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2002 Season Preview 
The Heretic 

Ralf Schumacher
2001 Williams BMW

Your predictions for the 2002 Season - Have Your Say - HOT!

12 - 16 January News  
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16-Jan: Rubens Barrichello has indicated the he can win the Championship even with Michael in the team and said "I am really lucky to drive for a such a competitive team and to have the same car as Michael. It is not a case of who is the number one driver and who is the number 2. Obviously, driving in the same team as Michael is not easy, but that does not mean I lack the will to win. If I did not have that desire, it would be time to give up. That's why I believe I can be champion, even with Michael as a team-mate."
Speaking at the traditional Ferrari Wroom event held at Madonna di Campiglio, Rubens Barrichello also hinted at the preference Michael gets from the team and how he will try to overcome that and said "He (Michael) has been there for such a long time and if in the middle of the race he is talking to Ross (Brawn) for example and I'm not on the line then for sure he is going to have an advantage. Because Ross has a way of looking ahead and, you know, preparing something else and I will only get the second option to do it. 
I know I will have at least 30-35 percent of the attention and it is growing. There will be a time when if I keep on working I think we will get to 50-50 and then that is the right time for me to attack more or to have more results."
As for the team's preparations for the start of the season, he said "I think that Ferrari will once again be the team to beat. We just need to see what will happen on the tyre front. Our preparation is not behind schedule on the new car and what matters is reliability. We must wait and see what the new car is like, we could use last year's car if it proves necessary, but it is too early to say."

16-Jan: It appears that Kimi Raikkonen is already getting comfortable in the McLaren after setting the fastest time on the third day of testing at Valencia just ahead of team-mate David Coulthard. The duo were over a second ahead of third fastest man Giancarlo Fisichella.
7 teams were present and 14 drivers set lap times. Kimi Raikkonen covered the most number of laps with 111 followed by Takuma Sato with 104 and Giancarlo Fisichella with 96 laps. Marc Gene covered just 3 installation laps and didn't set a time.
There were several incidents during the session with Gene, Yoong, Trulli all spinning while Irvine, Button and de la Rosa suffered mechanical problems.

Minardi continued to evaluate young drivers with Bobby Mateo continuing his testing duties in the morning handing over to Antonio Garcia who really impressed setting a time that was faster than that of Alex Yoong.

The session started under damp conditions but dried out by mid morning and remained dry for the rest of the day. The air temperature reached 15 degrees.
Renault and Jaguar have concluded their testing here while BAR are expected to join in tomorrow. 

Click here for the test times from Valencia 

16-Jan: "Your predictions for the 2002 season" - Topic of the month - Have Your Say

16-Jan: The Sauber team planned a two day shakedown for their 2002 contender, the C21 but were forced to cut it short due to snowfall at the Fiorano track. Despite the unexpected interruption, the team was very happy with the way things went on the first day with Nick Heidfeld covering 59 laps without any problems and setting a competitive time of 1:00.590. Team-mate Felipe Massa drove the C20 to familiarise himself with the track and set a best time of 1:01.420.
Sauber's Technical Director Willy Rampf was very pleased with the outcome of the test and said "Our primary aim with the C21 has been to further improve the car's aerodynamics, to revise the weight distribution, to lower the centre of gravity and to further optimise the gearbox and suspension. Despite the subsequent weather we have had a very successful rollout. From the installation lap and the first run right to end of the day, the new C21 ran with complete reliability 59 laps. We checked all the systems, and detected no problems, and our first set-ups and data measurements were extremely satisfactory. Our only disappointment was to see the snow this morning!

Click here for the test times from Fiorano 

The Sauber team announced today that they have extended their cooperation with Red Bull for another year. This despite Red Bull selling their stake in the team late last year and announcing that their cooperation would end at the end of 2001.
Team boss Peter Sauber said "Following our most successful Formula One season, I am very happy to start into our eight year with Red Bull."
Red Bull also sponsor the Arrows Formula 1 team.

15-Jan: On the second day of testing at Valencia, David Coulthard continued his impressive form topping the timesheets in the dry today. He was just 0.157 seconds ahead of his new team-mate Kimi Raikkonen while Juan Pablo Montoya was 3rd.
7 teams were present today with Jordan, Toyota and Minardi joining in. 13 drivers set lap times.
Takuma Sato covered the most number of laps with 84 followed by his team-mate Giancarlo Fisichella with 82 and Jenson Button with 64 laps. Eddie Irvine covered the least number of laps with 5.
There were a number of incidents today with several cars spinning off into the gravel including Fisichella, Sato, Salo and Pizzonia. Montoya had flames coming out of his car forcing him to pit while Irvine had problems with the hybrid R2.
Pedro de la Rosa and Mika Salo were the only two who drove 2002 spec car sending up 9th and 10th respectively.
Minardi kicked off their 2002 testing today with Alex Yoong and Matteo Bobbi driving. It was the first time for both drivers on the twisty Valencia track.   

The session started under damp conditions but dried out by mid morning and remained dry for the rest of the day. The air temperature reached 17 degrees.
Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Valencia 

15-Jan: Jean Todt has come out denying any talks between Ferrari and Montoya. A report on the BBC earlier this week indicated that Ferrari were negotiating with Montoya for a possible drive in 2003. Todt said "We think Montoya is a good driver. His first year in Formula 1, at the wheel of a competitive Williams car was a positive one. However, Ferrari has never had any contact with him, either directly or indirectly. We do not wish to give any credence to those who might have an interest in promoting these rumours."

14-Jan: Formula 1 testing resumed today at Valencia and Fiorano.
At Valencia
, a number of Michelin runners were testing wet and intermediate tyres on an artificially damp track. David Coulthard set the fastest time ahead of Juan Pablo Montoya and Jarno Trulli. 
4 teams were present with 7 drivers setting lap times. David Coulthard also covered the most number of laps with 94 followed by Juan Pablo Montoya with 93 and Pedro de la Rosa with 83.
Due to the wet track, a number of drivers spun harmlessly. Eddie Irvine had mechanical problems with the R2.
Pedro de la Rosa was the only driver running a 2002 specification car and was over 3.5 seconds slower than Coulthard.
Testing continues tomorrow with a number of Bridgestone runners joining.

Click here for the test times from Valencia 

At Fiorano, Michael Schumacher returned to the track for the first time this season and was immediately on the pace breaking the lap record for the Fiorano track while testing experimental components. He covered 69 laps with a best time of 58.783.

Click here for the test times from Fiorano 

14-Jan: According to the BBC, Ferrari are rumoured to be trying to secure the services of Juan Pablo Montoya from 2003. After losing out on Kimi Raikkonen to McLaren and knowing that they need to find a driver to take over from Michael Schumacher when he retires, the pressure is on them to find a talented driver that can help Ferrari stay at the top. Last year Ferrari's boss Luca Montezemolo was impressed by the performance of Montoya in his debut season and now it seems that he is doing all he can to try and sign him up. 
There are a number of obstacles in the way though with Williams having an option on Montoya for 2003 and the expected refusal of Montoya to play second fiddle to Michael Schumacher. However if those obstacles were overcome, a Michael Schumacher - Juan Pablo Montoya pairing at Ferrari would make an explosive combination. Neither team were prepared to confirm nor deny the allegations. 
This could be an attempt by Montoya's management to put the pressure on Williams to raise his salary in 2003.

Juan Pablo Montoya's manager however indicated that Montoya was under contract to Williams and said "It's nice to know that other teams are interested but he is under contract to Williams."

We'll just have to wait and see.

13-Jan: The Jaguar Racing team started their testing session at Valencia with a media day and with Niki Lauda having a taste of the R2. Lauda wanted to get a better feel of today's Formula 1 car and to see how different it was from the days he last raced in Formula 1 back in 1985.
With Pedro de la Rosa giving him the much needed advice, Lauda managed to cover a few laps but not before spinning twice into the gravel. The times he set on the track were around the 1:30 mark whereas the best time set at Valencia last year was a 1:12.748. 
Lauda spoke to the press after his test and said "My intention for this test was to understand the technology of the car; launch control, traction control and engine behaviour. I found out everything I wanted to know. Compared to my day it is all very different, now you keep both hands on the steering wheel!. In my time one hand was always operating the gearstick. Now you have to keep both hands on the wheel, kick the throttle, then the revs automatically go to 17,000 and everything is automatic. The upshift is really amazing, it is such a smooth transition when you change gear, there's no push or jerkiness. I was expecting more aggressive shifting, but it was just so smooth. The downshift was even more amazing, for example you are braking down to 2nd gear from 6th, you flick four times through the gears and it is all automatic. The management system works out the speed of the car and the engine, and the downshift is so smooth it is incredible. Now you have to just concentrate on driving."
On his spins he said "Traction control comes in when the car starts sliding, you kick the throttle and everything comes in. I spun a couple of times, only because Pedro told me where to brake; I was brave enough to try that!. I was told I went into the corner as quick as Pedro, the difference is I didn't make the corner! I spun but at least I achieved the same speed and showed my drivers I am trying, otherwise they will not speak to me."
As for his claims that a monkey can drive a modern Formula 1 car, he said "The launch control was unbelievable. Yes, I have said that any monkey can drive a car nowadays, but I am simply comparing it to the driving 17 years ago, where you had manual gears, normal clutch, no anti-stall etc. and had to take care of wheel spin as you started. It is now a lot easier to start."
When asked if he will do it again he said "I will not make this a regular appearance, if I want to make it regular I have to train and I am not prepared to do that. For this test I didn't train, just smoked less!."
And if he was nervous before the test he said "Obviously you think a lot beforehand when you make a stupid decision like this!. But once you are in the car you forget about everything and go for the throttle, you are no longer nervous."

Serious testing at Valencia commences tomorrow with most of the Formula 1 teams joining in on various days of the week. 

13-Jan: David Coulthard is asking McLaren for the kind of support Mika Hakkinen used to get from the team if he is to mount a serious challenge to Michael Schumacher this year. Speaking at the Autosport International show he said "Mika enjoyed a lot of support from Ron and other key people in the team, which he deserved because he was a fantastically quick racing driver. But that's what I need as well because Michael has the whole Ferrari team built up around him
If you don't feel good, you don't perform. You need to be in the right environment and have the right people around you pulling for your side so that when the battle is on you know they're going to support you. That's where the team can help the driver a lot."
Coulthard indicated that he was confident they will win races this season but wasn't sure if they'll win enough and said "You'd be brave to bet against Ferrari being the benchmark, but we will win races. It's just whether we do it often enough to challenge for the championship."

Enrique Bernoldi who has just been confirmed with Arrows this year has indicated that their car will be a significant improvement from last year given the 'works' Cosworth engine and the arrival of Sergio Rinland from Sauber. He said "This year we are going to be closer to the front of the grid. Our new package gives us a much better chance than last year. We will have much more power and I've seen the data from the wind tunnel, so I'm sure the aerodynamic package will be better too. The new engine and car will give us a realistic chance of scoring points."
The Arrows team only managed to score 1 point in the 2001 season.

12-Jan: Ferrari have concluded their 3 day test at Fiorano. Luciano Burti used the 3 days to familiarise himself with the track as well as helping Ferrari in the testing of experimental components. Burti covered 73 laps with a best time of 1:00.046.

Click here for the test times from Fiorano 

12-Jan: The Orange Arrows team confirmed that Enrique Bernoldi will drive for the team in 2002. Team Principal Tom Walkinshaw said "Enrique has proven himself to be very quick from the outset, particularly in qualifying where he has been our lead driver on 10 occasions. What has impressed us most recently is his growing confidence in setting up the car and his race performances. I feel the investment in taking a rookie last season will be well rewarded when we give him a competitive package in 2002.”
Enrique Bernoldi said “My first year in F1 was pretty tough but also very rewarding as I was able to make steady progress throughout the season. I am grateful to Tom for having confidence in me and am looking forward to giving it 100% and making 2002 a success.”

Reading into Walkinshaw's comments, it appears that Jos Verstappen will be dropped by the team and will probably be replaced by Heinz Harald Frentzen.

The team decided not to test on the track until the new A23 is ready at the end of the month. They have yet to announce the launch date of their 2002 contender. 

The Minardi team will commence their 2002 testing next week at Valencia and will be giving a number of test drivers an opportunity to test the Minardi PS01. Those drivers include Mark Webber, Christijan Albers, Matteo Bobbi and Antonio Garcia.
The team have confirmed Alex Yoong as one of their drivers for 2002 but have yet to name their second driver. Team boss Paul Stoddart indicated that this test is not a shoot out and does not indicate that their second driver would necessarily be picked from those testing next week and said "We have a very full technical programme planned for the next six weeks and, in addition to Alex Yoong, we will use a number of drivers to assist us with this work. During the process, we will obviously look at how each of them gets on, but this should not be construed as a ‘shoot-out’ for the second Minardi seat, as has been suggested in some quarters. Nor should any conclusions be drawn from the presence, or absence, of any particular individual, in terms of providing an indication of the team’s final choice of driver for 2002."
The team are expected to run their new car, the PS02 in early February.

Click here for the 2002 Team and Driver Line-up 

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