Thursday August 16th, 2001
Heinz-Harald Frentzen has no illusions about the size of his task ahead of him at the Prost Formula One team after being fired by Jordan.
The German has told a news conference at the Hungarian Grand Prix that he is "starting from zero" after no more than a 50km familiarisation session in the French team's car.
"I try to adapt as quick as possible to the team," he said. "There are five races left. I haven't done any proper testing. I just did a run to check the seat and the pedals so I just have to start from zero and see how I get along with the people.
"Obviously before I signed the contract I went to the factory. I wanted to see all the data and facilities and possibilities and all this information was enough for me to decide to drive for the team. I think from the basics the team is OK."
Frentzen, who was third in the Championship with Jordan in 1999, was fired abruptly before his home Grand Prix at Hockenheim at the end of last month and has since been replaced by Prost's Jean Alesi. The German refused to go into details of his dismissal, beyond repeating that he had received a fax from Jordan after the British Grand Prix.
"Everything will go into court, that's for sure, and the rest I will leave Eddie to say," he said.
Frentzen will be Brazilian Luciano Burti's third teammate of the season after starting out at Jaguar alongside Eddie Irvine and then moving to Prost after Argentine Gaston Mazzacane was fired. The German recognised the role could be something of a poisoned chalice, with people expecting him to beat Burti and criticising him if he didn't.
Apart from mastering an unfamiliar car, he will also be switching from Bridgestone tyres at Jordan to the Michelins used by Prost.
"If he beats me I wish him all the best," said Frentzen. "But on one hand he knows the car, the set-up, the team from experience. Hopefully we can improve the car a bit more because the car is reliable from what I have see so far."
Published at 17:54:38 GMT