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Is it fair, are they shaping and 
is it over? - The Heretic

January 2004 News
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The Heretic

16 January:
today confirmed that the French Grand Prix will be included in the 2004 Formula One World Championship. The race remained provisional pending both the finalisation of a contract between the race organisers and Formula One Management and that all the teams agree. This make this year's championship consist of 18 rounds. 
The FIA press release read "The inclusion of the French Grand Prix in the 2004 FIA Formula One World Championship was confirmed today, following a meeting of FIA President, Max Mosley, Formula One Management President, Bernie Ecclestone, and the Formula One Team Principals."

14 January: Rubens Barrichello has extended his contract with Ferrari until 2006. Last year Ferrari extended the contracts of Michael Schumacher, Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Paolo Martinelli and Rory Byrne until 2006 but not Barrichello's. This raised speculation surrounding the future of the Brazilian with the team and gave a number of other drivers some hope to drive for Ferrari sometime soon. Now this announcement puts an end to that. rThis extension means that all the key staff at Ferrari will remain under contract until that time.
Rubens Barrichello
said "I am really happy and proud to continuing working with Ferrari. It means that we believe in each otherís work. There has recently been contact with other teams but I always had faith in my continuing at Maranello; it was only a matter of time. I never had any doubts that the renewal would come, nor was I concerned that other members of the team had already signed because I have always signed at different times to the others. Fundamentally, the renewal was based less on anything I said and more on my performances on the track over the years.
On his chances of winning with Ferrari with Michael present he said "I am very proud to work with Michael, racing alongside him is a privilege and not a problem, but I do hope to become world champion. And if I have to win, Iíll win now and not when he retires. Ferrari believes in me and in the possibility of winning races and the world title; this is why I signed. In the next three years there is the chance to win the championship. In 2006 I will be 34. If I still have the desire, Iíll continue."

12 January: The Sauber Petronas team launched their 2004 challenger today with the aim of improving their performance from last season. The team should get a boost from their new Wind Tunnel as well as receiving the 2004 specification Ferrari engine. The driver line-up of Giancarlo Fisichella and Felipe Massa is also a strong one and will help the team achieve their aims.

Sauber C23 - Formula 1 2004 Season

Team Principal Peter Sauber said "Our goal is clearly to improve our performance. How well we'll manage to do this will largely depend on how quickly we'll be able to translate the results from our new wind tunnel to the race track. With seven works teams supported by global automotive corporations taking part in the series, the competition in Formula 1 has become tougher than ever. What's more, budgets have virtually exploded in recent years.
The whole team is highly motivated, we're determined to prove to ourselves, and to our partners, that even as a private team we're able to stand our ground against the seven automotive manufacturers. This is not an easy task, to be sure, but we're ready to accept this challenge."

Technical Director Willy Rampf
said "The 2003 season soon made us realise where our weakness was. Owing to the fact that our new wind tunnel will not be operational until after the roll-out of the C23, we had to find another way of designing a good car with optimum prerequisites for further development during the course of the season. This approach made it possible for us to reach our stated objective.
The C22 already allowed us to drive with a lot of ballast. This results in a low centre of gravity as well as enabling highly flexible weight distribution, which is a critical factor for future tyre development."

Head of Powertrain Osamu Goto said "We are delighted to be able to continue our extremely successful cooperation with Ferrari and to have the same model engines for the first time. Although the mileage of the engine has been increased significantly due to the changes in regulations, another major weight reduction has been achieved, which benefits the overall performance of the C23."

Giancarlo Fisichella said "I had a good feeling already in testing; good power, good engine, easy to drive, so now I'm looking forward to using the 2004 engine. It has the same specifications as Ferrari, and we have the 2003 gearbox so it's looking good."

Felipe Massa said "I'm really happy to be back here. After one year as a race driver at Sauber and one year as a test driver at Ferrari I think my experience is now completely different. Last year at Ferrari I learned a lot, not just driving the car but also on the technical side."

Click here for the 2004 Sauber Petronas Page
Click here for the 2004 Giancarlo Fisichella Page

Click here for the 2004 Felipe Massa Page

5 January: The Williams F1 team was the first team to launch their 2004 challenger. The aim is to be competitive from the very first race of the season and ultimately win the 2004 Formula 1 World Title. 
Team Principal Frank Williams said "We have acknowledged our shortcomings of 2003. In 2004, we must be competitive from the off if we are to realise our potential. I have every confidence that the team has all the elements necessary to win in 2004."

Williams BMW FW26 - Formula 1 2004 Season

"Six years have passed since we last won a Championship title and that hurts! However, I love the anticipation that comes with each new season. Neither Patrick nor myself have ever been one of those people that live in the past. Each day brings new challenges and, for me, those challenges are whether our car crosses the finish line in front of everyone elseís. So that is my ambition for the forthcoming season, to win every race, steal Ferrariís crown and add another Championship title to the record."

Technical Director Patrick Head
said "We are acutely aware of the need to be challenging in every race - from Melbourne right through to Brazil in 2004. I am reassured that we have left no stone unturned at WilliamsF1 in our preparation for next season."

BMW Motorsport Director Mario Theissen said "We have to master complex tasks in order to achieve our goal of the World Championship title. The Sporting Code introduced in 2004 prescribes the use of a single engine for the entire Grand Prix weekend. This means that endurance is our priority. However, we also want to field the most powerful engine on the grid despite the new rules."

Chief Designer Gavin Fisher said "There is a great deal of anticipation on our part about this new car. It is has challenged us throughout its development, and there is certainly a sense that the day that it runs for the first time will be more significant than launch days in previous years. All of the team members will be proud that they have made enormous efforts to push the performance of this car as far forward as possible, and that in doing so will have written the opening chapter in what will become a successful season."
The FW26 features a distinctively short nose cone, with the the front wing main plane and associated assemblies mounted on extended 'tusks'. The startling interpretation of the front profile has been conceived in tandem with a twin keel monocoque design, aiding air flow both under and over the front geometries of the car, and improving global aerodynamics right through to the rear wing of the FW26. The front profiles of the car are augmented by a narrower sidepod footprint, enabled by revised cooling packaging, all assisting aerodynamic performance. 

Juan Pablo Montoya said "Our main intention is to come out fighting from Australia, no excuses. In seasons gone by, we have always looked to see where the opposition is after the winter. I hope this year that the other teams at least will have as much concern about our performance as we traditionally do about theirs."

Ralf Schumacher said "The expectations for our team are high and after the last season, mine are naturally also high. I hope that the FW26 will be up to the competition from the start and that the BMW engine will once again be the best in the field. Then we could start talking seriously about the title and finally dislodging Ferrari from the top position."

Click here for the 2004 BMW Williams F1 Page
Click here for the 2004 Juan Pablo Montoya Page

Click here for the 2004 Ralf Schumacher Page

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