New Ferrari to be unveiled January 30th
Scuderia Ferrari-Marlboro will unveil their new 1999 F1 challenger on January 30th at Fiorano and will begin testing there the following week. "The '99 car looks very similar to last year's car," revealed Jean Todt. " Ferrari has refined the brakes and aerodynamics and we are using a new suspension concept," he added. Todt was delighted that Ferrari as well as McLaren will be used to evaluate the Bridgestone tyres throughout the season. After initial testing in Fiorano the team plan to test in Barcelona. Speaking at a press conference in Madonna di Campiglio where Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher were enjoying some fun in the snow, the Irishman admits that he is dreaming of his first Grand Prix victory after letting Schumacher pass him on five different occasions last year in order to honour his contract.
Michael Schumacher sees the 99 season as another battle between Ferrari and McLaren, but was quick to point out, "Things can change fast in Formula One and this year Williams, Benetton or Jordan could also make a step forward and be a serious challenger for the title."
Toyota signals F1 intent
Speaking in Japan recently Toyota President, Hiroshi Okuda, said that he intends to take the company into Formula One early into the next century. Some even think it could be as early as 2002. "The company will undertake specific studies and research activities concerning the engine and chassis to prepare for Formula One as a comprehensive team," he said. The team will be based out of Cologne, Germany and the project leader will be the current motorsport director Andre de Cortanze, formerly involved in the Renault F1 team. No other specific details were announced.
New Benetton has a shakedown
The new Benetton-Playlife announced on January 16th had its initial shakedown in Silverstone on Monday 18th, with Alexander Wurz completing just 5 laps in heavy rain and poor visibility. The team were satisfied that the new car's systems all worked satisfactorily and Giancarlo Fisichella put more miles on the car on Tuesday.
New Williams in Barcelona
The new Williams FW21 will be unveiled in Barcelona, January 25th, at the Catalunya circuit where the team are due to test with Alex Zanardi and Ralf Schumacher during the week. Both drivers were testing the interim modified FW20 chassis in Barcelona last week, including one fitted with the latest 1999 spec Supertec V10 engine. "I cannot wait to see how the new engine goes in the new car," said Zanardi after setting the best time of the test which saw 10 drivers present.
Stewart aiming for Jerez
After a disappointing first test in Silverstone due to rain and cold, the Stewart team are working hard to prepare the new SF3 chassis for Rubens Barrichello and Johnny Herbert for testing in Jerez next week. "Both the car and the engine response was impressive, but with the weather conditions we were unable to resolve an understeer problem.
McLaren in Barcelona
Both David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen will have their first test outings of the new year in Barcelona next week, although they will be running the old car, the 99 McLaren-Mercedes not expected to be unveiled until early February.
Jordan stay home
The Jordan team do not plan to test until the first week of February following the launch of their new car in London on February 1st. The team then plan a three day shakedown programme in Silverstone before testing in a more hospitable clime, perhaps Barcelona.
New Prost launch on Monday
With the new Williams being launched in Barcelona , January 25th, the Prost team will be launching their 99 car at their Guyancourt base near Paris on the same day. It well then be shipped to Barcelona for testing. John Barnard has recently been signed by the team as an exclusive consultant on design and technical matters.
Arrows in Barcelona
The Arrows team will be testing in Barcelona next week with two 98 spec cars fitted with the latest E-spec 99 engines. Mika Salo and Pedro de la Rosa will be testing for the team, although it is still not certain who will drive the cars when the season begins in Australia in March.
Second BAR ready
After a successful test in Barcelona which saw Jacques Villeneuve set the second fastest time of the week despite reliability problems, a second BAR chassis will be ready for Villeneuve and Zonta for testing in Jerez next week where the team are planning a four day test for both drivers.
Tests planned in Kyalami
The Williams and BAR teams are planning to take part in a test at the Kyalami circuit, South Africa, starting February 13th. Others might join them.