F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

Week starting 4th July, 1999:


Boost for Jordan in Spa

After the strong qualifying performance from the Jordan team today - filling the third row behind the McLarens and Ferraris, Honda are keying up to provide a major step forward to the V10 power unit for the Spa-Francorchamps race.

Rumours about the forthcoming revision have the new units being significantly lighter - around 12kg - thanks to a number of lightweight components, whilst expanding the use of low friction surfaces in the engine, introduced with the current unit.

These changes should result in a better balanced car, which develops more power, particularly at high revs. Aerodynamic modifications expected for the same race could see the Jordan team competing for higher places on the grid from there on.


Saturday Qualifying

Also published at Formula-1.co.uk

Qualifying was an all action session, with the threat of increasing track temperature ensuring that most drivers made an early showing to get times in the bank.

Mika Hakkinen was right on the pace from the start, pulling nearly three tenths ahead of Michael Schumacher. David Coulthard never quite got on terms with either, but was comfortably in third place on the grid - never challenged, or looking likely to improve. Schumacher could be in trouble for overtaking Hakkinen in the pitlane - certainly a stupid move on his part.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen looked very good in the Jordan, and the best bet to gain on Coulthard; but the rising temperatures ensured he failed to improve on his second run, whilst Eddie Irvine recovered from an earlt mechanical problem (a lose footrest) to get ahead of Damon Hill into fifth, whilst Damon's time - inside a tenth of Frentzen's - was much more what the world has expected from the 1996 World Champion.

In the closing minutes, Mika Hakkinen pulled out another three tenths over the field, whilst Eddie Irvine finished his laps in fine form, stealing into fourth place ahead of Frentzen by a tenth. Ralf Schumacher put in a brilliant lap to take eighth on the grid ahead of Villeneuve.

Johnny Herbert failed to improve in his last laps, as Damon Hill puts together an excellent first and second section, before running wide on the last two corners to finish in sixth place behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

Both Schumachers and Frentzen go out three minutes from the end to get last flying laps in, and Mika Hakkinen went out a minute later, as Luca Badoer went off at Club. Michael Schumacher ran wide at Stowe and hit traffic, so he backed off to try again on his last lap. Hakkinen started his last flyer about 10 seconds behind him, just ahead of the session end. Schumacher made a mistake near the end and aborted.

Hakkinen took pole in dominant fashion, with Ferrari splitting the McLarens to fill the front two rows. Jordan took the third row with Barrichello going well for seventh. Ralf Schumacher's eighth place was superb, ahead of Villeneuve.

Click here for results...


Saturday Practice Session

Also published at Formula-1.co.uk

>The opening session saw all the cars piling out relatively early, rapidly developing into the final ordering. The Jordan's looked good - though Heinz-Harald Frentzen is back in front of his team mate - and Rubens Barrichello has kept up the excellent work.

Ralf Schumacher and Jacques Villeneuve showed that the Supertec runners are not completely out of contention for points, but they are not on the pace... particularly of McLaren, who dominated the session. Mika Hakkinens opening time was a full second quicker than any other runner!

McLaren dominated the opening session, with Hakinnen in particular looking strong. Coulthard was half a second adrift of his team-mate, but still clearly ahead of Schumacher (in third) and Frentzen's excellent fourth places.

Eddie Irvine pipped Barrichello and a much improved Damon Hill for fifth.

The second session was a more subdued affair, as track temperatures rose. It meant that few drivers were in a position to improve their times, but nonetheless Damon Hill contrived to climb ahead of Rubens Barrichello for sixth place.

Eddie Irvine span out half way through the session - before improving his time - and earned a walk back to the pits, and Jacques Villeneuve suffered a mechanical problem towards the end.

At the end of the session, Damon Hill demonstrated that things are much improved in his Jordan this year, improving his time by half a second, Johnny Herbert got close to terms with Barrichello, moving into ninth.

Click here for results...


British GP - Friday Practice

Also published at Formula-1.co.uk

1st Practice Session:

The opening session of the British Grand Prix got away to a slow start, with half the drivers only coming out for installation laps, and the others sitting in the pits. Despite initial appearances, things quickly got up to speed - and Ferrari did not sit out the opening session this time!

Ralf Schumacher put in some excellent early laps, finishing fourth overall. The Williams team are believed to be working on low fuel setups in preparation for tomorrow's qualifying, as they have been working on race setups in testing all week.

Eddie Irvine was just pipped at the top of the timesheets by Mika Hakkinen - who was 0.002 seconds quicker. The pundits who thought Ferrari would be off the pace of McLaren are certainly going to be rocked by that.

Damon Hill's opening session was below par - he must have hoped for better than 11th place overall, but the 0.02 seconds between himself and Frentzen in 8th place demonstrate how close things are in the midfield. A tenth of a second could cost half a dozen places on the grid in tomorrow's qualifying session...

The man most likely to spring a surprise tomorrow must be Jacques Villeneuve, who was immediately on the pace with BAR. His sixth place overall left Zonta looking like an amateur in seventeenth. Keep your eyes open for the French Canadian in qualifying!

2nd Practice Session:

The second session was less inspiring than the first, with many drivers finding it difficult to improve on their first session times. It did, however, show how the grid is closing up, with the top eight cars seperated by less than a second at one stage.

Halfway through the session, Damon Hill showed last weeks test time was not a fluke by posting the fourth fastest time in the session. He claimed the car was better than it's been all season, and looks happier than he's managed to this point in 1999.

The Prost team, after Trulli's big crash in the first session, stopped running early in the second, when it became clear Panis was not making any headway.

As the session closed, Ralf Schumacher posted the second quickest time, as Hakkinen opened up the lead. Barrichello went fourth, before being pipped by Coulthard, pushing Schumacher to sixth. Zonta pushed up to 11th (two places behind Villeneuve), before Schumacher makes a mistake in his first sector that stops him completing the lap.

The session finishes with Hakkinen quickest - making the most of new tyres, alongside a surprisingly quick Ralf Schumacher. The top 9 cars are seperated by one second...

Click here to see the times


ITV Looking for Digital

Following ITV's spat with the FIA over rights to broadcast qualifying sessions live, the broadcaster has signed a deal securing their rights to Formula One until 2005 - complete with Live qualifying, including this season.

Speculation has ITV involved in contract negotiations to bring the digital service to the UK via their new digital channel. It's believed that a pay-per-view system will be used to cover the costs associated with this.


British GP: The Greatest Drivers In The World

or; "Move along lady, there'll be no excitement here. This is a golf match!"

humour by Inky Black

Looking down towards Britain from outer space, you will see all the grand prix teams clustered around a place called Silverstone. If you look around a bit you'll also find a busy golf course. This is home to the British Open. Next to the golf course is a clubhouse, inside of which is a little pub. If you listen carefully, you can hear the television commentary from the pub...

"We're here with four of the greatest drivers in the world," spoke the announcer from the television set, "Nick Faldo, Ian Woosnam, Colin Montgomery and... Liz Hurley, what are you doing here?"

"Someone mentioned a foursome and it sounded exciting!" chimed the actress.

"Well you can move along lady, there'll be no excitement here. This is a golf match!"

Click here to read the whole article


ITV-F1 Viewfinder

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

  • Technical: Suspension 101? - Components of Suspension and their function
  • Roll on Silverstone - Preview of the British Grand Prix.
  • Changing the Stakes - Moving Formula One forward.
  • Historical: European Grand Prix of 1993 - Racing returns to Donington


Silly Season Continues

Jean Alesi has been linked with a Prost drive in 2000 - potentially a great move for the Frenchman, who is disillusioned with Sauber and their lack of form this year. It remains to be seen if the move would be to join alongside Sarazzin, or Trulli, ifProst can tempt him to stay for another year. In any event, Panis is rumoured to be out for next season.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen was under option to race for Jordan in 2000. The announcement that Eddie Jordan has excercised the option to retain Frentzen has surprised few, as the German has shown fantastic form this year, and is in demand by Prost and Stewart at least.

David Coulthard's future is looking less and less certain at McLaren, amid rumours that Mercedes was a new driver alongside Mika Hakkinen - preferably a German. Of course, if Hakkinen accepts the rumoured $15 million to race for Stewart next year, everything could change!

Also, the rumoured change of name for Stewart to Jaguar has been doing the rounds. And that's the most probable story of them all!


Atlas-F1 Grapevine

This week's Atlas F1 Grapevine:

  • Jordan's New Car
  • Silverstone Pays Well
  • Drivers' Superstition
  • Silly Season Update
  • Picked from the Bunch


Arrows Dilemma

Arrows were attempting to try a new engine for the Silverstone Grand Prix this weekend, only to discover that the trials demolished the test unit in 16 laps.

With good power a real requirement for the circuit, the team were hoping the unit would be reliable enough to use in qualifying, even if it was too risky for the race. As it transpires, there's a chance that if both cars are fitted with the engine for the qualifying session, both could fail on the track.

This leaves the team considering whether to run the risk of using the engine at all, in one, or in both cars for Saturday. Without this engine, the team can expect to struggle agains the Minardi's, who are also considering their options for a step forward this weekend.


Rumors of Liability Waivers

With news that Damon Hill will be competing in the Silverstone Grand Prix, there have been rumours that the teams Legal arm has required Damon, his wife, and his solicitor to sign liability waivers.

The rumours undoubtedly stem from the belief that a demotivated driver on the track is likely to damage himself; and with the Senna case still heavy in the air, there's thought that the team would be unwise not to protect itself.

The Jordan team's official stance has been to deny these rumours, however.


Preparing for Silverstone

Summary of testing

McLaren concentrated on set up work and aerodynamic evaluation, whilst running a back to back assessment of the longer wheelbase MP4-14. The team's technical director Adrian Newey refrained from comment concerning the results, or if the team is planning to introduce the car for races.

Jordan run with four drivers over their session, mostly concetrating on setting up the new chassis, but also evaluating a new, light-weight gearbox.

Williams concentrated on race set-up, with emphasis on tyre evaluation. They also experimented with new suspension configurations. The team is believed to have some aerodynamic modifications for the next Grand Prix, some of which could debut at Silverstone. They are hoping for a wet race...

Benetton also concentrated on tyre evaluation, both for wet and dry running. They tested some aerodynamic changes for the race.

Stewart changed their car considerably, and are believed to have improved in many areas. Rubens Barrichello commented: "It's always nice to improve the car at the mid-point of the season. We improved a lot on braking and traction and we also managed to get the car going consistently quicker in race trim as compared with the early part of the season."

The Arrows team intended to concentrate on engine mapping and testing engine modifications (they have a new engine to play with); the engine gave up after 16 laps...

Ferrari worked on race set-up, and evolving the aerodynamics and ensuring 048B (engine) reliability. The BAR team concluded their testing for the upcoming British GP on Friday and their extensive testing programme included durability runs, assessment of new components as well as engine mapping. In addition the team used the final hour of Friday practice to practice their pit stops while the race team fine tuned their technique when the drivers came in for a pit stop.

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