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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
July 16, 2002
1


Living Tribute to Tyrrell
Sir Jackie Stewart gently powered a 1971 Tyrrell-Cosworth 002 up the Goodwood Hill on Saturday, the crowd eerily quiet as we remembered the great Ken Tyrrell.

'Two weeks before he died he told me never to drive any of his cars fast again, and that's why I took it gently up the hill today,' Sir Jackie said, pulling off his famous helmet.

Leading a host of glorious Tyrrell contenders, the wee Scot sat tartan-helmeted in friend and teammate, the late François Cevert's 002; the car driven to Tyrrell's only Constructors' World Championship.

Netting triple Drivers' spoils, Sir Jackie was quiet and humbled as Goodwood paid tribute to the late Ken Tyrrell. 'Ken was a lovely man,' Stewart remembered.

'A real gentleman, and really forward looking. I loved racing for him, and we remember him so fondly. I think if he's looking down on us here at Goodwood today, he'd be really pleased to see all his cars still running.'

Devoted to motor-racing, the Tyrrell racing organization remained a fixture in Grands Prix until 1998; when the might of British American Tobacco purchased the team for a song. Minardi chief Paul Stoddart bought the wood-shed facility and racing gear in country England, and Ken Tyrrell retired to loving wife Nora's dish-washer.

Three years on, Ken and Nora Tyrrell died peacefully. 'But this is a marvelous event, there's nothing to rival it in the world. I'm here with all my family, children and grand-children, and I must say how pleased I was to help Lord March pay homage to Ken.'

The famous six-wheeler and Tyrrell-Cosworth 011 also played starring roles in the living tribute to the great Ken Tyrrell.

Tyrrell, initially raced as French constructor Matra, won 23 races in their 28 year, 416 race history.



2003 Verstappen Return?
For the feisty Jos Verstappen, Formula One remains unfinished business in the Dutchman's fractured career.

Contemplating his third season of racing for Arrows, signed contract in hand, the 30-year-old's fax machine burst into action just weeks before this year's season opener. The sender was Tom Walkinshaw. The news was not good.

Six months on, 'Jos the Boss' has been spending most of 2002 in the court-room suing for loss of income. In spite of the set-back, however, manager Huub Rothengatter has been hard at work lining up a full-time drive for 2003; and it 'Looks very good', according to the 30-year-old.

'We are talking to everyone,' the talented Dutchman told reporters. 'It does look very good for 2003, I am very confident.

'We are also making progress with sponsoring. We are getting closer, step by step.'

Verstappen burst onto the scene in 1994, as Michael Schumacher's teammate. Trounced by the German, Jos' career took an early nose-dive when a Simtek drive was the only option for '95. Two races in, Simtek folded.

The next two years were spent with backmarkers Footwork and Tyrell, before new Tyrrell owners (BAR) forced the Dutchman out of his seat for 1998. Outraged, the great Ken Tyrrell severed all links with his beloved team.

Brief drives for Stewart Ford in '98 led into another forced sabbatical in 1999, before a return to form in 2000 and 2001. In his latest return from the bench, however, Jos Verstappen is determined to hit the ground running in 2003.

'My feeling is that I will have a seat next season, that hasn't changed,' Jos continues. 'If there is a free seat this season that would be convenient, depending where that free seat is.

'I would prefer a drive with a good team with some future perspective for next season above a seat now with a team that drives at the back of the field.'

Among commitments with his driving school and the Karting World Championship, Jos has been extended an invitation to drive the Minardi 2-seater later this year. 'If possible I'll do that,' Jos confirmed.

Despite his confidence, Jos knows - perhaps better than anyone - how hard it is to predict the future of Formula One. 'Nothing is for certain in this sport,' he explains.

'Even if you have a signed contract your future is not secure.'



Irvine: Ferrari Will Fall
Eddie Irvine has issued an ominous warning to his former Italian employers at Scuderia Ferrari.

According to the outspoken Ulsterman, Ferrari are pushing their scarlet troops to breaking point; and sooner or later the glory will come tumbling down.

'The amount of workload that they have down there is quite incredible,' said the 37-year-old, now driving for the troubled Jaguar squad.

'Eventually the work ethic will start to break people, because they're working so hard. I've already heard from guys there - it's just gone too far and they're working too hard and they want a break.

'And that's the natural cycle of things.'

In the absence of a technical or organizational weakness, Irvine - who drove alongside Michael Schumacher in 1996 to 1999 - is convinced that the cycle of change will originate in steadily unmotivated and overworked troops.

'There's no weak area that they have, the wind tunnel's been up and running now for four years - they've got that area under control,' continues Irvine. 'They've got the engine under control.

'The way that team works, the professionalism is beyond belief, you need to be inside to understand it.'

Another man with insider knowledge of the differences between the struggling Jaguar Racing team and Ferrari is Luciano Burti; now a test-driver for the Italian marque. Eddie Irvine continues: 'Luciano Burti came to me and said, 'Jesus, it's incredible!

'I don't know how you can take the level you've gone down to,' because at Ferrari there is nothing left to accident.'

Calling Michael Schumacher's broken-leg 'the best opportunity of my career', Irvine stormed to four scarlet wins and within mere points of the 1999 Drivers' World Championship.

The Jaguar ace is expecting French tire partner Michelin to bounce back for their home Grand Prix at Magny-Cours this weekend. Coupled with inevitable hot weather, the 37-year-old says that Michelin will have 'The upper hand with the support of the home-crowd.'

The quiet Nevers region, however, ensures that the night-life loving F1 pilots 'are all guaranteed an early night.'



Ralf Slams British Press
Ralf Schumacher has hit out at the English-speaking press, the German ace pointing out consistently anti-Schumacher sentiment in the British racing media.

'The British press are very anti-Schumacher - anti-Michael and anti-me,' said the 27-year-old Williams ace in this month's F1 Racing.

'Okay, maybe not all of you - but most. Whatever team-mate I've had in my career - Giancarlo (Fisichella), Damon (Hill), Alex (Zanardi), Jenson (Button), Juan (Pablo Montoya) - you always say he's the one, better than me.'

When probed, Ralf Schumacher pointed to Britain's lack of a 'real champion' leading to frustration at Formula One's all-conquering Germans.

'Maybe you're all frustrated that you haven't got a real champion to get excited about,' Ralf mused.

'Look I don't want it to sound arrogant but I'm German. And German journalists will always be more important to me than any other journalists.'

Ralf burst onto the scene with Jordan in 1997, to an instantly hostile media cynical of his rise to Formula One. The German admits that the name 'Schumacher' has by no means been a blessing in his six year F1 career.

'Certainly, that is the case', Ralf told us earlier this year. 'In 1997, my brother's rivalry with Damon Hill was still in the memory. Even today, we both get a pretty poor reception from the English crowd.

'People thought I should not be in Formula One, but I have shown now that I belong here.'

In his latest head-to-head rivalry with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, Ralf Schumacher has scored four victories to the Colombian's one.



F1 Drama At Goodwood
Despite his questionable future at the pinnacle of motorsports, Toyota ace Allan McNish went for glory in a TF102 demonstration run up the Goodwood hill.

While most Formula One stars are content to lay a bit of rubber and demonstrate a standing-start, the 33-year-old Scot was determined to target Nick Heidfeld's unofficial lap record at the annual Goodwood Festival of Speed.

Dropping the clutch amid rubber squeals and smoke, it soon became clear that this was no demo-run for the Scottish ace. 41.5 seconds later, McNish was part of Goodwood folklore.

As the popular annual Festival drew to a close on Sunday, the unmistakable moans of 800+ bhp filled the English air. Marc Gene posted a final run in the FW23 Williams, while Luciano Burti showed off his new role in the F2001 Ferrari.

Darren Turner wound up last year's McLaren, joined on consecutive runs by Jenson Button in the Renault, and Ryo Fukuda behind the wheel of BAR003.

One reluctant participant in the Goodwood fun was Williams ace Ralf Schumacher. Just days after slamming the British media for anti-Schumacher sentiment, the 27-year-old refused to sign an insurance liability agreement before his Saturday run in the FW23.

According to reports, Sir Frank Williams stepped into the fray demanding that Ralf sign the document; BMW reportedly wound up accepting liability on his behalf.

A quick blast up the Goodwood Hill later, Ralf Schumacher headed immediately home to Austria. Marc Gene stepped into the German's shoes to complete festivities on behalf of Williams on Sunday.

According to our own sources, Sir Frank is less than impressed with his young protégé. As well as being a tribute to the late Ken Tyrrell, this year's Goodwood festival celebrates 25 years of Williams' Formula One involvement, including first world champion Alan Jones at the wheel of the first Didcot concoction, FW07.

Ralf - and the Formula One World - now head South for this weekend's French Grand Prix near Nevers in France. Seven days later, 22 Formula One cars will be lining up on the revised Hockenheim grid for the German Grand Prix.



Lauda: Magny-Cours Is Dull
Despite Magny-Cours' impeccable safety record, Jaguar chief Niki Lauda says that fans should not hold out for an exciting French Grand Prix this weekend at Nevers.

A triple world champion, the Austrian recalls that the 4.25 kilometre Magny-Cours circuit is 'One of the few circuits on the F1 calendar that I have not raced on.'

Prior to its first Grand Prix in 1991, the Formula One world used to converge on exciting French circuits of 'Reims, Rouen, Clermont-Ferrand, Le Mans-Bugatti and Paul Ricard.

'Magny-Cours has proved itself as one of the modern-day circuits with a good safety record, but offers little in the way of excitement for the fans as there are so few good over-taking places.

The tight, right-hand Adelaide hairpin - named after the similar curve at the street circuit in South Australia - is widely held as the only real overtaking opportunity on the clock-wise layout.

As they continue evaluation and development of their heavily-revised R3b contender, the Austrian boss reports that Jaguar 'Should be better prepared than we were at Silverstone.'

With Magny-Cours' reliance on good aero-balance, however, the Jaguar team look more likely to purr rather than roar on the ultra-smooth French tarmac.

'We will be looking to strengthen our understanding of the revised aero package this weekend after three days of testing in Monza,' Nika Lauda concludes.



No Pressure For Schu
According to Gerhard Berger, the lack of pressure on Michael Schumacher's shoulders makes him extraordinarily difficult to beat.

Berger, BMW Motorsport Director, says that while Juan Pablo Montoya lacks in Formula One Racing experience, he will struggle to keep up with the German multiple world champion.

'The trouble is, Juan does not have the same level of experience as Michael', the 42-year-old told the Observer. In his second season of world championship racing, Juan Pablo trails Schumacher's career by more than ten years.

'In terms of talent, Juan Pablo and Ralf [Schumacher] are more or less on the same level,' Berger continues. 'We've seen already that they can race with the Ferraris.

'But Michael has the experience that comes with winning four world championships and more than 50 grands prix. That means he doesn't have the same pressure. He is much more relaxed because he has nothing to prove and that makes him even stronger.'

Berger, a former 10 times Grand Prix winner, has a unique wheel-to-wheel insight into the racing mind of Michael Schumacher. While Ayrton Senna's McLaren teammate in 1991 and 1992, Berger fought a young Schumi home on a number of occasions.

The duels continued into the tail end of Berger's career. Winding out a massive 210 grands prix with Benetton in 1997, the pair fought memorably for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim.

Berger took the winners' trophy home.



On This F1 Day...
You may not have heard of him, but American Jim Rathman is a Formula One winner. He was also born on this day in 1928, and therefore celebrates his 74th birthday.

When the Indianapolis 500 was part of the Formula One world title in the opening decade of the modern championship, brothers Dick and Jim Rathman were often at the pointy end.

Jim entered the fabled F1-spec Indy 500 for all ten years between 1950 and 1960, winning on his final attempt driving the Ken-Paul entry in 2 hours and 53 minutes.

The win elevated him to equal eighth in the 1960 F1 World Championship; on par with Jim Clark and compatriot Richie Ginther.

On this sixteenth day of July, we also hark back to a famous day in British motorsport; Sir Stirling Moss driving to his first Formula One win, at the 1955 British Grand Prix at Aintree.

Starting from his first pole position, the famous Englishman led home a silver top-four comprised of Mercedes-clad Moss, Juan-Manuel Fangio, Karl Kling and Pierro Taruffi.

Moss is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most versatile of all drivers, and the best never to win the championship. His grand prix career was ended by a crash at Goodwood in 1962.

Among his greatest wins were the 1955 Mille Miglia and the two grands prix he won in 1961 against much more powerful Ferrari opposition.

On that very sixteenth day of July in 1955, Maserati netted their 200th race entry (finishing behind the silver 1-2-3-4).

English favourite Johnny Herbert notched up his first grand prix win on this day in 1995, after title contenders Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill crashed out of the British Grand Prix.

The win signified Benetton's 20th Formula One triumph. McLaren ace David Coulthard started his 100th race on this day in 2000 (Austria), while German Nick Heidfeld was competing in his tenth grand prix for the waning Prost team.

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