Making the headlines 2001-04-08

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com Many Happy Returns Jacques! Today, Canadian ace and 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve celebrates his 30th birthday. Happy Birthday Jacques, from all the staff and fans at Motorsport.com. Michael ...

By Erica Southey - Motorsport.com

Many Happy Returns Jacques!

Today, Canadian ace and 1997 World Champion, Jacques Villeneuve celebrates his 30th birthday. Happy Birthday Jacques, from all the staff and fans at Motorsport.com.

Michael Schumacher regards Mika Häkkinen as the title challenger

Michael Schumacher regards Mika Häkkinen as his challenger for the 2001 World Driver Championship (WDC). Häkkinen's team-mate, David Coulthard is currently ahead of his team-mate in points, but that was the case last year until Häkkinen picked up on his performance and passed Coulthard to challenge Schumacher. Schumacher says that the WDC is far from over regardless the good performance of the F2001.

Michael Schumacher: "Last year Coulthard was ahead of Hakkinen at this time and you know what happened then," Michael remarked. "I am looking forward to the next races and concentrating on scoring points without thinking of the others. I've heard people say that the championship is wide open again, but I never said it was over. You need more than excellent results in the first two races to say that the championship has been won."

Schumacher is known for his psychological tactics. One is left to wonder if this is one of them.

Herbert to Indy?

Johnny Herbert was seen at Long Beach over the weekend talking to people of the Sigma team. 2001 left Herbert without a race seat in a single-seater series. He took the testing job at Arrows to stay in circulation. Talking to 7thGear, he indicated that he got good news on Indy500, but did not elaborate.

Bernie Ecclestone to the rescue

Bernie Ecclestone is willing to sell the remaining 25% of his shares in Formula 1 to the car manufacturers in order to resolve the developing crisis of a rival series in the sport. This comes in the wake of threats by Daimler Chrysler, BMW, Fiat, Ford and Renault to start their own rival series if the Kirch/EM.TV domination continues. Their main concern is, that fans may have to pay to see their favourite sport after 2008.

Further to Ecclestone's offer Kirch is willing to sell some shares as well to put the car manufacturer's minds at ease.

Ecclestone: "I have no idea what they (the manufacturers) want at this stage. Their position changes all the time. They are in business to sell cars. It seems strange to me that they want to own the races as well."

A Fiat spokesman replied: "It appears that Ecclestone and Kirch/EM.TV are moving toward a deal that we will find acceptable."

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Series Formula 1
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Michael Schumacher , David Coulthard , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Bernie Ecclestone