Atlas F1 News Service
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 develop.

  • 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 Germany.

  • 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.

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