This week's Grapevine brings you
information fresh from the paddock on:
- Jordan rate themselves "evens"
- Picked from the Bunch
Jordan rate themselves "evens"
Eddie Jordan has been making noises about the strength of his 2000 line-up, stating that Jarno Trulli will be the season's greatest surprise – and unlike seasons past, the pit lane pundits are paying attention to his blarney...
It seems, in fact, the view from inside his camp is as strongly positive as Jordan's outward show for the media, and with some reason: whilst many rated Jordan's chances at the 99 championship in the ten percent, the team themselves believe that 2000 sees them on an even footing with Ferrari and McLaren.
Through 1999, the team worked at ensuring their drivers were given every opportunity to score points; they followed an aggressive program of development and testing - ensuring reliability was never an issue, and brought Honda's development strength to bear on moving the engine program forward. More to the point, they were laying the foundation for another step forward and aim to put together more of the same to make 2000 a year to remember:
Reports on the 2000 chassis are very favorable. Parts tested in October and December have all performed as well as the team expected, lending the team to believe the steps forward in the chassis alone will bring the team closer to Ferrari and McLaren. Furthermore, it seems the new Bridgestone rubber for next season is likely to suit their car, though the lead teams have had plenty of time with it, so there is little advantage to be had there.
But the areas the team expect most progress from are the engine and the drivers. With Mugen-Honda working on delivering regular steps through the season, the engine is expected to increase in power and reduce in mass as the season progresses. Although not the top rated engine in Formula One, it's no slouch, and it's going to get better.
But having two drivers scoring regular points is expected to give the team a real chance of upsetting the top dogs. Trulli is being backed firmly by Jordan, who thinks there is every chance he will out-pace Heinz-Harald Frentzen as the season progresses. His pace in testing leads the team to think Trulli's pace and style provide a strong accompaniment to Frentzen's, and he has really impressed them.
Picked from the Bunch
Pollock's role has changed as BAR, as he steps into the General Manager role at the team. Imperial Tobacco President Don Brown takes on the mantle of BAR Managing Director, though Pollock maintains significant control via his share-holding.
Mika Salo revealed that he will continue in the role of Ferrari test driver next year, alongside Luca Badoer. Salo's announcement came as little surprise, however - it was largely known last August that Jean Todt had much to do with Sauber signing Salo and that the Finn's contract included a clause which allows Ferrari to use his services when needed.
Sir Frank Williams has rejected the idea of banning pre-season testing in December. It is believed that this is because the team will be looking to gain maximum running with the new Michelin tyres for the 2001 season.
Ignazio Lunetta, Michael Schumacher's race engineer has been promoted to chief engineer for the Ferrari team. Michael Schumacher will take over Eddie Irvine's race engineer from the 99 season, Luca Baldisseri.