After a nine year absence, Formula One returned to America in 2000 at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Drivers and teams keep a fabulous memory of last year's event on this mythical track where the organisers and the fans made them very ...
After a nine year absence, Formula One returned to America in 2000 at the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Drivers and teams keep a fabulous memory of last year's event on this mythical track where the organisers and the fans made them very welcome. Depsite the tragic events that recently stroke the United States, the Americans expressed their wish to see the Grand Prix happening. Therefore, amid unprecedented security measures, the 45th United States Grand Prix will go ahead as planned next weekend.
Eric Vuillemin, Prost Acer Team Coordinator and Logistics Manager, comments on the preparation for the penultimate round of the 2001 Formula One World Championship.
- Logistics Manager :
"After the appaling events that happened in the United States, everybody wondered for quite a long time whether the US Grand Prix should be cancelled or not. It was finally confirmed that it would take place as scheduled and we were told that the freight would be able to fly to Indianapolis. But we only had the confirmation early last week that passengers would be allowed to travel normally. That was our main worry. Apart from this uncertainty, our preparation was not really affected, as we are used to such an organisation with 6 flyaway races per season. The only big difference was a matter of time : the trucks arrived from the Italian Grand Prix on Tuesday, and everything had to be packed and ready by Thursday afternoon. For security reasons, the freight had indeed to undergo a complete X-Ray check on Friday at the Amsterdam Schiphol airport, which is the closest one where you can X-ray complete freight pallets. For us, it meant a 550 kms truck journey, 8 hours in total, to get there. Fortunately, everything went fine, and our 15 tons of equipment arrived on Monday at Indianapolis, where the first part of our team is now setting up the garage and putting everything in place for the upcoming week-end."
The Prost Acer team is all the more looking forward to setting a good performance in Indianapolis as they had a difficult week-end last year : both cars suffered several engine-related problems and only one could reach the chequered flag. This time, with data to assess and the promising competitiveness shown by the AP04 in the last events this season, the team returns to the Brickyard with hopes for a positive week-end. Tomas Enge, who replaces Luciano Burti until the end of the season, will be driving his second race for the Prost Acer team and have his first racing experience in the United States. He will surely benefit from his experienced team mate Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who achieved an impressive 3rd place finish in the 2000 U.S. Grand Prix.
- Chief Track Engineer :
"The Indianapolis track is in a way the combination of two distinct circuits: one is made of the fast Speedway's banked oval, part of the original track used for Indy 500. It is a very fast section where the cars went over 300km/h last year. The other one is a purpose-built infield, which presents a wide variety of corners. The car's set-up must allow a good balance in the slow and twisty section, which requires more downforce and grip, without compromising the speed through the banked final corner. Performance will also depend on tyre efficiency and the presence of two manufacturers this year should lead to an even more interesting competition."