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2002 Season Preview 
The Heretic 

Juan Pablo Montoya
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Your predictions for the 2002 Season  
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25 - 31 January News  
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31-Jan: Nick Heidfeld in the Ferrari powered Sauber topped the timesheets today. He was over 0.7 seconds faster than his team-mate Felipe Massa while Williams test driver Marc Gene in a hybrid FW23 was third fastest.
5 teams were present with 11 drivers setting lap times. Nick Heidfeld covered the most number of laps with 73 followed by Allan McNish in the Toyota and Takuma Sato in the Jordan. Giancarlo Fisichella testing the new EJ12 Jordan covered the least number of laps.

Sauber conclude their test very satisfied with the results. Technical Director Willy Rampf said "Thanks to the reliability of the new SAUBER PETRONAS C21 we have been able to complete our entire testing programme despite numerous red flags for other teams during the past three days. We are very confident in the results that we have achieved so far."
Nick Heidfeld concentrated on qualifying trim on the last day of testing managing to set a lap time below the 1:18 mark. 

Weather conditions were dry with an air temperature of 16 degrees.
Toyota and Sauber have concluded their testing at Barcelona while Renault, Jordan and Williams conclude their testing tomorrow. 

Click here for the test times from Barcelona 

At Mugello, Michael Schumacher took over from Luca Badoer who was suffering from the flu. Michael tested a modified F2001 fitted with experimental components. He covered a total of 68 laps with a best time of 1:22.660. 
Michael commented on his crash yesterday at Barcelona and said "As I was braking, I put a rear wheel off the track and that's why I lost control of the car. It was obviously my mistake. Testing is a time when you push the car to the limit and mistakes like this can happen quite often. The important thing is that neither myself nor Rubens was hurt."
Weather was dry but cloudy with an air temperature of 12 degrees.

Click here for the test times from Mugello 

30-Jan: For the second day in a row, 3 Ferrari powered cars topped the timesheets at Barcelona today with Rubens Barrichello setting the fastest time ahead of Michael Schumacher and Nick Heidfeld. Unfortunately, both Ferrari drivers crashed damaging both cars requiring repairs at Maranello and forcing Ferrari to end their tests at Barcelona prematurely. Both drivers were uninjured in the crashes both of which (according to Ferrari)  were caused by driver error.
7 teams were present with 16 drivers setting lap times. Nick Heidfeld covered the most number of laps with 86 followed by Ralf Schumacher with 85 and Felipe Massa with 82. Michael Schumacher covered the least number of laps with 17 as he crashed early in the session.
Of the 2002 spec. cars, Nick Heidfeld once again was fastest with Jacques Villeneuve in the BAR second fastest but over 1.5 seconds slower. Juan Pablo Montoya ended up behind Villeneuve in his first long run in the new FW24. Takuma Sato in the new Jordan continued to struggle (compared with the times set today in last year's Jordan) and ended up sandwiched between the two Toyota drivers at the bottom of the timesheets.
Tomorrow Fisichella is expected to take over testing the new Jordan while Trulli will have his first taste of the new Renault taking over from Jenson Button.
Ferrari and BAR have concluded their test. The other teams continue testing tomorrow.

Weather conditions were dry and sunny with a maximum air temperature of 19 degrees.

Click here for the test times from Barcelona 

At Mugello, Luca Badoer tested for Ferrari with a modified F2001 fitted with experimental components. He covered a total of 41 laps with a best time of 1:22.870. 
Weather was dry but cloudy with an air temperature of 12 degrees.
Badoer continues testing at Mugello tomorrow. 

Click here for the test times from Mugello 

29-Jan: Three Ferrari powered cars topped the timesheets at Barcelona today. Michael Schumacher in a modified F2001 was fastest just ahead of his team-mate Rubens Barrichello. Nick Heidfeld in the new C21 was third fastest under half a second off the pace.
7 teams were present with 16 drivers setting lap times. Michael Schumacher covered the most number of laps with 102 followed by Nick Heidfeld with 96 and Antonio Pizzonia with 91. Juan Pablo Montoya covered the least number of laps with 16 as he took over the driving of the new FW24 in the afternoon.

Of the 2002 spec. cars, Nick Heidfeld in the Sauber was most impressive setting a time that was over half a second quicker than Ralf Schumacher with rookie Felipe Massa under a tenth behind Ralf. 
Jenson Button in the R202 showed signs of improvement in the Renault package while BAR and Toyota remain over 2.5 seconds off the pace. Takuma Sato drove the EJ12 for the first time at the Barcelona track and was 14th fastest.
German driver Marcel Lasee had his first taste of a Formula 1 car driving the Jordan EJ11. He ended up 15th fastest.

All the teams with '02 spec. cars had teething problems as expected but there were no major incidents during the session.
Weather conditions were dry and sunny with a maximum air temperature of 19 degrees.
Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Barcelona 

28-Jan: Ralf Schumacher in the new FW24 topped the timesheets at Barcelona ahead of team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya and Antonio Pizzonia both in hybrid FW23s. This is only the second day of testing for the new FW24 and is already lapping quicker than last year's car!.
5 teams were present with 10 drivers setting lap times. All 5 times had 2002 spec cars at their disposal to test. Antonio Pizzonia covered the most number of laps with 79 followed by BAR's test driver Anthony Davidson with 78 and Allan McNish with 77. Jenson Button covered the least number of laps with 49.

Panis continued testing the new BAR004, Jenson Button gave the new Renault R202 the first shakedown, Eddie Irvine continued testing the new R3 with the modified front wing while Toyota had 2 '02 cars running for the first time.

Weather conditions were dry and a maximum air temperature of 21 degrees.
Testing continues tomorrow with Ferrari, Jordan and Sauber expected to join.

Click here for the test times from Barcelona 

At Mugello, Rubens Barrichello tested a modified F2001 fitted with experimental components. He covered 26 laps and set a best time of 1:23.120. Both Rubens Barrichello and Michael Schumacher are expected to join the action at Barcelona tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Mugello 

28-Jan: The commercial court in Versailles has made its decision to liquidate the Prost Grand Prix team signalling the end to the team's operations.    
The team was placed into receivership on the 22nd of November and Alain Prost and the Administrator have been trying to find a suitable investor. The deadline was initially set for the 15th of January however a last minute bid appeared and it needed more time. In the end it appears that the Administrator was not satisfied with the guarantees provided and made the decision to liquidate.

The Prost team started in 1997 when Alain Prost bought the Ligier team. In '97 they ran with the Mugen-Honda engine then switched to the 'works' Peugeot engine and last year they made a deal with Ferrari to run a customer engine based on the 2000 specification.
Ironically Prost had their best season in 97 when they finished 6th in the Championship and scored more points then than in the 4 seasons that followed combined. The '99 season was their worst as they failed to score a single point.
Olivier Panis was the most successful driver for the team scoring 16 points in '97 from just 10 races (he missed 7 races after breaking his legs in a crash at the Canadian GP). 

Heinz Harald Frentzen and Tomas Enge were the last 2 drivers to drive for the team. Frentzen in trying to get the Arrows seat which contractually is Verstappen's while Enge has decided to return to F3000 after participating in the last 3 races last season when Luciano Burti was forced to rest after his high speed shunt at the Belgian GP.

2001 Prost GP Page

Australian Mark Webber has been confirmed as Minardi's second driver for the 2002 season. Webber impressed everyone at Minardi during his 2 tests for the team this month and it has finally paid off. Webber said "Entering Formula One is obviously a fantastic stage of my career - it's what the last seven years has been all about. Now the hard work really begins, though, and to start this new chapter with someone like Paul - with whom I've worked in the past and know to be both very determined and committed to taking KL Minardi Asiatech to a new level - is a fantastic opportunity. I simply can't wait to get under way."
Webber was Benetton's official test driver in 2001 and was hoping to make it into the Renault team this year and when Renault opted for Fernando Alonso, he was disappointed. It was thought that lack of sponsorship was the main reason for Webber to miss out on a Formula 1 drive a number of times. 

Webber becomes the first Australian to drive in Formula 1 since David Brabham who last drove for the Simtek team in 1994. The last Australian to win the Drivers' Title was Alan Jones in 1980.
Webber teams up with Alex Yoong and if the recent tests are any indication, Yoong will have to work very hard if he is to match Webber.

Minardi's team boss Paul Stoddard said "Last year, arriving in Melbourne for the first time with the European Minardi team, was a proud and emotional moment for all of us. This year, with two great young competitors joining KL Minardi Asiatech - Australia's Mark Webber, and Alex Yoong, Malaysia's first-ever Grand Prix driver - we're going to feel doubly proud, added Paul Stoddart. It's also a very different Minardi team that will arrive in Australia this year. It is better prepared in all respects, and boasts a new title sponsor, 'Go KL', a new engine partner, Asiatech, and highly encouraging aerodynamic results from two intensive wind tunnel programs. We firmly believe the team is on course to take its first important step up the Formula One grid." 

Given the the Prost team has gone into liquidation, there is only 1 driver seat yet to be confirmed and that is the second Arrows seat. Either Jos Verstappen or Heinz Harald Frentzen will take that one.

Click here for the 2002 Driver Line-up 

27-Jan: Marc Gene continued to set the pace at Barcelona in the hybrid Williams (FW23B) ahead of Antonio Pizzonia. Ralf Schumacher in the new FW24 was third but just under 0.3 seconds off the pace indicating that the new Williams is quick right out of the box.
Eddie Irvine tested the R3 with a modified front but was 4th fastest and over 2 seconds off the pace.

Antonio Pizzonia covered the most number of laps with 91 followed by Marc Gene with 84 and Ralf Schumacher with 54. Eddie Irvine just managed 27 laps.

A number of teams are expected to join tomorrow including Renault and BAR.

Click here for the test times from Barcelona 

27-Jan: Flavio Briatore, Renault's Team Principal spoke realistically about the team's chances of winning races this season. In his usual style Briatore said "No way, it's like expecting to go have lunch on the moon. We are not there. Only a dreamer believes that we will win races in the condition we are in. No way. To win you need at least a 50 percent chance of being first when you start the race. This is winning. We need a year to really consolidate the team. The people are there."

Speaking of Jenson Button, Briatore - for the first time - gave assurances that Button will stay with the team at least until the end of the year putting an end to the rumours of a Villeneuve-Button swap. He said "I see that Jenson now is a completely different guy. I want to help Jenson. But to help Jenson you need to be shaking him. Last year he was shaken enough, especially at the end of the season. Now our relationship is perfect, Jenson is driving for us all season. I tell you, Jenson is finishing the season with us. There is no reason to have another driver in Jenson's place."
Jenson Button realises that this year is crucial for him and is hoping to score a podium or two for the team this year and said "It is a very vital year for me, but no more so than for any other driver. I think this is the year when I can really show what I can do and, while winning has to be a personal aim, I will be happy to get the odd podium."

27-Jan: Renault launched their 2002 contender, the R202 today at their Guyancourt Technocentre outside Paris. The car carrying the corporate yellow and their title sponsor Mild Seven blue colours was launched with a simple statement "100% Renault".

Renault have made their ambitions clear: to be able to finish among the top 4 this season, win races next season and challenge for the championship in 2004. Chairman and CEO of Renault F1 Patrick Faure said "We have returned to Formula One to win with a 100 per cent Renault team. We chose to build Renault F1 around two centres, Viry and Enstone, which are now fully integrated, and to pursue creative, innovative technological solutions.  R202

I will be very disappointed if the team doesn't finish among the top four in 2002 but, in any case, our aim is to be as close as possible to the top teams, with the objective of winning races regularly in 2003, and challenging for the title the following year."

The Renault R202 is powered by the RS22 which according to Renault F1 Managing Director Jean-Jacques His is a major improvement over the RS21 unit that powered the Benetton B201 last year. He said "This season we will introduce new concepts. It is not a completely new engine, and uses the same architectural philosophy as last year, but there are major improvements for 2002. Having worked on achieving a high level of reliability in 2001, this year we will concentrate on ultimate performance. It takes more than one and a half years for a new engine to reach a satisfactory level of development and, now that we have acquired this experience, we will be more capable of responding to the needs of the chassis team by supplying them with a competitive unit."

Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button will be driving for the team in 2002 with Spanish sensation Fernando Alonso as their test driver. Flavio Briatore believes his driver line-up has great potential and said "For 2002, we have an extremely strong technical team working in complete harmony, and a driver line-up with great potential; Trulli is quick and very strong technically. Button will benefit from the experience gained last year, and our test driver Alonso will help develop the car throughout the year."

Renault competed as a 'works' team in Formula 1 between 1977 and 1985 but did not manage to win the Constructors' Championship. In the 90's they were hugely successful as an engine supplier winning the Constructors' Championship 6 times between 1992 and 1997. 5 times with Williams and once with Benetton.

The team now heads to Barcelona for an extensive test session with Jarno Trulli and Jenson Button.

2002 Mild Seven Renault Page

26-Jan: Following the launch of the FW24 on Friday, Juan Pablo Montoya has indicated that he has what it takes to help Williams win the Championship and said "I can go quicker. Sometimes you go quicker but you still have some doubt, you know you might be able to go faster still. In order to do that you need to have a good balance of the car. If the balance of the car is not right, you just can't push it. I know I can do the job, the team knows I can do the job and I have worked hard for that. You really have to look for every opportunity - they don't come to you.
If the cars works and everything works well together, maybe we can. We need a quick, reliable car. Ferrari has a quick, reliable car with a quick driver, all working around him. We have two good drivers in the team, and if the team can evolve around the two good drivers we will do well."
On the issue of his relationship with his team-mate, Juan admitted that they only have a professional relationship and said "We are just two different personalities. But we have to work together to achieve things and it doesn't matter to us whether we like each other or not. We work as a team, but are just two different people. But there is no pressure and there is nothing wrong with that. It will be good for the team, and for both of us, to push each other. You always want to beat your own team mate. That is normal."

Ralf Schumacher echoed Montoya's statement on their relationship when he said "Well, we just don't like each other. We don't associate with each other in private. We need to work together and make the car go quicker. We need to work together to make the whole project work. As long as we work together well in our working relationship, that is the best it can be. He feels that way and I feel that way. I think it is one of the best working relationships I have ever had!"

A decision on the future of the Prost team is now expected on Monday. A Versailles court is expected to rule on whether the team should be liquidated or if one of the bids are accepted and the team allowed to continue. 
Alain Prost
indicated that there were still 3 or 4 credible offers on the table but he was disappointed that none were from French investors. He even went as far as declaring that he was prepared to walk away from the team if it ensured the team's survival.

26-Jan: Marc Gene set the fastest time in testing at Barcelona today with a time of 1:18.806 in the hybrid Williams (FW23B). He was just over 0.2 seconds quicker than the second Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia. Pedro de la Rosa was third fastest in the R3.
The new Williams FW24 arrived at Barcelona but didn't run and is expected to run tomorrow or Monday. Jaguar have yet to run their new modified front wing on the R3.

Pedro de la Rosa covered the most number of laps with 120 followed by Antonio Pizzonia with 94 and Marc Gene with 77 laps.

Only Williams and Jaguar were testing today. Testing continues tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Barcelona 

25-Jan: Alexander Wurz in the hybrid McLaren has broken the lap record (on grooved tyres) yet again setting a stunning lap time of 1:17.328. Kimi Raikkonen in the MP4-17 was not too far off the pace under half a second slower than Wurz. As this was McLaren's last day of testing at Barcelona, it is expected that they were testing their cars in qualifying trim.
Williams and Jaguar were also present as they kick off another round of testing in preparation for the season opener in Melbourne on the 3rd of March.
Both Williams test drivers Marc Gene and Antonio Pizzonia were testing hybrid Williams while the team was launching the FW24 at Silverstone. The new car will run here tomorrow.
Jaguar returned to the track with Pedro de la Rosa testing the R3 as they await crucial front wing components that they hope will dramatically improve the performance of the car.

Kimi Raikkonen covered the most number of laps with 84 followed by Antonio Pizzonia with 67 and Marc Gene with 60. Pedro de la Rosa covered the least number of laps with 24.

Williams and Jaguar continue testing tomorrow.

Click here for the test times from Barcelona 

25-Jan: Williams BMW launched their 2002 contender at Silverstone today with a clear target of capturing the 2002 World Title.
The new Williams, the FW24 is paired to a new BMW engine, the P82 which is expected to be even more powerful than the benchmark P80 of last season.

Team Principal Frank Williams indicated that their expectations this season are high and said "After four commanding victories, four pole positions and eight lap records in our second year together, our expectations for the third season are high. We have great hopes for our new chassis, the FW24, and for the new BMW P82 engine. Beyond that, we've got the strongest team of drivers. Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya are different personalities with different driving styles, but their goals are identical." 

Given the number of engine related failures in 2001, BMW are focusing on reliability as well as maintaining power. BMW Motorsport Direct, Dr. Mario Thiessen said "On circuits where engine performance was the deciding factor, we were the force to be reckoned with in 2001. Defending this status while at the same time improving our reliability are our key objectives for 2002.
Our first engine, the E41 of the 2000 season was a leap from zero to 90 per cent. The P80 upped that to 98 per cent. And yet we will never achieve 100 per cent of what is technically possible. The benchmark shifts with every successful innovation. The crossbar is raised as you jump"
Technical Director, Patrick Head stated the goals they've set for the FW24 and said "If you know in advance that on some circuits you're not going to win on your own merits, then the car isn't good enough. Further improving the aerodynamics and reliability were our primary goals when it came to the FW24."

The FW24 was given a shakedown at Silverstone by the Williams drivers and heads to Barcelona for testing starting tomorrow. 

The team announced a major sponsorship deal with FedEx who were main sponsors for Ferrari in past.

2002 BMW Williams F1 Page

25-Jan: The Sauber team have launched their 2002 contender, the C21 in Hinwil, Switzerland. The team have set their target to defend their 4th place finish in the Championship and possibly even do better. 

Team Principal Peter Sauber said "We know that we are aiming high. Our fourth place in 2001 was an optimum result from our point of view. Nevertheless, we accept the challenge to do even better in our 10th year in the exclusive circle of Formula One." 

The C21 is an evolution of the C20 maintaining the reliability and consistency yet improving its aerodynamic efficiency and reducing the weight of the car. 

For the second year in a row, the Sauber team will have one of the youngest driver pairings on the grid. 24 year old Nick Heidfeld continues alongside 20 year old Felipe Massa. Peter Sauber said "Nick has displayed consistent high performance. In his third season in Formula One he will be able to stay in the first third of the ranking. Apart from his undeniable speed his strengths include constructive contributions to the development of the car and his always fruitful co-operation with the entire team."
Sauber also spoke of how impressed he was with Felipe Massa and said "Felipe immediately convinced us during his test drives in September and October, 2001 in Mugello. It is a big step up from the Euro 3000 series to Formula One, but not to the extent that a talented driver could not manage it successfully. Last autumn, Massa showed that he is well capable of handling 800 bhp"

While Peter Sauber would love to win a Grand Prix race this season, he realises that it isn't a realistic target and would rather aim at winning as many points as possible and said "The whole team is very motivated. We want to prove to ourselves and to our partners that we are capable of renewing our extraordinary results this year. Naturally, it has to be the aim of every Formula One team to win Grand Prix. However, it would be presumptuous to set such high goals for 2002. We rather strive to score as many points as possible and to defend our fourth place in the Constructors´ Championship."

The Sauber test team heads to Barcelona to continue testing the C21 on the 29th of January.

2002 Sauber Petronas Page 

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