Plenty has happened since my last diary feature and as I'm sure you can appreciate I've been busy looking at my options for 2003. More of that later! Following my last diary entry I enjoyed another trip back to the UK to attend the christening...
Plenty has happened since my last diary feature and as I'm sure you can appreciate I've been busy looking at my options for 2003. More of that later!
Following my last diary entry I enjoyed another trip back to the UK to attend the christening of one of my friend's children. My responsibilities include being Godfather! I was able to catch up with some old friends while I was there and we had a BBQ. The weather I hasten to add was typically British.
Then I received the news from Toyota that they were not wishing to use my services for next season.
Obviously I was disappointed about the decision and a little surprised especially that neither Mika nor I will be there next year, however, it was the natural end to my current three year contract and I can say that Ove Andersson acted in a very professional manner throughout. But it is a pity I will not get the benefit of all the groundwork I have put in throughout the years with the car and the team. I am sure the lessons and mistakes of 2002 will be behind them and Gustav Brunner should produce a good car for the 2003 season.
I also have a lot of friends at Toyota and I want to thank them for all their work which gave me my first year in F1 as well as the well wishers that have sent messages of support over the last week, it is appreciated.
As for the future, we are in discussions, there are some options in F1 and some outside as well, I have been pleasantly surprised by the amount of teams interested in me for 2003 and so although you will need to wait some weeks before knowing what is happening I think it will be worth the wait. I am confident!
Anyway onto the race at Spa. Friday was okay and the car was better running on a faster circuit. Michelin brought some good tyres to Belgium. I was experiencing some understeer in the TF102 and that ultimately hurt me in qualifying although I lined up 13th. In the race I had a problem with electronics and tracking on the car, which made Eau Rouge very entertaining at 185mph. I had a good race with Villeneuve, Massa and Heidfeld to ninth place. The circuit characteristics and my tyres aided the overall result. I have to say it was an enjoyable race for me; I was wheel to wheel with some of those guys for good stretches of the race.
On the Friday evening at Spa, an RTL Holland TV crew invited me to a campsite to meet 500 nutty Dutch fans, who all love Jos Verstappen and football. I can honestly say it was a unique night but good to see people enjoying it to the max, and believe me, they were!
Immediately after Spa I was off testing to Monza for the next race. Nearly all the F1 teams were represented in Italy but we were all interrupted by rain, not an ideal situation but I finished up fourth fastest both days. However, tyre testing and different fuel amounts mean that times are difficult to read into, the Jaguar was quickest on one day. That said we were generally quick in all conditions, including the damp where Michelin have done a lot of tyre development, I even overtook M Schumacher around the outside!!!!! Let's wait and see what the race brings.
Before that though I'm heading back to Monaco for some relaxation after the highs and lows of recent weeks.