F1 News 99-04-02

Williams to test this week Williams are finally to test, after missing two major tests since the last GP. The team says it had nothing ready to test, so there was no point in actually going. The team now has a mixture of aerodynamic and ...

Williams to test this week

Williams are finally to test, after missing two major tests since the last GP. The team says it had nothing ready to test, so there was no point in actually going. The team now has a mixture of aerodynamic and mechanical parts to test.

Berger denies interest in Salo

Gerhard Berger, boss of motorsport at BMW, has denied interest in Mika Salo to test the cars. He said that he knows Mika wants to get back into F1 full time and that "he could use us to do that. We need a driver who will do work for BMW"

Sauber solves gearbox problems

The Sauber team thinks it has solved the gearbox problems that have hampered testing so far this season. The breakages are linked to the weight loss program that the gearbox was put on over the winter.

BAR waits to hear if apology is accepted

British American Racing are currently waiting to find out if the FIA have accepted the apology that they made at the World Council. They are waiting to find out if the FIA agree that the letter matches the excuse given by Craig Pollock that lawyers for BAT Industries acted over the head of British American Racing.

New livery for BAR in Brazil

The BAR is to run with a larger zip down the middle for the Brazilian GP to emphasise that there are two distinct brands. According to BAR, they may not run with the dual livery at all GPs. It is unclear where this stands with the FIA ruling.

Honda makes no decision

According to reports, the board at Honda failed to come to a decision about entering F1 with their own team last week.

Minardi tests again

Minardi have been testing again this week, with Marc Gene at the wheel. It is now looking more likely that Badoer may be fit enough to drive at Brazil, but the team is looking at replacements just in case. Marc Gene is unable to take his place as he does not have the required superlicence.

Delays hit BMW testing

The BMW F1 programme has been hit with delays which, according to Gerhard Berger, are due to waiting for revised parts from outside of BMW. The engine is now expected to run for the first time at the end of April.

Bernie warns that countries want F1

Bernie Ecclestone is acting on suggestions that he is having problems finding venues to hold Grand Prixs outside of Europe. "There are plenty of places we can go, believe you and me". As well as the planned races in China and the USA, he claims to also have races in Dubai and Lebanon lined up. He also claims that India and Russia are keen to hold races. In recent weeks, Bernies sabre rattling against the EC was looking a little shaky.

BMW 'thinking' about V12

Gerhard Berger, motorsport boss at BMW, has said that the Bavarian concern is considering building a V12 for Williams at some stage during their deal. The engine that will track test next week, however, is definitely a V10.

Arrows 'not up for sale'

Prince Malik has denied that Arrows is up for sale. "I want to stay in F1 as long as I can" he is reported as saying. The Arrows team has been linked to rumours that the Prince or Morgan Grenfell will sell out to Toyota, who is eyeing an entry in 2002.

Mosley can see smoke free future

Max Mosley has responded to claims that F1 is on shaky ground when the proposed tobacco ban in the EC comes into play. 'F1 could do without tobacco sponsorship, and it probably will sooner rather than later. There are a lot of big sponsors who would be more inclined to come into F1 if there weren't tobacco. The idea that F1 will be worse off without tobacco is nonsense.' said Mosley.

The ban will start to come into action in 2003, and by 2007 all the cars must be free of tobacco advertising. The ban, however, still faces legal challenges from tobacco companies, and also may have been slightly hindered by the recent hoo-ha at the EC where all the commissioners resigned. Senior lawyers have also questioned the legality of the ban.

Scheckter says Eddie's not quick enough

Jody Scheckter has gone on record saying that Eddie Irvine is not fast enough to help Michael Schumacher to the title this year. 'Schumacher is a great driver, but he needs someone to be right on his tail or quicker than him at times to help raise his game. Eddie is often half a second adrift and that's no good.'

Eddie denies Schumacher rift

Eddie Irvine has moved to deny rumours that their is a rift between himself and Michael Schumacher. Eddie is reported to have said "I couldn't possibly say they invented it, because journalists always tell the truth. But the fact is they also need something to write about."

Good news for Bernie

As part of the mass resignation of the European Commission last week, the commissioner in charge of investigating the television rights issue with the FIA and FOA - Karel von Miert - also resigned, severely hampering the investigations.

Sauber concentrates on gearbox

During testing at Magny Cours last week, the Sauber team concentrated on developing their gearbox which has caused a few problems so far this season. In an interview with L'Equipe, Jean Alesi has said that the software that controls the 7-speed box has been the problem.

Camel Benettons to return?

With Japan Tobacco's recent purchase of RJ Reynolds from RJR Nabisco, rumours are circulating that the Camel brand will return to Formula 1. The brand was previously a sponsor of Lotus in the 80's, but had their biggest success as sponsors of Williams and Benetton in the 1990s. Japan Tobacco has invested heavily in F1 over the last decade, but its impact on world markets has been limited. With ownership of an international brand, Japan Tobacco could make it's presence felt more heavily in F1, and increase its sponsorship which is rumoured to be around half the amount invested by the likes of Reemta and Rothmans International, and considerably less than Philip Morris.

Honda board ponders move

The Honda Motor Co have denied reports in Autosport that they are to commit £125m a year to their new F1 assault. A spokesman denying the stories said "The company has not considered or decided on such a budget for its Formula One project. In any event, we will not disclose our budget for the project."

The Honda boards decision is further complicated by the owners of Mugen Honda also being substantial shareholders in Honda Motor Co. Mugen Honda has told the board it can do the job in F1 at a fraction of the cost that the internal developers claim.

ex-BMW boss takes over at Jaguar

Wolfgang Rietzle has taken over as boss of Jaguar, and is expected to be in charge of Jaguar's entry in Formula 1 in 2001. He was a prime mover behind BMWs recent decision to enter F1, and was forced out during the coup earlier this year. Rietzle is chairman of Ford's new "Premier Automotive Group", which includes Jaguar, Aston Martin, Volvo and Lincoln.

Badoer has testing crash

Luca Badoer has crashed his Minardi during testing at Fiorano. The crash is believed to be due to a failure of the fly-by-wire throttle system. The crash happened after 49 laps, and caused a small break in his right hand. He has been advised to have an operation on the hand to speed up recovery time. Marc Gene shall be testing for Minardi instead on Tuesday.

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

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Luca Badoer , Michael Schumacher , Jean Alesi , Marc Gene , Gerhard Berger , Jody Scheckter , Philip Morris , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Sauber , Williams , Benetton , British American Racing , Minardi