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2002 Season Preview 
The Heretic 

1:18 Scale Jaguar 2000 Show Car - Eddie Irvine
1:18 Scale Jaguar 2000 Show Car - Eddie Irvine

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

17 - 20 January News  
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20-Jan: Michael Schumacher once again set the pace at Valencia with his brother Ralf Schumacher close behind. Antonio Pizzonia was 3rd over 0.6 seconds off the pace. 
3 teams were present and 6 drivers set lap times. Marc Gene covered the most number of laps with 106 followed by Ryo Fukuda (BAR Test Driver) wit 97 and Michael Schumacher with 90. Olivier Panis only managed 9 laps after suffering a rear-suspension failure that forced him to pack up early.

Williams have concluded their 7 day test session and will not test again until the unveiling of their 2002 contender on the 25th of January. BAR have also concluded their 4 day test session and are expected to join the test session at Barcelona on the 23rd of January were they will be trying out a new aerodynamic package as well as the final spec Honda engine for Melbourne. 
Ferrari continue testing here solo tomorrow with Rubens Barrichello expected to re-join the test.

Click here for the test times from Valencia 

Another marathon test session is already underway with McLaren testing privately at Barcelona with Alexander Wurz (on the 19th) and David Coulthard (on the 20th) testing the new MP4-17. They will be joined tomorrow by Sauber and Jaguar with more teams joining later in the week

20-Jan: Minardi have unveiled their title sponsor for 2002 in Kuala Lumpur. The distinctive new emblem of the “Go KL” campaign, incorporating the flag of the city of Kuala Lumpur, was clearly visible on the sidepods and engine cover of the gleaming black machine. Also proudly displayed on the car were the logos of Magnum Corporation Berhad and, for the first time, those of two new team partners, BSA and Admiral.
Team boss Paul Stoddart said of the event:.“As a Grand Prix team owner, it’s perhaps not surprising to discover that I believe the sport offers a platform for creating global awareness that is second to none. In one way, the ‘Go KL’ emblem that our team will carry proudly to Formula One races this year is a symbol of Kuala Lumpur’s desire to let the world know that it is the gateway to a fast-growing centre for tourism, sport, international commerce and the development of high-technology industries. 
It is also, however, about providing a high-profile platform for this country’s privately owned companies to market themselves globally. To the extent that the colours of two new Malaysian team partners, BSA and Admiral, can be seen alongside the distinctive logo of Magnum Corporation Berhad on the KL Minardi Asiatech cars, the initiative has already begun to succeed."

19-Jan: While Toyota and Minardi left Valencia, Ferrari arrived today with both Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello. The team had a mixed result with Michael Schumacher topping the times while Rubens Barrichello crashing heavily and damaging his car.
It was Michael Schumacher first time at the Valencia track and after familiarising himself with the track he posted a competitive time of 1:12.657 which is just over half a second slower than Raikkonen's record time set earlier this week.
Williams and BAR where the only other teams at the track with Olivier Panis setting the second fastest time with Ralf Schumacher in third. A total of 8 drivers set lap times today. BAR's new test driver Ryo Fukuda had his first taste of the BAR 003 setting a reasonably quick time under 3 seconds off the pace.
Olivier Panis covered the most number of laps with 102 followed by Michael Schumacher with 101 and Jacques Villeneuve with 75 laps.

Rubens Barrichello who drove at this track in late 2000 suffered a heavy crash when he apparently lost control of his F2001 and hit the barriers heavily. He was uninjured but the car was heavily damaged and had to be sent back to Maranello for repair.

Track conditions were dry with an air temperature of 14 degrees. Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Valencia 

19-Jan: Following the launch of the new McLaren MP4-17, David Coulthard expects the new car to be faster than last years and said "My hopes are pinned on the new car and the knowledge that it has to be quicker. I would be surprised if it wasn't quicker and frankly it has to be because otherwise we are not going to be competitive." 
He described its looks as menacing and meaty and feels confident that it will sustain a bit of rough driving and said "There are some nice details on the car, it looks kind of menacing in a way. It looks meaty, it looks raceable and you can barge your way among other cars and not have bits fall off. 
You have to have the confidence to take a gamble, get down the inside and possibly during normal racing you might have contact. But you've got to know that your car is strong enough to take that contact. We've seen in the past that the Ferrari was more than able to bash into a few cars and still go on.
If you get into a car that looks good, then you feel good and it sets you off on your journey in a good frame of mind."
Coulthard expects to challenge for the Championship and doesn't care what Michael Schumacher's opinion of the other teams and drivers were and said "I have a healthy respect for Michael's abilities and think clearly that he's the benchmark in Formula One. But I don't care what his opinions on other teams chances and other drivers chances are. I don't know what the future holds but when I'm asked can I win the championship, I'd like to think so. I would be very surprised at the least if I don't win grands prix this season."

19-Jan: In contrast to the last few seasons, McLaren opted to launch their 2002 contender relatively early becoming only the 4th team to unveil their 2002 contender so far. 

Launched at the Circuit de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain, the 2002 McLaren, the MP4-17 is an evolution of last year's car with the main visible differences in the front suspension and rear body work. The new McLaren is powered by an all new Mercedes engine, the FO 110M.
Following the disappointing results of 2001, McLaren are hoping to be able to mount a serious challenge to both championships this year with the MP4-17. 
The 2002 McLaren - MP4-17

Team Principal Ron Dennis said "The West McLaren Mercedes team is optimistic about the challenges ahead of us in the 2002 season, having completed a comprehensive and positive development programme during the winter test ban. We are launching at this early stage of the pre-season to maximise the opportunity for track work to ensure we are totally prepared for the new season and the ultimate goal for the whole team, the fight for the World Championships."
Mercedes Motorsport boss Norbert Haug said "The team has worked extremely hard since development began on our new car so that we were able to start testing with the West McLaren Mercedes MP4-17 as soon as possible. Now the whole team will be making the best use of the six weeks ahead of us, prior to the first Grand Prix of the year, for testing the car and engine. Our common goal is certainly to be in a position to fight for the World Championships and to give David and Kimi a competitive and reliable package, including the tyres from our new Partner Michelin. Alex will contribute a lot to this process and that is why he is the first of our three drivers to drive the new MP4-17."
David Coulthard said "The team has done a great job at the factory preparing the MP4-17 and we are all looking forward to seeing how the car runs. Since testing recommenced, we have completed significant mileage and this, in addition to the variable weather conditions, has allowed us to fully assess how the Michelin tyres perform. There is an inherent determination to succeed that exists throughout the whole team and we will continue to develop the car to ensure we have the complete package and are in a strong, competitive position for the forthcoming season."
Kimi Raikkonen said " It has been an intensive few weeks as the team and myself build and cement relationships and understanding, and I am now beginning to feel like an integral part of West McLaren Mercedes. We have covered a lot of ground in testing already and I have been very impressed with the interim car. I am now extremely keen to drive the MP4-17 and to continue my learning curve in the build up to the 2002 season."

Alexander Wurz shakes down the car today while David Coulthard starts testing it tomorrow with Kimi Raikkonen taking over on the 23rd of January.

2002 McLaren Mercedes Page

18-Jan: On the final day of Ferrari's Vroom, Jean Todt spoke about the aim for Ferrari this season and said "The team is totally motivated. We want to continue winning, just as we have done over the past few years, even though we know it will be very difficult."
On who will be challenging them for the both titles, he said "It is difficult to say right now, because we do not know the performance levels of the new cars. It might well happen that a team, which was not at the top in 2001, turns out to be a title contender. Last year it was Williams-BMW which made the most progress and I think this team will stay at the top. One can also expect a lot from other teams, like McLaren-Mercedes. We will have to wait until qualifying in Melbourne to get a clear picture of the pecking order."
As for Ferrari's work on the new car and the potential of starting the season with the old car, Todt said "We will launch our new car on 6th February and we will then start testing with it immediately. It is a new car, with a new gearbox and other interesting new parts. Only after the tests will we be able to take a decision, but for us it is important to know that we can start with the F2001, which produced fantastic results last year."
Todt talked about his drivers and said "It's great to know that Schumacher is so attached to Ferrari. The fact that he is comfortable with the team reinforces the desire for stability which has allowed us to get these great results over the past few years. More important than that is the motivation. You can have that in Formula 1 even at the age of forty, but you also need to be in good physical shape. If at 40, Schumacher still had the same will to win and fitness, Ferrari would be happy to keep him on. Barrichello has done a good job for the team. Being Michael's team mate is not easy and Rubens is one of the ones who has coped with it the best. Rubens gets the same car and the same treatment and we will try and do even better with him in 2002. But as usual, it will be the stopwatch which will decide which driver does best. Rubens has the whole season ahead of him to show what he is worth and I am sure that he will give even more to Ferrari."
Jean Todt once again denied any contact between Ferrari and Montoya and refused to speculate on whether he will remain in Formula 1 beyond 2004.

18-Jan: On day 5 of testing at Valencia, Ralf Schumacher topped the timesheets ahead of Olivier Panis and Antonio Pizzonia. Ralf's time was still over 0.8 seconds slower than the best time set so far in this test session by Kimi Raikkonen.
Only 4 teams were testing today with 9 drivers setting lap times. 6 of those were from Williams and BAR!. Ralf Schumacher covered the most number of laps with 102 laps followed by Olivier Panis with 78 and Mika Salo with 75.
BAR continue to be improve their 2002 car with Panis setting a time under a second slower than Ralf Schumacher. Jacques Villeneuve in the other BAR 004 had problems in the morning with his car and only managed 32 laps in total setting the 4th fastest time.

There were fewer problems on the track today due to the reduced number of cars but Marc Gene, Jacques Villeneuve and Olivier Panis had problems with their cars.

Minardi and Toyota conclude their testing today while Williams and BAR continue tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Valencia 

Minardi have concluded their 4 day test with Mark Webber and Christijan Albers testing for the team once again. Webber once again was impressive lapping in the 1:16's in the Minardi. Team boss Paul Stoddart gave his thumbs up for Webber and will use him again at Minardi's next test session but declined to elaborate further on the situation with his second driver announcement until the Frentzen-Verstappen situation is clearer and said "We have been very impressed with Mark's performance at this test, so much so that he will test for us again next week at Misano. His best time of 1 min 16.111 secs, set on the first day in the car, was very good, as was today's 1 min 16.730 secs, and this sort of performance shows that he can be competitive in Formula One. Contrary to reports circulating in the media, though, a decision on KL Minardi Asiatech's second driver for 2002 has not been taken. Mark is clearly on the short list, but no decision will be taken until the Frentzen-Verstappen situation has been clarified."

Luciano Burti concluded testing for Ferrari at Mugello. On the second day he improved his best time dramatically setting a best time of 1:23.570 while covering 73 laps. He concentrated on testing experimental components fitted to the F2001.

Click here for the test times from Mugello 

17-Jan: Michael Schumacher has yet to even consider retirement. Speaking at the traditional Ferrari Wroom, he said "I haven't thought about it yet. I've been asked often enough, but now is not the time to think about it. As long as I can drive, I will do so.". As for his motivation to drive he said "It's never a problem for me to stay motivated. Given there are only 24 drivers in the world competing in F1, is already enough to be really satisfying and being in a top team is the best thing that can happen to you. Motor racing is my life. It always has been and I always wanted it that way. It is not a question of motivation. I race because I love it."
Michael expects the 2 Williams drivers to be his biggest threat but as always doesn't rule out McLaren and said "I think the main threat will come from my brother and his team-mate. McLaren is an unknown quantity because they have changed tyre supplier and so we don't know how quickly they will adapt to the change. I think though that McLaren and Williams-BMW will pose us the biggest threat, and I also reckon the BMW engine will be even stronger this year, added to which, Williams will have a better understanding of the tyres. McLaren has been very quick in testing, but that is perfectly normal as they were running last year's car, which was usually the quickest in the 2001 championship. We will have to wait to see the new cars to see where everyone stands."
As for the reason he went to Fiorano for a test earlier than expected, he said "I just wanted to make sure I could still drive a racing car! I had been away from the cockpit for such a long time, I was a little bit concerned. I felt the need to drive on a track and so I called Todt and asked him if I could test. It gave me the opportunity to try the latest changes to the gearbox and a few other parts."
Schumacher also revealed that the new car will be evolutionary and not revolutionary playing down the radical developments that were rumoured and said "It will be a completely new car, even if the changes aren't radical. It is definitely an evolution of last year's car and not a totally new project. Sometimes you have to start with a clean sheet of paper. However, this time, taking into account our experience from last year, we have just combined it with some new ideas. The aerodynamics will definitely be different. We have a new gearbox and some other new parts. That's why I reckon it's a completely new car."
Once again he indicated that he was confident that Ferrari will be in Melbourne with the new car.

Ferrari announced today that their 2002 contender will be unveiled on the 6th of February. 

Click here for the 2002 Team and Driver Line-up 

17-Jan: On the fourth day of testing at Valencia, Kimi Raikkonen managed to smash the lap record set by David Coulthard last year by over 0.5 seconds. Giancarlo Fisichella was second fastest ahead of Ralf Schumacher in the Williams.
6 teams were present with 12 drivers setting lap times. Giancarlo Fisichella covered the most number of laps with 105 followed by his team-mate Takuma Sato with 104 and Kimi Raikkonen with 94. Juan Pablo Montoya covered the least number of laps with 22.
Olivier Panis in the BAR was the fastest 2002 runners ending up 5th fastest but over 2 seconds off the pace.

Several drivers spun off during the session including Takuma Sato and Giancarlo Fisichella. Ralf Schumacher and Marc Gene had engine problems.

Mark Webber testing for Minardi for the first time has certainly impressed everyone by setting a lap time of 1:16.113 which was over 2.5 seconds faster than the time set by the other Minardi test and over 1.5 seconds faster than the best time set by Alex Yoong, Minardi's regular driver yesterday. 
This performance of Webber will certainly improve his chances of landing the second seat at Minardi this year.

McLaren and Jordan have concluded their testing here while Williams, BAR, Toyota and Minardi continue testing tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Valencia 

At Mugello, Ferrari were testing solo with Luciano Burti who was also familiarising himself with the track. Burti continued testing experimental components and covered 27 laps with a best time of 1:27.530.

Click here for the test times from Mugello 

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