F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

Week starting 27th June, 1999:

Williams Break New Ground

With the much anticipated announcement that Williams sponsor Rothmans are not going to be with the team next year - not even in the Winfield guise - rumours are starting to surface about the teams future income, and position in the sport.

It's believed by many that BMW are likely to provide a significant proportion of the teams budget for 2000, but that's not the only potential income source. Speculation has a number of big players in other markets looking to take a stake in Formula One. Names mentioned have include Intel and Microsoft, who could certainly both afford the investment, and make use of the global exposure.

If the Williams team does not manage to maintain it's current income levels, then some cutbacks are expected; however, with next year's testing program being curtailed by the early season start, it's not expected to have a significant effect on performance...

ITV-F1 Viewfinder

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

  • Humour: Damon Hill - Going In Style? - Humour by Inky Black.
  • Looking back on Magny Cours - Review of the French Grand Prix.
  • Humour: A French History of Grand Prix Racing - Humour by Inky Black with cartoon by Gurmit

Ferrari Expect to Bounce Back

With both Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine successfully completing endurance tests on the new engine, both drivers expect to be using it for the whole race at Silverstone next week.

To accompany the new engine, the team are hoping to have minor modifications to "qualifying components" they run in the qualifying session - which will further improve the aerodynamics for those critical laps. Furthermore, there's speculation the team has something in the pipes for the rear wing, which could make it's debut in Friday practice next week.

The Silverstone circuit is more likely to favour McLaren than the Magny Cours track where Ferrari was unexpectedly off the pace in the race, but the Prancing Horse is expected to be in a position to capitalise on any misfortune McLaren suffer - even if they can't put a spanner of their own in the works.

Atlas-F1 Grapevine

This week's Atlas F1 Grapevine:

  • Ferrari wants Rubinho
  • BAR's Scapegoat
  • Silly Season update
  • Picked from the Bunch
  • France Tidbits

French GP: Viva La France

or; Cha Cha Chitwood and the BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew arrive in France with bad jokes, better apologies, and a mention of the war

humour by Inky Black

The BayWatch All-Girl Pit Crew had been racing in Europe for months now. In that time they'd learned a bit of the local lingo. They learned that Melbourne and Interlagos were not on the "continent." And they learned much about Formula One Racing. But they hadn't learned how to get along with the French.

Well, some of the French. Actually a few French people, usually from Paris or another other big-city. You know the kind, sort of a cross between some fancy-pants gourmet; an old, drunk porcupine; and a New Yorker. For those of you who have never met an old, drunk porcupine, they are kind of like a New Yorker, but probably not as spiny.

Click here to read the whole article

Engines - from V8 to V12 via V10

Why today's V10s might become tomorrows V8 or V12...

by Joel Wilkens

The present state of Formula One engine development is likely to change with the onset of the millennium. Currently all teams employ the standard V10 configuration, and have done so for long enough that the inevitable plateau in design innovation has been reached. Technology has its limits, and those boundaries are what the F1 engineer tries to push. Often with great success, up to a point.

Having reached the outside of the design envelope, McLaren has sought improvement inside their present engine formula by using exotic materials, such as aluminium-beryllium, exploiting the extraordinary characteristics of these metals. AM 162 (the aluminium-beryllium alloy used in F1) has exceptional strength in proportion to itís mass, which results in lighter parts producing less rotational inertia. This allows for higher RPMs and an overall reduction in the weight of the engine.

Click here to read the whole article

Damon Hill's Retirement Official

F1 Rumors would like to take this opportunity to wish Damon Hill all the best for his future, after giving so much to Formula One as a driver.

Jos Verstappen will take over testing duties with immediate effect, and looks best placed to race for the team while Eddie Jordan considers his options.

ITV Qualifying - the other Viewpoint

Ecclestone's comments ITV did not show qualifying - live or otherwise - for the French Grand Prix, so many viewers missed one of the best sessions for a long time.

Bernie Ecclestone had the following to say: "I am as sorry as anyone. I was looking forward to watching a great session but it is not my fault that it was not shown. When they negotiated for the contract, it all went very quickly and they gave me half-an-hour to decide on the deal. I said to them, 'Do you want live qualifying?' I said they should have it - it was good television at one o'clock most Saturdays, depending on where we are in the world..."

"That is in the contract, not a problem. They did the deal with me [to show tape delayed qualifying between three and five in the afternoon] and were very happy, as I was. A bit later they came back and said they had changed their minds, they did want to show qualifying live and they would need cameras and other access facilities. They have dragged their feet for two years. I have allowed them to show qualifying and have other shows but I owe it to my company to sort it out".

He stated that ITV is experienced enough in business matters to know they had been taking liberties, and took on rights for which they have not paid. "They would not allow people with whom they do business to do that and yet they expect me to put up with it".

It's good to have an early reaction from the FIA, rather than jumping in at the deep end and blaming them for everything, but there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered.

Jordan looking to Silverstone

Even ahead of Frentzen's welcome win in France, the Jordan team was looking forward to a new car at Silverstone.

With the new Mugen-Honda engine expected to be reliable for a complete race distance, a new lightweight gearbox, and a new chassis incorporating major aerodynamic modifications, the car will have changed almost as much as it did through the off season.

Whilst the move is expected to bring the team more speed - potentially troubling Ferrari and McLaren for a few races - there is the risk that it will take some time to learn how to set the new car up effectively.

French Grand Prix

Truly a scintillating race - with everything in it, from surprise winner, seriously bad weather, real overtaking and tails of woe. Brilliant!

Very mixed fortunes at Jordan, with Heinz-Harald taking his and their second win, whilst Damon Hill retired early to announce he may not even go to Silverstone (which would be a tragedy from the viewpoint of the British fans who have supported him over the years).

Heriocs from McLaren, who expected to do less well than Ferrari. David Coulthard retired from the lead early with mechanical problems, whilst Mika Hakkinen moved from 14th to challenge for the lead before spinning, and having to come again from seventh place, finishing in second. A brilliant result for the World Champion, who really showed class today.

Rubens Barrichello and Stewart must be pleased to take third, but definitely had a chance to win. The Brazilian led most of the race, and tussled effectively for the lead, but finally had to conceded when strategy led to a splash and dash pitstop near the end. Johnny Herbert retired with a broken gearbox...

Williams man Ralf Schumacher took his brother at the end to finish fourth, after a good run from the tail of the pack. Mature driving, and maximising opportunities as they arose payed off well - Williams must be pleased with him, though Zanardi was unfortunate to spin off ahead of the safety car coming out.

Both Ferrari's were in the points, and Michael Schumacher showed excellent form in the wet. It appears his decision to run a wet setup backfired when the safety car stayed out for so long, and possible gear selection problems slowed him at the end; but a good run from Eddie Irvine saw him finish behind his leader.

The most unfortunate man of the race, though, must be Jean Alesi. The Frenchman was going very well in third place when the heavens opened. A pitstop later, and half a lap before the safety car appeared, he span out of contention. A sad end to his tenth anniversary...

The Prost duo of Panis and Trulli ran in the points for most of the race, but failed to finish there. Unlucky for them - better strategy might have claimed a point - and disappointing from third on the grid at their own track.

David Cunliffe's race report to follow...

Results on this page...

French Grand Prix - preamble

The wet qualifying session could be the best thing to happen to the French Grand Prix - a complete shakeup of the grid has the quick and slow mixed together, on a circuit renowned for having little overtaking opportunity - the entry to Adelade hairpin after the straight is the main chance.

Michael Schumacher in sixth is favourite, wet or dry, while David Coulthard starting fourth has to see this as his best chance to get back into the Championship race.
Olivier Panis has managed done well to get into third place on the grid, which gives the Prost team a real chance of scoring points at the home Grand Prix - and himself a real chance of being in Formula One next year!

But what about the men on the Front row? Jean Alesi must be hoping a better results than at Spa last year (he went of with Fisichella from second), whilst Rubens Barrichello has brought the competitive Stewart team their first pole, and best chance yet of a first race win.

With Mika Hakkinen, Eddie Irvine and Damon Hill way down the field, there's the prospect of some real racing, as they struggle to get into the points. That'll be something special...

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