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Issue 5 - The Heretic   

March 17 - 19 News

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19-Mar: Eddie Jordan believes that at the moment Ferrari are untouchable and while he hopes that another team can catch them he fears that their domination could continue for the whole season. He said "At the moment nobody can touch Ferrari, you can assume that they will be first and second in every race from now on. I'd like to think that we, or someone, could push Ferrari in the hope that they can make some mistakes but at the moment they are very reliable. I think at the moment its going to be very difficult to see anyone that could beat them. Well, I don't see anyone to be quite truthful. Michael is basically out for a Sunday drive and it's frustrating for the rest of us. But we are glad that our reliability is back because I think that's very important."

19-Mar: Rubens Barrichello is starting to publicly express his feelings of what he believes was unfair. He has revealed that during the early part of the race Michael Schumacher overtook him when he should have stayed behind and said "That's something that was a bit sad (the overtaking), to be honest with you, because I told Ross that I would take very much care because there were some bits on the track that were really, really wet. I wanted to make time as well, and I was making time, but basically I came too close to the car in front, which I think was a Jordan, I lost a bit of momentum there and he took the chance. At that time I would say a team-mate would just stay composed and would wait for some chances in front, but that's how it went. At the end of the day I would have had to stop once more anyway, so I don't think I would have won the race. But it can happen."
Michael Schumacher though doesn't believe he did anything wrong and said "I don't think it's really a point. The situation is, as Rubens said, he had a moment behind another car out of Turn 8 and I got so much more speed into Turn 9 it was very easy to overtake there. So there's no reason not to go for it. In the end of the day we're team-mates, we respect each other, we leave each other room not to hurt each other, but I was on a better go and as you have seen afterwards I was faster as well so I didn't want to lose too much time. We are in equal situations so you fight for the position. I don't think that's unreasonable."

Rubens Barrichello also blamed Ralf for their touch at the first corner and indicated that he doesn't leave any room and said "I thought, you can fight for the position, you can brake very late, but you leave the other room. It's the same case as happened with Frentzen back in Melbourne. With Coulthard it always happens, if he comes on the outside or the inside, he leaves some room for you to actually have a line or something. I had no room, I had to brake late as well when I saw him coming down the outside, I had to just let the car roll and then I had the line, he was in front, I have to admit that he was in front, but then all of a sudden he just shut the door and I was there. So if you want to fight for the position that's cool, but just leave some room. We touched, not to the point where, for example in Melbourne, my car was hurt. This time my car was fine with that little incident, where we touched slowly. Because he came in at such a momentum that's why he touched me and he just kept on spinning, you could see the engine just rising, and then he spun."
Ralf Schumacher strongly disagrees and wants Barrichello to learn the rules and said "The collision with Barrichello is hard to understand, usually the car that is in front has the priority on the corner. He should learn the rules. This is the second time he has had an accident with a German driver, these things pay you back."

Eddie Irvine for the second race in a row was hit during the first lap of the race and forced into a spin. He was annoyed that certain penalties are applied when Michael Schumacher is involved while nothing is done when other are involved and said "What annoys me is that Zonta did it to Michael last year and got a big penalty. Verstappen did it to me, and no one cares. And Rubens did to Frentzen at the last race, and again to Ralf today. It frustrating when nothing's done about it. When it happens to Michael, something gets done. When it happens to me, or anyone else, nothing gets done."

18-Mar: What the teams and drivers said following the Malaysian GP ... Report

18-Mar: At the post race press conference, Michael Schumacher indicated that he thought it was all over for him when he spun early in the race and said "I thought it was all finished by whatever lap number when the rain started and I went off the circuit. I was seeing the barrier already very close and thinking, that's my part now, and then I saw Rubens coming by next at the same corner. So actually we were lucky that the cars stood in shape and didn't get heavily damaged, and we were able to do the race we did, finally."
Schumacher also indicated that the reason for their superiority was partly due to their tyre choice and said "We both had intermediate tyres on, compared to some drivers who had rain tyres on. I think that's a bit of a difference, although I was behind Jos, and he was flying. The reason we were going so well is we took the right choice of tyre, set-up and everything and we just went right through the field, like we did many other times."
As for his reaction to the big delay when he went into the pits for wet tyres and had to wait for over a minute behind Barrichello, Michael said "There was a misunderstanding about it, because I thought his engine was off, and I saw the guys not sure should they restart it or not. I was only trying to say, then please push the car forward because you can restart it as well in a different position and in the meantime they can change my tyres. But what I didn't see, the front right tyre wasn't changed by that time, so that was the reason I said, come on, do something, but I didn't have the full picture. We were lucky, honestly, that we didn't get lapped by the Safety Car. The conditions were really atrocious, un-driveable, I'd say, and in this respect we were really lucky that we didn't get lapped and we could join again the back of the Safety Car. But for a while I was thinking the Safety Car would go faster than we could do, actually, because we had to go so slow in certain parts of the circuit and it was really a struggle."

Rubens Barrichello indicated that they were lucky that his car didn't spin into Michael's car when they both went off and said "I told Ross one lap before I went off that it was actually spitting down a bit, and when I saw Michael going off I was too close to him. My car was handling quite well at that time, and then out of Turn 5 I saw him going straight. I had no time to do anything. If I had spun at that time I would have collected Michael right in the middle, so I was lucky to recover and get going. It was actually a pity that I couldn't go to my pit at that time. We took the decision to stay on the track, and all of a sudden I think I spun three or four times again. There was a lot of water on the track, but we made a good choice on the tyres, but unfortunately the pit stop took so long. It was going quite well; all of a sudden I saw one of the mechanics putting a slick tyre on my right side; the engine was already too hot, everything was running hot. I saw Michael behind me, and I didn't know what to do. So basically I had to calm down and go again."
As for the reason he had to make two stops while Michael only did one, Rubens said "I tell you, Michael is a hell of a driver, but I wish I could have a little bit of his luck as well! I think when he went off he didn't collect as much stones as I did, so I had to stop once more to clean everything, basically, so at the end of the day he got it. I think if I had lost the back of the car I would hit him, made me keep not downshifting, no hard turning, and then I kept going straight and I was lucky that I had a bit more of a turn-in than him. At the end of the day we were both lucky that I didn't spin."

David Coulthard indicated that he was lucky to see both Ferrari's spin in front of him and that gave him a warning however he admits that they should have put intermediate tyres instead of full wets and said "When I saw both the Ferraris going off that gave Trulli, who was running in front of me, a bit of a warning, and it gave me some warning. We stayed on the track, and obviously it was quite clear we would have to come in, even though it was only half wet on the track and the other half of the circuit was completely dry. Coming into the last corner both Jarno and myself spun, but I managed to keep it going and come into the pits. At that time we thought it was the right decision to go for full wets, and clearly with that amount of water it was, but as the Safety Car then came out, you can be sure that you're not going to start driving again with so much water on the track. So in hindsight intermediates would have been a better tyre, because we had to run the wets a long time and I was losing a lot of time obviously to the Ferraris when I was waiting for the slicks."

18-Mar: Malaysian GP � Race: Michael Schumacher wins the Malaysian GP ahead of Rubens Barrichello and David Coulthard. Heinz Harald Frentzen, Ralf Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

18-Mar: Malaysian GP � Warm-up: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time on a drying track ahead of David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli. Kimi Raikkonen, Jos Verstappen and Heinz Harald Frentzen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

18-Mar: McLaren appear to be struggling. Their results in qualifying for the first 2 races of the season indicate that they are so far behind Ferrari and the other top teams are catching them. Ron Dennis has admitted that they have a lot of work to do in order to catch Ferrari and said "Ferrari have got a good car which they seem to be able to dial in very quickly. We have got a good car but it is sensitive in certain areas and we need to come to grips with that. We have to carry a compromise situation for the first three grands prix, no question about that. But we know how to solve the problem and we will. Things will get progressively better. No one can dispute the fact we had the best car for the last three years and we have got a very good car now. But occasionally we get it wrong and that's what we have got at the moment."
David Coulthard echoed Ron's comments and said "Anything can happen in the race but what is quite clear is that under normal circumstances we are quite a bit slower than Ferrari. We are amongst the pack and clearly have got a lot of work to do. The car is just not quick enough. We need to get this car back to Europe and get some hard work done in testing, but it could still be Imola or Barcelona before we get it right."

17-Mar: Mika Hakkinen (4th) struggled on the last sector and was disappointed with his result but is hoping to do better in the race and said "Obviously I�m disappointed to be on the second row. We have a problem, which affects us in the last sector � we know what the problem is, but we just haven�t been able to solve it yet. I�m looking forward to tomorrow and finishing my first race of the 2001 season"
David Coulthard (8th) was not pleased with his result either and said "We are struggling to find the right balance, and I�m unable to take the car to the limit and end up driving defensively, which means inconsistent times. However, I�m confident that I will be quicker than some of the cars in front of me, but it�s difficult to overtake at this track so it will be a tough race."
Jarno Trulli (5th) was a little disappointed with his result after missing out on valuable time in practice. He said "I'm actually a little disappointed, the car was well balanced but I couldn't push as hard as I wanted because I didn't know the car well enough. I lost a lot of running time this morning when the car developed an electrical misfire and that prevented me from fine-tuning the set-up. The times were so close that you needed to push to the maximum, and I didn't feel I could do that, particularly after going off the road briefly on my first flying lap!. It's going to be a hard race - very tough."
Heinz Harald Frentzen (9th) was disappointed with his result but feels positive about the race and said "'It's obviously very close in the mid-field, there was nothing wrong with the car. I understeered off the road briefly on my third run and just missed out on my fourth and last run. But, despite the disappointment, I feel good about the race because the car is handling well."
Juan Pablo Montoya (6th) who missed out on setting a timed lap on Friday was pleased with his position and said "I am very happy with my sixth position. I could have been even a bit further up but on my last flying lap I drove within myself in the last sector, after I had a bad spin on a previous lap. Considering that I hardly ran yesterday, I cannot be anything but pleased with my result."
Jacques Villeneuve (7th) indicated that the car has more potential but he didn't get the perfect lap right and said "It went better than in Melbourne. Seventh isn�t good enough but there is still some time in the car and the set-up. I was possibly pushing a bit too hard and made too many mistakes to do the perfect lap but seventh is still good for the race. It�s going to be a very hard race for everybody."
Olivier Panis (10th) indicated that he would have been closer to Villeneuve had he not made a mistake on his last lap and said "I made a small mistake on my last lap, which cost me a couple of places on the grid, and I would have been closer to Jacques. The car reliability is good so I am quite positive for tomorrow."

The Arrows car of Enrique Bernoldi was found to have a front wing dimensional infringement and his times were accordingly deleted. He will start from the back of the grid subject to appeal. 

17-Mar: At the post qualifying press conference, Michael Schumacher has indicated that it was a lot of fun fighting with his brother for pole and said "It's great to see him there. The team and himself have built up something which they can be proud of and they have given us a good challenge. Honestly, where the challenge is coming from at the end of the day when we are racing, it really doesn't matter. I would rather see him there honestly than somebody else, because we know each other well enough from the past and we know how to handle each other in races."
When asked if he was surprised to see McLaren way back he said "The time difference is surprisingly big. This morning they did look reasonably competitive, and they faded off for whatever reason. But we have seen last year them not getting qualifying together and then doing well in the race. So Mika is still in a good position to have a good race for himself. For David it certainly is a little bit more tough in 8th position, but that's the way it goes."
As for the heat during the race Schumacher said "Well the car actually is very well prepared for this kind of temperatures. Yesterday we checked on race circumstances what is the cooling situation, and we look very easy on that. More easy than the driver cooling, because the drivers get very hot in there, so we probably need to work harder on that than the car."

Rubens Barrichello has indicated that despite being second he was pleased with the result and said "I made a mistake on the first two runs. I made some changes to the car that didn't go my way, so after that I took the direction and I was much more comfortable with the car on the third run and I knew as well that I had everything for the last run. It was quite close and I'm really happy. I think it was a really good lap and its just things hotting up and its quite nice."

Ralf Schumacher indicated how surprised he was with third place and said "Well I'm definitely surprised to be honest. I mean, after yesterday's performance I didn't think that we were close to that position. We're unexpectedly close to Ferrari. But that is just in qualifying. I think we had a good package together today. I got a good lap in too. I don't see us racing against them or McLaren tomorrow, but we'll try our best to score a few more points. There are so many question marks. I don't want to think about racing against Ferrari tomorrow. I would rather look after myself and try to finish the race"

17-Mar: Malaysian GP � Qualifying: Michael Schumacher grabs pole position ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Ralf Schumacher. Mika Hakkinen, Jarno Trulli and Juan Pablo Montoya make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

17-Mar: Malaysian GP � 2nd Saturday Practice: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Ralf Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. Michael Schumacher, David Coulthard and Heinz Harald Frentzen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

17-Mar: Malaysian GP � 1st Saturday Practice: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher. Hakkinen, Ralf Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

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