F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

Week starting 31st October, 1999

Japanese Grand Prix Weekend

[ Friday 1 | Friday 2 | Saturday 1 | Saturday 2 | Qualifying | Race Warmup | Race ]

FIA Press Conferences
[ "Thursday" | "Friday" | Post-Qualifying (audio) | Post-Race (audio) ]

Team Press Releases
[ Previews | Friday Practice | Qualifying | Race Reports ]

Review: Honours Even - by David Cunliffe.
Article: Goodbye Damon! - Michael Bass bids farewell to Damon Hill.
Press Release: FIA Press Release - statement on tolerances.
Humour: Goodbye Mr Hill - Jeff Rose's tribute to the departing 1996 World Champion.
Press Release: Honda Press Release - news on the 2000 engine.
Preview: Fast Eddie guns for the title... - by Jo Howard

Jaguar to Burn Bright?

Comment on the big cat

by Michael Bass

Is Eddie Irvine's decision to move to the new team Jaguar an advantage to his career?

Cool Eddie raced his last race as Michael Schumacher's team-mate in the title decider race at Suzuka last week with a chance of the championship, but Irvine's rival Hakkinen won the race, taking the championship at the same time.

Click here to read the whole article...

Ferrari back on the ball...

With the slanging matches between Coulthard, Schumacher and Irvine, and the so called "off season" where drivers are banned from their cars until December, many folks have forgotton the teams themselves, who are hard at work on next year's model, flat out against deadlines which are already too tight to ensure the new chassis will be properly tested by Melbourne...

Ferrari's research and development team has been in action since June, even before Schumacher's accident, gearing up for the next challenge. The team have been testing year 2000 components on the car for months - some of them being fitted to the 1999 chassis - and still don't expect to have the new car ready until the New Year. When that rolls around, the new car will appear substantially different - sources indicate a lower nose, refined rear bodywork, and extensive changes all round - despite being an evolution of this year's model.

Other major players are also anticipating a New Year launch; BAR, Jordan and Stewart are all expected to produce their new cars after Christmas... McLaren is being very quiet on their plans, though it's believed a lot of components intended for this year's car are expected to make an appearance: reliability problems at the start of the year set the team back months.

All in all, whilst there will be plenty of action at the tests in December, there's little to be discovered. Most of the teams will be running "known" configurations, effectively sandbagging, as they test new components; however, many are already concerned that any delays will see their cars arriving in February, and that's just too late to be reliable for Melbourne!

The Worst BAR None

Trouble at the BAR! by Julie Gates

The British American Racing Team appears today a total contrast to this time last year. Vowing to win their first grand prix, things have gone from bad to worse for the over-ambitious team.

They entered Formula One in controversial fashion. First came the dual livery, before the FIA court case and then came talk of winning from the off; all of which angered many rival teams, in addition to the sport's governing body. So it is easy to see why the team with the mouth is today receiving little sympathy for their lack of performance.

Click here to read the whole article

Stewart's New Chassis

Stewart are keeping plans for their new chassis closely guarded, as part of their hopes of challenging for the World Championship in 2001.

With Ford coming on board, and integrating an all new, improved engine into the chassis for the 1999 car, the team is looking to make the same progress on the chassis as Ford managed for it's motive force; accordingly, a significant redesign is taking place, with an emphasis on improving the underlying mechanical grip to provide a solid base from which to derive aerodynamic force.

With Formula One in a world where aerodynamics rules the roost, the team are seeing this as key to next year's race strategy: good mechanical grip, and excellent balance will reduce tyre wear and oversteer problems on soft rubber. Furthermore, if the work is done right first time, there will be no need to make changes through the year, so work on setting the car up need only be changed according to the aerodynamic configuration.

The emphasis is seen as critical to getting the car on a par with Jordan, and potentially Ferrari and McLaren in 2000: the team are looking for third place in the Constructors Championship, with at least a couple of wins to their credit; and that is expected to provide a platform to challenge for top spot in the Constructors World Championship in 2001.

Havoc at BAR

With news that shareholders could oust Pollock, putting Reynard on the helm, has caused consternation at Honda.

Should Pollock go, Villeneuve would be close behind - speculation of a swap with Coulthard at McLaren or even Zanardi at Williams has been in the offing, should he decide BAR no longer holds sway... leaving the team without their lead driver.

Honda's belief in BAR is largely due to Mr Honda's opinion that Jacques is one of the world's top three drivers: accordingly, his departure puts a very different light on things, and there's absolutely no guarentee the new engine would be in the BAR. Many board members had originally agreed with the Mugen-Honda viewpoint that Jordan's work over the last couple of years prove the team is worthy of Honda's backing, and this could be the final staw...

The Hill Appeal

With Damon Hill making good his retirement from Formula One at the Japanese Grand Prix, and no other British driver looking like stepping into his shoes as "home favourite," there's been some consternation at ITV over the massive sums spent keeping F1 there.

The British viewing figures are largely dependant on the "hero" status of a British driver - or so polls seem to indicate, at least. Damon Hill's following is huge, arguably even larger than the popular Nigel Mansell garnered. The remaining Brits, Eddie Irvine, David Coulthard and Johnny Herbert just don't command the same respect.

Eddie Irvine has a mixed following, due to his outspoken nature, and apparent snub of the UK fans at the Silverstone Grand Prix: his announcement of indifference to whether they support him or not did no favours, and playing number two to Schumacher was not a big winner either - it's hard to cheer a man who moves over.

David Coulthard is seen as "goody two shoes," Mr Polically Correct Corporate Man, and a shadow to Hakkinen. Johnny Herbert is aleady fairly popular, but something of an unknown - years driving for back markers, and a reputation for bad luck is all that the public at large has seen of him.

However, that could all change. Johnny Herbert is a man transformed since winning again this year. He qualified and finished ahead of Barrichello since, and is looking forward to a competitive year with Jaguar in 2000. A recent street poll has indicated that his status is likely to change: if he can be seen at the front of some races next season, the rather dubious honour of being the British Crowd's Favourite can fall on his shoulders... the downside is that any achievements will be written off by the press as due to the equipment he drives, or the misfortune of others!

Godspeed Greg Moore

by Bob Pearson

Sitting in my living room, in Calgary, I answered the call.

"Did you see the accident? He's dead! He's dead!" my mother exclaimed from Montreal.

The CART race was on TSN-The Sports Network-here in Canada, but I had not turned it on yet, I thought it came on later.

Click here to read the whole article...

Review of Japan 1999

Honours Even

by David Cunliffe

With a masterful lights to flag victory, Mika Hakkinen ran out the eventual winner at Suzuka, thus clinching his second consecutive World Championship and joining an exclusive club of only seven drivers to win back to back titles. The Ferraris of Schumacher and Irvine followed him home to take the Constructors' title for the Scuderia, their first F1 Championship since 1983.

Frentzen was fourth in the race, cementing a well-deserved third place for himself and Jordan in the two championships. Another excellent drive by Ralf Schumacher earned him fifth, but his two points were not enough to move Williams back up to fourth in the team title. That spot was retained by Stewart-Ford, even though Herbert and Barrichello finished just outside the points. What a magnificent achievement for a team in only its third season. It bodes well for the re-badged team in 2000, notwithstanding Irvine's failure to bring them the coveted No1 for the front of the first fully fledged Jaguar F1 car.

Click here to read the whole article...

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