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Is McLaren on the way down ? - The Heretic
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Who will get the wooden spoon ?
11 - 14 March News
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Ron Dennis took the blame for Coulthard's retirement
in Melbourne and said "The parts that failed are a very small part of the
mechanism that drives the electronic sensor that determines which the gear the
driver is in, so it's an integral part of the selection process. The design of
that particular component is about four years mature and the failure was
really caused by high level of vibration coming from performance steps by
Mercedes Benz and we just missed it in the latter part of our testing. We had
such good gearbox reliability through the testing that the last test's
gearboxes were not stripped until after the Australian Grand Prix and there
was an indication of the problem in those boxes so it was a fair and square
McLaren mistake, something that we should have picked up and didn't."
Alex Yoong described the new Minardi PS02 as a big
step forward over it's predecessor but admits that he cannot wait for power
steering and said "I think the car has got a lot of potential. We haven't
had a chance to do any set up work on it yet and it's quite a big step forward
from last year's car. You know we've had quite a nice jump in power with the
Asiatech engine. The other two major things are downforce, we've done some
good work in the wind tunnel; and weight saving. The car's a lot lighter and
actually we are running ballast this year, whereas last year we didn't have
any ballast at all.
Michael Schumacher thinks that Michelin appear to
have a problem in Australia similar to last year but he also believes that
Bridgestone have made a big step under hot conditions and said "If you
look at the situation of last year, then you honestly have to say that it
looks like that Michelin seems to have a problem with that particular circuit
(Albert Park), because last year they haven't been very competitive there, so
they haven't been this year. Coming here, the situation seems to have changed
quite rapidly. Saying that, since Magny Cours last year, I think Bridgestone
has made a huge step forward in terms of consistency in hot weather
conditions. I would be surprised to see it's only up to temperature. I think
there must be other reasons, being a factor of it, because after we came from
Brazil to Imola and, if you all remember, Michelin seemed to be rather
competitive and it wasn't too hot in Imola, so I don't think it was only
Kimi Raikkonen is hoping to keep finishing on the
podium this year and preferably on the middle step but is aware of the tough
competition and said "I hope to be more often on the podium, especially
in the middle, but the team is pushing and I am doing my best. I think we had
a bit of bad luck in Australia also in the first corner. I was pushed off the
circuit, and it took quite a long time to get back on the circuit, change some
parts in the pits. So the result was quite good and especially if you look
after the first lap, I was still in last place. We are aiming for a win but
it's hard against Ferrari and Williams but we are doing our best."
14-Mar: Both Ralf Schumacher
Rubens Barrichello have indicated that they will try and avoid each other
at the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix following their first corner crash at the
Australian GP. At the time, both drivers blamed each other for the accident,
now however, they just want to forget about it. Ralf Schumacher said "I
will be more careful at the first corner. I will try to avoid Rubens. I want
to qualify better than him and to stay in front of him all the time."
Ralf also fired a warning to his bother Michael and said "I am happy with
my brother's victory in Melbourne but it will not be easy for him in Malaysia.
He can expect a tough fight from me from the start of the race."
Michael Schumacher is assuming that he will be
driving the F2002 at the Brazilian Grand Prix but indicated that he will only
do so if the car is 100% reliable and said "I assume we will race the new
car in Brazil. We have another test after this race but we want to be 100
percent certain nothing is wrong. We have been conservative on it, especially
after the way the old car performed in the first race."
14-Mar: "Is McLaren on the way down?" is the title of the 4th issue from the Diagnosis and Prognosis Series for the 2002 season. In this issue, the Heretic looks at the upcoming Malaysian Grand Prix - Issue 4
13-Mar: British businessman
Charles Nickerson who purchased the assets of the Prost Grand Prix team
had hoped to take part in the Malaysian GP this weekend. The FIA however have
informed him and his Phoenix group that they will not be allowed to
race even on a provisional basis.
13-Mar: "Who will get the wooden spoon ?" - Topic of the week - Have Your Say
12-Mar: Both the Williams
and McLaren teams have expressed confidence in challenging Ferrari at
the Malaysian Grand Prix. Both teams are hoping to benefit from the higher
temperatures which should make the Michelin tyre perform better.
Similarly at the McLaren camp, they are hoping to challenge
Ferrari for the win.
11-Mar: Michael Schumacher has fired a warning to his rivals indicating that he has every intention to win at Malaysia in the old car and using Bridgestone tyres despite claims that Bridgestone will suffer under the hot conditions. He said "I think we will still have the better tyre. Maybe not to the extent we saw in Australia, but I disagree completely with the idea that Bridgestone will not be competitive in Malaysia. This opinion is based on last year, when the Bridgestones suffered a bit in the hot weather in the early part of the season. At the beginning of last year, there was definitely a gap between us and Michelin. But by the mid-season the gap had closed. That's why I'm very optimistic about the Malaysian race. I am sure we will be in contention for the win."
Jacques Villeneuve who failed to finish the
Australian GP after suffering a rear-wing failure is confident of the car's competitiveness
and is hoping to fight for points in Malaysia. He said "I'm looking
forward to racing in Malaysia. It's a challenging race and the hot atmospheric
conditions make it physically demanding. Like the Melbourne track, it is a
long lap, which I enjoy. There are a couple of very long straights with tight
corners. Our car should be fairly competitive. I'm disappointed that we didn't
finish the race in Melbourne as we could easily have been in the points there.
We have all the right elements in place to fight for points finishes, we just
need to raise our game."
Eddie Irvine who started in 19th place in Australia behind Mark Webber is expecting to qualify higher up this time round but he still doesn't expect a points finish and said "While we were aware of our problems before turning a wheel in anger at Albert Park, I donít think anybody expected a qualifying slot behind the Minardis. We simply didnít perform to our maximum ability over the qualifying hour. Malaysia will provide yet another challenge for us, but I certainly donít expect us to be at the back of the grid this time. I won here a couple of years ago with Ferrari and in 2000 I picked up the sixth place point for Jaguar Racing Ė a very tall order this time round."
11-Mar: "4 in a row for Ferrari" The Malaysian Grand Prix Preview is now available ... Race Preview
Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix Schedule: