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2002 F1 Teams/Drivers

Arrows
Enrique Bernoldi
H. H. Frentzen

British American Racing
Jacques Villeneuve
Olivier Panis

Ferrari
M. Schumacher
Rubens Barrichello

Jaguar
Eddie Irvine
Pedro de la Rosa

Jordan
Takuma Sato
Giancarlo Fisichella

McLaren
Kimi Raikkonen
David Coulthard

Minardi
Alex Yoong
Mark Webber

Prost
H. H. Frentzen 
Luciano Burti

Renault
Jarno Trulli
Jenson Button

Sauber
Nick Heidfeld
Felipe Massa

Toyota
Mika Salo
Allan McNish

Williams
Ralf Schumacher
Juan Montoya

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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
July 19, 2002
1


Button: My Mind Is Made Up
Jenson Button says that an official announcement on his 2003 Formula One plans will be issued within days.

As the World Championship circus contemplates round eleven at the Magny-Cours circuit, however, the 22-year-old lets slip that his 'mind is made up,' over who to drive for.

Currently with the Enstone-based Renault team, the Englishman has been widely tipped for an ousting in favor of Spaniard Fernando Alonso. While Flavio Briatore hinted yesterday that Button may be retained for '03, the man himself is not prepared to give away any clues. 'You will know in the next few days', Button said.

'Hopefully after the weekend we'll sort of know where we are. It should be before Hockenheim.'

With Jaguar, Toyota, BAR, Renault, Williams - and now Sauber - all in the frame, Jenson Button is preferring to keep his lips sealed on the eve of an imminent announcement. 'I'm not commenting on what team it is,' he said with a smile.

Neither would the cunning ace be tricked into revealing 'what color they are, or which tires they're on!'

'I think the teams I'm talking to are teams that have got very good possibilities in the next couple of years,' he added. 'You've got to look at what they've got on board.

'It's fair enough saying you're going to be a world champion in four years but if you haven't changed anything from four years ago it's not going to happen. It's very important to choose a team that you know is moving forward and have got good people on board that you know are going to do a good job.'

Refusing to be drawn on color or tire supplier, a keen reporter turned his attention to team nationality: 'I want to win races, it doesn't matter what country the team is from,' he said.

'It's obviously nice being with a British team because it makes it a lot easier to work with the engineers.' For the record, the British-based teams on Button's short-list are Jaguar, BAR, Renault and Williams.

As we went to press, however, news began to emerge that Button had taken a little trip to Switzerland en route to the Nevers region for this weekend's French Grand Prix. As the story continues, Button was followed by one intrepid journalist to the Sauber team's Hinwil base.

Confronted with the revelation, Button found salvage in a dose of wry British wit. 'I was very low on chocolate at home and thought I'd better go and get some.'

'There's nothing to be worried about,' Button reiterated to the collected media in the Magny-Cours paddock. 'It's going to be positive for me whether it's here, there or wherever.

'There are other very good options out there, so I'm not worried or upset.'



Williams Meeting Targets
Dr Mario Theissen says that progress at the BMW-powered Williams team is 'exactly reaching' all pre-season targets.

The BMW Motorsport Boss, watching over the Grove team's 61 points and solid second position in the Championship, adds that the target for the remainder of 2002 is to consolidate their berth behind Ferrari.

'After our long-term planning we're now exactly reaching our target,' Theissen revealed.

'Prior to the season we defined the second place as our target, and after ten races we are second in the Constructors' Championship. And we don't want to lose that position.'

While 2002 is running according to plan, BMW and Williams' focus is beginning to switch to the next logical step; fighting for ultimate spoils next year.

'The optimum overall concept of vehicle and engine has been formed already at the very beginning of the development work,' he continued.

'That phase for 2003 is already history, what is next is reliability, and after that comes increase in performance. Of course our aim is always to increase performance. Already now our present engine is very powerful, and for many people it's the most powerful in Formula One.

'As far as the new engine is concerned - just wait and see.'



De La Rosa Remains Calm
Pedro de la Rosa is throwing his support behind the struggling Jaguar team, the Spaniard confident that R3b represents the 'correct way forward.'

Despite pre-Silverstone hype, the heavily-revised package failed to deliver on the promise evidenced in wind-tunnel testing. Comprising new front and rear wings, bargeboards and aerodynamic additions, the all-improved Jaguar lined up on the penultimate row of the grid for its debut at the British Grand Prix.

While driver Pedro de la Rosa admits that many Leaping Cat personnel are 'slightly disillusioned' by their Silverstone form, the Spaniard remains buoyed by the fact that R3b is generating 'so much more downforce.'

'I think it clearly is a correct way forward,' he said at Magny-Cours. 'I know it was not so obvious in lap times, but all the numbers from the wind tunnel are much better.

'We could not somehow illustrate those in the times. At the moment we do not why we could not do that. The car is generating so much downforce now, but we need to have that aero effect in corners.

'That is where we really have to improve. So it is something mechanical we have to work on, at least that is my opinion. It could be the suspension we need to look into, I really don't know. We have to somehow understand whether it is only an aero problem or a mixture of aero and mechanical.'

As hopes raise for a significant improvement at this weekend's French Grand Prix, de la Rosa remains realistic that not enough track mileage has been gathered so as Jaguar even 'understand' the heavily-revised aero-package.

'I think we have to test more,' he said. 'We need more mileage to understand it. We have to know the package more to find a solution. This is only our first step and we know we cannot change any more at the moment. We have to make use of what we have.'

While the Leaping Cat continue to flounder, de la Rosa's resolve remains calm and focused upon moving the Milton-Keynes team forward. 'I am not screaming and shouting for somebody to be fired,' he said.

'My job is to drive, go quick and give information on the car. However, there is no bad ambience at all in the team, especially after Silverstone.

'I cannot deny there had been some tense moments in the past, and the people are slightly disillusioned after Silverstone, yes, but the atmosphere is genuinely good.

'I did not see anyone fearing (for their jobs). We had gone through a phase like that, but not this time. The team knows this modification is good and so we have to work hard to realize that in lap times.

'I believe in the team, and what they can do. There has been a big change within the team but those changes are good. It is important that the team becomes one, all working together in same direction.

'Everyone has to be on the same frequency and when there is a change in personnel, it cannot happen overnight. It takes sometime to have a harmonious ambience. It is vital we work with the same people. I feel finally we have very good people together. There is a lot of expectation.'

While patience is not usually a virtue of a Formula One driver with ultimate championship ambitions, Pedro de la Rosa's admirable fortitude is severely strained after ten rounds without a point. 'Being patient is very difficult,' he said.

'Not only I have to drive quickly, sometimes, often in difficult times, it is part of my job to pull the team together.

'We have to keep the strength, we have to be brave and strong, then the team will follow you. I think it is up to me to maintain the team spirit. If the driver is demoralized the team will be demoralized too.

'There are lots of people in the team and it is a team job. We need all of us heading in the same direction. I could be feeling totally fed up inside, but I have to keep smiling outside. It is pretty tough. I have total confidence though.'

So, Pedro; I suppose R3b's dismal debut at Silverstone has only added to the mounting pressure at Milton-Keynes? 'More pressure?' he quizzes.

'That is not possible!'



Montoya Holds Off Decision
Feisty Colombian Juan Pablo Montoya has countered strong speculation that he has signed a lucrative extension to his BMW.Williams contract.

As he bagged an impressive fourth consecutive pole position at last weekend's Saturday blast at Silverstone, rumours appeared to harden that Montoya had agreed upon a new two-year deal - including a hefty pay increase - that will see him remain at Grove until 2004.

While Sir Frank's offer is no doubt on the table, Montoya is choosing to keep his signature disclosed until certain 'expected events' materialize for 2003.

'I have signed nothing yet,' Montoya said at Magny-Cours.

While the 26-year-old Colombian is not expected to jump ship, he is no doubt as keen as anyone else to see out the rumors involving Michael Schumacher and an early bath. According to the tabloid hype, the great German could well hang up his helmet when the inevitable fifth title is sewn up.

Which could, of course, leave a pair of rather attractive scarlet shoes ready to fill. And Juan Pablo Montoya, already a favourite of Ferrari President Luca Montezemolo, would be first in line - and contract-free - to join the Scuderia's party.

Sir Frank, however, will not keep an offer dangling for all eternity. If our sources are to be believed, Juan Pablo Montoya will either accept or refuse the offer in question by next weekend's German Grand Prix.

Another issue here is believed to be money. While Ralf Schumacher currently enjoys the spoils of a lucrative, more-than-$10 million per year salary until '04, pole-master Montoya is unlikely to accept anything less than equal the pay of his teammate.

As we speak, Montoya's fat pay-packet is less than half that of his German counterpart. And Sir Frank Williams is renowned for his resolve in keeping his drivers wanting in terms of salary...

Stay tuned.



2004: The End Of F1?
Formula One's car manufacturers have accelerated plans for the breakaway Grand Prix World Championship, the series now tipped to raise its head in 2004.

While the unanimous Concorde Agreement - which governs Formula One - stipulates competition until 2007, the eager manufacturers have reportedly been deep in negotiation with Bernie Ecclestone with a view to prematurely terminating the F1 contract.

The manufacturer consortium, comprised of Ford, Renault, Mercedes, BMW and Fiat (dubbed ACEA), plan to abandon Formula One's uncertain future and 'unfair' distribution of revenue practices in an all-new World Championship.

There are those, however, who view GPWC as an elaborate attempt to merely pressure Formula One into reform; this news thereby simply another facet to the 'wake-up call' to the administrators of the sport.

While 2007/8 is the logical start-date for the new series, the manufacturers are outwardly keen to launch GPWC - and its higher revenue potential - as soon as possible.

Head of Motorsport at one such manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz, refused to be drawn on the new speculation. 'It's absolutely premature to discuss that,' Norbert Haug told Autosport at Magny-Cours.

'There are processes going on, and this early that doesn't happen in the public domain.

'I think there are positive developments in the pipeline, but it is nothing we can share with the public.'

Formula One's commanding supremo, Bernie Ecclestone, is thought to have been offered a similar role in the new open-wheeler series.



Bruised Brain For Jag Tester
Young Jaguar tester James Courtney has spoken about his terrifying shunt at the high-speed Monza circuit during the week.

Throwing his R3 into the 180mph entry to Ascari chicane, the Australian's mount suffered a rear suspension failure which sent him careering towards the arm-co barriers.

'I remember the right-rear corner dropping and then the next thing I was shaking my head and coming to and there were people all around me,' the 21-year-old recalls.

'I couldn't move my right arm and that's when I started freaking out.'

The youngster was carefully extricated by the trackside medical team and whisked away to the Monza medical center and nearby Italian hospital. Cleared of any serious injury, James escaped from the shunt with concussion and severe bruising.

The whack of his head, however, has left a bruise on the left side of Courtney's brain. 'Because of that the right side of my body wasn't functioning properly,' he reveals. Blurred vision and dizziness remain as remnants of his Monza shunt.

'My right eye is still playing up but I'm told that it should be okay in the next couple of days. I'm extremely lucky.'

The Aussie met with FIA medical delegate, Professor Sid Watkins, earlier in the week hoping for clearance to race in this weekend's Formula 3 race at Rockingham.

Courtney is on his way to snaring the famous British title in 2002.



Q & A With Williams Boys
Q & A with Williams contenders, Juan Pablo Montoya and Ralf Schumacher.

Questions For Juan Pablo Montoya:
Juan, who was your biggest rival in motorsport? 'My biggest rival is my teammate Ralf. In general, though probably Michael.'

What's the weather right now in Magny-Cours? 'Sunny skies.'

Is Rubens the 'nicest guy' in F1? 'No, I am.'

Do you miss the cart ovals? 'Yes I do, they were a lot of fun.'

Do you miss Colombia? 'Yes, I miss Colombia a lot.'

How many speeding tickets have you got so far? 'Nobody knows, and they probably never will.'

Who were your heroes when you were growing up? 'Senna.'

Which is your favourite race of the year? 'Japan and Malaysia.'

Why do F1-drivers earn a lot of money? 'Because not a lot of people can do it.'

It seems to me that you and Barrichello are good friends, is it so? 'Yes, we are really good friends.'

Have you ever driven a Ferrari? 'Yes, I had one when I was in CART.'

Would you ever want No. 1 status within a team? 'I don't really think you need that. If you have a good team you do not really need that.'

Who is the most 'under rated' driver in F1? 'Fisichella.'

What's with the new chrome helmet? 'I started using the chrome helmet in CART, and with my chief mechanic there I used to decide which helmet to use. I think it looks better at the moment.'

How hard was the transition from CART to F1? 'It was pretty hard, especially at the beginning and learning to balance the car.'

Which of the remaining races this year are you most looking forward to? 'Spa, Monza, Indianapolis, and Suzuka.'

Do you think Williams will win the championship next year? 'I think Williams has a good chance next year of being world champion.'

Do you miss CART racing? 'Yes, I do miss some of the guys and the people in CART.'

Questions For Ralf Schumacher:
Ralf, what are you currently driving for a road car? 'A BMW X5'.

Do you think that Ferrari's main advantage is the Bridgestone tires? 'It is the package as a whole, and Bridgestone is certainly part of it.'

Do you ever watch the big screen at the chicane at Magny Cours? 'Yes, it is perfect, and there is time enough to watch it.'

Who is your best mate - besides Michael - on the current F1 grid? 'There is none.'

Will there be an FW24B? 'No there will not be, we are fully concentrating on next years car.'

Which of the remaining races are you most looking forward to? 'Looking forward to Monza and Indianapolis.'

How is your relationship with Juan this year? 'The relationship has become better than ever. My team is very open and we have a very good working relationship.'

How's the weather in France? 'The weather is beautiful at present, I hope it stays that way.'

How do you find married life? 'Life is wonderful, and I am just a very happy married man.'

Are you going to win this weekend? 'Hopefully soon, we are working on it. The car will be faster towards the end of this year.'

Would you like to win the championship while Michael is still in the sport? 'Since he is the best and won the World Championship the last 2 years, it would be wonderful if he were still around.'

Are you able to beat Ferrari this weekend? 'We never know, we try our best. But with the different circuits you never know what's possible.'

Who has been the biggest help to you in reaching the top of F1? 'My manager Willi [Weber].'

What do you think of Magny-Cours? Is it a favourite track? 'It is one of my favorite tracks. I enjoy the fast corners. However Magny-Cours itself [the place] is a little bit boring.'

Did you enjoy the Goodwood Festival of Speed? 'I enjoyed it very much because I was fascinated with the old cars. I have not decided yet whether to return next year.'

Courtesy HP and BMW.Williams



BAR 'Standing Straighter'
Jacques Villeneuve has called BAR's experience of a double-points finish at the recent British Grand Prix like 'waking up and splashing cold water on your face.'

Their first such top six finish of the year, BAR jumped from dead last on the Constructors' table to eclipsing the achievements of Minardi, Toyota and Jaguar. With optimism buoyed at the team's Brackley base, the French-Canadian reveals how 'much happier' BAR appear going into this weekend's race at Magny-Cours.

'It just made everybody happier, so it's easier to work,' Villeneuve commented of the strong fourth and fifth at Silverstone International.

'It's like waking up and splashing some cold water on your face. It was needed, it's been a very hard season since the beginning and it looked like we weren't going to score any points until the end of the season.

'That was bad, it was very hard for everybody to carry so now everybody is standing a little bit straighter and it's easier to work.'

Having unveiling a revised Honda-powered 004 contender at the June 9 Canadian Grand Prix, Villeneuve says that progress is slow but sure at British American Racing. 'It wasn't huge but it was enough to jump a few positions in qualifying,' he confirms.

'We're in that middle part of the grid where it's very close with the lap times, and it was the first time this season we managed to be in front of both Saubers. We use the Saubers as a reference for us so that means we've made progress, and the car was competitive throughout the whole race, wet and dry.

'So all the work we've done worked', he quips. 'We had the new suspension in the last race and they worked well and we spent a lot of time working on the electronics as well.'

Villeneuve is ten races into his fourth season of racing with BAR; and let slip, this weekend, that year number five is just around the corner.

'I'm staying next year', the 31-year-old quipped.



Michael Talks Down Title Hopes
Michael Schumacher is talking down his chances of netting an historic fifth world championship crown at this weekend's French Grand Prix.

With a mammoth gap to second-placed contender, Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello, the German points out that ultimate success at Magny-Cours would require the 'helping hand' of his nearest rivals.

'Personally, I don't think I can, because my rivals would have to give me a big helping hand,' the 33-year-old German says. 'But I start the weekend in a good frame of mind, because I can have absolute confidence in the car-tire package at our disposal.

'In addition, I also like the country atmosphere and the quiet of the area around Magny-Cours. As you know, I am not very keen on cities!

The German great insists, however, that winning the championship at the French Grand Prix is not 'too much of a focus.'

'I don't expect anything like that to happen. I will race as normal and obviously try to win the race, that's the target and then we will see what will be the result in the end. Whether it happens here or another time, I don't think that is really important to me.

'What matters for me is that it does happen in the end.'

In an ominous warning to his race-winning competitors, Michael confirms that Bridgestone's new Magny-Cours tires should make the current performance gap even 'more comfortable.'

'So far, I think we have certainly had the better car than the rest and it has been in the tires,' he adds. 'We have just completed a very good test with Bridgestone who brought along some more new tires for this race, which should make the situation a little bit more comfortable.'

A fifth title crown would equal the astonishing feat of Juan Manuel Montoya, who notched up his fifth world championship - his third in successive years - in 1957.



No Rally Challenge For Schu
Michael Schumacher has turned down Colin McRae's offer of a 'Rally versus Formula One' charity challenge.

With the Scottish ace's 25th victory in the recent Kenyan Safari Rally, he threw down the challenge to his Formula One counterpart, world title leading Michael Schumacher.

McRae proposed a race of both racing worlds, posed to answer the long-standing dispute which litters the pubs of the world: which is the most talented breed; F1 or Rally drivers?

The race would consist of a short blast in the F1 monster followed by a forest time-trial in a World Championship Rally car - all for charity, of course.

While Schumacher is willing to admit that the lure of World Rally seemed interesting in the past, the German says that, nowadays, 'I'm not so much into it.'

'But maybe one day when I have time enough I would like to do it in a safe place,' the German said at Magny-Cours. 'I'm certainly not interested in going through the forest and risking my life.'

Ahead of his home Grand Prix next weekend, however, Schumacher has confirmed his participation in the highly-competitive RTL charity football match. 'I have always enjoyed that one, specifically, yes, because there are professional players around.'

'To play with professionals is great fun because it's more serious, it's good fun, but the level of playing is much higher and you get the ball in such a nice way.

'My own standard comes up too so I quite like these sort of games.'

The heavily-revised Hockenheim circuit plays host to the German Grand Prix next weekend.



Schu Denies Two-Team Weakness
Michael Schumacher has denied claims that Scuderia Ferrari's undoubted performance gap can be attributed to the team's custom-made Bridgestone tires.

In fact, the quadruple world champion is adamant that McLaren and Williams benefit from their co-operative effort to develop French tire rival Michelin's Grand Prix tire.

'As usual, life is never perfect and it is the same situation here', said the German ace. 'Being one top team means there is a lot of workload only on us, which sometimes means you miss out on certain things because you can't do all of it.

'Whereas when you have two top teams, like Michelin does, you have a better chance, because sometimes you don't spot things. In the past we did have an advantage of having two top teams.'

While Schumacher points out the advantages of a double-pronged developmental assault on tire development, the Ferrari star is willing to concede the benefits to the exclusive relationship with Bridgestone.

'We can do other things more specific to our car, which maybe equalizes the situation,' Schumacher admits.

'But sharing the information can help because you get a lot of experience and therefore you can continue to improve faster. It is not only a disadvantage, even if for Michelin it does currently look like that.

'I think the reason is that Bridgestone as a company is so good is because they use their tire very well and therefore perform very well. It is not really coming from the reason that we specifically work with Bridgestone'.

The Japanese tire company have carried Ferrari's superlative F2002 package to no less than eight victories in the ten Grands Prix of 2002.



F1 News In Brief
- Mika Salo, Jacques Villeneuve, Pedro de la Rosa and Felipe Massa have all confirmed their intention to stay at their respective Formula One outfits for 2003. Mika Salo (Toyota): 'I'm staying where I am. I have a contract for next year. I had a three year contract and next year is the last one. Jacques Villeneuve (BAR): 'I'm staying next year.' Pedro de la Rosa (Jaguar): 'Same.' Felipe Massa (Sauber): 'I'm hoping to stay. I have a one year contract and they have an option for two more years. I don't know yet but I hope to stay where I am.'

- Jacques Villeneuve says that 'something new' will debut on Honda's new V10 unit this weekend at Magny-Cours. When asked if there were any modifications to the Brackley outfit's 004 contender, the French-Canadian said 'No, not at this point. Actually there's something on the engine that we haven't tested yet but it looks promising so we will find out this weekend.'

- Felipe Massa has admitted to making 'a lot of mistakes' during last weekend's British Grand Prix at Silverstone. Spinning his Sauber at the very first corner, the Brazilian lets slip that he 'had a headache after all the spins! I made a lot of mistakes but that's part of learning. I hope we're not going to see that again.' According to a source close to the Hinwil team, Peter Sauber was less than impressed with his drivers' performances at Silverstone.

- Luca Badoer was back behind the wheel of the Maserati Trofeo at Ferrari's private Fiorano circuit late in the week. The Italian lapped just over 20 seconds off the Formula One record, completing 103 laps without incident. The powerful machine will be used in a one-make racing series to commence soon.

- Pedro de la Rosa has denied any knowledge as to who his Jaguar teammate will be next year. While Eddie Irvine and Jaguar both ponder their wholly unlikely future relationship, the Spaniard is reporting that 'Whoever is alongside me, I have no problem, though I have no idea at all who it will be. I have worked with several drivers in the past so it does not make any difference. Let's just say that I am contracted to drive for 2003.'

- After food poisoning marred his British Grand Prix weekend, Toyota ace Mika Salo says that he is 'over the stomach infection that affected my weekend at Silverstone.' The 35-year-old Finn sat out Friday Practice while he recovered enough to participate in the remainder of the weekend. 'I did very little for a couple of days, except drink lots of fluid and eat plenty of protein and carbohydrates,' he explained.

- Ralf Schumacher has flatly refused speculation that a heavily-revised FW24B contender will debut later this year. 'No there will not be,' the German Williams driver said. 'We are fully concentrating on next years car.'

- Jacques Villeneuve says it would take something 'really, really extreme' to push him out of a 2003 BAR drive. 'I don't see any reason for me not being back with BAR next year,' the French-Canadian said at Magny-Cours. 'I feel at the moment I am definitely with the team next year.'

- As the sun rises over a warm Magny-Cours circuit, the future of Arrows Grand Prix is still less than clear. While the French Grand Prix action kicks off later this morning, a dispute with shareholders Morgan Grenfell still threatens to fold the Leafield-based team. 'The situation now is dependant on one of our shareholders with whom we are still in talks,' said a team spokesperson. 'We don't know yet what will happen this weekend.'



On This F1 Day...
On this day in Formula One history, the fabled Italian marque Scuderia Ferrari notched up their 300th Grand Prix start.

At the 1958 Grand Prix of Britain, held at the 4.71km Silverstone circuit, Peter Collins led home a scarlet one-two with Mika Hawthorn in second place.

A talented and sporting driver, the British ace was killed in the German Grand Prix just two weeks after his Silverstone triumph.

Seventeen years later, on the very same day, at the very same Grand Prix venue in Northamptonshire, Ferrari drivers Niki Lauda and Clay Regazzoni notched up the Scuderia's 700th F1 start. Lauda finished the race eighth, while Emerson Fittipaldi won in his McLaren-Ford.

At that same race in 1975, Tom Pryce netted his first pole position for the Shadow team. A highly promising Welsh driver, Pryce was killed when a marshal ran into his car at Kyalami two years later.

On this nineteenth day of July, one hundred years ago today, Chet Miller was born. Dying at the wheel in 1953, the American contested just two F1-spec Indy 500 races in 1951 and 1952. 

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