26-July: At the Friday press conference for the German Grand Prix,
Norbert Haug talked about the improvements at McLaren over the last few
races and said "I think very much the combination of chassis and tyres.
We made steps with the engine as well, certainly not dramatic steps but small
steps. Everything helps, but in reality if you bring chassis and tyres
together and you can use them for the race then you are in good shape and I
think that's the key and that's what you do, what you have to solve, this is
the main issue and I would say that since Monaco onwards it's going better and
better, and I think our best performance was Magny-Cours. That performance was
better than the Monaco one even considering the fact that we won there but we
were 2.5 tenths from pole and we were posting fastest race laps so the
performance was good. We could use the tyres. I'm sure that Michelin knows the
circuit very well so that all helps. Things came together in a positive way.
Still I would say Michael could have had the upper hand without his pit lane
speeding but we were absolutely on a comparable level for the first time and
the first time since Monaco, but it's encouraging. I cannot tell you whether
this trend continues, it's very much up to the combination of chassis and
As for Kimi's incident at the French GP and McLaren's request for
clarifications, Norbert said "First of all we did not make a protest. I
think the stewards investigated and they said the move was alright and that's
the end of the story.
We did not look for a protest. I think Kimi was very unlucky, that was a
shame. There were no oil flags out and probably we should discuss these issues
that marshals are really concentrated and put the oil flags out. These are the
issues that are important and not rumours like Ron Dennis posted a protest,
which he did not do. But I think it's absolutely normal and maybe you ask my
colleagues that you seek for clarification. I think everybody would have done
that and certainly Ferrari would have done that and I think Ross Brawn would
have been the first guy to have done it."
As for his thoughts on the new layout at Hockenheim, he said "I have to
say I'm positively impressed. I think it's going to be a good race, it's
entertaining and I think it's very much for the spectators and that's how the
sport should be in my view. Certainly the old characteristics have been
different ones on this race track and now we have a lot of corners, hopefully
some overtaking possibilities. It looks like we saw a couple of cars spinning
today because of the very green track at the beginning but I think it's going
to be better once more rubber is on the asphalt and I think it's quite
challenging, still 320 kph before the hairpin and very fast right-hander
following where you have to be very committed and a very slow left-hander, the
combination before the Mercedes grandstand. I think it's a good spectacle at
the end of the day, and I have to say I'm impressed and it looks very safe.
When the car spins, you don't get damage and the old stadium is still there
and I think people will enjoy it. The best thing for the spectators is that
they saw 44 laps in the past and now it's going to be 67 and this is fifty per
cent more, so they see the cars much more often and on the new part of the
circuit there is a great view. I think it's a good step forward for
Frank Williams voiced his frustration at the recent
results by Williams and said "Well, the results are frankly disappointing
for the last few races. Mercedes and McLaren have been working very well
together. I'm sure that Norbert's being extremely modest about his engine's
contribution and it's up to us to respond."
As for Montoya's problems in France, Frank said "Both his second and
third sets of tyres developed, very soon after they were fitted, a lot of
understeer, an unmanageable amount, which is unusual."
And why does Montoya qualify better than Ralf ? Frank said "Definitely
he's prepared to find the limit even more closely than Ralf is. He really does
go to extremes."
As for his thought on the new track, he said "I think it is true that
Norbert is a shareholder and director of the new Hockenheim. I do agree with
him. It's got a lot of Bernie's influence. If you've been to the new Ricard
circuit it's very wide and very smooth, and what I like is that you can go off
the road quite a lot and do no damage, which will promote a lot of dodgy
overtaking at no cost except to a driver's dignity. Like Indianapolis and a
Peter Sauber has confirmed
that he'll take the option on Nick Heidfeld for next year and said "We
will take up the option on Nick, that's all. It does confirm him, for me it's
Peter indicated that they still want to fight for 4th but they have been hurt
by the lack of scoring points and said "We will fight again for the
fourth place, but you see that it's very, very difficult. The performance of
the car is similar to the Renault car. If you look at the qualifying results
from Nick, for example, after eleven races we stay on a similar level, but we
haven't scored enough points."
As for his thoughts on the new track, he said "I follow Norbert's
opinion. I think it's an advantage, not only for the spectators, I think also
for the drivers. I think it's also easier to find the right set-up for this
track because the difference between the high speed and the slow parts are not
so big as before."
Otmar Szafnauer confirmed that Honda may supply just
one team next season and negotiations are underway with Jordan regarding the
Honda engine supply and said "That hasn't been 100 per cent decided yet.
As you know, we have a three-year contract with British American Racing and a
further year to go with Jordan. We're in the midst now of discussing that with
Jordan Grand Prix and a joint decision between us and Jordan will be
forthcoming in the near future. It's obvious that car designs and engines have
to progress so I would hate to put a time frame on it as we don't know and it
would be a guess for myself as well, but relatively soon."
Otmar also indicated that Honda will be supplying their latest evolution engines
for both Saturday and Sunday and said "That engine was introduced just
after Canada and we're continuing to improve that engine. Our biggest step was
made in France last weekend. We have more of those engines here this weekend
and we'll see how it goes. It was a significant improvement for us and time
You will see it tomorrow and Sunday so today we didn't have that engine."
Ove Andersson indicated that Toyota will announce
their driver line-up by the end of August and said "I can tell you the
present situation. We have a contract with Allan until the end of the year, we
have an option with Mika for next year. At the moment, we are discussing what
we are going to do. Obviously this is in consultation with our top management
in Japan and for now we haven't really decided what we want to do. I think it
will be the end of August when we know where we will be going."
Ove confirmed that Eddie Jordan talked to him about a Toyota engine supply but
indicated that Toyota isn't interested at this stage and said "There is
absolutely no agreement and we have no plans to supply engines to any other
team at the moment. We are busy trying to get on top of our own problems and
to think about supplying another team with engines at this moment in time is
definitely not in our plans."
As for their engine failures in France, he said "The truth of the matter
is that we had connecting rods breaking in both engines, exactly the same
failure. It was a little bit difficult to understand because they are the same
conrods we've used since the beginning of the season so obviously there's a
material problem. What we have done is that we have stripped all the engines
for this race and we have fitted new parts which also has a slight
modification to improve the situation."
As for his assessment of Toyota's season so far, Ove said "I believe that
we have done reasonably well. I think what we set out to do was to try to be
in every race, to be respected by the rest of the paddock for the seriousness
of our efforts, and I believe we have achieved that. That's how I feel, and
from this point of view I am quite happy."
Paul Stoddart indicated that Minardi have yet to make
a decision on their engine supplier for next year and it is not necessarily
Asiatech and said "We're going to be announcing something I would think
by the end of August. We're not due to make any decisions until after Hungary
so pretty much all up in the air. Obviously we're talking to a few other
people as well. We'll just have to wait and see."
Paul indicated that he isn't part of Aistech's plans to enter Formula 1 as a
team and said "We've talked about it but to be honest, no. We just don't
know what their final plans are. At this moment they've done a good job
supplying us with the engines this year, reliability has been good and beyond
that, it's all still to be discussed."
As for his thoughts about his driver Alex Yoong, Paul said "He hasn't had
the best of years. In fairness, I think today he's been the closest he's been
all year and the biggest problem he seems to have is that he really does
struggle to learn a track and he does struggle a bit in qualifying. Today,
he's not far off the mark with Mark and when there's a sort of a levelling as
there is here with the new track, he seems to do a lot better. He's obviously
not had the best of years and we'll just see how he gets on with the remaining
Ė 2nd Friday Practice Session: Michael Schumacher sets the fastest
time of the session ahead of Rubens Barrichello and Kimi Raikkonen. David
Coulthard, Ralf Schumacher and Eddie Irvine make the top 6 ... Timed Results ...
Ė 1st Friday Practice Session: Rubens Barrichello sets the fastest
time of the session ahead of Michael Schumacher and Olivier Panis. Kimi
Raikkonen, Nick Heidfeld and Juan Pablo Montoya make the top 6 ... Timed Results ...
Putting an end to all the speculation surrounding their driver line-up for
next season and particularly regarding the return of former World Champion
Mika Hakkinen, McLaren have confirmed that David Coulthard and Kimi
Raikkonen will be driving for the team in 2003 and that Mika Hakkinen
retires from the sport. David Coulthard was pleased to continue with the team for the 8th
season and said "In the competitive environment of Formula One, I think
it is an important factor for the team and the drivers to have continuity.
Kimi and myself have been developing a good relationship during the 2002
season, and I look forward to the continuation of this next year. The value
the team places on stability is clear as my partnership with Mika was the
longest driver pairing in Formula One, and I would like to wish my old team
mate a happy retirement with his family." Kimi Raikkonen said "Iím pleased to be staying with Team McLaren
Mercedes as I have really enjoyed my first season with the team. I have learnt
a lot in these past couple of months, am very excited about the future, and
believe David, the team and myself will be able to challenge for the World
Championship next year. As a fellow Finn, Iím sure Mika will keep an eye on
me and also the teamís progress next year from home." Alexander Wurz was also retained as the team's test driver. He said
"Iím very happy to enter a long-term contract with McLaren as third
driver. Iíve grown into this role over the past two years and itís an
integral and challenging position within the team. With the general
uncertainties in Formula One at the moment and the current stalemate situation
in the driver market, I preferred to commit early to this agreement and to my
team mates, rather than having to wait for situations to unfold. Team McLaren
Mercedes is a great team with a fantastic infrastructure and extensive
resources. Itís very satisfying to work closely in a highly skilled and
committed environment to develop the best car possible."
And Mika Hakkinen said "At the Monaco Grand Prix in 2001 I
informed Ron that I wanted to stop, but he wanted to make sure that I made the
right decision and gave me the opportunity to take a sabbatical. Once I had
spoken with Ron a huge weight came off my shoulders, I really enjoyed the rest
of the season and was able to win at Silverstone and Indianapolis. At this
yearís Monaco Grand Prix I wasnít sure how I was going to feel but the
visit made it clear to me that I had made the right decision and I told Ron
that I was going to retire. I have been through so much in my Formula One
career and achieved a lot and I just didnít think it was worth it to push
things any further. I want to spend time with my family and see Hugo growing
up. I have met a lot people over the years and there are so many I want to
thank personally which I will do at a later time. All I can say now is a big
heartfelt thank you to everybody. I appreciate the support and friendship you
have showed me over the years Ė thank you."
Team boss Ron Dennis said "Iím pleased that we
are able to announce our 2003 driver line up at Hockenheim, one of
Mercedes-Benzís home races. David, Kimi and Alex have done a fantastic job
this year and like the team they want to challenge for the 2003 Championship
and the continuity can only be beneficial for all involved. Mika is also
taking this opportunity to announce his retirement from Formula One and I want
to thank him for everything he has done and achieved for the team during his
nine-year career with McLaren. I know itís not been an easy decision for him
to make, and the team and myself want to wish him and his family all the best
for the future."
While Norbert Haug from Mercedes said "We are glad to have David,
Kimi and Alexander in our team in 2003. They work well together and have
contributed to the progress we have made between Melbourne and Magny Cours.
All three are focused, committed and hard working and together they are not
only good ambassadors for Mercedes-Benz, but also they form the ideal line up
for our 2003 championship challenge. Now is also the time to say thank you to
Mika who has achieved 20 wins and two World Championships for Team McLaren
Mercedes. He has been and will continue to be an important member of the
Practice Session 1
Friday Practice Session 2
Saturday Practice Session 1
Saturday Practice Session 2 Qualifying Session
Warm-up Session Race
AM Hockenheim Time / 9 AM GMT
1 PM Hockenheim Time / 11 AM GMT
9:00 AM Hockenheim Time / 7:00 AM GMT
10:15 AM Hockenheim Time / 8:15 AM GMT 1:00 PM Hockenheim Time / 11:00 AM GMT 9:30 AM Hockenheim Time / 7:30 AM GMT 2:00 PM Hockenheim Time / 12 PM GMT