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How patient can Benetton - Renault   get ? - Have Your Say  
Will it be a three-team battle?  
Issue 13 - The Heretic

9 - 13 May News  
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13-May: What the teams and drivers said following the Race at Austria ... Report

13-May: At the post Race press conference for the Austrian GP, David Coulthard indicated that he didn't take part in the spraying of the champagne following the race in respect to Paul Morgan the co-founder of Ilmor Engineering who make the Mercedes engines powering their cars and said "Just to explain why I wasn't spraying the champagne for those at home who don't realise, we lost a very important member of the team, Paul Morgan this weekend and winning this Grand Prix I think is a big boost for everyone in the team."
As for the reason he stayed out for a long first stint, he said "From where I was on the grid obviously having qualified seventh it was important to start heavy and just to have the options open depending on how the race went. I was able to lean the engine out early on after the first few laps and save quite few laps of fuel, as well as with the safety car, and that enabled us to go quite long."
Coulthard is looking forward to fighting with Ferrari and Williams at Monaco and said "The Grands Prix are going to be very close. Not only between ourselves and Ferrari, but Williams as well. So it's really going to come down to who gets the car and the tyres working well at Monaco. It's a circuit I enjoy, I've gone well there in the past, so there is everything to play for."

Michael Schumacher indicated that his bad start was due to a problem with the launch control system on his car and said "The car didn't start in the way it was supposed to start, and basically I did a manual start afterwards, because there was some kind of problem. But I am sure we will find out. You know all these systems are still very new and like we have seen with David something happened to him in Barcelona with these systems, now it happened to me. And I guess a few other people will still get surprises until everything is really reliable."
He was upset by the incident with Montoya and indicated that he'll have a word with him and said "I was a little bit upset obviously because there was no way he could make that corner and all he was trying to do is to take me with him out of the circuit. And, I mean he was lost anyway, and to do something to me, I thought it wasn't really what he should have done, because I had to go into the grass, I couldn't turn in. I nearly hit him. So it wasn't ideal, but that is the way it had gone. And I will be sure to have a word with him." 

Rubens Barrichello appeared very upset and unhappy after letting Michael Schumacher through on the last lap, however he denied that this was the reason for that. When asked why he let Michael through he said "The team has asked me to do that." And when asked why was he upset he said "I am unhappy about the situation. I was winning almost a whole Grand Prix, and then of course David went longer and I lost the race basically like that. That's why I am feeling unhappy."

13-May: Austrian GP - Race: David Coulthard wins the Austrian GP ahead of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Kimi Raikkonen, Olivier Panis and Jos Verstappen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

13-May: Austrian GP - Warm-up Session: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time in the warm-up ahead of David Coulthard and Heinz Harald Frentzen. Rubens Barrichello, Michael Schumacher and Jarno Trulli make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

12-May: What the teams and drivers said following Qualifying at Austria ... Report

12-May: At the post Qualifying press conference for the Austrian GP, Michael Schumacher has indicated that he was pleased with securing his 5th pole position of the season and added that he tried to run 2 fast laps per run but it didn't work for him and said "I tried but I didn't actually do it because the second time I've been out I had to abort because it didn't go any faster. Obviously after we had the first run with two flying laps, it was decided what we had to do then afterwards. We were lucky that we had an extra lap in hand, but then obviously unlucky because Jos had a spin in the second last corner. I would have liked to get that lap in because, you never know, I didn't actually know what was going on, who was still able to go faster or not, so initially I felt a little bit concerned with this but then obviously nobody had gone faster."
He also indicated while he was surprised with McLaren's poor performance, he would not discount them and said "I was pretty sure that they could improve their performance within the end of the session. Normally you do and everybody - not everybody actually, some have done some have not done. This circuit, with the wind and with the set-up is very special and you need to get things right otherwise you look pretty much in a difficult position. Remember us last year, we were in very difficult condition as well qualifying because we didn't get the set-up right. You shouldn't discount them, we know they're good at starting and people who are up front it may be possible to catch them on the start and they could be fourth, fifth and then the race isn't over at that stage unless they can't improve their performance compared to what they have shown. But this morning they looked reasonably fast and it's a bit strange to see them on the lap times they have done. I guess they will have a reason for that and they will fix it for tomorrow so I'm not discounting them at all."

Juan Pablo Montoya was pleased with the performance of the car and was also delighted to be ahead of Ralf Schumacher and said "Before we've had quite difficult Fridays and stuff and finally, apart from Brazil, we got a good Friday in and we definitely did a lot of improvements in the car and it really paid off. It's been very close all weekend, but at least it's glad to be on top of Ralf."
He added that he didn't expect to be in 2nd and that his chances in the race will rely on how good the tyres are and said "I thought we should be top six but never really expected to be ahead of Ferraris and McLarens. I think in the middle of the session the track was a lot quicker and that everybody did their time at that time. Later on I tried to improve it but even though I tried to go a little bit quicker through the corners and everything we had a little bit of headwind going up the hill. I know it looks like the performance from the tyres over one lap is really good but we need to see tomorrow how they're going to behave and it looks like the way Bridgestone is running they can go longer than us so it'll be good to have a good start."

Ralf Schumacher has indicated that he was also pleased with his car and looks forward to the race tomorrow and said "I think qualifying went relatively well. One run I got held up by traffic and I made a mistake myself on the last run which can happen, shouldn't happen. I think for a team we had good qualifying today and we are in a pretty promising position for tomorrow."
Ralf indicated that he was very surprised to see McLaren struggling and said "After testing in Valencia we were generally a second slower than the McLarens and now suddenly we out qualified them by quite a bit. But then whether we have the right choice for a race distance we find out tomorrow. We have done long runs but obviously the circuit was very green then and it was a lot colder - as it is supposed to be tomorrow. I'm quite sure that for the second half of the race we should be competitive but for the first half until there's some rubber down it could be a bit difficult."
As for that first corner and the battle between himself, his brother and his team-mate, he said "We'll see what happens. Whoever gets to the first corner first will go in first, I guess. That shouldn't be a problem at all - I hope"

12-May: Austrian GP - Qualifying Session: Michael Schumacher grabs pole position for the Austrian GP ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher. Rubens Barrichello is 4th ahead of Jarno Trulli and Nick Heidfeld ... Timed Results  ... Full Report ... Notes

12-May: Austrian GP - 2nd Saturday Practice Session: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. Mika Hakkinen, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6 ... Timed Results  ... Full Report  ... Notes

12-May: Austrian GP - 1st Saturday Practice Session: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of a much improved Juan Pablo Montoya and Mika Hakkinen. Rubens Barrichello, David Coulthard and Heinz Harald Frentzen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report  ... Notes

11-May: At the Friday press conference for the Austrian GP, Kimi Raikkonen has indicated that he will remain at Sauber until the end of his contract and said "I don't know anything about these rumours. We haven't talked to Ferrari. My contract is for three years with Sauber. After that we can look at something else but until then, only Sauber."

Jenson Button indicated that his shoulder is fine and that he is not suffering any pain from it. As for their lack of pace, Jenson said "There's lots of different areas that need to be sorted out I think. It's not just the engine, there are other areas. I can't obviously say which ones. But we've just got to keep pushing and pushing. I know everyone is doing the best job that they can back at the factory, at Renault and also back at Benetton. That's the main thing. We've just got to keep going. It's not great at the moment. Me and Giancarlo are on the back row behind the Minardis. They've been our fighting companions this year. It's been an interesting battle at the back there, but I think I'd rather have it nearer the front. So now we've just got to keep pushing on and hopefully we will get some performance gains later on in the season."
Jenson also said that they don't use launch control in their cars, just traction control.

Jarno Trulli indicated that the circuit is very dirty and hence the high number of spins and said "Basically, this circuit hasn't got lots of grip. It's normally very dirty on Friday and as most people do just one stop, many people are running a lot of fuel, as I was running today. All these things make your life very difficult on the track. Obviously, we try very hard, we try to improve our lap times and you can make some mistakes. Another thing is that we don't really test on this circuit, so everybody pushes really hard and they don't know all the tricks around the track."
Trulli explained who the launch control system on their car works and said "You just have to stop the car, and once you want to use the automatic start, you just as usual, pull the clutch, get the gear in and then you just push a button and then the system is on. It's very very simple. It was pretty reliable but these things can happen, like Heinz said, this kind of problem in Barcelona." 

Gerhard Berger has again indicated that he is not happy with traction control but it is a must. He also indicated that they are still have problems with traction control but are getting it under control and said "Traction control is not something that the sport likes to have, but on the other hand, as has been discussed, it's impossible to control by the FIA, so it's the best solution for the moment. We are not happy with it, but I think the worst thing for the sport would be if we didn't know under which conditions competitors are racing, so I think from this side, it's now clear and it's better. Our technicians are sweating at the moment, yes, it's true. It's quite difficult for the car in different areas and the heating is different, the vibrations are different, so we had quite a difficult time until Barcelona. Since then we had another test in Valencia when we could improve the systems and now it seems that we are slowly getting it under control but it's still very critical."

Norbert Haug (Mercedes) re-affirmed Berger's comments on the need for traction control and indicated that they are still developing the system and said "Traction control for a well-known reason was the only way forward, so I think that's a fact. We still see spectacular driving which is positive, but it rather affects the engine, but on the other hand it's the same for everybody. It's quite new for all of us but we are learning and we are learning at every test. In fact we are learning every free practice session, and I think we get it under control. You know that we had a mistake in Barcelona so in hindsight, the Barcelona race without traction control would have been better for us. We would have performed in a better way, definitely, but again, I think it is the way forward, and now we need to improve and as Gerhard pointed out, there is a big influence here on this race track from traction control because it makes a lot of difference whether you have wheelspin or not on the sharp corners."
As for Mika Hakkinen's chances in the championship he said "Sure it's difficult with a gap of 34 points but with 12 races to go nothing is impossible. If you look back at the beginning of the season everybody said nobody could beat Ferrari, then it turned around. Then it was said Michelin will not perform and they won a race, remember last year Michael had three races where he only scored two points or so and if Mika can win three times and Michael not score a lot then he's there. For sure mathematically David's chances are better but things are changing and in theory Mika can win 120 points and that just shows you how much 34 points are. Mika is fully motivated and let's wait and see what happens."

Niki Lauda had to once again clarify his role within the Jaguar team and his relationship with Bobby Rahal and said "I'm getting tired of explaining my position. It is very simple. Neil Ressler was the man in charge of the group: Jaguar Racing, Cosworth and Pi. Neil Ressler went into pension and I took over the job. Very simple. So I'm on top of the three groups: Cosworth, Pi and Jaguar Racing. This is my position and this is my full time job. I live in London and it's what I'm doing. So there's no confusion, just to come to the point which everybody wants to create, between Rahal and myself. First of all, we are in different positions. He runs Jaguar Racing, I run the group. But there is no problem whatsoever."
As for who makes decisions on major items, Niki said "First of all it's Bobby's responsibility the running of the racing team, but we work like twins together so if there is a situation coming up we sit and discuss it and then take a decision together on major items."
Niki also indicated that had a big influence in the de la Rosa - Burti deal and said " Yes, I was part of that thing. Irvine as you know is fixed for this year and next year, so this was done before I came. Burti was with us. It was a good coincidence for us in the end that at Imola Prost was asking for de la Rosa to drive. We certainly didn't want to let the test driver go. In the end, Burti was happy to join Prost because he gets a drive next year so we found a solution where everybody was completely happy, and therefore we changed drivers."

11-May: What the teams and drivers said following Friday practice at Austria ... Report

11-May: Austrian GP - 2nd Friday Practice Session: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Rubens Barrichello. Ralf Schumacher, Michael Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

11-May: Austrian GP - 1st Friday Practice Session: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello. Kimi Raikkonen, Ralf Schumacher and Michael Schumacher make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

10-May: "Will it be a three-team battle?" is the title of the 13th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2001 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Austrian Grand Prix - Issue 13

10-May: At the Thursday press conference for the Austrian GP, Mika Hakkinen has indicated that his chances of winning the race will be affected due a bad flu and said "I have really bad 'flu at the moment as you can probably hear from my voice, so it's not a very good feeling at the moment to start this weekend, so I just have to try to do my maximum and hopefully get ten points, but it's definitely going to be really really hard."
As for his shock retirement on the last lap in Spain he said "It took a little while but to be honest, not straightaway that day, after the race, a couple of hours after. It was a big shock afterwards."

David Coulthard has indicated that the problem with their launch system that occurred at the formation lap in Spain will never happen again and said "It was a very simple thing for the team to sort out. It was - I was going to use oversight but I'm not sure if that's the right word - it was just something that will never happen again." As for their traction control systems in general, he said "I don't think we've had a particular problem with the new software. As to how quick we will be around the track relative to our competitors, none of us can know until we get out onto the track but I think we can expect that we will be somewhere towards the front and it will come down to just how well the tyre works on our cars versus Ferrari and how good a job Michelin do with the BMW."
Regarding team orders, Coulthard said "I think the team has a golden rule which is to earn 16 points from every Grand Prix and then obviously from the individual drivers and the engineers working with the cars and mechanics, naturally they prefer their guy to be winning and as a driver you want to win. But from the team point of view it is to get maximum points."

Eddie Irvine has indicated that their car has not improved since the beginning of the year but expects big improvements in the next couple of races and said "The car is the same car that hit the track at the beginning of the year. To be honest, it will be exactly the same car this weekend. Cosworth have made good steps forward with the engine but the team really hasn't made steps forward with the car and that's why we are consistently are where we are. The next couple of races we have a big step coming and hopefully that will leapfrog us from where we are in amongst the next batch. We're not going to turn into a Ferrari overnight. We have a very significant step coming - well, we believe it's a very significant step and it should be interesting to see when that comes."
As for the rumours that the team is not happy with him, he said "There are so many inaccuracies it's incredible. You know I've probably done more testing than Mika and David put together this winter, so it's just incredible. It may be someone within the team but I know what I'm doing within that team and some people probably don't like it but that's the only way we're going to get to the top and, you know, they either join us or they don't and it won't be me that's leaving next year, put it like that."

10-May: Ferrari have been preparing for the Austrian GP and up until the last minute were conducting aerodynamic tests at Fiorano to use for the Austrian GP. Ross Brawn said "We did this test at Fiorano, because we had already thought of bringing a new aero package to Austria. Usually, this track requires a medium to low downforce set-up to try and get good maximum speed down the two straights. However, you have to be careful not to leave yourself with so little that the car becomes un-driveable in the mixed sections of the track. Here, the throttle is open for around 60 percent of the lap, while the engine can suffer a slight power drop because of the altitude, given we are at around 600 metres above sea level. One of the most interesting aspects of this track is that there are a few places including the end of the two straights, where it is possible to overtake. This year, our car should be very competitive, so we will see."
Michael Schumacher is equally confident for the race despite never winning here in the past and said "So far, I have never managed to win at the Austrian Grand Prix. But that does not mean I don't like the event. In fact, I enjoy the Austrian weekend a great deal, mainly because I love the setting, which is very beautiful with all that greenery and nature and the impressive mountains. The other reason I am looking forward to it, is to try and end my negative record here. As for the track itself, there is nothing too special about it, in terms of technical difficulty or its layout or driving style required. So I don't expect to experience any particular problems. After taking a very lucky win in Spain, I am looking forward to coming to the A1 Ring to prove that we are still frontrunners, even if there are still improvements to be made on our new electronic systems ."
Rubens Barrichello is hoping to score more points for Ferrari in Austria and said "The competition is always close on the A1-Ring. The grid is much closer together and there is a mix of fast and slow corners, some of which even require first gear. It will be interesting to see what effect the competition between the two tyre manufacturers has on the race this year. Despite having to retire with a suspension failure in Barcelona, I am in good form and I do not feel under any particular pressure. Ferrari is leading the Constructors World Championship and Michael heads the Drivers' classification with me in third place. I am in confident mood and looking to do better and score more points this weekend."

10-May: The first Formula 1 race to run in Austria was in 1964 at Zeltweg where Lorenzo Bandini in a Ferrari won. From 1970 until 1987, the race was run at the Osterreichring. Formula 1 returned to Austria in 1997 at the new A-1 Ring. Since then the results have been good for McLaren with 2 wins from the last 3 races.
Jacques Villeneuve won the first race at the A1-Ring starting from Pole while Mika Hakkinen won the second race and Eddie Irvine took advantage of a McLaren clash on the first lap to win in '99 however Mika Hakkinen returned to his winning form last year winning the race from Pole.
It has not been a good race for Ferrari and particularly Michael Schumacher. His best result at the A1-Ring was 3rd in '98. He finished 5th in 97, didn't race due to a broken leg in '99 and was taken out of the race last year.
Ferrari's best result was at the A1-Ring was a win in '99 for Eddie Irvine.
The race has been a mixed fortune for Williams winning the first race at the A1-Ring in '97 but they only managed to finish 2 cars in the points since then. Last year they qualified in 18th and 19th making it one of their worst ever qualifying results.

9-May: "How patient can Benetton - Renault get ?" Topic of the week - Have Your Say

9-May: Mika Hakkinen has indicated that despite the setback he suffered at the Spanish GP, he still believes that he can win the Drivers' Championship and the Austrian track is where he plans to start his attack and said "Over the past three years, I�ve had a good record at the A1 Ring with three podium finishes, two as race winner. I enjoy driving at the circuit, which has similarities to a karting track with its short length and tight corners and it also offers numerous chances to overtake. Although I had a unsatisfactory end to the Spanish Grand Prix, I have not lost my belief that I can win the Drivers� World Championship and I am looking forward to getting back to the racing in Austria."
Team boss Ron Dennis also indicated that McLaren are looking forward to the upcoming race and said "There is still a long way to go in the World Championship and the West McLaren Mercedes team is in a strong second place. Despite the obvious disappointment of the last race, there were positives to be taken from the team�s performance and we demonstrated that we have a good package."

The Benetton have yet again set low expectations for the Austrian GP. The team has indicated that the race will be another difficult one as they are not introducing any major improvements to the car. Technical Director Mike Gascoyne said "In some respects Austria will be as difficult as the last few races because we have no major improvements to the chassis or engine. As we have said before, we just have to be patient for the improvements that are in development. We have been testing in Valencia, conducting tyre tests with Mark Webber in the B200 and some wet weather testing with the Michelin rain tyres. We have had restricted running again in the B201 due limited engine availability and this has not helped our electronic systems and chassis development work.
Our aim for the Austrian Grand Prix is to gain reliability with both the car and the engine to be able get the two cars to the finish and to have a more competitive weekend than we had in Barcelona. 

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