WILLIAMS-BMW UNVEILS NEW LIVERY. The Williams-BMW partnership today revealed its definitive year 2000 livery at the German giant's Munich headquarters. Although the launch featured neither the new campaign's car or a ...
WILLIAMS-BMW UNVEILS NEW LIVERY. The Williams-BMW partnership today revealed its definitive year 2000 livery at the German giant's Munich headquarters.
Although the launch featured neither the new campaign's car or a complete driver line-up - both of which will be revealed nearer the start of the season - it still attracted over 350 members of the world's media to Munich, and marked the start of the official link-up between the two team partners.
Having run throughout its test period in a now traditional BMW combination of navy blue and white, it was no surprise to see the 'showcar' feature a similar colour scheme, albeit with a lot more white this time around. The FW21 present in Munich displayed blue flashes on the sidepods and from nose to rear wing on an otherwise white body, while wing endplates were also blue.
No major sponsor adorned the car - this too will be announced at a later date - but the names of existing backers Castrol and Veltins were visible.
Team boss Frank Williams admitted that he was hoping a new start would return his outfit to the front of the grid, having struggled slightly in recent seasons.
"The last two years were not that good for us," he explained, "The last time we won the world championship was in 1997. Now we want to win out tenth constructors' title and eighth drivers' title. I believe that we will make it with BMW - certainly not from the start, but in the long run. In Formula One there are no shortcuts - we will go through the learning progress together."
BMW's latest motorsport boss, Gerhard Berger, backed up Williams' words with similar sentiments of his own, admitting that wins would be hard to come by in the partnership's first year together.
"We have an incredible amount of difficult work ahead of us, this is clear" Berger said, "What is unclear is when our efforts will take us to success. As for clear predictions, Formula One is too complicated for this, but we have to set ourselves a target. We want to be up with the top teams by the end of the second year and, in the third year, we will race to win."
BMW board member Dr Wolfgang Ziebart said that the launch was another exciting stage in the company's development, whilst admitting that it was also important to its overall business as well as its sporting arm.
"The fact that we launched the team here in proximity of the BMW Research and Development Centre, and the F1 engine, facility underlines [the company]'s philosophy of motor racing," he said in his welcoming address, "Of course, motor racing characterises a brand but, above all for us, the synergy between innovation in Formula One and the production of roadcars is of utmost importance. We want to achieve the highest technological benefit for our products." IRVINE FAN OFFERED SABOTAGE. A television documentary yesterday revealed that one of Eddie Irvine's fans volunteered to sabotage title rival Mika Hakkinen's 1999 championship assault.
Shown on Britain's Channel Four network, the documentary - entitled Eddie Irvine - the inside track - claimed that an anonymous supporter contacted Irvine through his manager and, in a badly written letter, offered to shoot out one of Hakkinen's tyres during a race.
The letter went on to say that there would no proof that a bullet had caused the Finn's retirement, and that he may be sidelined for some time as a result of the aftermath of the blow-out, thereby handing Irvine a decisive championship advantage. The Irishman was asked to contact the sender if he was interested in the proposal. WILLIAMS FACES BRIDGESTONE SNUB. The re-entry of Michelin to Formula One looks set to cause friction between the Williams team and current tyre suppliers Bridgestone, after the Japanese giant admitted that it feared losing industrial secrets.
Williams has already been revealed as one of Michelin's two confirmed teams when it returns to the sport in 2001, and Bridgestone is afraid that development secrets may find their way into French hands during the 2000 season. To prevent this from happening, the Japanese company has vowed not to allow Williams to take part in development testing this season.
It has confirmed, however, that the Grove team will not be mistreated in the course of race weekends, and will continue to supply the same rubber to Williams as it will to the rest of the grid.
Toyota is the second team confirmed by Michelin for 2001, although both Benetton and Prost are rumoured to switching camps. leaving Bridgestone insisting that it will do all it can to preserve its advantage.
"If we do everything we can for [these teams], maybe it will be a disadvantage for us," confessed Bridgestone technical director Ashihiko Ichikawa, "We will be fair this year - that is out philosophy - but [the teams in question] will not do development tests." TEAMS ENCOURAGED BY SHAKEDOWNS. Both Jaguar and Sauber expressed satisfaction following initial tests with their new cars, although both experienced niggling problems.
Jaguar lost a large part of its first day's running on Wednesday to an engine malady, but had a better time of it on Thursday, when Luciano Burti again ran in private at Silverstone. The Brazilian concentrated on assessing new management systems before the car was readied for freighting to Spain in preparation for the weekend's group test.
Sauber, meanwhile, rolled out its 2000 contender for the first time at Fiorano just after Christmas, allowing new signing Mika Salo to express his delight at the improvement over last year's car.
"The car has terrific grip, and is much better than the C18B test car," the Finn said, "You can feel the extra grip and downforce - I was very happy."
Like Jaguar, Sauber will be in Barcelona for the next major test, with Salo's team-mate Pedro Diniz entrusted with driving duties on the opening two days. Salo will then take over on Monday. Johnny Herbert and Eddie Irvine are expected to be present for Jaguar. NEW LOOK ARROWS TARGET BIRMINGHAM UNVEILING.
The Arrows team will reveal a new corporate identity at next week's Autosport International exhibition in Birmingham, England.
The team, which has struggled to make much of an impression on the track in recent seasons, will display an A20 chassis complete with the new logo at the show, where lead driver Pedro de la Rosa will also appear.
The new, Supertec-powered, A21 is scheduled to make its first appearance at Silverstone in two weeks' time and, until then, de la Rosa will continue to test with the old car. A last outing is due over 12-13 January, when the team will conclude electronics testing. The identity of de la Rosa's team-mate for 2000 remains a mystery, however, with Dutch duo Jos Verstappen and Tom Coronel leading the interested parties. Last season's pilot, Tora Takagi, is reported to have signed a deal to return to Formula Nippon. SMALL TEST TURN-OUT EXPECTED. Only a handful of teams are believed to be attending the first major test of the new year, with many deciding to wait until Jerez in a week's time before making their re-appearance.
Of the eleven confirmed year 2000 entries, only Jaguar, Ferrari, Sauber and BAR are expected to turn out at Barcelona this weekend, with the rest either waiting for Jerez between 14-16 January or the second Barcelona test at the end of the month. Jacques Villeneuve and Ricardo Zonta will share driving duties at BAR in separate tests, while Rubens Barrichello makes a return to the Ferrari cockpit after undergoing surgery on his ribs over Christmas. Jaguar and Sauber are expected to run their latest chassis, with both 2000 season drivers sharing the running.
McLaren and Williams have both confirmed that they will miss Barcelona this time around. The Grove team is due to reveal its new, BMW-inspired livery in Munich on Monday, and will not run again until the Jerez test. McLaren is expected to field David Coulthard and Olivier Panis in southern Spain as it concludes a testing programme which began before Christmas.
Barcelona between 17-21 January is thus expected to be the first major meeting of teams this year, with Benetton understood to be joining the fray fresh from its official launch at the city's art gallery on the Monday. Prost will also be in attendance, probably with test driver Stephane Sarrazin at the wheel.
The other teams on this season's entry list - Minardi and Jordan - are not expected to venture out in public before February. Minardi has no plans to test until its latest challenger is revealed next month, while Jordan will content itself with systems checks in private at Silverstone. Czech F3000 star Tomas Enge is expected to run for the local team. Click here to see more F1 news... f1picturenet.com