F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 15, 2003
Da Matta Adjusts To Grand Prix Life
For Cristiano Da Matta, actually driving the all-new Toyota Formula
One contender is the least of his worries for season 2003.
The Brazilian rookie, fresh from a dominant Champcar title across the
Atlantic, says that while he is yet to master the Grand Prix car on
the limit, it is the off-track environment that is taking him most
time to acclimatise.
'In CART,' says the 29-year-old, 'you are driving the car and you are
worried only about the setup, because everything is ready.'
Cristiano won seven races from seven pole positions last year, nearing
a record for the ultra-competitive, US-predominated series.
He adds: 'Lola was worrying about the new pieces for the car, and we
would give the feedback from the track, and they would provide
changes, so we only focused on the setup.'
But in the Formula One paddock - the pinnacle of world motorsport -
Cristiano climbs out of his TF102B interim car fitted with new engine
and gearbox and is instantly hounded by a swarm of engineers.
'Here, in F1, you have the aero engineers, the car dynamics engineers,
the electronics engineers,' da Matta explains. 'They are all there to
help you, but especially at the first test it is a lot of things. You
are not used to it.'
He says that in Champcar, he would hop out of his Lola-Toyota, pat the
backs of his mechanics, and chat with his race engineer, the engine
engineer and maybe the chief mechanic.
Da Matta adds: 'Here you have to talk to all these guys plus another
four or five. It's a little bit more complex because you are used to
saying everything to the same guy and he passed the message on to the
rest of the team.
'Here you have to go one by one.'
Technically, Formula One is a welcome - and not too foreign -
environment for the diminutive man known as 'Kiki' by his family back
in Belo Horizonte.
In CART, the gears were selected manually with a sequential selector:
'I much prefer the butterflies on the steering wheel and an automatic
gearbox than to have to shift,' he explains.
Traction-control is common to both Formula One and CART, whilst the
telemetry and data acquisition systems, Cristiano explains, 'are very
'It's more things here, but it's not the electronics that are
At a warmer Circuit de Catalunya just out of Barcelona yesterday,
Cristiano da Matta resumed work at the wheel of the hybrid 2002/2003
car, the TF102B fitted with new RVX-03 V10 engine.
After a similar number of laps, the Brazilian rookie - preparing to
debut at Melbourne's Albert Park in little over seven weeks - is still
two seconds a lap off the ultimate pace of team-mate Olivier Panis.
He worked on establishing baseline car set-ups, and completed 38 laps:
'It is good to be back in Barcelona, but it has been a day of mixed
fortunes for us,' Cristiano said.
'We set a very packed schedule today with many laps planned. In the
end, I managed just 38 laps, even though we had no major problems.
'Coming back to this track for the first time since my debut test with
the team back in November, I am already more confident and positive
about my work with the car and the team.'
Davidson Backs Powerful Honda Claims
BAR tester Anthony Davidson has lauded the progress made by engine
partner Honda throughout 2002.
As the 23-year-old stood alongside new fellow tester Takuma Sato and
race pilots Jacques Villeneuve and Jenson Button at the 005 launch
yesterday, Honda mused emphatically about major steps of development
in power and torque.
Davidson, from Hemel Hempstead, is well qualified to comment on the
Japanese marque's rate of improvement last year as he tested the old
004 model from its initial roll-out to the final tests in October.
The British charger was also able to compare the originally
under-powered and overweight Honda V10 with another grand prix engine
- the Asiatech - when he race-debuted for Minardi in August.
As the grand prix circus unpacked at Melbourne's Albert Park circuit
last March, whispers suggested that Honda were matched for power and
driveability by Minardi's outdated, Asiatech unit.
By season's end, said Anthony as the wraps fell off the promising new
BAR005 at Circuit de Catalunya yesterday, Honda were nipping the heels
of Ferrari, BMW and Mercedes in the power-stakes.
'The Honda, especially at the end of the year with the last engine
they had, was pretty good, especially in qualifying,' said Davidson.
'It was probably the third or fourth best engine out there easily,
revving quite high.'
Davidson took Alex Yoong's under-performing Minardi seat in August for
the Hungarian and Belgian grands prix.
And the Briton quickly dispelled any lingering belief that Honda's
touted progress was overrated as season 2002 slipped into the present
state of pre-season.
Davidson adds: 'The Asiatech engine was down on power to the Honda
quite a significant amount.
'So that actually made the Minardi a little bit easier to drive - but
only because there was less power.'
The diminutive Englishman, standing at just five foot four, still
insists he is 'well positioned' to climb off the reserve bench and
take a racing berth at Jordan for next year.
The Silverstone-based team, left assessing 'commercial opportunities'
with Takuma Sato's vacated seat, are tipped to bow to backer Benson &
Hedges' desire for a young, hard-charging Briton.
And Davidson, more than 36-year-old veteran Eddie Irvine, fits that
'We haven't got any money, but Eddie Jordan has got his back to the
wall,' said the man known as 'Ant'. 'That puts us in a good position.
'At the moment it does need a little bit of money to get the drive,
but Eddie's in a situation where he also needs a British driver. Since
no British driver has any money to throw around he's in a difficult
'If he can find extra sponsorship then basically we're in.'
With the promising new BAR005, though - penned by lauded ex-Williams
aerodynamicist Geoff Willis - Davidson knows he'll steer a 'quick car'
no matter what transpires between now and the second weekend of March.
'I'm pretty sure Honda are going to have a really strong engine for
this season,' he said, 'and the new car looks really good.'
Willis Promises 'Substantially Better' 005
A slimmer and visibly more aerodynamically-refined BAR005 challenger
is a 'substantially better total package' than its predecessor.
That was the promise of the car's architect, lauded ex-Williams aero
whiz Geoff Willis, as the world's media converged on Circuit de
Catalunya yesterday for the second launch of pre-season 2003.
But unlike similar themes of progress at a grand prix launch, the BAR
team - based in Brackley, England - have a radical new engineering
structure to put to the test in 2003.
The 005 is fitted with an exclusive Honda RA003E after two years of
sharing efforts between BAR and Jordan. David Richards is at the helm
for his first season-proper.
So unlike the wild claims of winning their first-ever race in 1999,
BAR's goal of soaring to the top three at the pinnacle of motorsports,
at last, has some basis.
Willis said in Spain: 'We want to compete for the top three positions
in 2003. Our target is to finish every race; regularly being in the
championship points and being on the podium as often as we can.'
005 is his first complete car since taking over the technical office
run by fired ex-technical director, Malcolm Oastler.
He says the challenger's predecessor, the 004, was not competitive in
any area precipitating a total restructure of the design and
engineering teams, and a clean-sheet approach to the all-new car.
'Really, we've rebuilt the whole design team,' he explains.
'The car was not good enough in any area and it took a while to make
that clear to the people in the team. We decided to have a substantial
reorganization in the team.'
The design team was reduced in size and rebuilt 'just in time for the
'I made clear to the entire team, really everybody was responsible for
the poor performance of the car.
'It was not a competitive car in any area so everybody has to look
equally towards improving their game.'
005 - the fifth BAR - is to be steered by Jacques Villeneuve and
Jenson Button, and will get its first full workout at the Circuit de
'We are very confident it's going to be a substantially better car and
a substantially better package of engine and chassis together,'
'We have set new performance targets when designing the car for weight
reduction, stiffness, aerodynamic efficiency and engine performance
all aimed at helping us to compete with those at the front of the
'We are now all very excited and looking forward to the new season.'
Sauber, Toyota Try New Cars In Spain
Formula One outfits Toyota and Sauber pitted their all-new 2003
contenders against each other at the Circuit de Catalunya on Tuesday.
Although neither teams are yet embarking on performance tests with
their respective TF103 and C22 chargers, Sauber won the unofficial
race for pace as Nick Heidfeld steered 81 circuit tours.
Joining a field of nine cars also including McLaren and Williams, the
27-year-old German trailed the record-setting pace of David Coulthard
by just over a second.
Under dry and cold Spanish skies outside Barcelona, Heidfeld described
his day as 'running like clockwork,' with the all-new, Hinwil-designed
Heidfeld said: 'This has been another very good day for me,' referring
to Monday's roll-out of the blue racer. 'I am really enjoying myself
adapting to the new car's characteristics which are different to the
Technical Director Willy Rampf was pleased to find another chilly, but
crucially dry, day of reliable running with the new contender. 'The
weather enabled us to maintain consistency in this important first
test of the C22.
'We are pleased the way the new car went again today when Nick did
more laps than any one else today and the car proved completely
'Having completed all of our preliminary checks and evaluations
yesterday our focus today was on aerodynamic work.'
In the afternoon, Sauber embarked on a Bridgestone tire test program,
whilst Heinz-Harald Frentzen resumed component testing work with the
older C21 car, before trying the C22 later today.
Just a few tenths slower than the C22, Olivier Panis lapped the 4.73
kilometer Montmelo track in southern Barcelona 34 times during the
day, getting to know the new Toyota TF103 car.
With the car designated chassis 01, the 36-year-old from Lyon gave the
TF103, launched last week, its inaugural run at Barcelona working on
general car set-up after its Paul Ricard debut.
'This is our first test with the new TF103 car at Barcelona, and
although we did not complete many laps, what we did was very
positive,' the Frenchman said.
The TF103 lost valuable track time with a fuel-leak in the garage:
'There was a little problem,' Panis admitted, 'But the car is very,
'The most encouraging aspect is that we have found ourselves in a good
position with respectable lap times. I already feel confident enough
to push the car to the limit.
'Last week's test at Paul Ricard gave us a good baseline, and today's
session gave me a confirmation that the team have done a good job on
this car - I can really feel the difference.'
British American Racing, after an initial shakedown yesterday with
Jenson Button at the wheel, will debut its newly-launched,
Honda-powered 005 competitor later today (Wednesday).
Coulthard Flies At Busy Barcelona Test
David Coulthard topped the testing times in style on Tuesday, smashing
his own Barcelona lap record by some four tenths of a second.
The McLaren charger, complete with the 2002-spec, developing MP4-17
that will kick off the season in Melbourne this March, surpassed the
fastest-ever circuit tour at the Catalan track beating his record set
Marc Gene, with his hybrid FW24 Williams complete with new P83
powerplant and FW25-specification gearbox, was second quickest after
69 laps; albeit a further 1.2 seconds adrift the leading pace.
'Again we started with a very cold day, the track temperature was as
low as minus 3°C when we began at nine this morning,' said Williams
test team manager Tim Newton.
'The track temperature did get up to 15°C by the end of the session.'
Heidfeld continued to impress with the all-new Sauber C22 in third
spot, followed by another Williams steered by Juan Pablo Montoya and
the TF103 Toyota of Olivier Panis.
Juan Pablo, from Colombia, focused on programs of brake and tire work
alongside Marc Gene, who also concentrated on Michelin tires and
development for the new FW25.
McLaren tester Alex Wurz was back in action for his Woking team,
clocking up a decent 48 laps to go sixth fastest as his workload
comprised experimental parts and Michelin tire programs.
Sauber spearheaded the initial Barcelona test of the new C22 with
Heinz-Harald Frentzen, the 35-year-old German from Moenchengladbach,
taking the racing wheel of an older C21 for 68 laps.
Frentzen, to get his first taste of C22 later today, said: 'Today I
continued running in the C21 carrying on the component testing that we
started yesterday and also working on the launch control.
'I am really looking forward to getting into the C22 - my team-mate
Nick already says it is a better car than last year.'
Cristiano Da Matta is still struggling to match the pace of the field
as he continued to work at the office known as interim-car TF102B,
comprising new engine and seven-speed, longitudinal gearbox.
Observers noted that the Brazilian, 29 years old and from CART Racing,
held an ice-pack to his neck in the afternoon as he grapples with the
increased speed of high-G corners at the end of Circuit de Catalunya.
Monaco-born pilot Olivier Beretta, with nine races for Larrousse under
his belt in Formula One's mid-Nineties, took over from Ralf Schumacher
and will complete the German's Williams duties for the balance of
'Olivier Beretta has joined the test team driving a FW24D for engine
work and successfully completed the mileage task of 250km,' Tim
Newton, Williams test team manager, continued.
'It was the first time that he had driven that car and on dry track
He wracked up 53 laps in the FW24 on Tuesday, Ralf Schumacher trying
an installation lap early in the morning after pulling a muscle in his
neck a day earlier.
'Of course, it's a pity that I'm not in the condition to complete the
tests,' said the younger Schumacher. 'But it doesn't make any sense if
you can hardly move.
'I wasn't due to test in the near future anyway. I'm going to take a
break until the presentation of the new car [on January 31st] in order
to really get my strength back.'
1 David Coulthard McLaren 1m.15.266 61
2 Marc Gene Williams 1m.16.568 69
3 Nick Heidfeld Sauber 1m.16.688 81
4 Juan Pablo Montoya Williams 1m.16.828 39
5 Olivier Panis Toyota 1m.17.066 34
6 Alex Wurz McLaren 1m.17.307 48
7 Heinz-Harald Frentzen Sauber 1m.17.909 68
8 Cristiano Da Matta Toyota 1m.19.092 38
9 Olivier Beretta Williams 1m.19.160 53
Jacques: Button Needs To Earn Respect
BAR newcomer Jenson Button will need to shape up and earn the respect
of Jacques Villeneuve, the feisty ex-world champion has warned.
As the cameras flashed at the impressive new BAR005 challenger for the
official Barcelona launch yesterday, Villeneuve, preparing for a fifth
consecutive year at Brackley, said only speed will buy his respect for
And Jenson, says the French-Canadian, will need to show better form
than three years at Williams, Benetton and Renault for that to happen.
'I will respect Jenson once he goes quick on a race track,' the
Canadian said at the Circuit de Catalunya, Button wearing the
identical black and white overalls in the background.
'That's the only way you can respect another race car driver.'
Jacques, 1997 world champion with Williams, is known for his often
caustic team-mate relationships including with Heinz-Harald Frentzen
and Ricardo Zonta.
But he insists that he doesn't deliberately 'set out to psyche people
On both occasions with Frentzen and 1999 BAR-teammate Zonta,
Villeneuve put the men in the shade and simply failed to find regard
for their claims as top-class racing drivers.
'It is just important to go in there and drive as hard as you can,'
With a happy and amiable Brackley relationship ending as the rated
Olivier Panis heads for Toyota, Jenson steps directly into the
Villeneuve firing line and will need to prove his worth.
Button, from Frome and still just 22, was predominantly shown the way
by BMW-Williams team-mate Ralf Schumacher on debut in 2000, before he
was destroyed, on track, by Giancarlo Fisichella at Enstone a year
Last season, Button improved on race-day but readily admits a
qualifying deficit to another Italian Renault team-mate, Jarno Trulli.
Villeneuve says: 'The key thing is, 'Do you respect your team-mate or
'If you do respect him like it was the case with Olivier Panis last
year then everything works fine and no-one gets destroyed.
'But if you do not respect your team-mate then it just happens, you
can't help yourself.'
Button will also need to prove his mental strength to Jacques; the
31-year-old staring into his eighth year at the pinnacle of
The Canadian, with eleven wins and thirteen poles to his name, hasn't
won a race since he stole the championship from Michael Schumacher in
1997, driving a Williams.
'Some drivers will be very fast but will be very weak mentally, then
you do not respect them either,' the Canadian continues. 'Human
strength is probably more important to respect than pure speed.
'If the car breaks down and you break into tears, which you see happen
sometimes, that is a thing I have a hard time respecting.'
Since arriving at Brackley for the New Year, boss David Richards has
proclaimed Jenson Button a future world champion.
That fact, says Jacques Villeneuve, has put the boy-racer under
instant pressure to perform with a long-term BAR contract.
'He comes into the team perceived as being a future world champion so
I guess there is a lot on his shoulders,' said Villeneuve.
'I have already won races in the past, I know what I can do and people
know what I can do.'
Button, responding to Villeneuve's warning of pending respect, said he
didn't need to be his teammate's buddy so long as they can build a
good working relationship for the sake of BAR.
'We talk, we get on alright,' said Jenson, who'll be 23 next week.
'But I want to do the best job I can on the circuit and we need to
work together to move the team forward.'
'I am sure there are going to be times when we don't get along but
there will be times when we work well together.
'If outside the circuit we do not talk it's not a big thing for me as
we all have our own friends.'
Richards Urges Bosses To Reform F1
BAR boss David Richards has thrown his weight of support behind an FIA
push to reform Formula One.
Speaking at the launch of a promising new BAR005 challenger at the
Circuit de Catalunya yesterday, the Prodrive chief promised to back
Max Mosley and his proposed reform plans.
The FIA President, Mosley, will meet with the ten team bosses at
London's Heathrow Hilton Conference Room later today where emergency
cost-cutting proposals and a blueprint for the future will be up for
The Briton was disappointed and frustrated when the Formula One chiefs
effectively shelved technical change, including mooted reduction of
aerodynamics and the return of slick tires, until at least 2005.
Having met privately with several leading bosses in the lead up to the
new Heathrow congregation, including with Ferrari's Jean Todt, it is
expected that Mosley will force his ideas into the Sporting Code even
Richards, though, insists that urgent change is now crucial for the
future development and survival of the sport as we know it. 'We have
got to take a few steps backwards,' says the Brackley boss.
'We've really got to bring back the pure racing into the sport,' said
Richards as he unveiled a new corporate imagine and name-change from
British American Racing to B.A.R at Barcelona.
'I think if we do that, we will address so many of our critics,' he
Touted changes due for discussion at Heathrow this afternoon range
from the re-banning of traction and launch control, automatic
gearboxes and the implementation of standardized ECU control boxes.
'We must be open-minded to change as well,' David continued. 'If some
of these new ideas benefit the sport as a whole, we should embrace
them. We shouldn't just look at our own narrow view of things and our
own vested interests.'
Some commentators worry that world championship-contending outfits
like Ferrari, McLaren and Williams will be reluctant to embrace change
if it is aimed at making it easier to compete for the less efficient
But with privateers including Prost and Arrows hitting the pavement -
and a couple more teetering on the brink - Formula One has hit a
turning point where change is almost inescapable.
Coupled with fleeing corporate sponsors, Formula One lost millions of
television spectators this year frustrated with the unspectacular
track-action led by team order driven Ferraris.
'What we've got to really get down to is how to improve the show for
spectators,' Richards continued.
The Brackley boss would embrace the highest priority on the Heathrow
meeting's agenda; the reduction of driver aids also including power
steering and sophisticated telemetric systems.
He said: 'If we are of the common belief that driver aids and all
these technical gizmos are inappropriate, and we can find a proper way
of policing it, then I applaud it and would support it wholeheartedly.
'I would give up anything if it meant we were all on a level playing
Richards urges today's London congregation to support change for the
benefit of Formula One. 'This is about thinking about the future of
F1,' he added.
'It should not be about thinking that I might have a little advantage
here if I don't do that, let's vote against this or that.
'Sometimes you have got to put all those issues to one side and say
'Hey guys, this is a situation where Formula One comes first and I'm
going to have to vote for that.'
He concludes: 'And I will.'
Montoya: I Will Challenge For '03 Title
Juan Pablo Montoya is adamant that, with the right machinery, the
Formula One World Championship is his for the taking.
'I am very excited about 2003 and can't wait to challenge for this
year's driver's championship,' the 27-year-old from Colombia said
But his Williams technical boss, the gruff Patrick Head, worries that
the Bogotao has 'still got quite a way to go' before he's ready to
take on the likes of Michael Schumacher.
'I think Juan has enormous talent, but I think he's got quite a way to
go to be at a level where he could win a championship,' Head said.
But the real problem, the architect of nine Formula One world
championship-winning cars adds, is that Juan Pablo Montoya thinks that
all he now needs is a fast car.
'It is a problem,' Head continued to Australian Associated Press. 'He
does not understand that he isn't yet ready to be world champion.'
Juan Pablo, also CART and Indy 500 champion before soaring to a sole
F1 victory at Monza in 2001, made his latest championship pledge as a
new marketing arrangement with Castrol was launched.
David Baldry, Chief Executive, Castrol International said: 'We are
very much looking forward to working with Juan Pablo Montoya over the
'We feel his personality and his attitude to his profession closely
complement our brand values with his passion and commitment to
performance and winning.'
Montoya received the Golden Helmet award - the highest honor for a
South American driver - for his mantle as holder of the fastest-ever
lap in Formula One last year at the Autodromo Nazionale.
That pole in Italy was one of seven in 2002 as he secured the informal
title as qualifying-king.
Baldry adds: 'It is great to be involved with a driver who is so
passionate, exciting and always delivers a superior performance.'
The sponsorship deal includes print adverts, personal appearances and
point of sale branding.
Albers Guaranteed 2004 Minardi Drive?
He may have missed out on this year's drive, but young Dutch charger
Christijan Albers is believed to have signed an agreement to race for
Minardi in 2004.
The 23-year-old's manager claims Faenza chief Paul Stoddart has
promised his charge a seat in just over twelve months.
'There are guarantees,' Lodewijk Varossieau told German media. 'Paul
Stoddart will do everything possible to make Christijan an F1 driver.'
Albers came within a few minor disputes - between his sponsors and
Stoddart over upfront payments - from landing the 2003 Minardi drive
alongside 2001 F3000 champion Justin Wilson.
But Stoddart, the Australian entrepreneur and Anglo-Italian team
owner, confirmed this week that Jos Verstappen snared the drive at the
last minute as his sponsors pumped up the coffers.
Varossieau says that 'Minardi made a last minute decision in favour of
A German daily even hinted on Tuesday that Verstappen's close friend,
five times world champion Michael Schumacher, asked his Ferrari boss
Jean Todt to persuade Stoddart of Verstappen's qualities.
Verstappen and Schumacher, with their young families in tow, spent New
Year's at a winter Norway retreat for a ski holiday.
But Albers' manager added: 'We simply did not have enough time to fix
deals with our sponsors.'
And despite reports that relationships are strained between countrymen
Jos and Christijan, the young Albers - who'll probably see out 2003 in
German Touring Cars - insists that he is 'happy for Jos and I am sure
my time is yet to come.
'F1 racing is very popular in the Netherlands and maybe I will become
a national hero one day and beat Jos on the track.'
It is expected that Christijan will stay on board as a part-time
Minardi tester in 2003, also continuing the two-seater campaign.
Arrows Wound Up In Birmingham Court
The final nail was hammered into the Arrows Grand Prix coffin
yesterday as it was wound up and prepared for liquidation in a
Led by unpaid creditors including former driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen
and Morgan Grenfell, the compulsory winding-up order was granted by
the court and unopposed by Scottish boss Tom Walkinshaw.
Moreover, Walkinshaw is being sued for the $15 million still owing for
unpaid Cosworth Racing bills; the engine supplier arguing that the
Scot is personally responsible for promises made to ex-PPD boss, Niki
Last year, Arrows missed five races as financial strains reared their
head; Walkinshaw claiming force majeure - a controversial decree later
rejected by the governing FIA in the form of an '03 championship
With a potential sale to Arab investors hinging on a valid 2003 berth
in pitlane, Arrows invited the protection of the courts as
administrators tried to find a buyer to pass on the team as a going
Arrows was formed more than 25 years ago, but never managed to break
from the mid-field and score a grand prix win.
Ironically, it was in its second race, the South African Grand Prix of
1978, when Arrows came nearest to winning when Italian ace Riccardo
Patrese led the event until his engine died.
In 1997, the unlikely Arrows pilot, reigning champion Damon Hill,
overtook Michael Schumacher to lead the Hungarian Grand Prix until his
challenger stuttered to the finish for a best-ever second place
Arrows was established in controversial circumstances when key members
of the Shadow team broke away in the late Seventies.
Shadow had been sponsored by the Italian, Franco Ambrosio, who was
later imprisoned on charges of financial irregularity. Ambrosio became
the 'AR' of the Arrows name.
The other initials belonged to financial director Alan Rees, former
grand prix driver and subsequent managing director Jackie Oliver, and
designers Dave Wass and Tony Southgate.
Ambiguity Leaves Door Open For Reform
Max Mosley is expected to shake up the Formula One world with a bit of
clever maneuvering later today.
The President of the governing FIA, frustrated by the leading outfits'
reluctance to change for the good of the sport, will sit with the ten
team bosses for an emergency meeting later today in Heathrow.
There, the re-banning of traction and launch control, as well as the
removal of other driver gizmos including power steering, telemetry and
electronic aids, could stem from a simple stringent application of the
Article 61 of the Formula One sporting regulations states that 'the
driver must drive cars alone and unaided' - leaving Max open to apply
the letter of the law and enforce the ambiguous decree.
As well as reducing costs for the privateers, the removal of expensive
electronic gizmos could spice up the grid by increasing the premium of
driver talent at the F1 cockpit.
According to sources at the Paris-based FIA, a highly-secretive
document prepared by Mosley, to be distributed to the bosses this
afternoon, is also thought to want to build on the new-for-2004 rule
From next year, each car/driver combination will be restricted to the
use of just one V10 powerplant; Max is hoping to double that ruling to
two grands prix per engine, thus further cutting costs.
We can also reveal that the FIA was yesterday told by German engine
manufacturer Mercedes-Benz, supplying works powerplants to the McLaren
team, that it would be prepared to offer a fixed-specification unit to
F1 privateers for just $15m.
F1's last remaining independents, Jordan, Minardi and Sauber - all
forced to turn to customer engine programs for 2003 - will pay up to
double that amount for Cosworth and Ferrari units this year.
'Max was very disappointed the teams did not try harder to find their
own ideas for change,' an FIA source told British media.
The teams effectively shelved reform of the Technical Regulations
until 2005 at a recent meeting.
The source adds: 'They know how serious things are and he expected
them to make an attempt. He will be going into Wednesday's meeting
looking for positive changes that will happen right now.
'It is not an option to try to postpone things as the teams did,
hoping it will all go away.'
Track Debut For Black Jordan EJ13
Giancarlo Fisichella spent his 30th birthday at the wheel of a
brand-new, lean and mean-looking EJ13 challenger at Silverstone
Unbranded and unpainted, the plain black racer enjoyed a brief
roll-out with no obvious problems at the Northamptonshire circuit as
Jordan hit the tarmac for
the first time since Suzuka.
Although no formal statements accompanied the 30 kilometre shakedown,
the team is believed to have been pleased with first impressions of
the EJ13 penned by Henri Durand and technical director Gary Anderson.
Fisichella, a Roman, was quoted by the Italian press as describing the
Cosworth-powered car as 'completely new and nice to drive.'
But just seven weeks until Formula One kicks off for season 2003 at
Australia's Albert Park circuit, Jordan is without a primary sponsor,
a team-mate for Fisichella, or a works engine deal.
The Ford-branded, Cosworth program was originally planned as part of a
novel commercial subsidy agreement with 2002 title sponsor DHL; but
parent company Deutsche Post World Net retreated for the New Year
leaving Jordan in the lurch.
Jordan will now head for Spain to start testing the Jordan Ford EJ13
in earnest at Barcelona from 20 January. Giancarlo Fisichella will
take the lead with pre-season driving duties.
A second four-day test will follow further south at the twisty
Valencia track, preceding yet another long testing stint at the same
Ricardo Tormo facility in mid-February.
Before heading to Australia for the season-opener, Jordan will
finalize the EJ13 package at Circuit de Catalunya, back in Barcelona,
on 17 - 20 February.
CART More Physical Than F1: Cristiano
Cristiano Da Matta is keen to dispel the commonly-held belief that
Formula One drivers represent the pinnacle of physical motor-racing
The Brazilian, qualified to muse emphatically on the matter as
reigning CART Champion and Formula One rookie for Toyota, insists that
a Champcar is 'a lot more' physical than its grand prix counterpart.
Da Matta procrastinated for months about taking the step up into
Formula One, reluctant to swap his championship-winning Newman Haas
for shark-infested grand prix waters in the second half of the grid.
'A CART car is a lot more physical than a F1 car,' said the reigning
Champcar champion, dominant in 2002 as he strolled to seven wins from
seven pole positions.
This year, he hits the Grand Prix racing grid as a rated 29-year-old
rookie and favourite of Toyota marketing moguls in both North and
South American markets.
He said: 'An F1 car is a lot more tough on the neck because you pull
more G forces.
'But aerobically, and for the muscles needed for the shoulders, chest
and back, a CART car is a lot more difficult because it is 200 kilos
heavier and does not have power steering.'
He adds that CART's manual gearshifts - compared to Formula One's
automatic transmission - and the Champcar's lack of carbon-fibre
brakes makes grand prix the less physical car to drive.
'With the steel brakes in Champcars, you have to put a lot of pressure
on the pedal and tracks in America are usually a lot more bumpy than
He may be less pressed on-track, but out of the car Cristiano Da Matta
is still adjusting to the intense paddock lifestyle, pressure, and
worldwide media coverage focused on Formula One.
'There is pressure everywhere you go,' Da Matta said of the pinnacle
1999 CART Champion and now Formula One pacesetter, Juan Pablo Montoya,
warned rookie and fellow South American Cristiano about the hectic
media attention and added pressure it accompanies.
Da Matta said: 'Because F1 has a lot more coverage in the media than
CART, it is natural that the pressure is going to be more, but, it is
something Juan doesn't like.
'I'm probably not going to like it either.'
Belying the added pressure, trickier cars on the limit and swarms of
jostling journalists and photographers, though, Da Matta has his eye
firmly set on his new Formula One adventure.
He follows men including Nelson Piquet, Ayrton Senna and Rubens
Barrichello onto the grid as successful representatives of Brazil on
motorsport's premier stage.
'I feel like everything is coming together,' Cristiano, quickly
becoming known as Cris in grand prix circles, said.
'I am getting to know the team better. It's still a long way to go but
I feel better and better.
'If I keep progressing this way in the next two months I am going to
arrive in Melbourne in pretty good shape.'
Button Expects Difficult Year At B.A.R
Jenson Button is adamant that B.A.R's purer racing structure can
elevate him to the status of world champion.
'I want to be world champion one day and I believe that they are
capable of taking me there,' said Button at the launch of a slender,
Geoff Willis-inspired BAR005 challenger at Barcelona yesterday.
But Button, the 22-year-old charger who arrives at Brackley after two
years with Renault and a debut at Sir Frank Williams' team, admits
that season 2002 will be difficult.
He says: 'I'm expecting a difficult year but this is only the start of
a long term relationship.
'I had a whole range of opportunities open to me but after careful
consideration on what would be best for my future, BAR provided me
with an excellent opportunity to progress.'
Button told a gaggle of reporters amidst a photographic frenzy
surrounding the slender 005: 'We will move closer to the
front-runners. Where we will end up, we will find out in a few weeks.
'Give us a few weeks to sort out the car, and then make assessments
about it. But the car and the data and everything looks promising.'
Launched in 1999 as British American Racing by ousted founder Craig
Pollock, B.A.R's only claim to fame are two 'lucky' podiums at the
hand of 1997 champion pilot, Jacques Villeneuve.
But this year, Brackley steals the exclusive factory engine efforts of
Japanese marque Honda, and is preparing to unleash the first
challenger penned under the new guiding tutelage of boss David
The team principal said: '2003 will be a challenging year for B.A.R
but we have made a substantial step forward over the winter.
'I am confident that we will make significant progress towards our
long-term target of winning the world championship.'
He insists that Button, with three seasons of grand prix racing now
under his belt, is well positioned to 'challenge the front-runners'
with BAR and a new long-term contract.
Button will get the 005 development effort underway today, at the
Circuit de Catalunya in Spain, just seven weeks out from the
season-opener on the Albert Park roads south of Melbourne.
The Frome-born charger will share the 005 racing cockpit this year
with feisty French-Canadian Jacques Villeneuve.
Davidson: '03 Jordan Drive Unlikely
Anthony Davidson has downgraded his chances of landing the last Jordan
racing seat from 'good' to 'slim.'
The 23-year-old, clad in a new black and white B.A.R driver overalls
at yesterday's 005 launch in Barcelona, told reporters that there is
still a possibility 'but it's not very likely.'
Davidson, from Hemel Hempstead, debuted for Minardi this year but
remains under long term contract to the Brackley-based outfit as
But as Jordan tries to persuade Benson & Hedges into taking on the
title sponsorship role, the Silverstone outfit might be forced to bow
to their demands for a hard-charging, young English runner.
'There is still a chance but it's not very likely,' Davidson said at
the Circuit de Catalunya yesterday, the slender new 005 B.A.R in the
'It's not totally ruled out yet ... it's not fully closed, Jordan are
not yet saying no.'
Davidson was touted as a candidate for the spare Minardi and Jordan
seats earlier in the pre-season, but refuses to hit the grid as an
out-and-out pay driver.
But the EJ13 race seat will require a little money, as Davidson
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Jordan refused to reveal more than the
fact that team boss 'Eddie Jordan is still talking to several drivers
about the second race seat.'
Felipe Massa, with new Ford of Brazil backing, and Red Bull-backed
Enrique Bernoldi, are tipped as frontrunners for the last remaining
racing seat on the 2003 grand prix grid.
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