Week of the 18th of October:
Ecclestone wants money
It is rumored
Bernie Ecclestone wants 8.5 million dollar before
he wants to host a Grand Prix in Argentina, this
was said by a local newspaper in Argentina. A lot
of businessmen from Argentina are currently
working on a new plan to get a Formula One Grand
Prix in Argentina next season.
The FIA announced
the provisional calendar last week, the Grand
Prix of Argentina was not scheduled for next
season. There's still a chance there will be a
Grand Prix in the South American country if
Malaysia, Hungary, San Marino or China is unable
to host a Grand Prix. Even the president of
Argentina, Carlos Menem, is trying to confince
Ecclestone to host a Grand Prix in his country.
Irvine to be replaced?
Rumours of a
possible replacement of Eddie Irvine for the last
Grand Prix of the season are again going around.
The Irish driver is suffering a back-ache almost
since the start of the season. The tailor-made
seat of the Lear company did help, but the
32-year-old has been suffering badly lately from
Possible replacement drivers include Ferrari test
driver Luca Badoer but also Sauber driver Jean
Alesi has been connected with this possible
replacement. Ferrari did not want to comment is
still counting on Irvine to drive. It will be
important for Ferrari to have a competitive
driver in the second car, as his performance
might be crucial in the race as was demonstrated
Engine stakes hot up as Ferrari
It is widely believed that Ferrari
have broken the 800hp barrier - which is good
news for Sauber next year too! It is thought that
the Ferrari power plant is now distinctly the
most powerful on the circuit, followed closely by
the Mercedes and Honda units.
That isn't the whole story, however, as McLaren
still benefit from the excellent drivability of
the Mercedes power plant - some think the new
Honda might be more drivable, judging by reports
from the last Barcelona test where Damon Hill was
getting incredible traction out of corners - but
it still appears to have the best combination of
power and drivability in the field.
Drivers on the move...
Rumour has it that Jordan and
Williams have come to an agreement over their
drivers futures: both Heinz-Harald Frentzen and
Ralf Shumacher can expect to be released early
from their contracts, allowing them to test for
their new teams at the Bridgestone tyre test
after the Suzuka Grand Prix.
This represents a particularly unexpected turn of
events from Williams, after the way they held
Damon Hill to his contract on moving to Arrows,
preventing him from testing until the new year...
With the news that some teams will not be at the
test (Ferrari in particular), there can be less
enthusiasm for comparison between teams that were
on different rubber, so this is a welcome change
of policy... allowing each driver to test his
mettle in the others race-car from the last race
of the season.
Then we'll see if Eddie Jordan got the deal he
expects with HH in Ralf's car!
Prost to run new car in Japan
The Prost team looks likely to run
its AP01B in Suzuka after its success in recent
tests. The evolution of the team's troublesome
AP01 has a new gearbox, suspension an a new
Peugeot V10 and is said to be as much as one
second a lap faster in race trim.
It is rumored that Jarno Trulli will run the
single AP01B that will be taken to Japan though
the decision is yet to be finalised.
Will the Ferrari 98 challenge
make 1999 a difficult year?
Ferrari's 1999 car might be
compromised by the introduction of next years
It could be that Ferrari does not show the same
jump in performance that most of the other teams
are expecting for next year after introducing a
number of parts intended for next years car onto
this years car. Whilst the reliability for those
parts should be improved next year from the extra
running, the fantastic reliability Ferrari have
shown this year could suffer in the last race
from utilising parts that are not fully tested.
In addition, the normal development cycle is
compromised as attempts to continue this years
linear development could be at the expense of the
normal annual evolution... though if any team has
the resources to attempt this, it is Ferrari.
With the resounding change of pace in the second
half of the season, Eddie Jordan has been
proclaiming the strength of his team, stating his
belief in a realistic challenge for the title
next year. With rumors of serious power coming
from Honda, and Ferrari putting so much effort
into this years car, it is might not be
impossible to see Jordan running ahead of Ferrari
at the start of next year...
...and wouldn't that be something to see!
Zanardi's the Right man for the
During the Surface CART race last
weekend, the commentators mentioned that one of
the reasons Zanardi wasn't as quick as Montoya in
the recent Williams test was that he could not
get used to using his left foot for braking. It
seems he has asked for a right foot system to be
built in to next years car for him.
This is not without precedant, as
Williams have had to run seperate systems for
their drivers in the past - Damon Hill only
started using left foot braking when he started
with Jordan this year.
Richards to Arrows?
The ailing Arrows team, led by
Walkinshaw, might make a bid for the services of
Richards in light of his recent departure from
Benneton. Richards experience and expertise in
motorsport are almost without parallel, and the
obvious benefits to the Arrows team - who are
still smarting from the loss of Barnard and
lacking a top name design leader - far outway the
problems of having two heavyweight team leaders
at the top.
It's got the potential to move
Arrows into the top of the grid - watch out
Benetton, your nemesis may be Arrows!
Argentina to be re-instated?
The Argentina race looks set to
return for 2000 if not 1999 - a new consortium
have taken it over with a view to placing it back
on the calendar. The FIA might still sanction the
race if they can find a place it. No teams have
yet spoken out against a race at the circuit that
produced the first exciting race last year, and
was memorable for being called the 'Mickey Mouse'
Kart track, and for Michael Shumacher taking out
David Coultard, whilst Alex Wurz made a name for
passing in excellent fashion.
Argentine GP in reserve
Argentina is reserve (not on
calendar) due to the international financial
crisis that is just starting to hit South
America: new organizers are attempting to get the
race reinstated and will also be attempting to
secure a GP for 2000.
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Improved Stewart for Japan?
Team Stewart might have found
something a bit special with the drive train in
their car - some testing times last week were
remarkably good. Look to see a revived
performance in Japan, where they and Prost will
be looking for signs of improvement on the