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Is it a 2-way fight for the  
Drivers' title ? Have Your Say   
Ferrari wins by default  
Issue 16 - The Heretic

23 - 28 May News  
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28-May: David Coulthard was very disappointed with the way he started the race in Monaco after stalling on the formation lap and while he is wants those glitches to be fixed, he is also hoping for a bit of luck and said "We have got to get rid of these glitches at the start. The engine just cut out and it is very frustrating. 
There is still a long way to go in the championship and we will just have to hit back when we get to Montreal for the next race. I will be looking for a win there.  It gets more difficult when they open points, but I can only do my best and I believe I have done that this weekend and the rest is down to the racing gods. So at the moment he gets the luck and maybe in Montreal it will be me."

Meanwhile his team-mate Mika Hakkinen is having a nightmare start to his championship challenge and with 10 races to go and 48 points between himself and the current leader Michael Schumacher, even he admits that his chances are next to impossible and said "If I think about my hopes for the championship then it looks like a disaster. I cannot find the words to say how I feel after having one problem after another this season. I just cannot describe my feelings and how disappointed I am."
While neither himself nor the McLaren team have announced that they will use team orders to help David Coulthard in his quest for the title it is more than likely to happen as Coulthard appears the only serious challenger to Michael Schumacher trailing him by 12 points.

28-May: David Coulthard was stuck behind Enrique Bernoldi for 44 laps during the Monaco Grand Prix and only managed to get ahead when Bernoldi went into the pits. After the race, Ron Dennis (McLaren) and Norbert Haug (Mercedes) had a talk with Bernoldi about the matter. 
Bernoldi's version was that they threatened him that if he continued to drive that way he won't be in Formula 1 for long and said "Ron and Norbert came up to me after the race in the pit-lane They were both very aggressive. They told me if you continue to drive in that sort of way again, you are not going to be in F1 for very long. I was very scared, they were very aggressive. 
There was a lot of pressure from Coulthard because he was of course, faster than me. The team just kept telling me to concentrate on my position and push. I don't think I was unfair to him. I am on the track to race and to improve myself so one day I will be in his position."

Ron Dennis though denies such accusation and indicated that he did tell Bernoldi that while he was fighting for position there were no points involved and Coulthard was a championship contender and said "That's rubbish. I said nothing of that sort. I have no influence over his career at all. It was quite a while after the race when I talked to him and I was cool, calm and collected and I was not angry. I just told him that in my opinion it was unsporting behaviour. Every time David made an attempt to overtake he cut him off. You could argue its motor racing but in 15th position it is different when you are hampering a driver who is clearly faster and has the world championship at stake. I spoke to Bernoldi as I felt a driver contesting 15th who was effectively chopping across a driver who was contesting a world championship was acceptable for a period of time. But the length of time it happened I think was unacceptable. When I told him I felt his behaviour was unsporting and not reflective of an attitude a young developing driver should be putting into his career his response was he had been instructed to do so by the team. If that team is so desperate for television it has to resort to those strategies then you can question the behaviour of the team as a whole."

27-May: What the teams and drivers said following the Race at Monaco ... Report

27-May: At the post Race press conference, Michael Schumacher described his win as very straight forward and said "I was asked before why I didn't jump on the podium. Honestly, I don't feel that emotional because it has been a very straightforward win. It wasn't anything exceptional, nothing exceptionally happened through the race, which could make you emotional. It's always nice to win in Monte Carlo, it's always special, but then it was straightforward."
When asked about what is so special about Monaco he said "It's very easy to make mistakes here. It's a very hard circuit. Although it was an easy drive, it was still hard to some degree, because we were still doing reasonably fast lap times. I don't know what it so special. I certainly love that circuit. I have always found it easier to find my set-up which is also very important here, to throw the cars through the corners. You have to be lucky to some degree as well."
As for the car's performance here he said "I didn't have any mechanical issues. I wouldn't say that I have pushed 100 per cent because in the early stages of the race when Mika was there it was all about driving within the limits of the tyres and just preparing everything for the important bit of the race which would have been the later part of the race, but it never came to that because obviously I didn't need to push any more very hard. Still the lap times, looking against Coulthard, which at some point of the race when he must have been free and pushing very hard, by that time my fastest was pretty close to him, so I think we would have been comfortably up front today."

Rubens Barrichello indicated that his race to 2nd place was not as straight forward as he suffered from cramps in his feet and said "I had quite a lot of trouble since lap nine or ten because I started having cramp on my foot. Something happened to the pedals because they were vibrating quite a lot and actually Ross became a physiotherapist because I was telling him that if he knew something I could do inside the car because it was really really bad. At one time I could hardly feel my right foot. He was saying 'drink water, drink water' and at one stage it was gone, but I was having quite a lot of problems inside the car."

Eddie Irvine was delighted to have finished on the podium and attributed his win to the new aerodynamic package they've introduced and said "It's fantastic to be on the podium especially here. To have two Ferraris and a Jaguar on the podium in Monaco is really what Formula One is about in a way. Monaco is a strange circuit. We've been quick here all weekend. Let's hope we can carry that speed to Canada. 
It's probably mostly the aero package. It made a huge step. I was four years at Ferrari and we never saw a gain of half of what we gained this weekend. It's a huge step. For sure it will be better in Canada but here it's all about downforce. Efficiency is very important in Canada and our efficiency isn't very good. This is a big step forward but it's still a reasonable step behind other people. If we go to Canada and we perform well there, it bodes well for the rest of the year because the two circuits are very different."
Irvine also indicated that they have a problem with the steering that has affected their performance and said "There's a problem with the steering that makes it very very difficult to drive. It happens in qualifying sometimes and it seemed to have happen in the race. It happened last year. It cost me a good qualifying position here, it's cost me qualifying positions on other circuits as well so we have to go try and figure that out."

27-May: Monaco GP - Race: Michael Schumacher wins ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Eddie Irvine. Jacques Villeneuve, David Coulthard and Jean Alesi make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes 

27-May: Monaco GP - Warm-up session: David Coulthard sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Mika Hakkinen and Michael Schumacher. Rubens Barrichello, Heinz Harald Frentzen and Ralf Schumacher make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

26-May: What the teams and drivers said following Qualifying at Monaco ... Report

26-May: At the post Qualifying press conference, David Coulthard has indicated that the mistake he did during practice on Thursday affected his confidence and it was only during qualifying that he managed to get a good third sector time and said "I made a mistake on Thursday by touching the barrier at Tabac and I lost a bit of time in that second session and also it takes your confidence away a bit because you just can't afford to hit a barrier. Then I was just playing to catch-up after that. I was into qualifying and I said to my engineers that I hadn't actually completed the last sector quickly at any point during this weekend, so it was going to be interesting in qualifying. I overdid it on one lap but all the rest were pretty tidy and the lap time came from there."
As for driving on the circuit with traction control, David doesn't believe that it helps in qualifying but will help in the race and said "It's very difficult because where it helps you in some areas, it puts you arriving at the corners a lot faster so the cars are still tricky to drive. I think that in qualifying I'm not sure that it gives you that much over the lap because of the fresh tyres but I think it's probably more consistent and safer in race conditions."
Regarding launch control at the start of the race tomorrow, Coulthard was confident with their system and said "I don't know about the other systems and other cars but I think we're satisfied that we've managed to get the bugs out of the system and I think it was a very good move of Charlie Whiting and those running the weekend to allow us all to do practice starts because it takes away that uncertainty. I think it's great that Formula One is able to be adaptable to the situations and to go outside the timings to allow everyone to get their confidence in the systems."
David then described his last lap which got him pole and said "When I started the last run, I knew from the sectors that the time was there, but I overdid it on my third run in the last sector, so when I found myself still up in time when I got to the end of the sector I really thought when I went into the swimming pool that providing no one else was quicker, you could get pole here, so just go where you know rather than searching. So there was potentially a little bit quicker time but it was just a matter of trying to finish the lap. It was a good lap. I'm very happy because of all the places to qualify, I think Monaco is technically the most challenging in terms of precision. Other tracks on the calendar are obviously difficult places to qualify but to get the timing right, to avoid the traffic, and obviously a large part of luck involved in that rather than timing, then it makes it very satisfying when you're able to finish the lap and get the pole."

Michael Schumacher explained why he had to abort his first run due to the 2 Arrows blocking him and said "The two Arrows came out of the pits and didn't look in their mirrors good enough, so I had to abort the lap."
Michael indicated that he would've rather been on pole than 2nd but admitted that Coulthard did a better job and said "I would rather be on pole than in second position, but obviously David did a better job than I did so we'll find out what we can do tomorrow."
As for his last 2 laps, Michael said "I wouldn't say my last timed lap was perfect. As you saw from the next one, I was a tenth up in T1 but we don't know what would have been the end of it. And then when I arrived at Portier, I thought somebody was moving the barriers. Something strange, it was just too tight."

Mika Hakkinen was disappointed that he couldn't make it a McLaren front row and said "Well, we made a small change to the car and I was not sure at the moment if it was the right thing to do, but you have to try because the times were so close and Michael was at that time quickest, so we needed to try to do something extra. Let's say it worked quite well for half the lap but then when I was in the last sector, I got a big understeer in the second last corner and couldn't get the front end to grip so lost a couple of tenths. That was it. It was a shame that we didn't get the front row for the McLarens."
As for the race, Hakkinen is very optimistic and said "I'm confident indeed. I think both cars have a good race set-up at the moment and we can be very optimistic for tomorrow's Grand Prix. I believe we're going to be very consistent and quick as long as we are patient. From third position, the start is obviously very difficult indeed. I will be very happy if I can maintain the position where I am at the moment and take David and Michael at the start if they have a big problem. Then during the race, the performance of the cars is very close, so overtaking will be very difficult, so I will just have to stay very patient and have good tactics and hope all the luck is on our side."

26-May: Monaco GP - Qualifying: David Coulthard grabs pole position ahead of Michael Schumacher and Mika Hakkinen. Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and an impressive Eddie Irvine make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

26-May: Monaco GP - 2nd Saturday Practice Session: Mika Hakkinen fastest ahead of Michael Schumacher and Ralf Schumacher. David Coulthard, Eddie Irvine and Jarno Trulli make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes

26-May: Monaco GP - 1st Saturday Practice Session: Ralf Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Jacques Villeneuve and David Coulthard. Michael Schumacher, Kimi Raikkonen and Eddie Irvine make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report  ... Notes

25-May: Both the Jordan and Arrows teams tried out some radical looking aerodynamic devices during the Thursday practice sessions. The Jordan team had a T-shape wing in front of the driver while the Arrows team had a strange looking V mounted wing right at the front of the nose. Both Jarno Trulli and Jos Verstappen tried these devices and Verstappen later said that it seemed to provide more downforce at the front.
Following an investigation by the FIA Technical Delegate Jo Bauer, he declared that those devices constitute dangerous construction and referred the matter to the stewards who announced that any car using such device will be excluded from the race.
The Arrows team has since appealed the decision however and it remains to be seen if they will be able to use them at this event or any other.

24-May: At the Thursday press conference for the Monaco GP, Ron Dennis has indicated that the team does not have any plans to apply team orders at this stage and clarified the situation within the McLaren team and said "There are none. We have the contractual ability to instruct our drivers at any stage during the season to follow an instruction and that applies at the first Grand Prix through to the last Grand Prix. We will effect judgement in any given situation and if we instruct a driver to do something we will tell you. There's no plan."
He also indicated that the team will be using launch control here and said "We certainly intend to use them and the reason that you practise them is not to ensure that they work, it's to ensure that you are constantly able to optimise the performance of the system, because of course it's designed to give you the best possible start given the circumstances. So the surface of circuits vary a little bit, the adhesion of the tyres vary a little bit, the fuel load that you start the race with can vary according to how many times you're going to stop. Therefore you're just optimising it through the weekend. It's not a 'is it going to break system situation?' We've performed well over 1000 starts, I think, so it's not a system issue."
Ron also confirmed that Mika Hakkinen was at fault at the start of the Austrian GP and said "In this instance, it was Mika's mistake, but there were extenuating circumstances because he had a stalled car in front of him. This created the unique situation."

Jean Todt indicated that the team renewed the contracts of both Michael and Rubens to ensure stability in the team and said "Rubens had a three year contract including an option for 2002 and we had to decide whether we wanted to exercise the option or not. We thought Rubens was good for the team and we wanted to exercise the option for him until the end of 2002. For Michael, his contract ended at the end of 2002 and as you know, we renewed the contract of the key people at Ferrari until 2004 and we thought that Michael was part of the key people and that's why we extended his contract until the end of 2004. That means Ross Brawn, Rory Byrne, Paolo Martinelli, Michael, myself, we have a contract until the end of 2004.
It means we have stability. I think in the past, Ferrari paid a lot for stability, and Ferrari is getting a lot because of the stability. We know that, we understand that, the shareholders, the president of Ferrari, they share this point of view and we thought it was very important."
As for Rubens status in the team next year, Jean Todt said "Rubens is not number two. The thing is that since Michael and Rubens comprised the team, most of the time Michael has been in front and being in front, he has put himself into a priority situation. If, in the future, it happened that Rubens or Michael's team-mate is consistently in front of Michael, Michael will have to help the team and his team-mate. That's the way it has been, and that's the way it will be in the future."
He was confident that Ferrari will use launch control here and said "Yes, I definitely think we will use it. I mean confident? I'm always a little bit anxious and I was right to be anxious because of what has happened in Austria, but I think I share the opinion about the FIA to decide to have these tests after each session. It's very important. The grip in Austria was a bit unexpected which created some problems and here, this morning, we saw few problems, so I'm quite optimistic about the start on Sunday. We will use launch control."

Michael Schumacher talked about the Drivers' meeting they had yesterday and said "The main purpose was that we voted for a new director and as you may know Jarno Trulli is now the third director. Then we had a couple of internal discussions, certainly concerning safety and circuits. There were a couple of other things which were internal. It's good to get together. We even used the opportunity to talk between ourselves about behaviour on the circuit and so on, which was very good. There's a good understanding between the drivers, although sometimes maybe things get a bit hot in the action but at the end of the day, when we sit together, everybody is very clear and very straightforward."
When asked about what he now thought of the incident with Montoya in Austria he said "Looking at it on video, it looks different that what you see from the internal car view and I rated it afterwards as a normal racing situation."

Jean Alesi is hoping that their new aerodynamic package will help them do well here and said "For sure the car is different now. We have a new floor, we have a new front wing and the whole package looks like it's an improvement, so I hope to have the chance to get the first good result here on Sunday."

Olivier Panis still remembers his only win in '96 here but wants to get back on the podium and said "I remember 1996 but it's beginning to fade a little now. We need to continue to work hard and I need a podium again. It's good to remember, but I like all circuits. I like Monaco because for the driver it is maybe a little easier to close the gap, but it's not just this place."
As for his relationship with Villeneuve, he said "Well, for me, Jacques is a very strong driver, he's quick, and the best thing is that we work very well together. I push him, he pushes me, it's very positive for the team."

Jos Verstappen has indicated that he doesn't really care if their front mounted wing is ugly or not as long as it works and said "I don't care as long as it's quicker, it's fine. It feels like it has more downforce on the front to me."

24-May: What the teams and drivers said following the Thursday practice sessions at Monaco ... Report

24-May: Monaco GP - 2nd Thursday Practice Session: Mika Hakkinen sets the fastest time of the session ahead of Michael Schumacher and Ralf Schumacher. Barrichello, Trulli and Coulthard make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes  

24-May: Monaco GP - 1st Thursday Practice Session: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest time of the session ahead of David Coulthard and Jarno Trulli. Frentzen, Barrichello and Mika Hakkinen make the top 6 ... Timed Results ... Full Report ... Notes 

23-May: At the Wednesday press conference for the Monaco GP, David Coulthard has indicated that he is taking the races as they come whether his rivals believe that he is a title contender or not and said "What other people say and what points there are and these sort of things are the fill-in paragraphs for all the journalists!"
He did indicate though that he will be trying his best here to develop the car as he believes that they have a lot of work to do and said "I don't think we have the best package out there on the track at the moment and we've just got to concentrate on that. We've got to develop the car as best we can tomorrow, try to make the right decisions on tyres in qualifying which is obviously very important and then it's another race."
David Coulthard indicated that their launch control system is very simple to use and said "Our system is very straightforward, it's an electronic control as were the clutches before we had launch control so I was very surprised when we had the problem in Barcelona because in theory it's just another way of controlling the clutch." Coulthard added that they will be using the system here in Monaco and said "Yes. It's quicker, there's no question. To rely solely on the traction control is a slower way of starting for us and I think you have to maximise everything that you have. I will be using it."
When asked about Mika's problem in Austria, David said "My understanding is that he did the wrong thing, so it was a driver error. That can happen at any time. I could make the same mistake, but hopefully not."

Juan Pablo Montoya believes that driving around the circuit in a Formula 1 car should be lots of fun and said "Never having driven Formula One a street course, it should be quite a lot of fun. A Champ car was a lot fun, you could slide it around and I think around a place like here it would be pretty interesting."
On the subject of Launch Control, Montoya indicated that they will certainly use it and said "Yes. It definitely is. I'm pretty confident that our system is working really well. It's pretty reliable so no problems. We will definitely use it. It's a big advantage for the start having seen the last two races. As long as people don't use it, it's going to be good for us."

Kimi Raikkonen indicated that he had raced karts on parts of the Monaco circuit but it is hard for him to learn the circuit until the first practice and said "I've been here twice before, in '94 and '98 when I did a kart race, but I only really know the swimming pool area and the Rascasse. I have walked around the circuit and went just around the track with a school trip. It's quite difficult to know what the corners look like because there are so many cars around."
Kimi also indicated that he is pleased with his progress in Formula 1 so far but hope to score more points soon and said "I'm pretty pleased but I've had bad luck in three races and I hope that things start to go a bit better now. I hope that they go better, but it's always hard to score points. We're always doing our best, as the team is doing its best."

Craig Pollock has indicated that his star driver Jacques Villeneuve had the worst start to a Formula 1 season but believes that he is back in focus again and said "He seems to have clicked back in. Certainly in the last test he was very fast in the car. His focus is back again and I think he will be very competitive."
As for Panis revving him up, Pollock said "I think he's revved himself up and I think obviously Olivier has revved him up a little bit but he doesn't need anybody behind him to tell him he needs to rev. He knows he needs to do the business in the car. He's very capable of doing it. He's also supported the team all the way through the first two very hard years, so just to get at him for a couple of bad or poorer performances than we're used to is a little bit hard."
Regarding Villeneuve's back problems, Pollock indicated that it should not affect his racing and said "I think Jacques has had an injury from his youth that has been there for years and years and it was maybe aggravated during the Australian incident but I don't think that it is actually affecting him during the race. He's not having any medical treatment as far as I'm aware. I think he's just following his physiotherapist. He's had everything checked out to make sure he can do any form of exercise and carry on driving and according to the doctors there's no problem doing that."
When asked if BAR will use Launch Control at this race (they haven't used Launch Control at the previous 2 events), Pollock said "I think it's up to the drivers to decide whether they are going to use it or not, but if they decide to use it then they've got to go forward and really press the right buttons. It's probably quite a complicated thing. Some drivers feels more confident using it than others and I think the decision will probably be made on the morning of the race, and it won't be me who makes that decision."
Pollock also clarified the reason for BAR's appeal against Kimi Raikkonen passing under yellow in Austria and said "The reason that we're appealing is to clarify the rule for passing under a yellow flag. We think it's a safety issue and we want to clarify it with the FIA. If we get an extra place that's fine but the FIA can make a decision any way they want to make it and if they were penalising the driver, they can penalise him just by slapping him over the wrist and you gain nothing. I think it is a question of having clarity on what the rule is."

23-May: The Jordan team have confirmed that they will not be using Launch Control at the start of the Monaco GP mainly due to the inability of practicing starts at the exit of the pit lane in Monaco. The team had the most trouble with their system in the last 2 races with Heinz Harald Frentzen having problems at both the Spanish and Austrian Grands Prix while Jarno Trulli encountered problems in Austria. Trevor Foster the team's Managing Director said "The drivers carried out successful launch control starts from the pit lane exit during testing in Valencia last week. For the launch control system to be fully effective however, it is important to carry out practice starts at individual race circuits, which is not possible in Monaco as the pit exit is too narrow. As the track is also quite narrow, there is not as much room for cars to manoeuvre as at other circuits, so if a car stalled on the grid it could hinder the start for cars behind in the field."

The Benetton team are having one of their worst ever seasons and have been outqualfied by Minardi's Fernando Alonso a number of times this year. However at Monaco they've had good results in the past with Michael Schumacher winning twice with them in 94 and 95. Their star driver Giancarlo Fisichella has also done well here finishing in the points in the last 4 events. Benetton are hoping that this race will give them the boost they need. Technical Director Mike Gascoyne said "From the Benetton Renault Sport point of view it should be one of the better races, in what was undoubtedly was going to be a difficult start to the year, as it should suit our overall package. Our main aim will be to achieve a good qualifying performance as passing at Monaco is so difficult. A lot will be in the hands of Michelin as it is their first visit to Monaco but they have brought a new soft tyre here and we hope that it proves to be competitive."

Former Minardi Chairman Gabrielle Rumi has died of cancer at the age of 61. The Minardi team have issued the following statement:
"Last night (22/5) 61-year-old Gabriele Rumi died after a brave fight against cancer.

It will be extremely hard to forget the passion and the determination which have characterized his 20 years-presence in Formula One.

To the Minardi Team and to the motor racing he has certainly made a considerable contribution as a manager and as a man.

The Team�s thoughts are with Gabriele�s family in this moment of sorrow.

A memorial service will be held, at the Church of Santa Maria Assunta, Piazza Roma, Palazzolo sull�Oglio, Wednesday 23 May, starting at 05,45 PM from his home Via Pacinotti no. 10, Palazzolo sull�Oglio (BS)."

May he rest in peace.

Gabrielle Rumi sold the struggling Minardi operation to Paul Stoddart's European group in January 2001 (story).

23-May: "Anybody's guess !" is the title of the 15th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2001 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Monaco Grand Prix - Issue 15

23-May: Ferrari have announced that they have renewed the contracts of both of their drivers. Michael Schumacher has re-signed with Ferrari until the end of 2004 and that falls in line with the contracts of Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Paolo Martinelli and Rory Byrne (story). The team also renewed Rubens Barrichello's contract until the end of 2002.
Michael Schumacher commented on the re-signing with the team by saying "I have often said before how well I get on here at Ferrari and that for me, the Scuderia is like a second family. I am very happy to have prolonged my stay by another two years and I hope that this continuation with the team will bring plenty of successes. I had little doubt that I would do it, once Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Paolo Martinelli and Rory Byrne had extended their contracts. The discussions took place in the same positive atmosphere which has typified our relationship and we soon reached an agreement."

Rubens Barrichello was pleased of the extension to his contract and said "I'm very pleased. There were a lot of rumours about my contract, but I knew everyone - from the President, Mr Montezemolo, and Jean Todt down - inside the Ferrari family were very relaxed about the situation. I think both sides are happy - both myself and Ferrari."

The FIA have set the date of the 1st of June for hearing the appeal by the BAR team against Kimi Raikkonen for passing under yellow at the Austrian GP.
BAR protested to the stewards at the Austrian GP against Kimi Raikkonen overtaking Luciano Burti under waved yellow flags. The stewards of the race decided to not to take action so BAR decided to appeal that decision to the FIA International Court of Appeal.
Craig Pollock has indicated that the reason for the appeal is to clarify the waved yellow flag rule and said "The rule relating to a waved yellow flag is an important safety measure. It is imperative to know what the FIA will or will not allow drivers to do when the yellow flag is waved. Our appeal is motivated by a need to have this rule clarified."

It is worth noting that Sauber protested against Olivier Panis finishing in 4th place at the Australian GP after Panis overtook under waved yellow flags and they were successful as Panis had 25 seconds added to his time and ended up classified 7th.

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