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2002 F1 Teams/Drivers

British American Racing
Jacques Villeneuve
Olivier Panis

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M. Schumacher
Rubens Barrichello

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Eddie Irvine
Pedro de la Rosa

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Takuma Sato
Giancarlo Fisichella

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Kimi Raikkonen
David Coulthard

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Alex Yoong
Mark Webber

Prost
H. H. Frentzen 
Luciano Burti

Renault
Jarno Trulli
Jenson Button

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Nick Heidfeld
Felipe Massa

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Mika Salo
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Ralf Schumacher
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F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 29, 2003
1


Trulli Relishes Renault Challenge
For Jarno Trulli, the looming grand prix season with a competitive Renault racer could not have come at a better time.

The Italian heads into his seventh year of Formula One in 2003, and - at age 29 - says he is ready for the responsibility of stepping up from the sport's midfield.

Jarno has earned a reputation over the years for showing stunning Saturday qualifying form, but letting his head drop on race-day.

But those days, he says, are over.

'Experience makes all the difference in F1,' says Trulli. 'In all areas, I'm a better driver today than when I started out.'

He first drove for Minardi, stunned the world by leading in a Prost at the A1-Ring in just his fourteenth race, before settling in for a two year stint at the French team.

Trulli then spent two years at Jordan before he got his chance with manager-mentor Flavio Briatore in blue and yellow Renault overalls.

With six years of F1 experience and approaching his third decade of life, then, it is nonetheless hard to believe that Jarno is one of the most experienced men on the grand prix grid.

'Having said that, I am ready,' he concludes. 'The Renault adventure has come at exactly the right time and will give me a chance to show just what I am capable of.'

One of the Italian's biggest challenges this year, however, will be the rated young hotshoe in the R23 beside him - Spanish 21-year-old Fernando Alonso.

But Jarno says he won't be going all out to conquer the rookie as he returns from the testing wheel: 'We will be out to defend Renault's colors before worrying about our own personal interests,' he says.

Trulli adds: 'This will be Fernando's second season in F1 and I will be happy to help him in any way that is necessary. He is extremely quick, but that doesn't worry me.'

Jarno spent 2002 alongside Jenson Button, beating him on Saturday afternoon but quite often struggling to match the Englishman's pace when the grand prix came about.

The Italian won multiple karting and F3 titles before landing in Formula One.

But far from cower away from a tough team-mate battle, Jarno Trulli is adamant that two hard chargers pushing each other is good for the team.

'It's always useful to have a teammate who forces you to the limit,' he says. 'At the end of the day it's to the benefit of the whole team.'

Renault are targeting an ambitious four podiums this year before 2004 and beyond hold championship aspirations.







Busy Day At Circuit Ricardo Tormo
A busy test kicked off at the Valencia circuit in Spain yesterday, ten cars and seven teams clocking up the miles at the twisty, sunny and hot Circuit Ricardo Tormo.

Rubens Barrichello ended the day top of the times as he and scarlet development cohort Luca Badoer swapped between three F2002 cars and tire and electronics programs.

'Today we just worked on electronics and tire developments,' said Barrichello, the Brazilian.

'We're going to start the season with this car, so we just need to fine-tune it as much as possible.'

Michael Schumacher arrived at the circuit on Tuesday afternoon and will take to the driving wheel on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, chief test engineer Luigi Mazzola explained at the track that the all-new 052 V10 Ferrari engine won't make a first appearance until the F2003 hits the circuit.

'We'll have to use this engine because we're starting the season with the F2002,' said the Italian, referring to the 2002-spec powerplant that rounded out the past season, and resides the uprated Valencia car.

'The new engine for 2003 doesn't fit in the back of the old car.'

The surprise pace on Tuesday, however, came from Jordan's brand-new EJ13 as the Silverstone-based team fended off a dire first week at Barcelona to conduct low fuel qualifying runs.

EJ13 ran reliably all day with Giancarlo Fisichella at the wheel before a mechanical problem ground it to a halt within half an hour of the end of the session.

Gary Anderson, Director of Race and Test Engineering, described Tuesday at Valencia as 'good to get some normal test running in.

'Although we still have a bit to do here and there, we have made progress,' the Irishman added. 'We haven't had any major problems today and we are beginning to understand the car better.

'It's encouraging that we are lapping a second quicker than we were here last year.'

Olivier Panis continued to show form with 63 laps in his tidy new TF103 Toyota package, his '03 team-mate Cristiano Da Matta, of CART champion fame, getting his deficit down to less than a second.

Panis and Da Matta both had a new Toyota package at their disposal, and worked on general car setup and Michelin tire testing.

'Once again, I had a very good feeling for the TF103 car like I had in Barcelona two weeks ago,' said Panis, the Frenchman.

29-year-old Cristiano, from Belo Horizonte, mused enthusiastically about the TF103 as it marked his first 'proper test' with the new car on a dry circuit.

'The car handled great straight away and, although we did not do too much in the way of set-up work, the car feels more stable and the traction is much better than the TF102B,' he says.

Da Matta's first run in the TF103 last week was washed out by rain at the Circuit Paul Ricard.

He added: 'The total package of chassis, engine and gearbox in the TF103 is really good, but we need to make some small adjustments to the position of my seat and the pedals.'

The new Jaguar R4 of Mark Webber continued to clock up the miles with the 90-degree Cosworth CR5 powerplant, the similarly-new BAR005 of Jacques Villeneuve next on the timesheets.

Webber also worked on the new gearbox and Michelin compounds, managing a quickest time of 1.11.952s from 52 laps of the circuit. Antonio Pizzonia takes over on Thursday.

Australian-born Webber pulled his green racer onto the verge around lunchtime, bringing out the red flags.

Villeneuve, meanwhile, was buoyed with the 005's form on a totally different brand of track to the Circuit de Catalunya, where he made his 2003 debut last week.

'The car is definitely good here also,' said the Canadian ex-world champion. 'It's good to know that the car is good at a very different type of circuit to Barcelona.

'The car is very stable, particularly in the slow corners. I'm very happy with the work we've done, and I can't wait to do more work on the car.'

The 31-year-old is scheduled to complete all four days of running at Valencia; if he does, it'll be the first such feat in his seven-year Formula One career.

Jacques' new young team-mate Jenson Button will climb into the 005 on Wednesday.

Further down pitlane, McLaren turned out with two MP4-17D cars for Alexander Wurz and young English fill-in Gary Paffett, the pair only notching up a combined 60 laps.

David Coulthard is still sitting out the tests after heading home with a stomach bug last week.

Takuma Sato rounded out the times on Tuesday as he continued to acclimatize to his new role as BAR tester, the birthday-boy Japanese managing 51 laps for a best lap some 1.6 seconds off the pace.

Meanwhile, tiny Anglo-Italian team Minardi have turned out at Valencia with two [2001-spec] PS01 cars and new drivers Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson, but have no signed tire contract to speak of.

Boss Paul Stoddart made his way to the Spanish circuit overnight to iron out a quick deal with Bridgestone to allow Faenza to get some '03 miles on the tally.

Tuesday At Valencia:
R. Barrichello Ferrari 1.11.429 79
G. Fisichella Jordan 1.11.703 66
O. Panis Toyota 1.11.867 63
M. Webber Jaguar 1.11.952 52
J. Villeneuve BAR-Honda 1.12.384 65
C. Da Matta Toyota 1.12.690 62
A. Wurz McLaren 1.12.774 41
L. Badoer Ferrari 1.12.889 104
G. Paffett McLaren 1.12.890 19
T. Sato BAR-Honda 1.13.118 51







Button Plays Down JV Feud
Jenson Button is trying to play down the rising media frenzy surrounding his new icy relationship with feisty BAR team-mate Jacques Villeneuve.

Ever since the 22-year-old Englishman stepped through the front Brackley doors, ex-world champion Villeneuve has given him an inhospitable, at best, welcome.

'Some drivers will be fast but will be mentally very, very weak,' said the French Canadian. 'So, then you don't respect them.'

Observers noted at the recent Barcelona tests that, oddly, partitions had been erected between the BAR garages. Other pundits remarked that the pair didn't share a word for the entire three-day session.

Button, meanwhile, insists that all will be well at 2003-spec British American Racing: 'Jacques and I are going to work together in a way that we will share information,' he said.

'We are going to work as teammates.'

He denies that Villeneuve is out to psychologically destroy him: 'I am sure that there will be times that we don't get along, and there will be times when we work very well together.'

The Frome racer is unfazed by reports that he'll be doing well simply to keep up with the 1997 world champion.

After all, says the Englishman, he's partnered Ralf Schumacher at Williams and Giancarlo Fisichella and Jarno Trulli at Renault - none of whom are known for their track straggling.

'Jacques has been world champion and he is very experienced,' Button said.

'I have never been his teammate, so I don't know what to expect, but I have been with three very quick teammates, especially the two Italians.'

But Villeneuve has made it clear that Jenson won't even get a passing hello - let alone an invite to dinner - from him in 2003.

Button is not overly concerned. 'We are going to be sharing data, that is the most important thing,' the 22-year-old said. 'If we don't talk outside the circuit, it is not a big thing for me. We all have our own friends.'

To calm the hungry media, then, Jenson recalls an often friendly relationship with the outspoken Quebecois.

He explains: 'When I arrived in F1, Jacques was one of the guys who said 'good luck and enjoy it.' We have talked in the paddock before, and in the drivers briefing.

'Most drivers just keep to themselves.'

Jenson says most team-mates aren't best buddies: 'Outside the circuit there are not so many drivers who spend time together,' he adds.

'We don't have to talk all the time. We don't have to laugh at each other's jokes. But we need to work together.'

Jacques Villeneuve, contemplating a fifth year at the BAR outfit, says he has not closed his door to Jenson Button.

The 11-times grand prix winner insists he has an open mind about going racing alongside anybody. 'I was open to work with [Ricardo] Zonta, so I am open to work with anybody,' Villeneuve said coyly.

But Jacques destroyed Zonta on the track and arguably won an even bloodier battle in the Brazilian's mind.

'Some drivers will be fast but will be mentally very, very weak,' Villeneuve said. 'This is a job where it is important to be strong.'







Senna Trial Leaves Williams Surprised
Williams are surprised and dismayed by the Italian Supreme Court's decision to drag up the old Ayrton Senna trial.

The news will see veteran Williams technical director Patrick Head and former chief designer Adrian Newey - now at McLaren - again face charges over the tragic death of the Brazilian great.

Senna, aged 34 at the time of his accident in May 1994, died as a result of head wounds when his Williams Renault FW16 slammed into the Tamburello corner at the Imola circuit in Italy.

Head and Newey were acquitted of manslaughter charges in 1997, but the prosecution appealed. A 1999 ruling at an appeal upheld the original acquittal.

But now, approaching the ten year anniversary of the last fatality at the pinnacle of motorsports, the Supreme Court has annulled the 1999 verdict after 'material errors' arose.

The prosecution will be arguing for one-year suspended jail terms for Head and Newey, the new trial to be held within twelve months.

The Grove-based team, with team principal Sir Frank Williams at the helm, acknowledged in a statement yesterday that the Senna investigation will go back to the Court of Appeal in Bologna.

Ayrton Senna Da Silva crashed at the start of the seventh lap of the San Marino Grand Prix, after a safety car period.

The Williams statement read: '[We have] assisted in the detailed investigation of this matter over the last nine years and have been cleared of any culpability on two separate occasions.

'Accordingly, WilliamsF1 is surprised that the matter should not be considered closed after such an extended period and an extensive examination of all the facts.

'WilliamsF1 however respects the legal process in Italy, and will continue to fully assist the authorities as they require.'

Sources say the matter could be complicated by the fact that the offending FW16 chassis was officially returned to Williams' headquarters where it was destroyed last year.

The prosecution originally argued that the steering column had been inadequately repaired after Senna requested it be extended by several inches.

Head and Newey's lawyer, Roberto Causo, says he is adamant that - nine years after the fact - his clients will not be found guilty of culpable homicide.

'This has an importance in terms of the formalities but in substance it changes nothing for us,' he told Italian media.

He added: 'We are calm - we have already won on two counts, I do not see why we should fear losing on the third.'

In Italy, all fatal accidents must be investigated as potentially criminal acts. Moreover, prosecuting teams can appeal acquittals and their subsequent appeals overthrows.

The re-hashed trial has, according to sources, thrown the future of Italian Formula One races at Imola and Monza into question.

Teams will be unlikely to want to race in the ardent nation if there is the possibility for ongoing legal turmoil and criminal convictions after normal racing accidents.

F1 rights impresario Bernie Ecclestone has already cancelled two races in Europe and warned that only five or six would left standing after tobacco bans fall in 2006.

Ayrton Senna's Renault-powered FW16 under-steered into concrete barriers at 130mph on May the first, 1994.

It followed a horror weekend at the Imola circuit after youngster Roland Ratzenberger died on Friday and Rubens Barrichello crashed heavily during qualifying.







A Lot Riding On New Williams FW25
Patrick Head insists there is more riding on the competitiveness of Williams' new FW25 package than a mere championship assault.

The Williams technical director warns that 'If we don't make up ground [to Ferrari] pretty soon, we'll never catch them.'

Powered by BMW, the Oxfordshire-based outfit won just a single race to Ferrari's fifteen in 2002 as they struggled to a distant second in the constructors' championship.

Based in Grove and led by team boss and founder Sir Frank Williams, the operation will unveil a 'more adventurous' FW25 at the Circuit de Catalunya, just out of Barcelona, on Friday.

Head admits a 'massive gulf between ourselves and Ferrari,' and even adds that the Ron Dennis-led McLaren team might have the edge on Williams.

'As technical director I suppose I bear responsibility for that,' he continued to tell British media.

The veteran technical guru acknowledges the seeds of the present void of world championship success were sown in 1996 and 1997 - at the height of their last F1 domination.

'We were doing so much to win the championship in 1996 and 1997 that we didn't do enough research and development for the future,' Patrick Head admits.

'Not winning for three years is pretty horrific.

'It's more than double our previous most barren period. It will be very disappointing if we're not a lot closer this year.'

FW25 will be revealed to the world late Friday morning, with a concurrent internet launch.

It will then, powered by the all-new P83 BMW powerplant, be put through its first track paces a day later, on the Spanish circuit.







Eddie's Absence A Great Loss: Burti
Luciano Burti has added his sadness to the forced retirement of extravagant Formula One veteran Eddie Irvine.

The pair shared a mixed and unique acquaintance at the pinnacle of motorsports, Burti residing the sister Jaguar as team-mate to Irvine for the first four races of 2001.

After differences with ex-boss Bobby Rahal, Burti left the team bound for Prost.

Marking the end of his initial race stint in Formula One though, the Brazilian collided with Irvine at the flat-out Blanchimont corner at Spa-Francorchamps, slamming head-first into the barriers, knock unconscious and injured.

Eddie Irvine, the 37-year-old Ulsterman, leapt from his stricken R2 and frantically set about helping the track marshals clear Luciano Burti who was buried deep under crash-tires.

Burti said: 'Eddie's absence will be a great loss because he is a great driver and an even larger personality in F1.

'He is a different driver, who says what he thinks and after you get to know him better you see that he is a great person.'

Burti now spends his days testing Ferraris for Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello.

'I will always remember three important moments,' continues the Paulista of Irvine.

Burti's own grand prix career was cut short by the Belgian crash and subsequent collapse of Alain Prost's team.

He adds: 'Irvine's victory in Austria in 1999 was very exciting, and his podium finishes, driving a Jaguar in 2001 in Monaco and in 2002 at Monza.'







Round The Clock Progress In Manama
Close to a thousand people are working around the clock to get Bahrain's new Formula One circuit up and running by 2004.

'Bahrain used to pride itself on having the best Arabian horses,' says Mohammed Mohsin Kayani, editor of Arabia Motors magazine on the island state.

'Now we pride ourselves on having more knowledge about horse power.'

F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone sealed the deal late last year to take his grand prix circus, for the first time, into the Arab world.

Work has already begun on the $120 million state-of the art facility.

The desert south of capital Manama will stage the first Bahraini Grand Prix late next year.

'The biggest challenge of this project is the time frame,' says Sheikh Mohammed bin Isa al-Khalifa, chairman of the racing circuit committee. 'They're working 24 hours a day.

'We're slightly ahead of plan now but it's still early days.'

Work presently centers on blasting through rock to carve out the track, whilst foundations are being laid for the main grandstand and garaging and paddock facilities.

Sheikh Mohammed says the track, whilst boasting a showcase for traditional Arab architecture, is principally designed to be challenging for the grand prix drivers.

'This area of the main grandstand will be landscaped like an oasis,' he said.

'You can go out into the desert and back to the oasis,' he adds, 'standing where the track will run down the main straight.

'From the driver's point of view we have the changes in elevation. Part of the track is behind the hill and we have some nice elevation changes to make the track more exciting.'

Bahrain, the tiny island state surrounded by the Middle Eastern Gulf, fended off the challenges for the sought-after event after competition from Dubai, Egypt and Lebanon.

Sheikh Jaber bin Ali al-Khalifa, a car fanatic and racing driver, thanks the efforts of one man in particular.

'The crown prince is also a motor sport enthusiast,' he explained.

'He owns a collection of cars that he keeps for himself and that's one of the major reasons we have the Formula One track being built.

'Because of his enthusiasm.'

Bahrain will join the Chinese city of Shanghai in hosting new Grands Prix in 2004.







Michelin And BMW Step Up Roles
Michelin and BMW are stepping up their roles for season 2003 as Williams prepare to launch a world championship challenge.

Sam Michael, the Grove team's Chief Operations Engineer, notes that French tire partner Michelin are making promising progress as the looming season lies just five weeks away.

Williams will unveil a more adventurous FW25 package this Friday, in Spain.

'During the tire testing, Michelin have found another promising compound and we have also verified a gain in tire construction,' said the Australian as testing resumes at Valencia.

'The Michelin engineers are making really good progress, which is encouraging at this point of the year.'

Williams won just one race last year - Ralf Schumacher's triumph in Malaysia - while Ferrari stomped off with double world championships in crushing style.

The lauded 30-year-old continues to emphasize the importance of competitive tires in the duel for Formula One glory: 'We're exploring all-new compound and casing directions.'

Michael adds: 'Michelin have already found two new compounds; one soft and one hard. The casing directions are interesting as well but are longer-term developments.'

BMW chief Dr Mario Theissen has also been on hand for the last three weeks of intensive Williams testing as the all-new P83 powerplant clocks up the miles and gains reliability.

The P83 is more powerful and lighter than its predecessor, even despite the older unit's plaudits as the best and highest-revving in pitlane.

'As well as supporting the chassis and tire development work on the car, we have also been able to complete an extensive engine development program during the Valencia test,' said the German.

'Our tasks were divided between testing new components for the P83 BMW engine as well as working on the engine's mapping.

'Step by step, we are finalizing the engine's configuration for Melbourne.'

Williams will return to the circuit at Barcelona on Saturday February 1 for a five day program, after the official launch of the new car.

Sam Michael continues that new brake materials from Carbone Industrie, suspension geometries and aerodynamic components were also on the Valencia job-list.

He explains: 'All of this is aimed at the FW25.'







Minardi Left Boot-less In Spain
Minardi may be forced to sit out the tests at Valencia this week after advanced talks with tire supplier Bridgestone broke down.

The Faenza-based team has been Michelin-clad for the last two years but, unlike the French supplier's contracts with McLaren and Williams, Minardi had to pay for the privilege.

F1 sources suggest that world champion Japanese marque Bridgestone are keen to get Minardi on their rubber after boss Paul Stoddart signed up for the Heathrow Agreement on test restrictions.

Under the plan, Bridgestone hope to supply Minardi - and other contracted Friday test-team Jordan - with several examples of tire for evaluation prior to opening practice at the grands prix.

The deal will, according to speculation, see Minardi wear Bridgestone tires for free.

Otherwise, think Bridgestone, Michelin may get the advantage by supplying both Renault and Minardi with evaluation French rubber in the Friday sessions.

But until a deal is done with either tire company, Minardi is left stranded with a PS01 chassis, new Cosworth CR4 engine, the Valencia circuit and drivers Jos Verstappen and Justin Wilson - but no track action.

According to reports, Aussie team principal Paul Stoddart arrived in southern Spain overnight in a private European jet to conclude a deal with Bridgestone.

When asked at Renault's R23 track launch in France last week, Michelin F1 boss Pierre Dupasquier said of the Minardi tire situation: 'As far as I am aware, Minardi will be with Bridgestone.'

Ferrari won a dominant 2002 Formula One World Championship double with Japanese-made Bridgestone tires.

'We are actively seeking to conclude a deal with Bridgestone,' said Minardi team boss Paul Stoddart. 'However as no deal has yet been concluded we cannot say for certain.'

The 48-year-old, however, adds that either one of Bridgestone or Michelin are compelled to supply the Faenza team with tires under the provisions of the Concorde Agreement.

'The rules state that both companies must supply tires to six teams if requested to do so,' said Stoddart.







Wurz: McLaren Won't Race 'Old' Car
McLaren will not start the new season with the 'old' MP4-17, team tester Alexander Wurz has insisted.

The Austrian says that, with all-new parts, a new gearbox and revised suspension developments, the MP4-17D will be almost unidentifiable when it lands on the Albert Park circuit in five weeks.

'We are making a lot of steps forward with the tire/chassis relationship and things seem very positive,' Wurz said.

The Woking team and Wurz are in action at the Valencia circuit this week, and intend to delay the launch of a new racer until it is fully developed.

'We're testing a new gearbox and suspension developments and both have been performing well,' he adds. 'There are always a few niggles making new parts work, but that's why we test!'

Sources tip that the MP4-18 won't hit the championship until as late as the Spanish Grand Prix.

But Wurz says the 17D will be lighter, stiffer and boast a lower centre of gravity than its original MP4-17 - the car that finished only third in the constructors' chase driven by David Coulthard and Kimi Raikkonen.

'We are also going for minimum friction in the gearbox and suspension,' the Austrian - who last raced in 2000 - adds.

Alexander will spend 2003 as his third successive year on the development and reserve bench. 'The MP4-18 will have a new gearbox, too, but its all secret,' he continues.

'All I can say is that it has seven speeds.'

It may be highly secreted and concealed behind closed Woking doors in England, but Wurz has already sat in a mock-up of the MP4-18 for an initial seat fitting.

He says it 'feels pretty good.

'The regulations are so tight now, its difficult to make things look radically different, but you will see some changes when it runs for the first time. There's a lot of detail change.'

Wurz continues: 'That's where we are making most of the gains now. A new car is always the most exciting things you can see - that buzz is the same for everyone in the team.'

But the Austrian isn't sure that the new silver racer will be good enough to beat the Ferrari juggernaut - consecutive manufacturers champions for the last four years.

'I hope we can match them by the middle of the season,' says Alex. 'There are no guarantees, but that's our aim.'

He adds: 'We are not here to be second in the championship, and with a man like Ron Dennis running things, you know they're not ready to take second best.'







More To Come From Improved BAR
The all-new BAR005 will get new wings and an uprated Honda V10 engine before it is ready to race at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

That is the word in the Spanish Circuit Ricardo Tormo paddock as ex-world champion Jacques Villeneuve clocked up 65 laps and a time less than a second down on the leading Ferrari on Tuesday.

'The car isn't completely ready yet,' said the French-Canadian, whose words have all been positive in first assessments of the all-new Brackley charger.

Villeneuve has been at BAR since 1999, but the 005 is the first contender designed by ex-Williams aerodynamicist Geoffrey Willis.

'We are waiting for new wings,' Villeneuve adds.

'The aero is not the final version and neither is the engine. But we have made a good step forward and everything is going as planned.'

Jacques slammed the new Honda engine for boasting no more 'punch' than its overweight and underpowered predecessor after first trying it at Barcelona.

But after the Japanese marque had a quiet word in the 31-year-old's ear that a better engine is on the way for Melbourne, Villeneuve has changed his tune.

Season 2003 kicks off at Australia's Albert Park in just over five weeks.

Villeneuve said of the new Honda V10: 'This engine has been designed and built quickly so that we could do more tests, but we should have a better, more powerful and more reliable engine in two or three weeks' time.

'It's a new concept engine and everyone still has things to understand,' he added.

'But certainly, the car is more easy to drive than last year's. We have made a big step forward and I'm feeling positive.'

The outspoken, diminutive Canadian's race engineer Jock Clear was also busy at the Valencia circuit but willing to muse enthusiastically about the all-new and striking 005.

'We have high expectations, and we think we have done a pretty good job across the board - but only time will tell how big a step forward the other teams have taken too.'

The Briton added: 'The car is very different in its conception and, being the first one from Geoff [Willis], it is a move away from the direction we've been taking in recent years.

'Geoff has put into practice a lot of the stuff he learned at Williams.'

Clear, a good friend of Villeneuve's, comments on the early sparring taking place between BAR's two driver garages.

Villeneuve said he has little respect for incoming English team-mate, Jenson Button, ahead of season 2003.

'As far as Jacques is concerned,' says Jock, 'Jenson has still got something to prove. I'm sure there'll be even more bits and pieces going on before the season even starts.

'It'll be interesting to see where and how they line up against each other at Melbourne."

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