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F1 2000 World Championship 

Is the current points system fair?  
Have Your Say  
Testing is totally inconclusive!  
Issue 1 - The Heretic  

1 - 9 January News 

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9-Jan: Ralf Schumacher was the fastest man on the track today 0.9 seconds faster then Giancarlo Fisichella in 2nd place. Marc Gene was third with Juan Pablo Montoya in 4th. Ralf has improved his time from yesterday by almost half a second.
Only Williams and Benetton were present with 3 drivers from Williams and only one from Benetton.
The session was dry in the morning and teams continued their tyre evaluation testing while in the afternoon, the teams switched to wet tyre testing as rain fell in the afternoon.
Testing concludes tomorrow with Jenson Button returning to the track hoping to be able to test the new Renault engine.

Click here for the timed results 

The Jaguar team was the first team to launch their 2001 contender. After Jaguar's disappointing results of the 2000 season, they have decided to launch the car at Jaguar's design and engineering centre at Whitley without any of the fanfare of last season.

Jaguar Racing CEO and team principal Bobby Rahal has indicated that the teams aim for this year is to achieve respectability and said: "We have experienced a challenging first year in the sport but implemented changes that we feel are necessary to deliver our objectives. Our aim this year is to achieve respectability. People ask me to define what this means in terms of results, but it's too early to say. Maybe I'll tell you at the end of the season. We will also continue to put in place the building blocks that we believe will deliver success in the long term. We are unswerving in our ultimate goal which remains to challenge for World Championship honours." 

Eddie Irvine is confident that they will improve on their results of the 2000 season and said "To be honest, last season looked a lot worse than it was, our qualifying performances weren�t so bad and we had a few problems early on that stopped us scoring points. We've sorted those problems now and moved on. Of course, you can never say how competitive you�re going to be; the goal posts are always moving and we'll have to wait until Melbourne to see where we really are."

Luciano Burti will be driving in his first full season in Formula 1. Burti drove for Jaguar last year at Austria when Irvine pulled out due to abdominal pain. Burti was the team's test driver in 2000 and has set his goal at scoring some points in his first season and said �I know what it takes to race and I know how to qualify, there are going to be a lot of challenges, but I�m pretty confident for the season ahead. I already know six or seven of the circuits, but it will be tough. It�s too early to say what my expectations are for next year. We won�t know how good or bad the car is until Melbourne, but I�ll be happy if I can score some points this year."

9-Jan: "Testing is totally inconclusive!" is the title of the 1st issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2001 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at why one cannot draw any conclusions from testing - Check it out here !!

8-Jan: The first official test session of 2001 is underway with both Williams and Benetton present at Jerez.
On the first day of testing, it was Ralf Schumacher who topped the time sheets with a time of 1:23.630. Ralf was 0.3 seconds ahead of teammate Juan Pablo Montoya. Giancarlo Fisichella was third, a fraction behind Montoya while Marc Gene and Jenson Button were 4th and 5th.
Ralf Schumacher also completed the most number of laps with 72 followed by Montoya with 67. Marc Gene did the least number of laps with 20.

Despite Ralf Schumacher being a full second slower than the fastest time set here during the previous session in December, it appears that Michelin have improved their tyres considerably. Ralf Schumacher was 1.3 seconds faster than his best time set here in December. Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the timed results 

8-Jan: With time running out for Minardi, Spaniard Fernando Alonso is eagerly awaiting positive news in the next few days in the hope that he'll be starting on the grid at Melbourne. Alonso has a contract with Minardi and is widely expected to be one of the teams' drivers in 2001 if Minardi make it. Alonso has been testing in a Benetton to get the mileage required for a super license. Alonso said "I'm waiting on news from Minardi. To be ready in time for Australia work on the car has to start next week. In 10 days, more or less, my future will be clear."

Giancarlo Fisichella believes that he is 90% fit following the minor knee surgery that he had on December the 18. When asked about his thoughts on Jenson Button being his teammate at Benetton he said "Jenson is a nice guy, very funny, concentrated on his job and he is competitive of course, but I am not going to act any differently because Jenson is my team mate. I will just have to do the maximum everywhere. I've done it in the past and I will do it in the future - whether it is Jenson, Jacques Villeneuve or Michael Schumacher. Now I feel I am very strong mentally and physically, and I feel confident."

7-Jan: Michael Schumacher appears set to return to the track at Barcelona between the 22nd and 25th of January. He will be joining his teammate Rubens Barrichello.
Schumacher did not participate in any testing since the Malaysian GP and has been resting following the removal of the pin from his leg which was inserted after he broke his leg when he crashed at Silverstone in 99.

6-Jan: The Williams and Benetton teams will be the first to resume testing after the holiday break. Both teams running Michelin tyres head to Jerez for a 3 day test starting on Monday. It is expected that Giancarlo Fisichella will be present after being declared fit following the minor surgery to his knee. It is not yet clear if Jaguar will join the two teams on the final day of testing as they will be launching their 2001 challenger on the 9th.

Mika Hakkinen will be back performing his driving duties for McLaren from the 15th of January when McLaren resumes their testing at Valencia. Mika Hakkinen did not participate in any testing since the Malaysian Grand Prix as he was spending time with his wife and new-born son.

Click here for the testing page 

The Minardi team have suffered yet another setback with two key mechanics leaving the team and heading to Prost. Frenchman Jean-Francois Sinteff who has worked with Alain Prost in the past and Italian Gabriele Pagliarini who will take on the chief mechanic role at Prost have both left Minardi.
Minardi have yet to make an announcement regarding their sponsors, engine supplier and driver lineup.

5-Jan: Juan Pablo Montoya has indicated that his first year in Formula 1 will be a learning year and that he doesn't feel any pressure to perform however he won't accept any worse than 5th which is right behind the 4 drivers driving for Ferrari and McLaren. He said "I don't feel under any pressure to perform. It was the same going to Champ Cars and replacing Zanardi. Any pressure will come from me and not from anyone else. This season will be a learning year for me. Of course, you want to win races all the time but I cant expect to go out in the first race and win. I will just do the best I can. If the best is fifth, then you have to accept that."

Nick Heidfeld who has moved from Prost to Sauber (Story) will be driving alongside the least experienced driver ever to drive in Formula 1, Kimi Raikkonen (Story). Heidfeld wants to establish his supremacy inside the team already and said "Kimi's very fast and I am surprised about that, but I will show that I am the number one driver at Sauber."
Both Heidfeld and Raikkonen were surprisingly fast during testing at Barcelona just before they holiday break.

5-Jan: Another senior member from Jordan Grand Prix has left the team heading for Benetton. In October, Technical Director Mike Gascoyne left Jordan to join Benetton - Renault (Story). Now, Jordan's Chief Designer Mark Smith has also decided to leave the team and joing Mike Gascoyne at Benetton.
Mark's departure is a big loss for Jordan as their spokesperson said "Mark has been at Jordan for 10 years, since the team begain. It is a big loss for us, there is no doubt about it."

Jordan are trying to get the services of Arrows Chief Designer Eghbal Hamidy however Hamidy has a contract with Arrows that expires in 2002. There is also talk about hiring George Ryton who is a former Ferrari designer to replace Mark Smith

4-Jan: Honda are setting an ambitious target for themselves in 2001 and that is to win at least one race. With Ferrari and McLaren dominating in 2000, it seems that Honda's ambitions will be beyond reach. But according to company boss Takeo Fukui, the progress that BAR has made so far and the fact that they are powering two teams should make it possible and said "We want to win one, at least, I should hope we win one, now that we have four drivers. Maybe the year after that, we'll be able to sweep the podium. I thought BAR learned a great deal, so looking at it like that, you could say the team had a fruitful year. Judging by general, average standards, BAR made huge progress. It ended up where it did all the way from last place."

One of the founding members of British American Racing has decided to leave the team. Rick Gorne, the Motorsport Development Director, who alongside Craig Pollock, Adrian Reynard and Julian Jakobi created British American Racing in 1997 wants a new challenge and said "I have personally achieved all that I can at BAR. It has been one of the most exciting, rewarding and challenging projects to have been involved with. Helping to create a Formula1 team was a major achievement and I'm proud to have been part of it. However, it's time for me to move on. I have many opportunities ahead of me and I'm looking forward to new challenges."

3-Jan: Jaguar will be the first team to launch their 2001 challenger (the Jaguar R2) on the 9th of January. The Jordan challenger will be next with the EJ11 to be launched on the 16th of January.
The Prost team is expected to launch their car around mid-January and announce their second driver to partner Jean Alesi. The AP04 will be fitted with the Ferrari engine.
The Sauber team will launch their challenger (the C20) on the 24th of January while Williams are expected to launch their FW23 on the 25th and BAR are expected to launch the BAR03 on the 26th of January.
Benetton will launch their final challenger before Renault takes over in 2002 on the 6th of February.
Ferrari and McLaren have yet to finalise their launch dates but it is expected that they will launch early February.
Arrows who have yet to confirm their driver lineup are also expected to launch in February. Arrows launched their 2000 challenger on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix last season.
Minardi have yet to announce their driver lineup, engine supplier and sponsors for the 2001 season although team boss Giancarlo Minardi has confirmed that they will be on the grid at Melbourne.

Click here for the 2001 Lineup and Launch Dates 

3-Jan: Michael Schumacher was very proud to win the Drivers' title for Ferrari in 2000 after such a long time but indicated that he never took it for granted that he'll win the title despite winning the first 3 races of the season. Speaking to the BBC, he said "Naturally you are very proud winning the title for Ferrari. It was so long ago when Ferrari last won it, but it is as difficult to put into words what Ferrari is as it is to explain what my emotions were in winning. As a racing driver there are certain dreams that you can achieve, and here my dream has come true. I cannot say that it was always my dream, it has developed over the time I have been in F1. But I am proud and a most happy man for achieving this."

Michael added that the mid-season slump had nothing to do with over confidence and said "People might think this way because of the crisis we had where we didn't score points in the middle of the season. But for me it would have been too easy to believe I would win the championship already by mid-season. I knew that would not be the case and that there would come a difficult time, but there would come a good time afterwards. I was warning everyone at the beginning of the season that it wasn't over. After I won the first three races everyone wanted to put me in the position of saying it is done, but I had enough experience that these things are not over until they are over."

Michael also admitted that David Coulthard gave him a tough time during the season especially after his plane crash and said "Certain things in your life may give you a boost and maybe knowing he survived this gave him even more confidence. I don't know. I can't look into him. Maybe it was a case of circumstances nothing to do with that at all. What counts is where you finish. He certainly gave me a very tough run at quite a lot of races."

Jean Alesi who tested for Prost in December running Michelin tyres has indicated that he was very pleased with the professionalism of the Michelin people and said "I have to say above all that I am very pleased about the agreement between our team and Michelin. My first impressions are very positive. When you work with the people from Michelin, you get the feeling that they really listen to what you say. Technically, we have already seen the undeniable quality of their tyres, but the simple fact of working with Michelin delights me!"

2-Jan: "Is the current points system fair?" Topic of the month - Have Your Say

2-Jan: During the month of December 2000, NewsOnF1 ran a poll where the readers voted for their top 5 Formula 1 drivers of all time. With over 2100 votes from readers all over the world, it was Ayrton Senna who was by far the most popular choice with over 82% of the readers placing him in the top 5. He was followed by Michael Schumacher and Alain Prost. Juan Manuel Fangio and Jacques Villeneuve made the top 5. Click here for more details on the top 15 drivers chosen by our reader in addition to some of the readers comments.

1-Jan: Toyota's test driver Allan McNish is hoping to become the team's second driver alongside Mika Salo in 2002. After securing the American LeMans Series Title, McNish has made his ambitions clear and that is to drive in Formula 1. The 31 year old Scot is hoping to secure a drive with the Toyota team despite his age.
He said "If I were to stand myself in front of an F1 team now and sell myself, I would say right away that I am a far better driver than I was 10 years ago, quicker and more thoughtful. I'm not fazed by the idea of taking on the likes of Michael Schumacher, I faced him years ago and I know I am quick. How quick we will find out soon when the Toyota F1 car is running. The door to F1 is there and I have the key, it is up to me if I have the right machinery."

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