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2002 F1 Teams/Drivers

Enrique Bernoldi
H. H. Frentzen

British American Racing
Jacques Villeneuve
Olivier Panis

M. Schumacher
Rubens Barrichello

Eddie Irvine
Pedro de la Rosa

Takuma Sato
Giancarlo Fisichella

Kimi Raikkonen
David Coulthard

Alex Yoong
Mark Webber

H. H. Frentzen 
Luciano Burti

Jarno Trulli
Jenson Button

Nick Heidfeld
Felipe Massa

Mika Salo
Allan McNish

Ralf Schumacher
Juan Montoya

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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
July 24, 2002

Villeneuve Or Panis For 2003?
As Jenson Button shook the hand of BAR chief David Richards in London on Monday evening, the Formula One world began to ponder the Englishman's duels with Jacques Villeneuve for 2003.

As the story unfolds, however, the Brackley-based team are making it clear that both Jacques and French-charger Olivier Panis are still in the running for the second Honda-powered seat.

While Jenson Button forms part of the team's 'long-term plans', clearly 1997 World Championship Jacques Villeneuve - at 31 years old - is more reluctant to sign the remainder of his F1 days away on the BAR-gamble.

'I am very happy and very, very pleased that last night we signed the driver we want to be with us for a very long time,' Richards said as he introduced Jenson Button at a London Hotel.

As he made it clear that Jenson was 'the only confirmed BAR driver' for 2003, the team boss later added that 'I need a two or three-year commitment from Jacques to really work with us and bond together as a team.

'I want people who share the same goal and ambition as me - and that's long-term people who will take the rough with the smooth. We want a long-term relationship with Jacques and I've been telling him that for a little time now.'

While Villeneuve holds a valid contract for 2003 - the final in a lucrative three-year deal penned in late 2000 - Richards adds that 'We are in discussions with him about what he wants in the future and what the team needs in the future from him.

'Contracts are one thing but you need to have people who want to be there. I need long-term commitment. I need someone working for the team and its long-term success like Jenson will.'

While Richards is keen to retain the driving services of the French-Canadian, the new team boss is making it clear that Olivier Panis is more than happy to step into the unfilled 'long-term' seat at British American Racing. 'It all depends on what Jacques' plans for the long-term are,' he continues.

'There are ongoing discussions. I believe in being very open with people. I explained to Olivier some time ago that there were going to have to be some changes.

'We are not talking to any other drivers', he concludes.

The All-New Hockenheim
The Formula One circus is busy setting up shop at the heavily-revised Hockenheim circuit today, for the second round of a hectic double-header known as the German Grand Prix.

While the annual trek to the tiny town of Hockenheim - near Mannheim - has been made since use of the daunting Nurburgring was discontinued in 1976, a radical layout change to the old blast through the forest means that teams take a stab in the dark in terms of preparation for the 2002 German race.

Formerly facilitating minimal downforce and speeds of up to 360km/h, this year Hockenheim looks more like Magny-Cours or the Nurburgring meaning a 'completely different approach' to former treks to the German Grand Prix.

Williams chief operations engineer, the Australian Sam Michael, says that 'downforce, set-ups, tire selection and strategy' will be an entirely new ball-game this weekend.

'We will also have very few changes to the cars because of the short amount of time between the two grands prix.

'The new circuit appears to be high downforce with a lot of slow speed corners, however, there are still two or three high speed corners and a long straight.

'Traction will be important because of a lot of accelerating from slow speed in low gears. We will have to do a lot of work during Friday practice to check brake performance, which is another unknown quantity on this new track,' he added.

Turn one, the Nordkurve, is unchanged, but this year spits the Formula One car onto a short straight bound for a 120-degree, second-gear corner at turn two. Formerly hosting a dense pine forest, the new section of track leads into a quick chicane at 3 and 4 before entering the only long, sweeping straight.

This year, however, speeds will peak at about 310km/h as a new, tight hairpin waits for turn six. Taken in first gear at about 70km/h, the slowest section of track will demand good traction as a short burst to a right-hand kink waits at 7 and 8.

The third-gear left-hander at 9 leads into a fast, 200km/h sweeper at ten and eleven, which throws the F1 car at about 230km/h onto the familiar old circuit just prior to Agipkurve.

The stadium-section, comprising the Sachs and Sud-kurves leads onto the unchanged pit-straight for another lap of the revised Hockenheim.

Niki Lauda, Jaguar boss and former triple world champion, won the first ever German Grand Prix held at Hockenheim in 1977. This year, however, 'there will be little left that I will be familiar with.'

The Austrian's lead driver, Eddie Irvine, looks forward to the new challenge of the revised Hockenheim circuit. 'Hockenheim is a circuit I enjoy racing at because I won here in 1999. The new track should be a challenge to drive.

'It used to be a very fast race and I hope that some of that remains. If the weather remains dry it would be to our advantage, but at Hockenheim it has been known to rain quite heavily without warning.'

In the sister Jaguar, Pedro de la Rosa anticipates an exciting race given that Hockenheim is 'a new circuit that no-one has ever driven.

'I am not sure of exactly what the circuit is going to offer us, however, as I really enjoyed the old circuit with its particular character, I can only hope that the new one lives up to its predecessor.'

Ralf Schumacher, the last-ever winner at the old blast through the forest, admits to feeling 'a little sad' as he ponders the new corner-filled layout. 'At least I was the last winner on the old track, and no one can now take that away from me,' the German said.

'However, the new track is an improvement and there are still some passing opportunities at the second corner after the start in addition to the braking area before the hairpin. This is exciting for the spectators as much as for the drivers.

'At first sight it looks like a track that requires a lot of grip, but we have got it anyway. In the past everyone always had the same problem at Hockenheim to find the combination of high downforce which is needed in the Motordrome whereas very little was required for the long straights.

'Now this has become much easier and furthermore I think that after the revision Hockenheim can still be counted among the very fast circuits.

BMW Motorsport Director shares the young German's grief: 'We are already shedding a few tears over the loss of the old straights of the Hockenheimring, where engine power was most important and last year we demonstrated what we were capable of.

'Last year we were using full throttle on the 68% of the circuit, but this year our simulation has shown that it will be only 60%. This means that in 2001 our drivers were driving flat out for 66.8 seconds on every lap, which will be now only 47 seconds.'

Rain At Hockenheim!
As we rolled into the nearby town of Mannheim last night, the rain was already falling ahead of this weekend's German Grand Prix.

Characterized by unpredictable weather, the Hockenheim skies nearly washed the Formula One circus away in 2000 when rain lashed down ahead of Friday Practice. This year, for the next few days at least, rain is forecast for the Hockenheim region.

As the sun rises on the heavily-revised Hockenheim circuit this morning, a few showers are predicted for the early hours of this afternoon. Come Thursday, rain should settle in while a top of 18°C awaits.

For the first day of running at the new circuit - Friday - local weather prognosticators are expecting morning showers which should clear later in the day. For qualifying, with a little luck, the rain should hold off while an overcast 22° beckons.

More of the same waits for race-day, the 2002 German Grand Prix to be played under ever-unpredictable cloud-filled skies. A comfortable 24°C is forecast.

All-New Medium-Soft Tires
Formula One's tire suppliers, Michelin and Bridgestone, will roll out all-new compounds of medium-soft rubber for this weekend's blast at the revised Hockenheim circuit.

Bridgestone technical manager Hisao Suganuma, admitting that simulation and data from similar circuits is all they have to go on for this weekend at Hockenheim, says that 'Since there are more corners in the revised layout, the cars will carry more downforce.

'We know Hockenheim is similar to Magny-Cours and Nürburgring in terms of average speed but we cannot say how the tires will behave.

'The new parts of the track seem to be smoother than the old circuit, but we still need to find out what effect the new corners have on the tires. This will become clear as the weekend progresses.'

While heat durability was a concern for the 360km/h speeds of the old layout, Suganuma continues that softer compounds - generating more grip for the tight new corners - will be the order of the German Grand Prix.

'The old, ultra fast Hockenheimring was renowned for being a power track and one of the fastest on the calendar,' he highlighted. 'With the new track we can go with softer compounds but still within the medium range.

'They should be consistent and durable while still providing the grip required for the slow in-field section.

'Achieving a fast lap will be a matter of grip performance.'

Ferrari Look For One-Two
Now that Michael Schumacher has secured his record-equaling fifth world championship, Scuderia Ferrari have revealed that all scarlet efforts will be channeled into Rubens Barrichello's quest for second.

With just four points separating Juan Pablo Montoya, Rubens Barrichello, Ralf Schumacher and David Coulthard for second in the Drivers' chase, team chief Jean Todt says that their objective can now be to complete the ultimate Ferrari one-two.

'We now have a good lead in the constructors' championship, added to by Sunday's win.

'Our objective now is to wrap up this title also and to help Rubens who can take second place in the drivers' championship,' the Frenchman said.

'At the start of the year we never thought we would be world champions with Michael at the French Grand Prix. Now we can work towards making the first Ferrari one and two in the championship since 1979'.

Jody Scheckter and Gilles Villeneuve headed an all-scarlet affair in 1979, beating home the Williams-Ford challenge of Alan Jones in both the Drivers' and Constructors' titles.

As Michael Schumacher prepares for the annual RTL football match in Ronaldo's World Cup-winning boots, the German ace says he is simply 'Delighted to be able to drive more freely now."

"To come to Hockenheim as the world champion is definitely something special for me. I'm looking forward to seeing all the fans and flags while driving on the track."

Toyota Rumors Intensify
Ove Andersson has let slip that 'there is an advantage' in providing another Formula One team with Toyota power.

Amid claims that Eddie Jordan is in discussion with the Cologne-based outfit regarding a supply of V10s from 2004, the Swedish team boss admitted at Magny-Cours that such a scenario is not 'out of the question'.

With current Jordan partner Honda preparing to pull works support from the Silverstone team, rumor has it that EJ will use severance funds to support a customer Cosworth deal next year before lining up as a Toyota b-team in '04.

While failing to refer directly to Jordan, Ove Andersson revealed on the weekend that 'It's early days but there is an advantage in supplying another team with engines.

'It would help us judge our own performance,' he added.

The V10 unit currently propelling Mika Salo and Allan McNish on the world's circuits is one of the most powerful and reliable in the Formula One pitlane.

Toyota's 2003 driver line-up has also been an area of speculation in recent weeks. While Finnish charger Mika Salo is signed-and-sealed for another year at Cologne, rookie teammate Allan McNish is not expected to retain his seat into 2003.

Given Ove Andersson's Magny-Cours appraisal that the Scot is doing a 'reasonable job' in the TF102, several experienced drivers are reportedly lining up for the Toyota drive.

McLaren tester Alex Wurz is considering 'two solid offers' for a return to the racing seat, one believed to be the berth alongside Mika Salo. Arrows' Heinz-Harald Frentzen has also been linked to Toyota, while rumors that he will replace McNish before the end of the year are no doubt exaggerated.

'There is absolutely no truth in that rumor', a Toyota spokesman told us.

With Jenson Button's confirmation at BAR from next year, 36-year-old Olivier Panis may have joined the race for a Toyota seat. Easily a match for 1997 world champion Jacques Villeneuve since 2001, the Frenchman has arguably snared provisional pole position for a role at the fledgling team.

As ever, stay tuned.

Heidfeld To Stay At Sauber?
A score of Formula One teams have made offers to German ace Nick Heidfeld for the 2003 season of Grand Prix racing.

Despite missing out to 2001 Sauber teammate Kimi Raikkonen for this year's McLaren drive, the 26-year-old German reveals that 'quite a few teams' remain interested in the young charger.

'Quite a few teams contacted me and it's nice to know that people are interested', he said at Magny-Cours.

While rumors persist that the Cologne-based Toyota team have made an approach to the young German, Heidfeld refuses to be drawn by adding 'most of the things you read are just made up.'

'There is a lot of speculation - it is just the silly season. It is very likely I am going to stay here at Sauber.

'It is not 100 per cent decided but it is very likely I will stay. Peter has got an option on me and he has to take it up around Spa.'

2002 is the second of Heidfeld's three-year stint at the Hinwil-based Sauber team.

Heidfeld emerged on the Formula One scene in 2000 after soaring to the International Formula 3000 title. Signing a two-year deal with the struggling Prost team, the youngster was 'let go' by Alain Prost after a dismal debut season of racing.

Recognizing the talent Heidfeld represented, Peter Sauber was quick to snap up the young German talent. 'I feel very good in the team,' the 26-year-old from Moenchengladbach says.

'My ambition should be to fight for the world championship one day. In the short term that is not possible with Sauber, but at the moment it looks like the best possibility I have.'

As the Formula One world ponders the heavily-revised trek to Hockenheim this weekend, Heidfeld joins a growing chorus of drivers saddened by the loss of the 360km/h blast through the forest.

'I prefer the old circuit', he continues. It was a bit special, like Monza, but you had the combination of high speed sections with chicanes and then the stadium section where you had low downforce as well.

'There was the incredible atmosphere in the stadium and then going into the trees and woods flat out.

'It was very special and I have had some good races there.'

F1 News In Brief
- Despite Jenson Button's signing of a long-term BAR contract, it appears as if the 22-year-old is still under contract to Sir Frank Williams and the BMW-powered team. BAR boss David Richards said on Monday that 'Frank has been more than accommodating in making everything happen,' while Button added that 'Frank doesn't want to stand in the way of my future which is good.' When asked for clarification that the Briton is now a free agent, Button added that he is only free from Williams obligations for 'Four years.' JB for Williams in 2007, then?

- Young Ferrari tester Luciano Burti has claimed that 'Michael's victory is mine too.' As the young Brazilian - off the back of a nightmarish 2001 with Jaguar, Prost and a score of mammoth accidents - reflects on a wild night of championship celebrations at Magny-Cours, he commented: 'I am very happy for Michael, a fantastic driver who really deserves all the glory he is going through. I was very happy with Michael's words thanking me for the work I have done,' he said.

- Rookie Scot Allan McNish has joined a growing list of drivers to congratulate Michael Schumacher's fifth world championship success. 'I have to congratulate Michael Schumacher and equaling a record that Juan-Manuel Fangio has held since 1957,' the 32-year-old said. 'I know that people say there are more races these days and that it is a different era, but it is still a mighty fine achievement. Five titles are a few too many if you ask me. I would settle for one!'

- Michael Schumacher will grace the very World Cup-winning boots worn by Brazilian star Ronaldo for a charity soccer match later today. Schumacher has quite ironically been invited to wear the boots which effectively ended Germany's World Cup aspirations. Joined by F1 stars Fernando Alonso, Jos Verstappen and Pedro de la Rosa, the match is aimed to raise money for UNESCO while hosting an expected 25,000 Schumi-mad fans in Mannheim.

- According to our sources, Arrows' car and team transporters are still at their Leafield base. After deliberately failing to qualify for last weekend's French Grand Prix, the cash-strapped team opted to return to England in order to continue negotiations to sell the team. As the sun rises on stationary Arrows trucks on Wednesday morning, however, it appears as if only a miracle will get the Arrows team in Central Germany before scrutineering at Hockenheim tomorrow. Stay tuned.

- With only four days between the French Grand Prix and opening practice at Hockenheim, Juan Pablo Montoya has admitted to concern that the same traction and rear-wear problems will more than likely plague the Williams team in Germany. 'We are going to Hockenheim hoping that our package will be able to show a better performance than in France,' said the Colombian, 'Although we know where the problems are and we will try to sort them out.'

On This F1 Day...
96 years ago to the day, Italian driver Franco Comotti was born in Rome.

Born on the twenty-fourth day of July, 1906, Comotti contested just two formula one grands prix; strangely separated by two years.

His first race, in the inaugural modern world championship year of 1950, was contested at the Monza circuit in the privately-entered Maserati-Milan. His debut race lasted just fifteen laps.

His second - and final - grand prix appearance was made in 1952, at the French Grand Prix at Rouen. Driving one of seven works Ferrari cars, Comotti was the last classified runner completing just 63 of the 76 designated laps.

For the record, the Ferrari trio of Ascari, Farina and Taruffi filled the winner's rostrum.

On this day in 1972, American driver Lance Reventlow was killed in a plane crash.

Heir to the Woolworth fortune, Reventlow attempted to beat the established grand prix teams with his own Scarab cars with poor results. He entered just one grand prix in 1960, the Belgian Grand Prix held at Spa-Francorchamps, retiring after just one lap with an engine failure.

On this day at Zandvoort in 1966, Australian triple world champion Sir Jack Brabham scored his tenth win in his own Brabham-Repco car.

Brabham made history as the first driver to win the championship in a rear-engined car (1959) and as the first driver to win a race, and the championship, in a car he designed (1966).

On this day in 1988, Ayrton Senna notched up Goodyear's 200th pole position at the Hockenheim Grand Prix of Germany. In a year which saw the McLaren-Honda's win 15 of the sixteen races, Senna and Prost led home the Ferrari's of Gerhard Berger and Michele Alboreto on that 24th day of July.

On that same day, Benetton and Alessandro Nannini netted their first fastest lap with a 198.89km/h tour of the ultra-high speed 4.22 mile circuit.

Meanwhile, Williams were celebrating their 350th race entry (Nigel Mansell and Riccardo Patrese both retiring after crashes) while Honda scored a one-two in their 250th Formula One Grand Prix as engine suppliers.

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