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Can Ralf Schumacher challenge for   the title ? Have Your Say   
Can Schumacher improve his  
record ? -  Issue 17 - The Heretic  

8 - 11 June News   
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11-Jun: David Coulthard was off the pace at the Canadian Grand Prix compared to Ralf and Michael Schumacher who were lapping at around a second faster than him. The McLaren team have indicated that his car had a front suspension problem. David Coulthard later revealed that he found a nut in the cockpit that was supposed to be on the front suspension and said "I was going around to the grid on the parade lap when I put my hand down between my legs and pulled out a nut that should have been on the front suspension. The team gave me the chance to come in but I thought I had a chance to get something out of the race in spite of the suspension. It was far from a perfect car, but I was running in the points until the engine went. This is very disappointing but there's still a long way to go in the championship. Ralf deserved his win but we'll just have to see what happens in the next race."

Jean Todt indicated that a traction control problem was behind Barrichello's spin at the Canadian Grand Prix and said "Unfortunately, we lost Rubens in the early stages. He ended up spinning because of a problem with the traction control, which we will now have to investigate."
Rubens said "Right from the start, I had problems with the traction control. On lap 3 I had to switch it off as it was causing a misfire. It might have been a problem with a sensor, but we will have to investigate. This is what caused me to spin. I was very close to Ralf at the exit to the hairpin so I tried to push, but the car just went round."  

After winning 2 out of the 3 races that he managed to finish so far this season, and even though he is 36 points behind Michael, it is possible that Ralf Schumacher and the Williams team could be able to challenge for the championship. 
Ralf Schumacher
doesn't agree and believes that their package is too young and said "As a package, we are too young, I mean we're going to show up from time to time, I'm pretty sure, but it also depends on the tyres. Michelin hasn't got the experience Bridgestone has. I'm sure there will be occasions when we just don't get it right. Aerodynamically we are not where we want to be as well so we can't go for the championship. But we can try and take advantage of some other teams' weaknesses and maybe be second in the teams' championship at the end of the year."

10-Jun: What the teams and drivers said following the Race in Canada ... Report

10-Jun: At the post Race press conference for the Canadian GP, Ralf Schumacher describes his race with his brother Michael as a great race and said "I mean it's obviously was great racing today. The whole time the two of us were together, I was waiting for him to do a mistake. Obviously he didn't. I tried it a couple of times at the end of the straight but it was difficult. So I waited for the pit strategy which I thought we were going longer anyway and it worked out that way."
When asked if he reacted differently when attempting to overtake Michael as he was his brother he said said "No, not really. You know, the thing is, I had the upper-hand the whole stint basically. I was following him quite easily. My car was just brilliant today and I didn't want to risk too much. I knew that we were very long, we had a lot of fuel on board, I knew that. So I thought. 'you'd better wait until he pits and then you try to pull the gap out instead of trying harder, maybe doing a mistake and lose it.' And that's what I tried."
As for what he did to the car to make is so competitive, he said "Well we changed quite a few things overnight. But the tyres today again worked brilliantly. And I think looking at the Bridgestone tyres they looked a bit worse than ours at the end of the race. And then especially looking at Michael's car which was very nervous, I knew it was difficult for him be on the pace."
Ralf indicated that he is looking forward to another duel at the Nurburgring and said "Well I think it would be obviously great, especially the Nurburgring and Germany, if we could repeat it. I think the person next to me (his brother) wouldn't like to hear that very much, but I mean we both try our best and whoever is going to be in front of us, it is great for the German crowd anyway. But I think we are both looking forward to going home and to compete again in front of the home crowd.

Michael Schumacher indicated that he was happy to see his brother win and for himself to collect 6 important points and said "It is certainly the best to lose to. I guess our mom and dad will be very proud of us. First time a brother pair have been first and second on the podium. And I am obviously delighted. I took six important points. He got his second win in his career. So a happy family day I would say."
When asked if he thought Ralf would do a mistake following him so closely for so many laps, he said "No, the point is that I know that he is experienced enough not to do mistakes. And he obviously was close to an overtaking. But when you are inside, basically you have to brake a little bit earlier to make the corner, and I was braking very late to try the maximum. And as he said, he knew he was going to go longer, so I understand that he didn't take the maximum risk for any of us, and it worked out for him."
As for why he went slower after his pit stop, Michael said "Initially I pushed obviously very hard in order to maybe make up the gap and beat him, so when he comes out of his pitstop I would come in front of him. But it's normal that this doesn't work because you are normally always faster by your end of the stint than when you have put fresh tyres on and the fuel on board. But you have to try, I mean you never know what traffic does, or maybe a little mistake, so I pushed at this moment very hard. Once I saw him coming out in front of me and pulling quite a margin towards me, there was only one strategy, drive safely home the race and take the six points."

Mika Hakkinen indicated how relieved he was with finishing on the podium for the first time this season and said "It has been a really disastrous start of the season, so it's nice to be on the podium and particularly starting in 8th position. Because this was our target really, to finish on the podium was the most important."
As for why he was stuck in traffic despite having a faster car he said "Simply, leaving from the hairpin before the back straight it looks like the cars in front of me were able to accelerate out of that corner a little bit quicker. So I never had the opportunity to get a slipstream on the straight line and overtake at the end of the straight. So it was just impossible. It was just better to wait and see what happens and the fuel stop - when they went into the fuel stop at once, that gave me a lot of help. Then they definitely had an incident. I think Raikkonen and Zonta had an incident and Raikkonen had a damage in his diffuser. So his car wasn't handling so well anymore, so it gave me a great opportunity to overtake them."

10-Jun: Canadian GP - Race: Ralf Schumacher wins ahead of Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. Kimi Raikkonen, Jean Alesi and Pedro de la Rosa make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes  

10-Jun: Canadian GP - Warm-up Session: Olivier Panis sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Ricardo Zonta. Eddie Irvine, Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

10-Jun: Following the clash between Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya (story), Eddie Irvine has come out in defence of Villeneuve's accusations of Montoya being obstructive and said "I think it's very valid (Villeneuve's comments), Montoya is obstructive on the track and he gets in your way, he crashes into people and everyone raves about him. He persistently qualifies massively behind Ralf (his team-mate) and races a lot slower so I think the press have pumped him up and he's got to keep up his image. He is lacking in certain areas. Indycars I think is a bit more about bullying the car around, Formula One is about skill and finesse and he hasn't quite mastered that one yet."

Heinz Harald Frentzen explained the reason for deciding to withdraw from the Canadian GP after his crash during Friday practice. He wrote on his website "I decided not to race the Canadian GP at all. After the bad crash yesterday I still suffer from headache and I still feel dizzy. So the best thing for the team, for Ricardo Zonta and for me is to stop now and give everybody the chance to prepare the race with Ricardo.
There is a good reason for my decision: After the accident in the tunnel of Monaco two weeks ago I felt exactly the same way. And I thought it would be no problem to do the testing in Magny-Cours afterwards. But after 17 laps I knew I was wrong: I had to cancel any further tests. That was not a big thing during testing. But imagine I would have done the free practice today and then retired after qualifying: My team would have had only one car in the race and so only half of their chances.
That is why I've chosen this way - although it is very hard. I'm so disappointed. There is nothing worse for a race driver than to be not able to race. So there is only one thing to say: Good luck to Ricardo and the team."

Adrian Newey explained the reasons for his decision to join Jaguar and then back out from that decision. He indicated that he needed new stimulation and thought that moving to Jaguar would provide that but after agreeing to join Jaguar he realised that changing teams was not the way to go. Speaking to the News of the World paper he said "I am a designer and, like anyone in my situation. I am trying to be creative and, to do that, you look for new stimulation. There is always a danger of getting tired and suffering something equivalent to writer's block and wondering where the next little bit to improve the car, the next idea, is coming from. This is a high pressure sport and I have been working in it for a long time. With that constant pressure you are looking for a new stimulus and changing jobs is one way of doing that. 

One of the reasons I made this decision was because I was enthused about the idea of working with Bobby again. Maybe that persuaded me to go down a road that I might not have gone down in different circumstances. On reflection, shortly after agreeing to join Jaguar there was a realisation that changing teams was not the way to go for me. I had agreed with Jaguar that nothing would come out until 8.30 am on Friday morning. When I spoke to them and informed them of my decision they agreed to stop the press release being issued. At that point, only a few people were affected. Despite that it appears they chose to issue the press release.
I can't comment on what the future might hold for me. But I have made up my mind and I want to stay at McLaren now."

Newey also indicated that he was most concerned about his friendship with Bobby Rahal and hoped that it would survive this and said "The person I am most concerned about in all this is Bobby. He's a good friend and I don't want to upset him. Perhaps this show the dangers of mixing a friendship with business. I really hope our friendship can weather this."

9-Jun: The FIA have disallowed the time set by Fernando Alonso due to a technical infringement. Alonso qualified in 21st place ahead if his team-mate Tarso Marques but was using a front wing that does not comply with the regulations. He will now start from last place on the grid (22nd)

When Rubens Barrichello crashed during the qualifying session, Ferrari mechanics went onto the circuit to help the Brazilian which is against the regulations. The FIA decided to fine the Ferrari team $10,000 for entering the circuit during the session. 

It is reported that during the drivers briefing, Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya clashed while discussing the incident that occurred between the two during the first practice session on Friday. It is believed that Villeneuve was so angry with a comment made by Montoya during the discussion that he grabbed Montoya's overalls and the Race director Charlie Whiting had to restrain them from hitting each other.
It is also believed that they have been warned of possible race bans if they don't show restraint towards each other. 
Villeneuve said of the incident "It took a bad turn. He said some things that weren't proper and even in every day life you shouldn't say improper things like that."

Villeneuve and Montoya are next to each other at the start of the Canadian GP with Villeneuve in 9th and Montoya in 10th!.

9-Jun: What the teams and drivers said following Qualifying in Canada ... Report

9-Jun: At the post Qualifying press conference for the Canadian GP, Michael Schumacher has denied that he dislikes this circuit but confirmed that it is not his favourite despite grabbing his 6th pole position here and said "I don't know who put out this rumour (that) I don't like this circuit because this is completely false and not right. I only said, and it has been misinterpreted, I love Spa, which doesn't mean that I dislike the other circuits. I only favour one and that's the way it is but I actually like to come down here, as you see the results are good but I love the country in particular. So I have nothing against this circuit at all. It's not actually my style of circuit which I can put a particular effort in. It is a braking acceleration circuit, like we have in Monza, like we have in Hockenheim. I'm favouring more circuits like Monte Carlo and Spa, which are technical and a little more difficult. So it's nothing particular down here which makes me going better."
He indicated that he he didn't go out at the end of the session because it was going to be a mess and said "I knew it would have been a mess to go out there, and as you saw it was a mess, so I rather thought I save that and I'll watch it. It will be much more interesting to watch it, and so it was."
As for the start tomorrow and with the cars going around the first corner, Michael hoped that everyone be cautious so that accidents are avoided and said "I think that at least 70% of the circuits there is an opportunity to have a crash if some drivers do not behave. And that is what it comes down to. You have to behave, you have to watch and you have to be a little bit extra careful whenever there is a tight corner at the first corner. I hope everyone does that, everybody knows it anyway, and we will found out how they behave."

Ralf Schumacher indicated that despite having problems all weekend, they managed to make a change to the car before qualifying which seemed to work and said "We had some problems the whole weekend basically especially with tyres to get them to work, and we had a change before qualifying which seemed to help us quite a bit. And the temperature increased over ten degrees from this morning, and so the whole balance was a lot better and it was actually relatively easy to set the time."
As for their race preparation, Ralf believes that they should be competitive and said "We have the right tyre choice for the race so I don't really fear that, and the weekend has shown even if we were a bit off the pace but we have been consistent. So I'm looking forward to the race. I think we should be relatively competitive."

David Coulthard believes that they under performed in qualifying as the car had more speed in it but the way qualifying went didn't suite them and said "I think that I've under performed today. I think that there is more speed in the car but the session didn't go in a way that allowed really me to explore the limits of the car. So I think in these circumstances we are fortunate to get third, because obviously it was just right in that last run. I was able to get out first because I knew it would be tight to get the lap in, and found a bit of time in the last sector but I wasn't particularly good in the first and second sector. So I think we will be a bit stronger in the race than we have been in qualifying but none the less I'm obviously disappointed not to be on the front row."
As for the reason why they looked so strong in practice but failed to do well in qualifying, he said "I think that even though we were maybe topping the times I wasn't entirely happy with the balance of the car. I knew there was going to be a lot of work to do, and I still think we have a little bit of work to do to balance the car. Although obviously now we go into race conditions it's less of an issue for the single lap, and it's more of getting consistency, be nice to the tyres. I think that we don't have as big a difficulty with the brakes as some of the other teams, so that may play in to our situation but obviously the goal has got to be to try and move forward from third place."

9-Jun: Canadian GP - Qualifying: Michael Schumacher grabs pole position ahead his brother Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard. Jarno Trulli, Rubens Barrichello and Olivier Panis make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

9-Jun: Canadian GP - 2nd Saturday Practice: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen. Rubens Barrichello, Nick Heidfeld and Kimi Raikkonen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

9-Jun: Canadian GP - 1st Saturday Practice: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Michael Schumacher. Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes.

9-Jun: The Jordan team have announced that their test driver Ricardo Zonta will take over Heinz Harald Frentzen's seat at the Canadian GP after Frentzen crashed heavily on Friday and was not feeling 100% for the race. 
Ricardo Zonta said of the announcement "I am sure it is a big disappointment for Heinz-Harald that he cannot race. I really hope to do a good job for him and the Jordan team. In many ways this is more tough than competing in your first Grand Prix, but I must say I am very excited about getting into the car again to race!."
Heinz Harald Frentzen hopes to be back at the Nurbrgring and said "I wish Ricardo and the team all the best for the rest of the weekend and look forward to being back in the driving seat in Nurburgring."

8-Jun: At the Friday press conference for the Canadian GP, Frank Williams was unhappy with the results they have achieved so far but hopes to get the technical issues sorted out and said "The facts are that we've done 14 starts this year and finished three times only which is a pretty deplorable record actually. Some of the problems are technical so we are trying to make sure they don't happen again.
Asked about the comments Patrick Head made earlier regarding his drivers maturity, he said "I'm unaware of that comment. I haven't seen it. I wouldn't even begin to say that in public."
Frank Williams doubted that measures can be put in place to stop the 'poaching' of technical staff and said "It would be very, very difficult given the liberal views which everybody supports these days on human employment and human rights. There have been talks about having a second contract recognition board for nominated senior executives but whether that can stand up in law is being investigated."
He also indicated that BMW supplying 2 teams would not suite his team but he cannot be sure about that and said "It would certainly not suit us and I believe, but I can't be sure, that they said they would be reluctant to do so because they would not have the resource but that's not my judgement."

Eddie Jordan has indicated that the rumour regarding Honda supplying only one team is just that and said "I believe it is absolutely a rumour. I think it's probably the time of the year when the press like to speculate on things as they do. I'm particularly pleased, this is our eighth race with Honda, it's a very long term contract as I made it very clear at the time of the announcement and we're anxiously looking forward to a long term and successful arrangement."
As for the what he expects here Eddie Jordan said "Well we've had bitter/sweet relationships here. I think our very first year we finished fourth and fifth and we had our first ever two cars on the podium here with Eddie and Rubens, and Giancarlo was on the podium with us here as well. So we've had a couple of failures last year and the year before when Heinz had a brake explode with a couple of laps to go in second place, so that was fairly disappointing. So you never know. In this place you really really have to look after the brakes. It's a long race. It always throws up an uncertain championship. You may remember people coming out of the pits at speed. I think it's a good race. I'm encouraged by the fact that the organisers are putting up bigger and bigger grandstands. It's obviously attracting more and more attention. I think it's one of the key races of the calendar and I love coming to Canada."

Tom Walkinshaw believes that they will be receiving an engine upgrade from AsiaTech in a month and said "They've promised us that we'll have an upgrade in about a month's time. I don't really know how much that's going to be but they say that's the first performance upgrade, about a month from now."
As for the long term relationship with AsiaTech he said "We've signed a two year contract but we've both got options at the end of the year, whether we continue it or not, we need to convince each other that it's a good idea, so we'll see what happens. We have to make a decision on engines for next year definitely within the next month to five weeks at the latest."
Regarding the Moscow F1 project, he said "They're working hard on it at the moment. They're doing the geological surveys, they're doing all the bore holes for the track, so it's progressing along quite steadily. The outline designs are done but the detailed ones will take a couple of months I think and then we can get on with the rest of it. That's the schedule at the moment. The first design phase is about three months, so we're a month into that at the moment."

Jacques Villeneuve crashed into the wall 2 laps after being hit from behind by Juan Pablo Montoya and while he wasn't sure if the hit by Montoya caused his crash, he was furious with the Colombian and said "Juan Pablo ran into the back to me a couple of laps before the crash. I am upset because it must be the fifth or sixth time this year that he's been blocking and he's on a mission for something. I'll have to have a word with him. Normally when you get blocked - I've blocked some people also - you try to get out of the way and sometimes you don't make it but you still make an effort and give some room to the other person. It seems like Juan, every time he sees someone in the mirror, he slows down and stays on the line purposefully so I really don't know what kind of game he's trying to play."
When asked if the incident had anything to do with the crash he said "Who knows"
As for how the accident happened, Villeneuve said "I was actually at the point where I was deciding to brake and I just came off the throttle and turned into the wall. It looks like something failed on the car but it's very difficult to know because then I hit the wall because other things broke once I hit the wall so it's very hard to know what happened but it was a bit surprising."
Villeneuve added that the damage was extensive and they will use a new tub for practice and qualifying tomorrow. 
On the importance of this race to him, Villeneuve said "It's very important. It's always been a very very difficult race weekend and stressful race. You put together a result mostly after a good one in Monaco. There's been one good year in '96 and then every year after that has been very difficult result-wise. It would be good to change that, so that people don't think that it's a bad race for me.

Eddie Irvine who finished 3rd fastest today indicated that his fastest lap wasn't a particularly good lap and said "It's a step in the right direction. It wasn't a particularly good lap, I have to say. The car's reasonable. It's not as good as I thought it would be here but we've got new bits on the car again that are affecting the handling, but maybe they are making it go a bit quicker. We didn't really have a chance to confirm it properly at Magny-Cours, but we thought we'd just go with them and see."
He added that the people at the factory are doing a great job and helps the momentum of the whole team and said "The car, when it came, was massively slow as we know and it wouldn't have been hard to improve it. We have a good step and there are more good steps to come in the next two or three races. That's what makes the difference, the guys back at the factory making the car go quicker. That's what drives everyone along. If there's no ideas coming out of the factory, the car isn't going to go quicker. At the minute they're doing a good job back there."
Irvine wouldn't say if this was their true performance and said "The jury's still out! Friday is Friday and Saturday is a totally different story so we'll let people sweat a bit tonight and then we'll see what the story is tomorrow."

Giancarlo Fisichella is hoping for a good weekend but doubts that he'll managed to finish on the podium yet again and said "I think this weekend is going to be good, but I don't think it's going to be as good as in the past. We did very well in the past. I was on the podium here for the last four years. It was great, but I think it's going to be very difficult to do the same this year because, as you know, we're not competitive enough at the moment and we need a lot of power here and we haven't got a lot of power at the moment. But the car is getting better, we need some aerodynamic improvements. Today I did quite a good job, more than 45 laps and it wasn't too bad, with a lot of fuel. Tomorrow's it's going to be difficult to be in the first six or seven rows."
When asked when are they expecting improvements, Fisichella said "We've already had some improvements but there's a big step maybe for the next race, I'm not sure, but especially for Magny Cours, as you know, there is a big jump on power."
Fisichella added that they will be targeting the top 10 with these improvements.

8-Jun: What the teams and drivers said following the Friday practice sessions at Canada ... Report

8-Jun: Canadian GP - 2nd Friday Practice: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Eddie Irvine. Barrichello, Montoya and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

8-Jun: Canadian GP - 1st Friday Practice: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. Mika Hakkinen, Olivier Panis and Nick Heidfeld make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes.

8-Jun: In response to the statement by Jaguar Racing about winning an injunction against them (story), the McLaren team have issued the following statement "McLaren has noted the statement made by Jaguar Racing regarding an Injunction obtained. Whilst the Team has no particular desire to promote or publicly discuss the obvious difference of opinion between McLaren and Jaguar Racing, it is considered appropriate to clarify the following.

Jaguar Racing has obtained a "without notice" Injunction, which applies only until Tuesday, 12th June 2001 when there will be a further hearing at which McLaren will be represented for the first time. The lawyers acting for Jaguar Racing had previously established contact with those acting for McLaren but unusually chose not to inform them of their intentions or invite their contribution before the Judge.

The statement issued by Jaguar Racing implies that the Injunction prevents Adrian Newey from continuing in the employment of McLaren International after 31st July 2002 under a contract already signed. This is inaccurate. In fact the Injunction granted only prevents McLaren entering into a new or further agreement with Adrian Newey before Tuesday, 12th June 2001 and has no effect on the existing extension.

The team is confident that when the facts of the case are heard on Tuesday, the Injunction will be lifted.

In the meantime the Injunction has no bearing on our racing programme which is focussed on the Canadian Grand Prix. We wish to make no further comments on this matter during the race weekend."

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