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20 - 24 Jan  News 

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24-Jan: On his second day of testing Michael Schumacher set the fastest time at the Barcelona track over half a second ahead of David Coulthard. Schumacher also covered the most number of laps with 95 followed by Coulthard with 80 laps.
5 teams were present with 6 drivers setting lap times. Michael Schumacher was testing the Bridgestone tyres and didn't have any problems. David Coulthard also continued his tyre evaluation for Bridgestone while McLaren's test driver, Alexander Wurz was testing new components on the hybrid car and continued to have engine problems. Jos Verstappen took over the testing duties from Pedro de la Rosa while Jarno Trulli had his first taste of the EJ11 at the Barcelona track. Gaston Mazzacane also made his first appearance for Prost at Barcelona. He was almost 3.5 seconds slower than Schumacher's time. Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the timed results 

Benetton have started a 2 day test on the National Circuit at Silverstone. Jenson Button was driving last years' car testing engine and chassis control while Giancarlo Fisichella continued testing the new Renault engine and gearbox. No times are available.

24-Jan: Sauber have become the third team to officially launch their 2001 contender at their factory in Hinwil, Switzerland. Similar to the previous 2 launches by Jaguar and Jordan, Sauber's launch was low key compared to their launch last year and the team's boss Peter Sauber indicated that by toning down the launch, he hopes that their points tally would increase!
Peter Sauber's target is to do better than last year when they finished 8th in the Constructors' Championship  with the help of the young pair of Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen and said "The RED BULL SAUBER PETRONAS C20 has shown its potential at the rollout in Fiorano and the test in Jerez. It was ready in good time to enable us to accumulate high test mileage before the start of the season in Melbourne in March. We are convinced that the C20 will be competitive and reliable. We have set great hopes in Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen and expect them to achieve better results than we had last season. Nick learned a great deal in his first year in Formula One in 2000, and brings that experience with him. He has already settled in very quickly and helped to move the team forward with his fast testing times. We may have been criticised initially for choosing Kimi Raikkonen as our partner for Nick Heidfeld. But Kimi proved to everyone�s satisfaction that he belongs in Formula One despite his youth and lack of experience."

Nick Heidfeld indicated that he is looking forward to the start of the season and was amazed of how quick the car was and said "I am looking forward very much to the new season. I have been to Klosters to do some skiing and get fit. When I got into the car in Jerez I was amazed that the car was so quick straight out of the box. We had been intending to complete a few shakedown laps but decided to keep going until we encountered a problem. We continued until the end of the day and managed over 70 laps!"

Kimi Raikkonen admits that his first race in Formula 1 will be a bit difficult but he'll get used to it and said "I don't think I'll be more careful just because I'm in Formula 1, if you start driving carefully it isn't very good. The first race will be a bit difficult because it will be nearly two hours long, and I'm only used to half-hour races. But when I get used to it in an F1 car it will be OK. The most difficult thing to get used to is under-braking � just how late you can brake, and the speed in the fast corners. I just need to learn to get experienced but I don't care what other people are saying because I feel quite comfortable about it. In fact I feel more comfortable with the new car than I did with the old, but I can't make predictions because it is all so different."

24-Jan: Niki Lauda is confident that Michael Schumacher will win his fourth title this year and indicated that this year it will once again be a Ferrari - McLaren fight and said "This year will be very interesting, it is too early to predict things but it will definitely be between McLaren and Ferrari again. Michael is very quick and he takes his chances at the right time, he is the best driver overall and he will win the championship again this year. It is very difficult to catch either Schumacher or Hakkinen and they will be in front again. Hakkinen gets the better of him sometimes but Schumacher is the better driver, there is no doubt about it."

The Prost team shook down the AP04 last week at Magny Cours (story). The car is powered by last year's Ferrari engine. Alain Prost has indicated that the car has still a lot of work to be done on it and said "The car is not much more than a hybrid version, which we assembled so we could work on reliability, we wanted to get the car out onto the track as soon as possible and then leave it to Durand to work on the aerodynamics. The car that will make its debut in the first Grand Prix will have a completely different aerodynamic package and from the fourth race onwards, the San Marino Grand Prix, we will have a number of other innovations as well. As a lot of teams have problems with their new cars in the first few races, our aim is to reach the finish and score vital points."

23-Jan: The third day of testing at Barcelona saw David Coulthard once again topping the times but also saw the return of Michael Schumacher to the test track. The Prost team was also present with Jean Alesi.
5 teams were present with 6 drivers setting timed laps. David Coulthard completed a total of 65 laps just a lap more than Pedro de la Rosa. Michael Schumacher covered 43 laps. Jean Alesi covered the least number of laps with 14.
The session was interrupted several times with red flags as several teams continue testing of new components. McLaren's test driver Alexander Wurz who is running a hybrid car with new a engine and gearbox stopped twice on the track with engine problems. Heinz Harald Frentzen also stopped on the track with suspected clutch problems. Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the timed results 

On his first day at the track since the Malaysian GP, Michael Schumacher indicated that he is very happy to be back and said "I am very happy to be back on the track, especially as it is on a demanding circuit like Barcelona. The car is handling well. I am sorry about what happened to Badoer last Sunday, when he was doing a very important job for the team. However, these things can happen in racing. Personally, I feel very well. I had a good rest and I am in top form. I have noticed there are some new engineers in the team and this was my first chance to meet them. It shows that Ferrari is investing heavily to maintain its high level of competitiveness and that there is every intention to embark on a new era of success."

23-Jan: McLaren have announced that they will be launching their 2001 contender on the 7th of February at Valencia in Spain. It is expected that they will run a 3 day test session immediately following the launch.

Click here for the 2001 Lineup and Launch Dates 

Juan Pablo Montoya has made it clear that he doesn't have any particular targets for the 2001 season and stressed that his aim is not to beat Ralf Schumacher or make comparisons with Jenson Button and said "I haven't got any particular targets. I have a lot of time and I want to get used to the car and afterwards drive to the limit, as always. If I can get onto the podium a few times, that will be even better. My target is not to beat Ralf, but to do as well as possible. When I arrived in CART, I was in the same situation as now; then I had Zanardi's car, now it's Button's. I know that people are going to make comparisons, but I'm not worried about that."

22-Jan: David Coulthard continues to set the pace at Barcelona ahead of Alexander Wurz and Pedro de la Rosa. Heinz Harald Frentzen was 4th running the 2001 Jordan.
3 teams were present with 4 drivers setting timed laps. David Coulthard managed a total of 75 laps ahead of Pedro de la Rosa with 58 and Alexander Wurz with 32. Frentzen only managed 19 laps.
Due to Badoer's crash yesterday, Ferrari did not conduct any testing today and will resume testing here with Michael Schumacher returning to the track for the first time since the Malaysian GP.

Click here for the timed results 

22-Jan: BAR's Managing Director Craig Pollock is hoping to provide his star driver Jacques Villeneuve with a car that is capable of winning the title as he believes that Villeneuve is the only current driver who is capable of challenging Michael Schumacher and said "If Jacques has equal equipment with Michael, he is the only person capable of beating him. I may be accused of bias but I know how far Jacques can go. I know just what he can do. He can genuinely beat Michael. It is not just his ability, it is also his attitude. He is not fazed or intimidated by Michael and his reputation as many drivers are. Our responsibility is to give him the car to prove that but if we don't deliver we don't deserve to keep Jacques."

Following his massive crash at Barcelona yesterday, Luca Badoer was released from the Catalunya General Hospital and was flown to Italy where he underwent further tests which confirmed that he had no complications from the accident and then returned home. He was told to rest for 2 weeks.

21-Jan: On the first day of testing at Barcelona, David Coulthard set the fastest time ahead of Alexander Wurz and Luca Badoer.
3 teams were present at the session with McLaren, Ferrari and Arrows. David Coulthard managed to cover the most number of laps with 46 ahead of Alexander Wurz with 38 and Luca Badoer with 11. Arrows driver Pedro de la Rosa didn't manage to set any timed laps as his car stopped on the track several times while testing traction control.
The test session was interrupted by a high speed crash involving the Ferrari of Luca Badoer on his 11th lap. His 2000 Ferrari was running the 2001 aerodynamic package and lost the rear wing and the rear wheel at the end of the main straight causing the car to go straight into the safety barrier. Badoer was flown by helicopter to the Catalunya General Hospital and had no specific injuries but will remain in hospital overnight under observation. He is expected to return to Italy tomorrow.
Ferrari are investigating the cause of the accident, the third high speed crash by a Formula 1 team so far this year caused by mechanical failure. Jaguar and BAR both crashed their 2001 cars. Ferrari will not be testing tomorrow but will resume testing on Tuesday with Michael Schumacher returning to the track for the first time since the Malaysian Grand Prix.
The test session continues tomorrow with several teams joining McLaren and Arrows including Jordan who will be testing their 2001 contender.

Click here for the timed results 

21-Jan: Following Jacques Villeneuve's crash at Jerez in the BAR003, BAR have confirmed that the team will be using a replica car at their launch on January 26th. Managing Director Craig Pollock said "This is a disruption to our testing programme and a setback to next week's official launch, however, it's essential that the new car is 100 per cent right for the first race of the season in Melbourne. We know our friends in the media will understand our rationale. With or without the new car, next week's event promises to be a very special occasion. The drivers and the team are looking forward to it."
The accident was caused by a suspension failure and the team is investigating the cause.
Jacques Villeneuve was not hurt in the accident.

BAR's Technical Director Malcolm Oastler has made it clear that while it is great to have another team run the same engine, their focus won't be Jordan and said "We'll probably pay more attention to Jordan as a team, because we had an exclusive Honda engine deal and now they've got the same engine, so there's some feeling there. But Jordan is Jordan, and we've to beat Jaguar, we've got to beat McLaren, we've got to beat Ferrari. Our purpose in life won't be to focus on Jordan."

Australian businessman Paul Stoddart who runs a F3000 team in Europe and runs the aviation company Europe Aviation has confirmed that he is looking into buying a share of Minardi but declined to provide any more details and said ""We are looking and I think it's fair to say that we are Minardi's only chance. I am quite confident, but it would be wholly wrong to say any more than that at this stage."

20-Jan: Despite a number of setbacks for both BAR and Jordan at their first test sessions, Honda was pleased with the way their new engine performed. Honda Racing's Technical Director Kazutoshi Nishizawa said "This week we have completed the first tests of the new RA001E engine in both BAR and Jordan cars, we have undertaken the engine mapping and systems evaluation work necessary with a new engine. We have completed a good mileage this week and we are pleased that we have had no problems."
BAR suffered a suspension problem causing Jacques Villeneuve to crash their only 2001 chassis into the tyre barrier on their final day of testing at Jerez while Jordan continue to suffer from a clutch problem and had to suspend their final day of testing at Silverstone due to the snow.

Jarno Trulli has indicated that he is very excited about the prospect of BAR and Jordan going head to head this season as they both will be using the same specification Honda engine and said "It's very good for us and very good for everybody, because both teams will want to beat the other in this little war, we both want to be the best, so we will have more and more developments through the season as everyone works harder and harder. I think we will probably be more competitive because of this."
As for his targets this season, he said "
I have no targets for this season. I know that the target is set by how good the car is, and I don't know that yet, so I can't say. We are under pressure from Honda, they really want to do very well and are putting a lot of effort in, they don't want any excuses."
And regarding his future and the possibility of going to Benetton next year and partnering Jenson Button, he said "During the middle of the season I can decide what to do. I have a contract with Flavio which is nothing to do with Benetton. He is my manager, but I decide where I want to go. He might ask me to go to Benetton but if this team is the number one this year, do you think I will go? I don't think so!"
On Jenson Button he said "I have nothing really against him. I had two collisions with him last year and, unfortunately, it happened when I was having a difficult season, so it was hard to accept. Now I regret the words I said about him at the time, they came after three retirements in a row and two of those were with him. I was just really, really upset. We both have to learn to stay away from accidents. I certainly learnt a lot last year and will be more careful on the racetrack this season."

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