INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2001 - Heinz-Harald Frentzen hopes he has many more races this season similar to last year's inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Frentzen finished third at the Brickyard last season after...
INDIANAPOLIS, Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2001 - Heinz-Harald Frentzen hopes he has many more races this season similar to last year's inaugural SAP United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis. Frentzen finished third at the Brickyard last season after intense duels with Rubens Barrichello, who finished second, and Jacques Villeneuve, who placed fourth, just one-half second behind Frentzen. "From my point of view, it was a very exciting race," Frentzen said about Formula One's debut at Indianapolis. "I had not even one second to relax. I was under pressure right from the beginning, and then at the end from Jacques." Frentzen's third place at Indianapolis was one of the high points of his season and one of only two podium finishes he had in 2000. Now, heading into the new season that begins with the Australian Grand Prix on March 4, Frentzen hopes to have more races where he can fight for a podium finish. And he believes that Honda, which is now the engine partner for Team Benson & Hedges Jordan, has given his team a huge boost. "We have had a big boost for the whole team from the morale point of view and the motivational point of view," Frentzen said. "We had a catastrophic season last year. We now have Honda on board. They are not only giving me the horsepower that is pushing me in the back, they are also giving us a lot of technical support and also a lot of moral support. They want to achieve a lot of things as well. It is giving us a responsibility, but it also giving us a big boost." New regulations this year have reduced aerodynamic downforce by raising the front wing and decreasing the size of the rear wing. Because of those changes, the West McLaren-Mercedes and Ferrari teams will continue their domination because they have more resources than the other teams to regain the lost downforce sooner, Frentzen said. "Because they are more experienced in aerodynamics than other teams and have very good wind tunnels," Frentzen said, "they are able to find the 'edges' and the 'holes' of the regulations much easier than the other teams. That is why I believe that McLaren and Ferrari will initially be a bit stronger. On the other side, I can say that we have spent more time in the wind tunnel than Jordan ever did in its history. We have put a lot of effort into the new car."
Frentzen also plans to put a lot of effort in this season. "If I lose motivation," he said, "the team members lose it as well. I have some high targets for myself. Racing with Jordan and Honda is one of the biggest chances in my career to be successful and to win races. That is why I want to give everything together with the team to be successful. That does not just mean driving as fast as possible - there is a lot of work besides that." Frentzen is also eager to return to Indianapolis for the second annual SAP United States Grand Prix on Sept. 30. He was the first F1 driver to drive on the new 13-turn, 2.606-mile (4.195-km) Indianapolis circuit when he toured the track in a road car last June. He then made history when he became the first person to drive a F1 car on the new circuit when he was the first out of the pits on the opening day of practice. "I think that a racetrack like Indianapolis is very important for Formula One and for the American viewers," Frentzen said. "I'm looking forward to driving at Indianapolis again. "I think it was a great experience to run in front of the crowd. I had never seen that big a crowd before - 250,000 people. You have quite some time driving through the banked corner to see the packed grandstands. The atmosphere is outstanding there."