News From The Paddock - British GP
Saturday April 22nd, 2000
Thomas Haffa, whose EM.TV has bought 50 per cent of the commercial arm of
Formula One, says that he will change nothing. "It is excellently run," he
said when he visited Imola, "and I'm not going to stand up and tell him how
to run the business. But it is entertainment, " he added, "and there are
many more fields of entertainment that can be used." The company actually
specialises in marketing and it is this arm which it is expected to
Peugeot's sporting technical department is trying to persuade the bosses of
the company to stay in Formula One next season. It seems that they would
like to supply Minardi rather than Prost, because they believe the Minardi
chassis to be superior to that of the French team. However, it's unlikely
that it will make any difference. The French company is expected to
announce its withdrawal from Formula One within the next few weeks.
Toyota has bought the Fuji race circuit in Japan but whether it will be
used for Formula One testing remains to be seen. Fuji hosted two Grands
Prix in the mid-seventies, and Toyota have been trying to buy it for quite
some time. They have bought it to develop as a motorsport training centre,
but their Formula One team is being put together at Toyota Team Europe in
Rumours still abound that Johnny Herbert could be sacked by Jaguar after
Silverstone unless his performances improved. His 17th on the grid and 10th
in the race won't have improved the situation. Herbert is forever unlucky.
He had a similar season last year, until winning the European Grand Prix.
He tends to over-drive the car, which was cured last year by change of
differential. Herbert is likely to be replaced by Jaguar test driver
Luciano Burti if he does have to quit. But he would also be entitled to a
full year's salary. The team denies the possibility, and Herbert himself
said he had heard the rumours.
In spite of agreeing on extra testing time to cope with the new electronic
regulations, team owners back-tracked on the decision on the Tuesday of
testing at Silverstone. They had agreed a no limit testing blanket at a
dinner on the Thursday before Imola, but in spite of there being an extra
three possible days' testing at Silverstone, only four team owners signed
the necessary agreement on the Tuesday, so the testing limitation stayed,
although the Silverstone test had already been extended to a fourth day.
Minardi rushed home from the Silverstone test to try out their own, latest
innovation, a cast titanium gearbox casing. This is a first for Grand Prix
teams, although both Stewart and Arrows have tried and used carbon fibre
gearbox casings with some success and fabricated titanium gearbox casings
have also been made. Minardi have been working on this new gearbox for the
last nine months, developing it with CRP Technology. Gaston Mazzacane did
the testing of the new gearbox on the M02 and felt that both the car's
driveability and the gearchange were improved. It will be used again in the
Barclona test after the British GP.
The popularity of Grand Prix racing has forced Magny Cours to build a new
grandstand with a capacity of 1700 seats. It overlooks the Adelaide
hairpin, where most of the overtaking takes place and is known as N
Grandstand. It is situated beside L or the Adelaide grandstand. Some 75 per
cent of the Magny Cours circuit is visible from the new grandstand.