F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

Week starting 10th October, 1999:

Sauber pulling no punches...

Sauber, despite the handicap of running last year's engine, are hoping to put together something special over the next couple of races.

Particularly hoping to capitalise on Jean Alesi's natural talent, the team believe there is a real chance in Malaysia that they do something worthwhile; in previous races, they have qualified so far off the pace that even the brilliant race form generally demonstrated the next day has failed to net significant points.

In recent tests, after examining data comparing the race and qualifying setups on the car, the team have discovered that some aspects of the car's setup were not really optimised for qualifying. The "normal" race components were not being excersised to their maximum potential, as they were designed to last a race distance. Accordingly, the team are expected to take a leaf from Ferrari's book and run with "qualifying components" this weekend.

With a small, but consistent improvement to their starting point, the team would have scored several more points this season, and the efforts in the last two races are in preparation for 2000 - there are no major components expected for this year's car, so all the improvements will have to come from the drivers, and their improved qualifying position.

Humour: Welcome back Mr Schumacher

Tribute to the Maestro's returnhumour by Inky Black

Michael Schumacher twice proved he can win the World Driver's Championship. Now he has to prove he can win one for somebody else! Eddie Irvine is close, but he can't match the speed of the McLarens. At least not without a little magic from the champion.

Welcome back Schuey. Now get out there and don't win! We need you to set up the car. And to push the McLarens. Or maybe get in front and slow 'em down. Anything but win. That's Eddie Irvine's job!

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Schuey's Return - Wise or Pointless?

Is it really wise for Ferrari ace Michael Schumacher to return to the cockpit of his Ferrari F399 for the final two races this season?

by Michael Bass

It was revealed last week that Michael Schumacher is returning to Formula One for the final two races of the 1999 season.

Originally, Schumacher was going to return to Formula One at the Belgian Grand Prix this year; but intensive testing, showed his fitness was poor, and he decided to stay out until he was fully recovered. However, in an amazing u-turn, he's announced he will race again at the Malaysian Grand Prix next weekend. Accordingly, it has been reported that Mika Salo will be on stand-by should he be needed any more this season.

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Ferrari back their Man

With Schumacher back on the team, it appears that Ferrari are getting their act together again for the last two races.

Ferrari's work with new components, ostensibly for the 2000 project, is set to pay dividends in the shorter term, as many components are making it onto this year's car. The team is expected to ship hybrid '99/2000 cars to the Far East, and are optimistic about their chances.

With Salo and Irvine alone, they were concerned that the time taken to set the cars up for the new components would be too high, so they would actually run slower than with the existing tried and tested parts. However, bringing Schumacher's experience on board provides a strong chance that they can pull a rabbit out of the hat.

Prospects for Malaysia are put at "evens" - the team hope to close the gap, provided they get everything out of the new components. However, Japan is another story, and they are building to be in better form again there.

The new components on the car include a new engine - allegedly providing little more power, but a significantly smoother power curve, which is more important. Also, revised aerodynamics, including changes to the side-pods and flip-ups are expected to provide small, but significant gains.

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