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- 21 November News
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Mercedes team has confirmed that Jean Alesi will drive for them
in the DTM series in 2002. A statement released by the team read
"Mercedes-Benz today announced that Jean Alesi will join the brand's
line-up for the 2002 DTM. The former Formula One driver, who competed in
the 2001 Formula One World Championship for the Prost Acer and the Jordan
Honda team is the first new Mercedes-Benz driver to be confirmed for the
2002 season starting on 21 April at Hockenheim.
Alesi who tested the Mercedes DTM car at Hockenheim two weeks ago said: "I'm very happy to join Mercedes-Benz for the 2002 DTM season. I've always liked the DTM with its close competition. Without the electronic aids assisting you in Formula One the DTM cars are very challenging, that's what I like very much. Therefore my decision to join Mercedes-Benz for the DTM in 2002 comes as the result of the test I had in Hockenheim a few weeks ago. I'm very much looking forward to compete in the best touring car series in the world and to race against the best touring car drivers world wide. I consider my DTM involvement to be a big challenge for my further racing career"
Mercedes boss Norbert Haug added: "Jean Alesi is the perfect completion to our line-up of experienced drivers and young talents. He performed impressively during his test and I am sure he will successfully contribute to our team's performance in the upcoming years. In the last 13 years in Formula One Jean was always one of the fastest drivers and his style of driving and his personality is very much liked by the public. When the opportunity to contract Jean for the DTM arose we didn't hesitate and now all team members are very happy to have him in a Mercedes-Benz CLK-DTM next year."
Takuma Sato who will be driving for Jordan next year in Formula 1 has won
the Formula 3 Intercontinental Cup at Macau. Sato has now won the
British F3 Championship, the Marlboro Masters at Zandvoort and the F3 Intercontinental
Cup at Macau. Sato was very happy to win at Macau especially after
crashing out of the event last year and said "I am totally happy now.
This is obviously my last major F3 Grand Prix race ever and I am so happy
to come back here. It is always difficult to race here. But in the end I
drove hard, enjoyed my racing and won."
Luciano Burti was very pleased with the announcement that he'll be a test driver for Ferrari describing it as a 'real dream'. He said "From a personal point of view, all I can say is that I am very happy. It is fantastic to be able to work with a team like Ferrari. I am really very pleased. To be able to drive for them is a real dream for any racing driver. From a professional point of view, I am aware of the importance of the role of test driver in a team like Ferrari, which is fighting for the championship title."
The Williams team have signed Antonio Pizzonia as their second
official test driver for the 2002 season testing alongside Marc Gene and
the 2 Williams regular drivers. Pizzonia will continue to compete in the
International F3000 series.
The Ferrari team announced today that former Jaguar and Prost
driver Luciano Burti has signed with them as a test driver
working alongside Luca Badoer. Burti first drove in Formula 1 at
the 2000 Austrian GP when Eddie Irvine pulled out of the race. In 2001 he
replaced Johnny Herbert at Jaguar but only drove for the team in the first
4 races. He moved to Prost from the Spanish GP and drove 10 races for
them. At the Belgian GP, Burti had a massive crash that left him out of
action for the remainder of the season.
Renault Formula 1 announced that they will be launching their
2002 contender on the 27th of January.
The Toyota Formula 1 team has submitted their official entry form for
the 2002 Formula 1 season right on the deadline of the 15th of November.
They have done so in order to maximise the amount of testing they can do
before the test ban applies to them.
Australian Ryan Briscoe has for the first time tested the Toyota F1
car at the Paul Ricard circuit in France. The Toyota team wanted Briscoe
to test drive the car before the 15th of November when they will stop
testing until January 2002.
At the traditional Granja Vianna 500 karting event in Brazil, Rubens
Barrichello driving for the Tic-Tac team won the race with co-drivers Tony
Kanaan and Mario Haberfield.
Ferrari's Technical Director Ross Brawn has admitted that the team may
have to start the 2002 season with their 2001 car. As a contingency plan,
Ferrari may have to revert to using this season's car for the first few
races of next season. This would be mainly due to the limited amount of
track testing available to test the new engine and transmission units
between the start of pre-season testing in January and the beginning of the
season on the 3rd of March in
Gary Anderson who is a founding member of the Jordan team has
decided to go back to Jordan after 3 years working at Jaguar Racing and
Reynard Motorsport. He left Jordan in 1998 to join the Stewart team and
continued with Jaguar for 1 year before moving to Reynard Motorsports in
the US. He rejoins the team as the Director of Race and Test
McLaren's boss Ron Dennis is confident that the team will overcome the
problems they faced last season and will be able to challenge for the
Championship in 2002. He indicated that while their aim is to win, the
changes they will undertake will not be revolutionary adding that the team
is undergoing a detailed self-analysis of every aspect of their
Following the announcement that Williams Chief Aerodynamicist Geoff
Willis is heading to BAR as their Technical Director from March 2002 (story),
the team decided to promote 2 Engineers to fill the role of Willis. Nick
Alcock and Jason Somerville will take on the responsibilities
of Willis and so will Gavin Fisher, the Williams Chief Designer.
3-Nov: Spanish sensation Fernando Alonso will be the test driver for the Renault Formula 1 team in 2002. The 20 year old Spaniard drove for Minardi last season and impressed everyone particularly in Qualifying where he often put the Minardi ahead of other - more capable - teams. The announcement is not much of a surprise particularly when Flavio Briatore who runs the Renault Formula 1 team has a contract with Alonso. Briatore said "We have followed Fernando's performance very closely this season. He did an excellent job, and we therefore decided that it was important to integrate him quickly into the Renault F1 program. As our test driver next year, Fernando will have the opportunity to fully develop his talent and, in the seasons to come, I'm sure that he will be a strong asset in the team's challenge for the championship."
Speaking to F1-Live.com, Fernando Alonso was happy with the decision and believes that testing for a year will not affect his career and said "That was one of the options I had for next year and I think it was the best choice. Integrating myself as fast as possible into the team with which I should be racing in the future is something important to me. This year I learned what a GP is, but I believe that with Renault there is a future full of hope and more importantly test and development work. To start working with the engineers and members of the team is important for later on. Competition is important, but at my age I can stay as a test-driver for one year in order to learn and my career will not be altered by this."
Alonso is likely to take over from Jenson Button in 2003 when Button's contract with Renault expires (Button is on a 2 year loan from Williams).
It is not clear what the future holds for Australian Mark Webber who was the official Benetton (now Renault) test driver in 2001. He may be offered Alonso's seat at Minardi in 2002 to drive alongside Alex Yoong.
British F3 Champion and newly signed Jordan driver Takuma Sato is
setting his target high even before racing in Formula 1. He is aiming for
the World Title and said "I will be world champion. Winning in
Formula One is my ultimate target and, one day, when I have the
opportunity, I will take it. It is not going to happen immediately. I want
to develop myself little by little, step by step. I just want to
concentrate on my job and, hopefully, soon I will reach the same level as
my team-mate. That is my target for next year."
The partnership between Pedro Diniz and the Prost team
didn't survive for long. Less than a year ago, Pedro Diniz purchased a significant
stake in the Prost team (story),
now he is walking away away. Diniz said "I do not
want to go into details, but I didn't agree with the technical and
financial strategy, so I left. Alain Prost in the main shareholder and now
it's his responsibility. I hope the problems
will be solved but the future of the team was affected by decisions that I
did not agree with. I believe we will know what
the future of the team will be by December."
Jaguar becomes the 3rd team to announce the launch date of their
2002 contender. They will launch their car on the 4th of January and aim
to take the car to Barcelona on the 8th for the first test session of the
Mika Hakkinen has revealed that he may ask Ron Dennis for a test drive
of the 2002 McLaren if he feels the urge to return to racing and said
"If I suddenly get the feeling that there is no sense in being away
and I must be able to race again, then there we go again. When it comes,
then we will see what happens. I know that if I want to test again,
everything is possible. Ron Dennis understands me very well in this kind
of a situation. If my fingers are going to itch too much during next year,
I believe that McLaren will be able to find one extra car for me to
Toyota announced their launch date for the 2002 contender. The
launch will take place in Cologne in Germany on the 17th of December 2001.
Toyota have earlier confirmed their driver line-up with Mika Salo and
Allan McNish to drive for the team in their debut season.