26 Feb: The
FIA have today confirmed the banning of refuelling between Qualifying and
the Race on safety grounds. In the newly established Post Qualifying Parc
Fermé procedure the FIA states "For safety reasons, no fuel may be
added to or removed from the car between the second qualifying session and
the race. This will avoid the danger that in a search for extra
performance during qualifying, the car could be assembled in a manner
which, while optimum for qualifying with a minimal fuel load, might be
unsuitable or even dangerous at the start of the race."
The FIA also released the new Qualifying procedures in which they describe
how the single lap qualifying will run. Interestingly the procedure seems
to indicate that if a driver fails to set a time in the second Qualifying
session, they will be able to race. Meaning the 107% rules is scrapped.
Yet the 2003 sporting regulations indicates that the 107% rule still
In addition, the FIA released the new Spare Car procedure outlining that
the spare car may only be used if the race car is damaged beyond repair
and the Screens and Covers procedure where the FIA have banned almost all
kinds of screens and covers from the pitlane.
26 Feb: Introducing
8 'n' Pole Groups. Now you can see how your friends are doing ... Create
25 Feb: FIA
President Max Mosley defended the new regulations set by the FIA and
launched a scathing attack on McLaren and Williams. The 2 teams sent a
letter to the FIA complaining about the way the FIA introduced the new regulations
and hinted that they could take the FIA to arbitration.
Mosley says that their response is unfocused, described their claims that
the new rules threaten safety as 'obvious nonsense' and that their 'sad
little list of conditional intentions' to cut cost 'verges on the
here for the full reply from the FIA President (from the
21 Feb: The
FIA announced today the new timetable for the Grand Prix weekend. The main
change being the replacement of the 30 minute Sunday Warm-up session with a 15
minute session prior to Qualifying on Saturday. This move will help ensure that
cars cannot be significantly modified between Qualifying and the Race.
Moreover this decision is required if the latest FIA proposals of banning
refuelling between the second Qualifying session and the Race are
11:00 - 12:00
Free Practice Session
14:00 - 15:00
First Qualifying Practice Session
9:00 - 9:45
Free Practice Session
10:15 - 11:00
Free Practice Session
13:30 - 13:45
Warm Up Practice Session
14:00 - 15:00
Second Qualifying Practice Session
Canada, Great Britain and the US Races will start at 13:00
Malaysian Race will start at 15:00
Japanese Race will start at 14:30
A private test session will be run on Friday from 8:30 - 10:30
9 Feb: The
Sauber team launched their 2003 contender the C22 today with the ambitious
aim of chasing the top 3 teams. Team Principal Peter Sauber said "It is our goal to play a key
role in the vanguard of teams chasing the top three. In view of seven
competing works teams this is an ambitious goal, but I’m confident that we’ll
be able to reach it. Technical Director Willy Rampf said "We’ve used a completely new
design approach in creating this vehicle. Compared to its predecessor, we’re
expecting it to offer a significantly higher potential that we’ll be able to
exploit throughout the season.." Nick Heidfeld said "Although the C22 is new in practically every
detail, the car has been running with absolute perfection right from the
start. That’s the right basis for scoring points regularly." Heinz Harald Frentzen said "The C22 has an excellent balance,
responding to any changes in the setup exactly the way I expect as a driver. I’m
convinced that this car has a very high potential."
7 Feb: The
Ferrari team launched their 2003 contender the F2003-GA (in honour of the
late Avvocato Giovanni Agnelli). The aim for the team is to maintain their
position in the championship and scoring their 5th consecutive Constructors'
Title. President Luca Montezemolo said "We feel as this is our most
important season ever from a certain perspective. The year just ended can be
regarded as unrepeatable in terms of Scuderia Ferrari’s sporting
achievements and for the economic success of the Ferrari Maserati Group.
However, we know we must keep our feet on the ground. Being a car manufacturer
is a difficult business and in Formula 1, the competition is always very
Given last year’s results, I ask myself what improvement one can make on a
car which won 15 races out of 17. The spirit of this car is exactly that
latest improvement. Apart from that is the importance of the technological
transfer from Formula 1 to our road cars. This year, the championship will be
an even tougher fight than the last one and the regulations have changed. We
are in agreement with the changes and we take a positive view of this
reinforcing of the rules as long as they take into account the general
interest in Formula 1 and the fact it represents the most advanced
We do not know what challenges lie ahead, but with great humility we will try
and win 5 consecutive constructors’ titles for Ferrari and the drivers’
title this year. We have the spirit and the capability to do it." Director of Sport Management Jean Todt said "This is the tenth
time that I find myself here presenting a new single-seater. The years go by
but we have the same motivation as a team that has not won for ages. We have
managed to create an internally united group that is also open to outsiders;
it is one with common objectives. What unites us is team spirit, great
humility but also enormous respect for all our competitors.
The objectives are clear, we don't expect to be able to win 15 races this
year, because that would be presumptuous, but we want to remain where we are:
our competitors would not like to see Ferrari in the lead, but we will do all
we can to maintain our pole position" Michael Schumacher said "I hope the new car is as fast as it
looks, but now we must find out how good it is when we start testing.
Even though we had a very special season last year, today the mood was a bit
sombre out of respect for Mr. Agnelli. I am very proud to have known him and
worked so closely with him. I could always rely on his support and if we
manage to win the world championship again this year, it will be a tribute to
We start with a good old car and it will be important to score points at the
start of the season. In fact, with the changes to the rules, regarding
qualifying for example, it is reassuring to start with the F2002.
In my 12 seasons of F1, I have never had a season like last year, so I want
more of that. But I don’t expect to match last year. I have been surprised
at the pace of McLaren in winter testing. If they are not closer to us then
Rubens will be my main rival. He is a very fast driver and it is a challenge
for me to try and keep the upper hand. If McLaren is strong, then we will also
be fighting them. I will not be disappointed if I do not win so many races.
The championship is the most important thing for me."
Rubens Barrichello said "Last year, I felt I drove the best I have
ever done in Formula 1, but I had bad luck at the start of the season. Now I
am older, happier and faster.
I am hoping to make a better start this time and I am looking for the title,
even though some people might say it is impossible with Michael as a
team-mate. But it is very close between us, as we have seen in recent testing.
I have improved a lot since I came to Ferrari and part of that is because of
Michael. But it is not a case of copying him, as everyone has to solve their
own problems and there is no sign that he is getting slower."
The Ferrari team announced today that Brazilian Felipe Massa will join the
team as a test driver alongside Italian Luca Badoer.
Massa made his debut in Formula 1 last season with the Sauber team. He scored
4 points but his reputation of crashing cars didn't help him and Sauber ended
up replacing him with Heinz Harald Frentzen.
Massa was very close to a deal with Jordan however it fell through at the last
moment when Jordan opted for Ralph Firman.
Massa replaces fellow countryman Luciano Burti who decided to return to racing
in 2003. Burti drove for Jaguar and Prost during the 2001 Formula 1 season
before crashing heavily at the Belgian Grand Prix sidelining him for the rest
of the season. In 2002 he signed for Ferrari as a test driver.
Burti thanked Ferrari for their support in 2002 and said "I am grateful
to Ferrari for the opportunity in 2002. It was a fantastic experience, and it
gave me the condition to improve my technic, knowledge and speed.
I had a deal with them for the 2003 season, but I decided to return to racing.
Due to my good relationship with the team, they agreed to release me, and we
will keep a close link for future opportunities with Ferrari and Maserati.
I realized that I am ready to compete, and my aim for 2003 is to race in a
competitive series, where I can win races and championships, which is my main
motivation in motor racing.
I will announce my plans for this season soon.
I would like to thank all team members at Scuderia Ferrari and Maserati for
the success we had in 2002, and I wish them all the best for this
Feb: The final seat in Formula 1 for the 2003 season has finally
been filled. The Jordan Grand Prix team announced today a 3 year deal
with Ralph Firman.
Firman is the reigning 2002 Formula Nippon Champion and have won the British
F3 Championship in the past. Firman was also awarded the McLaren Young Driver
of the Year Award in 1993. Firman will drive alongside Giancarlo Fisichella.
Team boss Eddie Jordan said "He may be a rookie
in F1 terms but Ralph brings a lot of racing experience and a formidable track
record along with his enthusiasm and commitment. I’m impressed with his very
cool and disciplined approach and I have a lot of confidence that he and
Fisichella will be an awesome partnership on the track. The news that Ralph
has joined us, allied to other important developments, means that Jordan Ford
is a force to be reckoned with in 2003, and I can’t wait for the season to
Ralph Firman said “I am thrilled to have this
chance to race in Formula One especially as it is with Jordan, one of the few
teams to have won Grands Prix in recent years. It’s also a team that has
brought many notable names into Formula One and I can see that it’s an
extremely friendly and professional operation. Although this will be my first
season, I have worked hard to build up my experience whilst racing in Japan,
so although F1 will be something new I feel ready and quite comfortable with
it. I am really looking forward to going to Melbourne next month.”