F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

Week starting 13th June, 1999:


BAR's new transmission

An early benefit from the BAR Honda relationship could be be making it's debut for the French Grand Prix...

It is speculated that the team has been able to integrate the transmission used by the existing Honda (Dallara) chassis, designed for the powerful Honda engine, into their car. It is hoped that this will put an end to the transmission related problems that have plagued the car since it's inception, whilst providing a small performance boost.

It's not confirmed when the transmission will be raced for the first time, but it could be used in practice for the coming French Grand Prix.


Jordan to groom Nakano - updated

With the announcement of Damon's retirement at the end of the season, it seems that a contractual clause with Honda may come into play (concerning conditions for "equal status" engine supply with BAR), which could gain Shinji Nakano a full time drive as Jordan number two in 2001; his testing contract for 2000 has been confirmed.

Jordan are developing a new chassis, which they hope to run at the British or Austrian Grand Prix. It is expected to provide Nakano with substantial experience, as he will be assisting the team in developing setups for the car: they will be trying to establish how to get the best from the new engine / chassis combination.

The information from these tests is also required by Honda to help decide the development future of the V10 plant.


Silly Season in Full Swing

Damon's announcement has proved to set alight speculation on driver movements for 2000. The silly season is now in full flight, and nothing will settle it until teams actually announce the contract signings - something that few are really considering at this point.

The Formula One circus rolls on, and the Silly Season page hopes to stay abreast of the movements for you!


Canadian GP: Surfing FIA

or; Cowabunga in Canada

humour by Inky Black

Breaking into Formula One is tough. Just ask the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew. They failed with the '67 BRM, and the '58 Maserati. Then they tried with the world's first Saab at San Marino, and with Senor Torpedo and the Barcelona Bus. They set a lap record at Monaco! But soon the FIA will catch on; two identical 1934 Bugatti's were used to accomplish that magic trick. In Montreal it would be same, but different... a 1968 Chrysler Newport Convertible.

Racers have been making a name for themselves at Daytona Beach for decades. And the pit crew were taking a page from that book. Malcolm Campbell set a record with the Bluebird at 238 mph back in 1935. More noteworthy... he out-ran the camera plane. But there was no way for Cha Cha Chitwood and the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew to out-run the competition at the Canadian Grand Prix... so they fired up the old Chrysler, and went Surfing FIA.

Click here to read the whole article


Atlas-F1 Grapevine

This week's Atlas F1 Grapevine:

  • "Would the real 12th team step forward please"
  • McLaren plan changes for France
  • Picked from the Bunch
  • Canada Tidbits


Damon's Decision

The news of Damon Hill's decision to retire at the end of the season has a lot of his fans asking "why?" - and many Formula One pundits saying "told you so."

Inevitably, the early announcement is to allow Jordan the best opportunity to align itself for the title challenge in 2000 - and will certainly spark new rumours concerning Eddie Irvine's movements until a new driver is announced. Although it comes as a shock to Damon's fans, the warning came in plain English when he said the cars just aren't fun to drive anymore... put that alongside Max Mosley's statement that the rules cannot be changed ahead of the 2001 season, and you can see why Damon might be considering other fields for his talents.

One side benefit of this announcement is that Hill will finally be released from the pressures associated with his performances so far. And who knows what that might do to the remainder of his season...


A Weekend in Montreal

Trackside observations at the Canadian GP

by Mark Block

A British chap at the bar was complaining (good-naturedly) that he didn't much like the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve. Too narrow. He preferred Silverstone. More exciting for the fans. My rejoinder: "That's all well and good if you're the kind of fan who doesn't mind spending six hours trying to get out of the parking lot." His reply: "I've never actually driven to the track. I'm a professional helicopter pilot." Can't argue with that - but I can make a good case for the Montreal track, and it certainly has a history of action and surprises.

He did allow as how the Casino hairpin was a great place to watch an F1 race. I won't argue with that either, because I'm no expert. This is my second year in a row at the Canadian GP, but it's only my second grand prix ever. I sit with friends who own and sometimes race Ferraris. I listen and learn. We were straight across from the heavy braking zone, no more than 25 feet from the asphalt. You get no idea from TV coverage how brutal these cars are until you watch them come into view at unreal speeds, gape at the impossibly quick deceleration (the brake discs glowing bright red), hear the burbles and pops as the downshifts come quicker than the notes of a Liszt glissando (painful without earplugs), then feel the thudding pressure waves hit your chest as the cars accelerate away, each upshift exploding like an M-80.

Click here to read the whole article


Mugen-Honda Boost for Jordan

Jordan are hoping to put a cat among the pigeons in qualifying, come the French Grand Prix.

The next evolution engine from Mugen-Honda is rumoured to be as powerful as the Mercedes unit, and as drivable. The downside is it's mass, as the Mugen-Honda unit might be 20 kilos heavier...

The team hope that this will give them the push to stay ahead of Stewart in qualifying, and potentially mix with any Ferraris or McLarens that aren't right on the pace.


Prost Banking on new chassis

The performance of the Prost cars so far this season has been something of a disappointment for all concerned. However, things look set to change for the better with the introduction of a new chassis ahead of the French Grand Prix.

Then new chassis has a number of revisions which could move the team to the performance levels that Jordan and Stewart currently enjoy - though the are waiting on next tear's engine to move ahead of that mark. It certainly can't come too soon, however, as they are rumoured to be in danger of losing their option on Jarno Trulli. It appears there is a performance clause in his contract, believed to state that the team has an option to retain his services for 2000 if they score ten points by mid season.


Formula One - Losing it's Edge?

by Julie Gates

The Canadian Grand Prix may have enlightened us with more action that we have seen so far all season, but due to the nature of the track, that was to be expected and it is unlikely we'll see its like again this year.

Overtaking isn't the only controversy in Formula One at the moment. Television coverage, the state of tickets pricing and the treatment of fans, are also major talking points.

In the early nineties, we were blessed with man and machine collaborating as one to produce some tantalising racing. The cars were wide, and the tyres were fat, non-grooved slicks. Brilliant! Remember that exclusive battle at Barcelona in 1991, with Ayrton Senna and Nigel Mansell wheel to wheel the length of the mile long pit straight? In today's Formula One, the drivers can barely get into another's slipstream, let alone race alongside their opponents.

Click here to read the whole article


ITV-F1 Viewfinder

On the ITV-F1 Viewfinder column, provided by F1 Rumors, you can find:

  • Reaction to Montreal - F1 Rumors reviews the Canadian Grand Prix for ITV.
  • Humour: The Montreal Airport Grand Prix - Humour by Inky Black with cartoon by Gurmit


Review of Canada 1999

Dreams and nightmares

by David Cunliffe

Mika Hakkinen had a dream finish in Montreal, claiming his second win in a row. For his main rival, Michael Schumacher, the day ended early in a complete nightmare - the Ferrari No1 made a rare but terminal mistake (he later said he was allowed one major slip each year and this was, hopefully, it). Whilst leading the race and trying to eke out his slender leader over Mika, Michael crashed heavily into the wall at the final chicane. No points for the German, 10 for the Finn. Result: Hakkinen leap-frogged to the top of the Championship table for the first time this year.

The McLaren and Ferrari No2s had a mixed day too. For Eddie Irvine, it started well enough with a solid drive in third place. He ended on the bottom step of the podium too but, after the nightmare in between, that was a dream result for the Northern Irishman, who put in the drive of the race. Whilst others were having their own dramas (more of that below), a bit of needle crept into the battle between Irvine and fellow Brit Coulthard, who had been the butt of some acerbic remarks by Eddie in the Italian press earlier in the week. Coulthard saw more red than that of the Ferrari in front of him when the race restarted after one of a number of Safety Car laps. As DC tried to squeeze his McLaren past the Ferrari, Eddie firmly shut the door, they touched and went grass cutting. This put both cars to the back of the pack from whence Eddie was to make one of the most dramatic come backs seen in recent years.

Click to read the whole report!


Reaction to Canada

What a fascinating race that was - who'd have credited it! With all the ex World Champions still in Formula One made the same mistake, with Jacques Villeneuve, Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher losing it in the last corner, and trying to drive through a concrete wall.

Superb racing from Eddie Irvine recovered a lot of places from a tough moment with David Coulthard - man of the match, really - and Mika Hakkinen was left to cruise home in first place. Action was the name of the games...

Look forward to the full race report from David Cunliffe - due later!

Click for results!

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