This week's Grapevine brings you
information fresh from the paddock on:
- Pressure on BAR to Salo's benefit
- European Grand Prix shakeup
- Picked from the Bunch
Pressure on BAR to Salo's benefit
BAR's tobacco paymasters have been pleased with the publicity generated for their brands - 555 and Lucky Strike are now strongly associated with the team. For all that, they are becoming concerned with the results that have not come to date.
In public at least, the team is not being hung out to dry. For all the promises of "winning first time out," and "contenders from the outset," few in the management really expected the team to be that strong on day one.
Having no cars make it to the finishing line, without even running with the leaders, seems to have led the management to pressure Pollock. A win is not required, but getting points on the board soon is becoming a priority - neither 555 or Lucky Strike is intended to be associated with losers!
The current rumour in the treadmill is that Ricardo Zonta might be sitting out at Monaco, whilst specialist Mika Salo takes the wheel. The chassis handled less well than expected over the bumps at Interlagos (which bodes ill for Monaco), but the engine's power deficit will be less marked; Futhermore, Mika Salo has performed exceptionally there whatever machinery he has been handed.
European Grand Prix shakeup
Insiders tip the 2001 season to mark a real change of direction for the Grand Prix calendar.
With European Grand Prix taking the majority of the available slots, there is difficulty scheduling in the Grands Prix in the other continents. Pressure from sponsors (particularly the tobacco giants), and the need to reach new audiences, is making it more necessary to include these locations. As the calendar will not be significantly extended, this poses problems!
A solution might have presented itself. It's speculated that the Bernie Ecclestone is intending to move a number of European Grands Prix into year on/year off mode. Those on the hit list could include the French, German, Spanish and Hungarian Grands Prix. The only one that is reported to be safe is the San Marino ("the Ferrari") Grand Prix at Imola!
Picked from the Bunch
Lotus is looking for a way back to F1, according to its owner, David Hunt. At an auction last week, Hunt said Lotus is currently collecting the funds to pave its way back to F1, after the team dropped out of the series some 5 years ago. Hunt said Lotus' return to F1 will be "in the not too distant future." He refused to elaborate further on the matter.
It seems Ferrari's new in helmet lights could come from a mole in the Jordan camp. Jordan had been considering the idea in 1998, but shelved plans to develop the system as they worked on other areas of the car's performance.
With the planned shakeup to the GP Calendar it could come as a shock to many when they discover there's an Irish GP after all - potentially sharing an "alternate year" billing with the British Grand Prix.
Ferrari's use of Boralyn, the American "nuclear technology" material is critical to the success of their new engine. Should current V10 manufacturers also secure a supply for their own use, Ferrari's V12 could be obsolete before it's even on the track.
Honda and BAR have already closed a deal, "Autosport" reported earlier this week. Apparently a high-rank official at BAR disclosed that the terms of the deal which will see Honda supply engines to BAR as of next season, have already been agreed on. "Autosport" goes on to say that Team Jordan will also be supplied with Honda's engines.