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15 - 18 July News  
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18-July: At the Thursday press conference for the French Grand Prix, Michael Schumacher has once again indicated that he doesn't expect to clinch the title at Magny-Cours and said "First of all, we know under which circumstances if and what can maybe happen, but it's not really too much of a focus honestly, because I don't expect anything like that to happen. I will race as normal and obviously try to win the race, that's the target and then we will see what will be the result in the end. Whether it happens here or another time, I don't think that is really important to me. What matters for me is that it does happen in the end."
Michael believes that they've had the better car so far but the tyres play a crucial role an said "So far, I think we have certainly had the better car than the rest and it has been in the tyres, whether we had the right tyres or not, whether we were beaten or not and I hope we have the right tyres. We did a very good test with Bridgestone who brought along some more new tyres for that race which should make the situation a little bit more comfortable."
As for Ferrari's relatively weak qualifying performances, Michael said "We have seen last year the situation the other way around, we worked on our weak side, we didn't really give away anything for qualifying, so it is probably the others who have raised their game in qualifying but are suddenly suffering in racing and probably we both went in the other direction and that is the final result."
On a lighter note, Michael was asked if he would be interested in a Charity challenge with World Rally driver Colin McRae, he said "I have been interested in running a rally car in the past. I have to say that I'm less interested now because I'm not so much into it any more, but maybe one day when I have time enough I would like to do it in a safe place because I'm not interested in going through the forest and risking my life."

Jacques Villeneuve has indicated that he will definitely be driving for BAR next year and said "I don't see any reason for me not being back with BAR next year. It would take something really, really extreme, so I feel at the moment I am definitely with the team next year."
As for BAR scoring their first points of the season at Silverstone, Jacques said "It just made everybody happier, so it's easier to work. It's like waking up and putting some cold water on your face. It was needed, it's been a very hard season since the beginning and it looked like we weren't going to score any points until the end of the season. That was bad, it was very hard for everybody to carry so now everybody is standing a little bit straighter and it's easier to work."
Jacques believes they are making good progress and said "The progress that we've made was very useful in Silverstone, it wasn't huge but it was enough to jump a few positions in qualifying, because we're in the part of the grid where it's very close with the lap times, and it was the first time this season we managed to be in front of both Saubers, which have generally been a reference for us so that means we've made progress, and the car was competitive throughout the whole race, wet and dry. So all the work we've done worked. We had the new suspensions in the last race and they worked well and we spent a lot of time working on the electronics as well."

Olivier Panis indicated that his approach towards his home Grand Prix is the same as any other but would hope to score points in front of his home crowd and said "For me it doesn't make a big difference really because I am a Formula One driver, I like my job. Magny-Cours is a home Grand Prix and I am really happy to drive in front of the French spectators, but for me it is the same job compared to every other one. I need to make the best and to continue to work with the team to improve the car and to continue to get points."
Olivier was happy with the team's result at Silverstone and said "I am quite happy for the team, for me and Jacques because we worked so hard during the season and I know when we started the season the car was not good and we had a lot of problems with reliability but we need to respect the job of Honda, everybody worked hard in the team and Silverstone was a good result because to stay the last team in the championship is not BAR's position."

Mika Salo admitted that Toyota are struggling with reliability at the moment but they are still quick as they are qualifying in the top 10 and said "We lost some reliability in the last few races but the car is still quick, we can still qualify in the top ten every race, so it's not bad. We just lost some reliability and it happens. You can't ever test enough and we just keep testing and putting new parts on the car and sometimes those new parts fail. That's what has happened. We have never actually had the same failure in a race so far, so we're finding new ones.
The car's a lot quicker than we are showing at the moment and we are just not getting everything out of it."
Mika Salo confirmed that he'll be driving for Toyota next year and said "I'm staying where I am. I have a contract for next year. I had a three year contract from the beginning and next year is the last one."

Pedro de la Rosa believes Jaguar have made a step forward with their new package and said "I think the last test in Monza was very positive for the team. We've learned some things, how to make the new aero package work better. Still we are not sure how much better that means but it's definitely better. We will see, compared to other people in proper circumstances, how much we have improved during the past week, but the feeling is that we have made another step forward."
Pedro is also happy with the latest Cosworth engine and said "We are running the new LK engine which is a good step again. We have been running it in qualifying and the race since Silverstone. We introduced it for the first time in Canada in qualifying, and it seems to have worked well. It's reliable, we're finishing races which is important."

Felipe Massa had several spins during the race at Silverstone and that's something he hopes to learn from and said "It was an exciting race for me. I made a lot of mistakes at the beginning. Actually, at the start I tried to overtake Jacques but after I put two wheels on the grass and it was wet and afterwards I had a headache after the spins. After in the rain, it was quite good and our car was really quick in the rain and also at the end of the race and I had three stops and most of the people had two so it was not a bad race, but in the beginning I made a lot of mistakes but that's part of learning. I hope we're not going to see that again."
As for next year, Felipe hopes to stay at Sauber and said "I'm hoping to stay. I have a one year contract and they have an option for two more years. I don't know yet but I hope to stay where I am."

17-July: Following their embarrassing engine supply crisis at the British Grand Prix, the Arrows team have clarified that this time it is not the engines. A statement by the team read "Arrows would like to clarify that, contrary to today's press reports, our participation in the French Grand Prix has nothing to do with engine supply. All payments to Cosworth Racing are up to date and, as stated before, the terms of the agreement are confidential. The issues we have are nothing to do with Cosworth, they are to do with one of our shareholders. We are still in discussions and, as we said yesterday, will do all in our power to compete this weekend."

Fernando Alonso who drove for the Minardi team in 2000 and is currently the official test driver for Renault will have no problems securing a drive next season, that is according to Renault's boss Flavio Briatore.
Briatore indicated that if Renault don't offer Alonso a drive he will be driving with another team and said "Fernando will have no problem. Four or five teams are interested in him. He will be in Formula One next year. We cannot block a driver like him. If he doesn't get a place at Renault, he will definitely find a place at another team."
Briatore also praised his current driver Jenson Button and said "This year the relationship between the team and Jenson has been super. He's done a super job. He deserves a top team."
Fernando Alonso is tipped to replace Jenson Button who's contract with Renault ends this season. 

Click here for the latest on the 2003 Season line-up  

17-July: "How long do we have to put up with . . . ." is the title of the 21st issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2002 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the aftermath of the British Grand Prix and reviews the French Grand Prix - Issue 21

17-July: Racing for the first time at home since returning to Formula 1 this season, Renault are hoping to finish on the podium. Technical Director Mike Gascoyne hopes that the senior personnel from Renault will be rewarded with a podium finish and said "We will certainly be looking for points and it would be great to improve on that at our home race. That must be our aim. There would be no better place in the whole year to score a podium finish. We are expecting the same performance levels as we showed in the early part of the Silverstone race, where our recent work manifested itself well. There will be large numbers of senior personnel from Renault at the race and it would be great for the commitment they have shown to the F1 program to be rewarded with a podium finish."
Jarno Trulli is confident that the track will suit their car and said "I am definitely looking forward to this race and it would be great to do well at home. I am feeling confident and although there is a little more pressure, I am sure we can deal with it. You need a car with a good front end and rear stability under braking, plus lots of traction out of the slow corners. All those demands will suit our car, so I think we should put in a good performance. I've spent a lot of time at this circuit, and it definitely gives an advantage in getting the right set-up and technique."
Jenson Button is also upbeat about his prospects and said "It is obviously important for everyone in the team to do well in France. It would be nice to pull out something special for Renault at their home race, but we will wait and see when we get to the circuit. In my first year of Formula One, the race was pretty good. We didn't score points but team tactics didn't help. I have pretty much blanked out 2001 and am looking for a much more competitive 2002!"

After scoring all their 5 points this season at the British Grand Prix, BAR are hoping to repeat that performance especially that it is the home race for Olivier Panis who said "The French Grand Prix is my home race and nothing would give me greater pleasure than to finish in the points in Magny-Cours also. We have to be realistic though and accept that we still have a big challenge in front of us.
Racing in front of your home crowd is always something special. The massive amount of fans cheering for you makes the atmosphere thrilling. On the other hand, for me the job is the same everywhere and wherever the race is I keep focused on the job at stake with only one target, which is to give 100%. Iím racing to win."
Jacques Villeneuve is confident of a strong showing and said "The team put on a good show at the British Grand Prix and we should continue to be fairly competitive in Magny-Cours. The track has suited us in the past and the car should be quite good there.
Iíve had four points finishes here in the past, most recently a 4th place two years ago with BAR. It's not one of my favourite tracks, although there are a couple of high-speed chicanes which are fun. There is a good overtaking opportunity at the Adelaide hairpin as well, but the rest of the circuit is quite slow."

16-July: As Tom Walkinshaw continues working hard on securing his team's future, he has vowed to do everything in his power to ensure Arrows race this weekend. He said "We have new investors waiting to step in and secure our future, but we still have to come to agreement with existing shareholders. Negotiations are detailed and complex but we donít intend to give up. We need more time. We want to do a deal that will satisfy everyone concerned. We are still in discussions with all parties and are now moving into the time-consuming due diligence process with some of the potential investors. I have instructed the team to despatch the cars and transporters to Magny Cours this evening and we will do all in our power to compete at the weekend.
We'll keep on trying and hope that common sense and responsibility prevail. Weíll keep you informed.Ē

16-July: The Quali-flyer's predictions for the 'Real Race' at the French GP ... Report

16-July: Michael Schumacher has indicated that while he prefers to wrap up the Drivers' title at Hockenheim, he is ready to take it at Magny-Cours but that depends on how his closest rivals do. He said "We will try to take it at Magny-Cours, because I would like to win the race. But that on its own might not be enough to win the championship, as it does not only depend on me, but also on what the others will do. So it does not really matter if it waits until Hockenheim."
Michael is confident for the race but admits it will be a tough one and said "At this time of year, it is usually very hot in France and that is the factor that most influences the carís behaviour. The track surface can be slippery and the tyres react in a different way to usual. That means it wonít be an easy race, but we are confident and happy with the package at our disposal."
For Michael to wrap up the title at Magny-Cours, he needs to win the race and neither Rubens Barrichello nor Juan Pablo Montoya finish in second.

Ralf Schumacher is confident of a strong showing at Magny-Cours and wants to delay Michael's title celebrations as much as possible. He said "Putting aside the problems we experienced with the fuel rig at Silverstone that we will solve, last race showed that we have taken a considerable step forward in dry conditions. The new aero package and our hard work testing tyres and traction control have pushed us forward and have made us more competitive. We are improving step by step and the same should be true at Magny-Cours as well. To be honest, I don't feel like congratulating my brother on his World Championship victory in France. I would prefer to delay this as much as possible!."
Team-mate Juan Pablo Montoya also believes that Williams will have a strong race and hopes to improve his position in the Championship. He said "I think Magny-Cours is a pretty good circuit and it should prove to be a strong race for us. It's Michelinís home ground and this makes it even more interesting. According to the development schedule, the team should benefit from some new tyres which will allow us to perform more consistently in the French GP. Last year the race was not so good for me and I retired from second place, so I am hoping to score some points this time. My priority is to improve my position in the Drivers World Championship standings."

15-July: "Can Williams challenge Ferrari ?" - The French Grand Prix Preview is now available ... Race Preview

French Formula 1 Grand Prix Schedule:

Session Time (Local / GMT) - Current local time
Friday Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2
Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session
11 AM Nevers Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Nevers Time / 11 AM GMT
9:00 AM Nevers Time / 7:00 AM GMT 
10:15 AM Nevers Time / 8:15 AM GMT
1:00 PM Nevers Time / 11:00 AM GMT
9:30 AM Nevers Time / 8:30 AM GMT
2:00 PM Nevers Time / 12 PM GMT
Go to the French GP Page

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