F1 Friday News 1999-10-29

Damon Hill has said goodbye before the race on Sunday. "I expect to do well at the weekend. But, assuming that I don't make it to the press conference between now and the rest of the weekend, I'd like to say thanks very much to everyone from...

Damon Hill has said goodbye before the race on Sunday.

"I expect to do well at the weekend. But, assuming that I don't make it to the press conference between now and the rest of the weekend, I'd like to say thanks very much to everyone from the press. Maybe, I'll be seeing you in some other way but not as a driver. So this may be my last FIA press conference"

Schumacher blasts Irvine

Michael Schumacher has bizarrely blasted Eddie Irvine according to the news agency SID.

"What Eddie does this weekend is nothing to do me. I am here to run my race. I want to win the contructors title for Ferrari. I am free to drive my race. I simply want to win and so start next season fully motivated.

"If one is honest, if you take the best performances throughout the year you have to say that Heinz-Harald Frentzen or my brother Ralf should be champion. They obviously don't have the cars to contest for the championship but as drivers - for me they are the revelation of the season. If we forget Silverstone and look at how the season developed one could say justifiably that I would have won the title. The world ought to be intelligent enough to know the difference between Eddie and me. If Eddie becomes champion, I will have been largely responsible. It is not the satisfaction I wanted but it is better than nothing"

Schumacher's easy job

Michael Schumacher has spoken on his "easier job" for the Japanese Grand Prix:

"It is a bit easier for me this time. Obviously, I just need to win the race if I can. That would do us all a good favour, and that is my target this weekend. I expect to be fighting all through the race in order to win it, which will make things more difficult for me." He went on to compare the race in Malaysia with Suzuka: "It was not a race in which I had to go flat out all the way, and that's probably why I look a bit more fit than the rest. It will be tougher here, first of all because in this situation and on this circuit I believe everyone's performances will be closer here."

Eddie Irvine was more relaxed about the situation: "I just have to do my best, and if it happens, it happens... I learned so much here that, for me, it would be very fitting to win the championship here."

More rumblings on Malaysia

More people have spoken out on the FIAs decision last weekend: Jacques Villeneuve: "When you grow up you dream about racing. You dream about racing in Formula One as a sport - and then one day the dream stops."

Mika Hakkinen on the bargeboards: "If it was legal why did Ferrari change it? Like a lot of people I am confused."

Jackie Stewart: "I was very disappointed to learn of the apparent inaccuracies of equipment that they used for an entire year to govern the highest level of competition. It was absolutely wrong. If the same equipment that been measuring other cars all year was inaccurate then the FIA should be responsible - you can't make an exception for one race."

Frank denies Zanardi rumours

Frank Williams has gone to back-up his driver Alex Zanardi, and said about his being replaced with Montoya for next season.

"It is true to say we have a contract with Montoya when he leaves America but that contract is for three years"

On Zanardi himself being replaced, Frank said "The rumours have not emanated in any way from Williams. It is correct to say he is not going to be replaced for next year. It is also correct to say he has a contract with us for next year.If you look at Alex's performance today he's done a good job"

Irvine nervous?

Michael Schumacher and Eddie Irvine spoke after their practice sessions on Friday.

Speaking after Michael finished behind the McLaren's, whilst Eddie was tenth, Michael said "Don't worry about Eddie he will be okay... We found a good set up at the end of the session. I was not able to do the time today but I am confident I will be challenging for pole tomorrow" Eddie spoke as well "The car was not handling well and we have work to do before Sunday but perhaps we will be up there by then. Maybe we will have to rely on McLaren's reliability record. Then again Mika has started from pole 11 times but only won four times - so even if he is on pole it is not the end of the world."

-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Michael Schumacher , Heinz-Harald Frentzen , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Alex Zanardi , Jackie Stewart , Damon Hill , Frank Williams
Teams Ferrari , McLaren , Williams