Week of the 25th of October:
a little bit special for Mika...
to expectations, McLarens hopes for the Japanese
Grand Prix - and world Drivers Championship - may
not come down solely to the latest Bridgestones
and improved reliability: their latest engine
boasts some 814hp - more than even the powerful
Rumours have this as the engine of choice for the
weekend, though realistically, the team is most
likely only to use it for qualifying - as Mika
Hakkinen failing to finish will almost certainly
hand Michael Shumacher the title...
This explains some of the staggering times David
Coultard managed in testing for McLaren,
bettering his team mate significantly in some
sessions. Undoubtedly this was down to testing
the new power plant.
for Eddie Jordan
as we thought it was all over, it appears Ralf
Shumacher might be sueing his former employer
over another matter: money.
The rumor has it that Eddie is in arrears in
paying Ralf for driving and testing services this
year, and consequently is being sued for quarter
of a million pounds.
Whilst Eddie is known for not splashing his money
around, should this rumour prove true, it would
be something of a departure for the Irishman: he
is known for frugality, not for not witholding!
Grand Prix bid from the USA
the Las Vegas deal fell through, Tommy Baker is
up against it trying to get a deal together for a
race in Orange County, California.
This is not as crazy as it seems - the sport
carries some popularity in the area, and there
local authorities are definitely receptive to the
idea. The biggest sticking point will undoubtedly
prove to be getting the whole deal together
before the November deadline. It's tight!
Whichever way it goes, a Grand Prix in the USA is
now almost certain for the year 2000.
backtracking in F1
the recent interest in Formula One by the major
Japanese care manufacturers, Nissan are not going
to be making an entry any time soon.
It was well known as little as two years ago
Nissan were considering an Engine deal to get
into F1, but with the recent decline in the
global economy, they no longer think it provides
a value for money approach.
The official line is "We are not looking
at [Formula One] at all. We're concentrating on
rallying, touring cars and Le Mans."
The real question is, once they've achieved their
goals in the other motor sports, will Nissan look
for some involvement in Formula One? The odds are
strong that the old plans will be reopened, once
they've seen the benefits for Honda and Toyota.
trouble getting seated at Minardi
appears the Mindardi may have little choice but
to lose their Argentine driver, Esteban Tuero.
Since the Argentinean Grand Prix was dropped from
the F1 1999 calendar, Tuero and his sponsors have
been put into a difficult position for raising
the 2.5 million dollars that Minardi require to
secure his seat.
The Minardi team runs on such a tight budget that
it simply cannot afford to compete in the
championship without the drivers bringing in
capital. In this case, with the Argentinean
president, Carlo Menem, doing everything within
his power to get the race back on the calendar -
he even met with F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone -
there is a realistic chance that things could
change and we'll see Tuero driving at the back of
the grid again next year.
Teams in Formula One
the news of three Lotus Formula directors being
banned from directorship, it seems that the hopes
and dreams of another formula one team have taken
a sorry turn for the worse. Recent news in from
the Britsh High Court found the directors
responsible for the bad state the company was in.
There had been rumours that the companies
attempts to pick up sponsorship had taken a turn
for the better, with potential interest from a
middle eastern team that wanted to get into
Sadly, with the downturn in the global economy,
the restriction to 12 teams in Formula One, and
now the banning the the directors, it seems that
Lotus are back at square one. It will be a while
before they are seen in on the grid again.
On a slightly different note, the current
financial difficulties Arrows face could be a
blessing in disguise... if they make it through
the next year, particularly if they can find a
tobacco sponsor and keep the engine program
running, then there is a strong possibility that
Toyota will enter in the year 2000 as engine
supplier - and by taking advantage of the two
years Arrows have already put into their Engine
program, can hope for some sort of performance
and reliability from the outset... the Arrows
engine is known for its excellent drivability,
but is low on top end power; the reliability has
improved with the season, and should be
acceptable next year.
Gary Anderson seems to be settled to go to
Stewart, after the tussle between Stewart and
Arrows comes to an end. He was known to be
unhappy about going to Arrows, once it became
apparent that the team would not need a new car
until the 2000 season, and even then he would not
have complete control of the new design, and a
Moving to Stewart makes more sense, as he gets to
play a significant role in next years car (which
is already in progress under the direction of
Alan Jenkins), a larger budget, and the whole
design of the 2000 season car.
Being known for his ability to produce cars with
exceptional mechanical performance on a tight
budget, it will be interesting to see how the
2000 season Stewart stacks up against the 2000
season Jordan: the expected change to the rules
for that season should increase reliance on
mechanical performance against the currently
overwelming requirement for aerodynamic
efficiency. Jordans new designer is known for his
work in this field, but is not so strong in the
F1 Rumors would like to wish Gary Anderson all
the best for his time with Stewart - and expect
him to help put another team amongst the front
runners, making the races more exciting for all!
in the F1 Calendar
line with the growth plans of the FIA, all the
current teams have signed an agreement allowing
the race calendar to be extended to 20 races by
the year 2000.
Next years calendar is already at 17 races... and
Argentina trying to get back in on the act. The
Argentine circuit has a contract that would have
included it in next years calendar, until the
officianados at the FIA became concerned about
the world economic crisis engulfing the country.
A recent change of direction at the circuit,
thanks to some serious investors taking charge,
has guarenteed the financial capacity to take on
the event, but the calendar was already full.
Whilst it is unlikely for Argentina to be back on
the scene next year, they are providing the
official coverage against any circuit falling
through, and now stand a high chance of making it
back on the calendar for the year 2000.
That said, there are strong bids from Lebanon,
South Africa, South Korea and the USA to host
Grand Prix, and the FIA is known to be interested
in lucrative new markets - especially where
tobacco advertising is not banned - so there may
be some surprise ommissions in the offing for the
year 2000 calendar.
Struggle in 1999
year ahead promises to be very exciting for the
In preperation for their own return to Formula
One, Honda have major designs on next years power
plant, intending their next generation engine
(due for trials in winter testing) to start next
season with nearly 840hp. Additionally, it seems
they are making excellent ground on the
efficiency of the engine, which will allow Jordan
- and Honda if they get their car together - to
run with as much as 10% less fuel next year - all
with a 4kg weight reduction. A truely staggering
achievement, if they can pull it off.
Hondas commitment to Formula One is to include
running their own chassis, starting next year if
the prototypes fly, but most likely for the year
2000. Independantly, the engine is being geared
up with current front running team Jordan, to
give Honda a realistic benchmark for the
performance of their chassis.
The rumour mill has not given precise figures for
the expected fuel consumption or power of next
years Mercedes and Ferrari engines, but analysis
on existing progress shows that it is going to be
tight at the top (projecting 835hp for the
Ferrari, and 830hp for the Mercedes plants). If
Hondas plans to make the complete power,
efficiency and weight saving come together, then
should they keep the drivability it will be the
engine of choice at the start of the year.
So, maybe Eddie Jordans boast that Damon Hill
could be World Champion next year depends mostly
on the car they build him - because the engine
will certainly be a monster.
Further, should the Honda prototypes run well, we
can hope the Honda entry to be in 1999, making it
a season with McLaren, Ferrari, Williams,
Benneton, BAR, Jordan and Honda all potentially
competitive throughout. While teething problems
for BAR and Honda may keep their points hopes
down, the jump from four to seven major players
is something of a prospect!
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Quicker off the Mark
to rumors, Ferrari has found their answer to
McLaren's clutch. This year, both Mika Hakkinen
and David Coulthard have made very good starts
which is now thought to be thanks to a innovative
Ferrari is said to have developed a similar
clutch system which should help Schumacher and
Irvine get away cleanly from the grid in Japan.
Eddie Irvine practiced starts last Thursday at
Fiorano, but there's not official word from
Ferrari on any new system.
Interestingly, Eddie made a blinding start at the
last Grand Prix. At the time, there were rumours
of a new clutch on his Ferrari, but it was
denied. Michael Schumachers start was
unremarkable - he has been struggling for a
decent start all season - and the Ferrari team
will want to change that for this last race of