing became the second Formula 1 team to launch their 2002 contender. BAR after the surprise announcement that team Principal Craig Pollock was stepping down, today the team announced that David Richards (Chairman of Prodrive and ex Benetton Team Principal) takes over. In addition they announced an extension to their partnership with Honda for 3 more years squashing the rumours that Honda were planning to end their partnership with BAR at the end of this season.
We also wish David Richards every success in his
new position. For 2002 we introduce a brand new engine – the RA002E –
and on the chassis side we are strengthening our commitment with our new
long-term agreement with B.A.R."
BAR also announced that they have signed French Formula 3 Champion Japanese Ryo Fukuda as their test driver in addition to their 2001 test drivers Anthony Davidson, Darren Manning and Patrick Lemarie.
17-Dec: The newest team in Formula 1 was the first to launch their 2002 contender in Cologne. The Panasonic Toyota Racing TF102 will be driven next year by Mika Salo and Allan McNish. The target for the team in 2002 is to do a reasonable job.
We are committed to challenging in F1 with determination. Through our
endeavour, we wish to convey the excitement of Formula 1 races to the fans
around the globe."
Since the launch of its test car in March 2001, the team has visited 11 of the current F1 venues worldwide, in addition to Toyota's home testing base at Paul Ricard in France. In the eight-month period to November 2001, the test cars had clocked up 20,967 kilometres or over 3,000 laps.
The team will initially test the new car at the Paul Ricard Circuit and then move to Barcelona where they will test for the first time with other Formula 1 teams.
Toyota have yet to announce their official test driver for 2002.
17-Dec: In a surprise announcement
on the eve of their 2002 car launch, British American Racing and Craig
Pollock have parted ways. A statement issued by BAR read "Craig
Pollock today announced that he is stepping down as Managing Director and
Team Principal of British American Racing. Craig has decided to pursue
It is not clear how this will affect BAR's star driver Jacques
Villeneuve who in the past indicated that he would leave if Pollock
16-Dec: Mercedes Motorsport boss
Norbert Haug believes that we could have a 4-way fight for the title
in 2002 and indicated that as we've seen the Williams team challenge in
'01, we could see a fourth team challenging for the title. While he didn't
state who he thinks this 4th team would be he indicated that Toyota will surprise
a few people as they have massive financial resources.
14-Dec: The World
Motor Sport Council has confirmed the British and San Marino
GP's. The British GP appeared in doubt but it appears that the
organisers have convinced the FIA to give them another chance. The FIA
statement read "Following
detailed undertakings given by the representatives of MSA (the British
National Sporting Authority) and Octagon Motorsports (the Promoter of the
British Grand Prix), and after examining the conclusions of the 2001
British Grand Prix traffic inquiry, the World Motor Sport Council decided
to confirm the British Grand Prix in the 2002 FIA Formula One World
The Australian GP remains provisional subject to the Coroner’s inquiry into the fatal accident during the 2001 Australian Grand Prix.
Harald Frentzen has indicated that he had further discussion with the
Arrows team but nothing has been finalised yet regarding a drive for next
Following Jac Nasser's departure from Ford, there have been speculations regarding the future of the Jaguar Formula 1 team, however Ford's Marketing Chief Judith McMahon has indicated that Jaguar Racing will continue to receive full backing from Ford and said "We are absolutely certain there will be no change in future strategy. This was made absolutely clear that Ford will continue to give Jaguar complete support."
have announced the 4 drivers who will be appointed to their Renault
Driver Development Programme. An expert panel selected the 4 drivers
following a 2-day test at Estoril.
Bruno Michel, the Programme Manager indicated that the selection was difficult due to the high skill of the participants and said "All the candidates who attended the test were extremely talented and motivated. It was therefore a difficult choice for us, based not only on driving skills, but also maturity, adaptability and the ability to realise their potential."
Rinland, the former Sauber designer who is credited for the impressive
2001 Sauber believes that Finnish driver Kimi Raikkonen could be
the next Senna and said "I saw it in his eyes, I
looked in his eyes and I thought 'I've seen this look before' and I know
where I saw that look before and it gave me goosebumps when I remembered
that look. It was Senna."
9-Dec: Ralf Schumacher has
indicated the he will be trying all what he can to try and win more races
in 2002 and that includes wearing glasses but concedes that his brother
Michael is the Title favourite. Ralf will be trying to race with glasses
next season as he feels better with them and said "My eyesight really
is still fine but I tried driving with glasses last week and it seems to
be much better. It just allows me to see things a little better and in
Formula One that is essential. The thing now is to try them in testing and
get used to them for the season.
8-Dec: The Minardi
team will have the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur as their
title sponsors in 2002 with the team's name to become KL Minardi
7-Dec: The FIA have
reverted to the 'more common' numbering system for 2002 after a number of
teams requested that numbers are given based on the team's finishing
position from the previous season.
TBA: To be announced.