Formula one, 2001 season European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring: Away from the track the jpoc guide
The "who gets which engine" game continued after the teams left for the race in Canada. The main focus of attention at first being the Arrows Asiatech deal rather than still unresolved question of who would get the single supply of Hondas in 2002. The factors that prompted the interest in the Arrows situation was the expiry, at the end of July, of the options clauses in the contracts between Arrows and Asiatech. In addition, the team was probably hoping to encourage the engine supplier to deliver a major upgrade in performance with the upcoming mid-season engine revision. Although it started out as a Peugeot engine, the Asiatech project lacked the badge and financial input of a major car maker and both parties in the project would have been keen to attract one.
Once the Asiatech engine was seen as being in play, other teams who were in need of an engine for 2002 started to circle. Most surprising of the interested parties was Prost. Alain Porst had parted company with the Peugeot engine at the end of 2000. Acrimonious would be a mild word to describe the last year of the Prost-Peugeot relationship. The Peugeot engine was relaunched as Asiatech for 2001 with new owners so it was a little surprising to see the bad blood being forgotten so easily.
The argument over Mr "two contracts" Newey rumbled on to an eventual conclusion, with everyone involved trying to find a way to make themselves look like the good guy in a sea of villans. After a day's delay requested by McLaren, the two teams finally locked horns in the high court in London on the Wednesday after the Canadian race. In the end though, those hoping for a long battle were to be disappointed as the matter was resolved by agreement. "Brain Fade" and "Two Contracts" both said sorry to Jaguar and they also said that Newey would not design F1 cars at McLaren after his current contract ended but would work on other projects.
While the Jaguar team was in court, the man who founded the team that was eventually be become the Jaguar F1 effort received some good news as he was made a knight in the Queen's birthday honours list. Well done Sir Jackie.
He was a busy boy indeed. Stewart announced new revisions for Silverstone. Jackie is president of the BRDC, the organisers which owns the Silverstone circuit. It is an expensive business running an F1 circuit as the teams are always insisting on better facilities to line up their team trucks, hospitality wagons, helicopters, scantily clad gurlies etc. Oh yes, they want somewhere to race the cars too but that often seems to be less important to some of them. In fact, as well as the new off track facilities, the proposed changes at Silverstone do include some changes to the circuit layout. We shall see.
Another circuit larding on the proposed changes was the Nurburgring. Perhaps feeling under threat from the upcoming Moscow race, the Nurburgring operators announced a new stadium section to be built in time for the 2002 race. They even said that it will be similar to the Hockenheim "stadium" section. Great, just what we need. A clone of Germany's home GP circuit just up the road in Germany.
While the 2001 runners were busy testing at Silverstone, Toyota, new entrants for 2002, were testing at Monza in Italy. It was not really possible to read anything into the times that they were setting which were a long way of the 2001 pace but it was good to see Finn Mika Salo back behind the wheel after a large crash in testing the same car at the French Paul Ricard circuit back in March.
Another saga that kept running on was the fate of the Red Bull energy drink money. They had expressed their dissatisfaction with Sauber after team boss Peter Sauber signed Raikkonen for 2001 instead of Bernoldi who had had Red Bull backing in the junior fomulae. Bernoldi of course joined Arrows and they then received some sponsorship cash from Red Bull. Rumours of a wholesale switch surfaced but then faded as Sauber put in an impressive start to the season. However, a deeper issue than just sponsorship was the fate of the Red Bull investment in the Sauber team. Red Bull bought 62% of the Sauber team and were believed to be interested in swapping that for the 70% of the Arrows team owned by an investment bank. Arrows boss Tom Walkinshaw was less interested in this deal. Merchant banks do not interfere with the running of an F1 team to the extent that Red Bull does.
The days are long and the afternoons are hot so speculation must turn to the driver line ups for the following season. Of those who might be in a position to move, Frentzen was first out of the blocks with all sorts of coy hints that he would stay at Jordan. True or not, if must have helped Jordan's case in the battrle to keep Honda engines for the 2002 season.
Eventually, H-H closed out episode one of the speculation by saying that he would certainly drive for Jordan in 2002.
|The whole 2001 season||All the races and the behind the scenes games|
|GP of Europe at the Nurburgring June 24th||Setting the scene|
|GP of Europe at the Nurburgring June 24th||Practice and qualifying|
|GP of Europe at the Nurburgring June 24th||The starting grid|
|GP of Europe at the Nurburgring June 24th||Race report|
|GP of Europe at the Nurburgring June 24th||Results|
|GP of Europe at the Nurburgring June 24th||Championship standings after the race|