F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

Week starting 24th October, 1999


Farewell, Damon!

We bid Damon farewell on his retirement from a great career.

by Michael Bass

[ Early Years | 1992 | 1993 | 1994 | 1995 | 1996 | 1997 | 1998 | 1999 | Retires | Statistics ]


One-time world champion Damon Hill is to compete his last race of his career this weekend in Japan and on behalf of his fans worldwide and myself, I have written a tribute to bid him farewell.

I will reflect on Damon's early years starting during the days of his motorbike racing interest right through to his last year in F1.

Click here to read the whole article...


African Grand Prix on the cards

With FIA spokesman Francesco Longanesi admitting that Bernie Ecclestone is in talks with the Egyption Government about the potentail to host a Grand Prix, probably by 2004.

Alongside the Middle East, Africa represents a good arena for hosting the Sport should the need for Tobacco sponsorship restrict it's operations in Europe. Egypt is well located, almost "between the two" areas, and provides good contrast to the proposed South African Grand Prix, which is expected to make the calendar in 2001.

Ecclestone is also believed to be in talks with Libya and Morrocco in Africa, and Kuwait and Syria in the Middle East.


Honda publicise the 2000 model

With Honda's press release indicating clearly the team's commitment to BAR for the new season, plans for the engine from test unit delivery to season end are coalescing nicely.

Honda are reluctant to release details, indicating only that the unit produces "more than 800 horsepower" in a "light, high revving" unit - but this is only part of the rumoured plans for the season...

Starting at around the 815bhp mark, intending to weigh in at 85kg with a very low center of gravity, the engine will start the season as one of the most enviable units in Formula One. As the season progresses, point releases due approximately every two Grand Prix should see the engine producing 855bhp by mid-season, with a 5 kilo weight reduction.

A lot of this is speculation, based on projection figures from Hinda, but it they come even close, then the engine will undoubtedly be one to beat in 2000.


Bernies Plans Revealed...

With Bernie Ecclestone selling off half of the controlling company of Formula One - Formula One Administration - for $1.3 billion, his plans are coalescing nicely...

The planned FOA floatation is increasingly likely to take place, with Arrows sponsor Morgan Grenfell Private Equity already in for $325 million, and reputed to be looking for $975m more...

The cash injection will enable Bernie to take control of circuits around the world. Some will be in partnership with others - the Paul Ricard circuit is a case in point - whilst others could be an outright takeover. The rumoured bid for control of BHL suddenly makes a lot of sense... along with the ease of BHL securing rights to host the British GP from 2002 onwards.

Buying up the majority of circuits which host Formula One events will save Ecclestone a lot of hassle from the courts, over who owns the TV rights, though there is likely to be a Monopolies investigation if he gets too carried away. Of course, as a revenue source, each track's gate fees will provide a welcome backup income, providing even more value to the Ecclestone empire.


Media Field-day - thanks Ferrari

In light of the exceptional publicity over the Ferrari disqualification, the press have been having a field day, reporting on speculation and opinion in and out of the paddock and pitlane.

With the explosion of Formula One interest in modern days, and the fervour that can be whipped up amongst rapidly widening cicles of fans, there is concern within teams that the "rules" will no longer be applicable - even in their 'one rule for Ferrari' guise - as the public's demand for a spectacle takes over the sport.

Whilst it's not thought that Friday's hearing was designed simply to appease the crowds, the pressure from the public for the Championship not to be decided on a technicality was immense; and with an absolute fortune in money terms being invested in the sport, keeping the Championship alive is becoming paramount to attracting the multi-millions required for teams to run at the leading edge.

Many in the sport believe it's only a matter of time before Formula One will no longer be considered a "sport" - it will simply be a spectacle to appease the sponsors, and of course the paying public...


"Tale of the Tape"

What was the barge-board affair really about? by Colm Doherty

Bored of the Boards controversy? It appears, on the surface at least, that Max Mosley has drawn the issue to a convincing close, and those who are paid to race may resume racing. And yet this affair leaves a number of unanswered questions and inconsistencies in it's wake.

Most notable among these is that Ferrari now contend, and the FIA Court of Appeal accept, that the turning vanes comply with the regulations when measured correctly. Yet at Sepang, the Stewards memo announcing the exclusion of both Ferraris for non-conformity to the regulations included the words "… and the team's acceptance that this bodywork did not conform…" That memo is countersigned by Stefano Dohenicay for Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.

Click here to read the whole article


McLaren could protest Schumacher

Ferrari's Bald TyreWith Ferrari's successful appeal in Paris, McLaren are wondering if there is anything the team can't get away with. It's left them pondering the merits of attempting to get Schumacher excluded, on the basis of running illegal tyres.

When Schumacher put worn tyres on his car in their pitstop, he avoided a large part of the "off" period the extra soft tyres suffer as they start to wear, before they "come back" as the wear exposes more rubber to the ground. Indeed, in Schumacher's case, the tyre at the end of the race was totally grooveless - as indicated by the image captured by Sutton Images for ITV-F1.

Technically, the car should have failed scrutineering on the tyre anyway, but for reasons currently unknown, the tyres passed the tests. Furthermore, in light of what appeared to be a clear bodywork infringement, McLaren expected Ferrari to be excluded anyway... technically, it's too late to protest the result, though extenuating circumstances might permit the protest to go ahead.

A successful protest would see Hakkinen two points closer to Irvine - making it even tighter for the final event. However, McLaren are not optimistic that the protest would succeed, no matter how well founded their concerns.

Credit: ITV-F1 for photo


Malaysian Grand Prix Weekend


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Articles
Review: Fallout from Sepang - by ITV-F1 Viewfinder
Review: Championship Decided... on a technicality - by David Cunliffe
Humour: Welcomew back Mr Schumacher - Inky Black
Preview: Malaysia - by Formula-1.co.uk
Preview: Cataclysmic Events? - by Jo Howard
Preview: Descending on Sepang - by ITV-F1 Viewfinder
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