Oil crisis at
(c)in part Associated
Australia (Feb 27, 1997) Demonstrators opposed to
the staging of next week's Australian Grand Prix auto
race dumped diesel oil on the circuit overnight in an
apparent bid to sabotage the event, race organizers
said Friday. The slick, four metres wide in parts,
stretched from Pit Straight to the southern boundary.
The damage caused to the track by the fuel was still
Senior Constable David Gamble said the fuel was
spread by a fast-moving vehicle over around 500
meters of the track, including the start-finish area.
Bruce Barrett, a Melbourne Metropolitan Fire Brigade
inspector, said fuel might have to be burned of the
track if cleaning with chemicals doesn't work.
Premier Jeff Kennett said the sabotage was
"absolutely appalling. It's unforgivable "
The Grand Prix is
scheduled to be contested on March 9 on the
controversial Albert Park track, which is being used
for the second time. Local groups have protested the
use of the park for the season-opening race, citing
trees being felled and a lack of access to the public
park before and after the event. The Save Albert Park
group, which has campaigned against the Grand Prix,
denied any involvement with the sabotage. a
spokeswoman said: "I'm dismayed because I think
the lunatic fringe could let it rebound on us.
Race chief Ron Walker
said: "I can assure all Australians that the
race will go ahead on time, on schedule, and it will
be one of Australia's greatest sporting events
despite this vandalism."
(c)in part Associated
IMOLA, Italy (Feb
28, 1997) - 36-year-old Italian magistrate Antonio
Costanzo has rejected the claim made by two of
the defendants in the Ayrton Senna trial,
that mistakes were made in the process of obtaining
evidence a week ago. The lawyers of Adrian Newey
and Roland Bruynseraede stated last week that
their clients were questioned without being told that
they could be prosecuted. Newey's lawyer Luigi
Stortini claimed that Newey had been interviewed
by investigating magistrate Maurizio Passarini in
September 1994 without knowing he was a possible
suspect, and therefore without any legal aid. Both
lawyers had demanded that the technical evidence,
which is key to the prosecution case, be ruled
inadmissible against their clients. He also claimed
that Newey knew nothing of the charges against him
until the end of last year, when they were officially
levelled. Lawyers representing circuit inspector
Bruynseraede, a member of the International
Automobile Federation (FIA), also claimed that
the Belgian knew nothing of the enquiries against
The judge, Antonio
Costanzo, said the claims were unfounded. He also
disagreed with the
claim that the trial should move to Bologna where
Senna was declared dead. Costanzo adjourned the trial
until March 5 when the prosecutors are to present
Villeneuve says he
knows it all
(c) 1997 Associated
LONDON (Feb 27,
1997 ) The 1997 Formula One season, which opens
next week in Australia, is being billed as the most
competitive in years. But there's little argument
about the man to beat. It's Jacques Villeneuve,
runner-up for the world title last year behind
Williams-Renault teammate Damon Hill.
Hill has since joined
the Arrows-Yamaha team, leaving Villeneuve as the No.
1 driver with Williams and the bookmakers' odds-on
favorite for the championship.
Villeneuve, the 1995
Indy Car champion, was a Formula One rookie last
season but still won four races. He was
self-confident before he ever won a race and even
more so now. "I know everything now, there is
nothing for me to learn," he said. "I just
have to adapt a bit and improve what I've learned so
far. ... Knowing the tracks will help a lot.
"The first few
races, starting in Australia, are the most important.
If you can put points in the bag and have a lead,
then you can have a race strategy and play on that
supports five teams for 1997
(c) 1997 Agence
TOKYO (Feb 25, 1997
EST) - Bridgestone has added former world
champion Alain Prost's new team to its growing list
of clients including reigning champion Damon Hill.
The top Japanese tyre maker said Tuesday it would
supply five out of the 12 F1 teams, breaking the tyre
monopoly held by Goodyear of the United States
for five years since Italy's Pirelli pulled
Arrows-Yamaha, Minardi-Hart, Steward-Ford
and Lola-Ford machines will be supplied with
"We hope you will
see Bridgestone's F1 tyre at its best, giving full
play to the know-how the company has reaped through
motorsport activities at home and abroad," the
company said in a statement.
development of F1 tyres in 1989 and has been testing
them since June last year with Tom Walkinshaw's
cars have won 10 out of the 16 IndyCar CART
series while sweeping Japan's F3000
"Formula Nippon" races last year.
Arrows continues to
(SILVERSTONE UK Feb
26th 1997)- Damon Hill drove a final test with
the Arrows on the Silverstone circuit today.
Frustrated by continued technical problems and more
than a little depressed, he said: "Testing has
been a bit of a struggle. We haven't got any more
time now so we just have to pick up our things and go
to Australia and hope for the best."
Arrows team boss Tom
Walkinshaw is however, expecting Hill to be
competitive by the end of the season. Hill commented:
"We will be fighting to get on the podium, but
that would be an extremely good result for us. There
is every opportunity for us to do extremely well, but
I am under no illusion. I had an enormous level of
success last year. This time, I will be stepping
backwards in order to go forward again."
showed himself not very optimistic: "I would not
bet any money on myself. We have not made as big a
step forward as I had hoped."
Final list of
drivers for 1997 F1 season
Jacques Villeneuve (Can), Heinz-Harald Frentzen (G).
Schumacher (G), Eddie Irvine (UK).
Alesi (Fr) , Gerhard Berger (Au).
Mika Hakkinen (Fin), David Coulthard (UK).
Ralf Schumacher (G) , Giancarlo Fisichella (It).
Panis (Fr). Shinji Nakano (Jap).
Damon Hill (UK), Pedro Diniz (Br).
Red Bull Sauber
Johnny Herbert (UK), Nicola Larini (It).
Tyrell Ford Jos
Verstappen (Neth), Mika Salo (Fin).
Katayama (Jap), Jarno Trulli (It).
Rubens Barrichello (Br) , Jan Magnussen (Den).
Ricardo Rosset (Br) , Vincenzo Sospiri (It).
Frederic Saint-Geours Deputy Managing-Director,
Before we talk
about the 1997 Formula 1 season which is afoot to
begin can we have a quick look back at last year?
What was it that didn't work out in the alliance
between Jordan and Peugeot?
a lot in machinery, staff, organisation and new
techniques. This was essential to raise the team to a
new level in F 1, But it happened too late in the
season. The first results of that work were only
really seen in the preparation work for the 1997 car.
We nonetheless succeeded in doing the essential
things in 1996, in the normal development process in
the course of the season. We made progress with the
car out not as quickly as the opposition was able to
do, which was a reflection of our partial lack of
means with which to do it."
Is that the result
of mistakes of the young Jordan- team and a lack of
experience in F1?
"I do not think
that it is a lack of experience We are engine
suppliers and in that role we are not in complete
control of all the elements involved. Our engine was
competitive and reliable from practically the
Beginning of the season From the Jordan point of view
putting in place the things necessary to improve took
longer than expected. You can't talk about youthful
errors Because both Jordan and Peugeot had looked in
depth at the problems we encountered the previous
season so as not to make the same mistakes
From a technical
point of view, your highly successful efforts to make
the engine perform reliably went unnoticed?
"It was quite
frustrating, that's for sure. From the statistics we
can say that the performance of our engine was up
there with the best in terms of horsepower and the
delivery of that power. We had some small problems a
the beginning of the year and we took the immediate
decision not to introduce development parts and new
engine specs without being absolutely sure that they
would be completely reliable, even if this was
detrimental to the ultimate leveI of performance. We
needed to test to make sure that the engines finished
the race without problems. This policy was successful
but it was frustrating that the effort was not
translated into more flattering results."
When one invests so
much - both in human and financial terms - how does
one react when the resulIts do not reflect the work
that has been done and one seess the season slipping
away without hope of improvement?
"We wanted to
learn as much as possible from the situation in which
we found ourselves and use that information to make
sure that we were wellprepared for the 1997 season.
And so in June we started to apply ourselves to
ensuring that our new engine and the car Jordan was
preparing for 1997 would be successful. We have done
a great deal of testing work in preparation for the
start of the new season in the knowledge that this
year we will me able - with Jordan to develop the car
much more successfully than we were able to do last
season know the areas in which our engine can and is
going to develop in the course of the year. We had to
ask ourselves the question about what we were going
to do beyond the end of 1997. This reflection was
undertaken during last summer and produced several
different possibilities. Everyone now knows what we
decided to do concerning Alain Prost.
When you were
preparing for 1997 what were your technical demands?
Jordan we conducted an in depth analysis of he
problem which held us back in 1996 and looked at ways
to correct them. Everyone knows that the Jordan
suffered from a serious lack of grip in 1996. As the
engine supplier, we did what we could to remedy that
problem. We have reduced the weight of the engine and
significantly lowered the centre of gravity of the
engine. That was something Jordan particularly asked
It was a completely
new engine then?
"In fact the
engine has been in our planning for a long time and
is a logical development which we decided on a long
time ago. In 1996 we gave up some development in
order to make our engine more reliable because we
felt that it was performing well enough. The new
engine has been on the cards for a long time and we
adapted the designs to the specific needs of
Moving on to
Peugeot Sport s decision to work with ALain Prost,
would you be staying in Formula 1 without that
(the President of Peugeot) has Been very clear on
this. When we studied the various options the Balance
swung towards a decision to withdraw from Formula 1
in 1998. This was because of economic reasons, as the
European car market is very unstable and a price war
is intensifying. The programme which Alain Frost
proposed to us was sufficiently interesting to make
us decide to enter into a three-year partnership with
Rather than pulling
out of F1 are you row studying the possibility of
supplying two teams? Do you have the technical means
and The staffing levels necessary to do that?
"In the contract
that we had with Jordan this was not excluded for
1997 although we had to warn them about it in June
1996. At that point we told them that we were going
to continue on an exclusive basis. For 1998 we have
an exclusive deal with Alain Prost although if we
reach an agreement to continue the relationship with
Jordan we will be able to do it. Whatever the
outcome, if we want to supply our engine to two teams
next year it can only be to Prost and to Jordan. If a
decision is taken to do this, it will be no later
than June 1997 as this would create technical,
financial and logistical problems which are currently
not sorted out. This option will only happen if
Jordan makes an exceptional start to the season in
terms of performance and results ."
reflects the powerful new position which F1 engine
manufacturers now have because they are fewer of
''In spite of this
relative engine shortage, our reflections last summer
highlighted the fact that an F1 engine-maker is only
a supplier and not in the spotlight. One of the
things which convinced us to make an alliance with
Alain was that we are going to be partners. We will
have the chance to have more say than in a
traditional relationship. We are one of a group of
partners and these partners are talking of a shared
What about Jordan's
choice of drivers. it doesn't seem like you have been
able to impose what you wanted Why was that?
"In our contract
with the Jordan team it was always forseen that Eddie
Jordan would be the one who made the decisions about
drivers. From a personal point of view I would have
liked to have seen Damon Hill in a Jordan-Peugeot. We
are sure that in 1997 Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf
Schumacher will show that they are right up there
among the rising stars in F1."
Paris, February 26
26th February 1997)- Today, Ferrari shook
down the three cars which they will use in
the Australian Grand Prix, at the Fiorano
circuit Michael Schumacher covered a
total of 34 laps: 11 with the Eddie Irvines
F 310 B time with his car and 16 with the
spare car. Schumacher also did 5 practice pit
stops. He following day however he said
without optimism: "I would not bet any
money on myself. We have not made as big a
step forward as I had hoped."
worries about new career move
Bravado and optimism
continue from all the teams, unabated. On the eve of
the opening race of the season, three times world
champion Jackie Stewart said, "This is the most
important race of my career. From a team point of
view the logistics of having our first ever Grand
Prix in Melbourne increases the challenge. Melbourne
is as far away from our Milton Keynes base as we
could possibly be asked to travel. It will be one of
the most important times in the Stewart familys
Jan Magnussen in
his first full season faces his own challenge:
Learning the circuits. The 23 year old Dane will be
hoping for some first hand tips from Brazilian team
mate Rubens Barichello. " It looks and
feels like a normal circuit," says Barichello,
"not like a street circuit at all. This year I
hope to give Stewart-Ford a flying start to
the 1997 World Championnship campaign!" For
Rubens, Melbourne is particularly special as he will
be coming to the Grand Prix fresh from his honeymoon
with new bride Silvana.
Both Ford and Cosworth
have carried out an intensive development programme
during the Autumn months. Martin Walker director of
Fords European Motorsport division says: We
have significantly improved both the peak power and
the width of the power curve of the Zetec-R V10.This
new evolution has already proved successful at the
cars first serious test in Jerez, with both
drivers achieving competitive lap times."
TV coverage for 1997 British Grand Prix
the innovative broadcasting initiative launched last
year by Silverstone Circuits Limited, will double the
number of events it covers for 1997. As part of a
£500,000 investment programme designed to make the
action on the track more accessible to spectators,
coverage of six of this year's events will be
transmitted live around 800 acre site and also via
giant screens and close-circuit televisions at the
famous Northamptonshire circuit.
Special permission had
to be sought from the Broadcasting Authority in order
to obtain the necessary licence for on site
transmission where it will be possible to receive the
signal anywhere within the boundaries of the circuit.
Silverstone TV will
provide a unique service to racing fans, offering a
total of 96 broadcast hours over the course of the
six events. The content of the transmissions will be
a combination of race footage (both live and
recorded) and news updates (such as qualifying
results, grid positions etc.), together with all the
essential information that any race enthusiast
requires, such as weather forecasts, timetables of
the day's events, interviews and even betting tips.
Broadcasting a minimum
of 10 hours of live programming during each race day,
Silverstone TV will have up to eight cameras around
the track and two additional for studio and roving
action, offering coverage of the highest quality.
Spectators will be encouraged to bring portable TV
sets to race meetings and two giant screens will
ensure that everyone has access to the service.
During the RAC British Grand Prix meeting,
there will be no less than 7 such screens around the
historic 3.196 mile circuit, bringing coverage to
every spectator at the track.
Responsibility for the
quality of Silverstone TV'S output, lies with
newly-appointed production company BHP. Marie
Nicholson, Managing Director of BHP, boasts that
both the sound and image will be of broadcast
quality. "BHP are delighted to be involved with
such a pioneering venture," she enthused.
"It is a very exciting opportunity to be able to
transmit images as they happen, keeping the crowd up
to date with the latest news around the
Silverstone TV will
operate in conjunction with the excellent service
already offered by Silverstone
Radio on MW 1602 (FM 87.7 during
the Grand Prix meeting and the Coys International
Historic Festival) and will maintain close links with
both the public address system and the commentators
at the circuit.