F1 Newsround - 19/May/1997   HomeContentsHelp



Peugeot Engines...Testing Testing...Senna Video Controversy...Hill's New Team Speculation...Grooved Tyres To Stay...

Interview with Jean-Pierre Boudy Chief Engineer, Peugeot F1 engines Prior to the Monaco Grand Prix

When you take into account the remarkable progress made in F1 engine development, can one still describe Monaco as a unique track which makes special demands in terms of engine preparation?

"Monaco is not a typical circuit because it is one of the rare tracks where the engine revs drop to extremely low levels-as in Budapest and in the La Source hairpin section at Spa-Francorchamps. The revs go to around 5000-6000rpm which is quite a contrast to running at Imola where they run at full throttle for 65% of the lap. To prepare for Monaco we make some small modifications but there is nothing fundamental. The differences between the engines we run in Imola, Brazil or Monaco are minimal."

How many times in a lap of Monaco do the revs drop that low?

"It is most obvious visible in the Rascasse section and at the Loews hairpin. The difficulty comes when the driver accelerates from very low revs at the exit of this kind of comer - the Rascasse, the Loews and to some extent at the Anthony Noghes corner which leads onto the start-finish straight. He has to be able to control the power in all circumstances but at these places in particular. The goal of the engine-builder is to keep the power curve as smooth as possible because if the power arrives too quickly it can cause uncontrollable wheelspin and you need to avoid that. This is the first thing to take into account. So far this season our drivers have not complained about wheelspin but we are not overlooking the possibility. With every Grand Prix we are making progress with the way power can be used. At Imola, for example, we refined the engine-map of our V10 to get the most out of it."

When you are setting up an engine do you have to make compromises and sacrifice one aspect of an engine in favour of another - as chassis engineers have to do?

"Absolutely, when we are faced with brutal power delivery you have to try and get rid of it. That means one has to sacrifice something. I don't want to go into too much detail about that."

Do the drivers immediately notice such changes?

"Sure. They feel that the engine is easier to use but they are also aware that what has been lost is not as important as the ability to use the horsepower."

Despite the considerable progress that has been made, is the Monaco track still a difficult one for the engine-builder and thus for the driver?

"Our drivers have not indicated any problems this season and we are optimistic for Monaco. We will not really know until after the first day of running after which there is always the possibility to change things when we are there."

The Jordan chassis is very much better than last year, in what way will this help at Monaco?

"The Jordan chassis has made a lot of progress in aerodynamic terms. That means it has more aerodynamic downforce which translates to better grip for the rear wheels. It is this easier to get the power onto the track. Just to go back to the problems an engine-builder faces at Monaco, I should add that this race is not as different as when we were running the 905 sportscars in 500 km races and at the Le Mans 24 Hours. At the time we had two specific engines and that is not the case in F1."

Have you done any specific testing to prepare for Monaco or are you happy that you have been able to reproduce the track characteristics on the test bed?

"We recently ran a test on the short circuit at Silverstone but that was only to check a few small changes, nothing more than that. I should repeat that from a technical point of view Monaco does not represent an insurmountable challenge for an engine-builder. On the contrary to be reliable and competitive on a longer track like Hockenheim of Monza represents more of a challenge."

Despite their lack of experience, how are you finding working with Giancarlo Fisichella and Ralf Schumacher?

"Our two drivers give us good feedback about the engine and we have not really had any problems in this respect. Giancarlo is perhaps a little keener to make things perfect, although Ralf is pretty keen. In terms of using the engine to the maximum, in general Ralf is ahead although the difference between the two is minimal."

Forgetting the preoccupations of being an engine-builder, what do you hope the drivers will be able to achieve in Monaco?

"They calmed themselves down at Imola, and they must keep going in that direction in Monaco. Both Giancarlo and Ralf have already raced on this track and so they know that the smallest mistake can be very costly: If they get it wrong it’s the barriers and the cranes..."

April 29 1997


Mosley resolute on new regulations

Max Mosley, President of the FIA, attacked Jacques Villeneuve's recent criticism of the 1998 proposed rule changes in a special press conference in Monaco on Saturday and stated that there was no prospect of revoking the new regulations due to be implemented next season. "As far as Jacques Villeneuve is concerned, he has said several things. If the 1998 specification cars are not ‘fun' to drive, as he suggested, then I am sorry," explained the President. "When he stated that because racing cars slow down more rapidly on big tyres and therefore crash with less energy, he was demonstrably wrong. And when he claimed that slower drivers would find it easier on grooved tyres to stay close to the most skilled drivers, all evidence is to the contrary. Indeed, if you believe that, you wipe out the history of motorsport. In effect, Jacques suggested that all racing drivers were mediocre until he came along." Mosley continued, "As far as overtaking is concerned, Jacques said that on grooved tyres the braking distances would be no greater and that cars will be uncontrollable going into corners. But I believe that Damon Hill may be right in his separate contention that if braking distances are longer and a driver brakes late, then his car will indeed be uncontrollable, because it will be going too fast. I think the drivers will learn how to handle their cars on grooved tyres." (see separate story). Villeneuve refused to comment any further saying "I just don’t agree with Max."


Hill cautiously optimistic in ‘grooved’ controversy.

After recent testing with grooved Bridgestone tyres in Barcelona, Damon Hill found his Arrows slower and less enjoyable to drive, but was cautiously entheusiastic as to the possibilities for overtaking: "You don’t get the buzz from going flat out through the corners. You actually have to drive the car more and you have to slide the car, drift it and play with the throttle." He said. "Obviously, the more grip, the more corners will be taken flat out. This means that as there are fewer corners where you are required to drive the car and there will be less difference between the good and less good drivers." Regarding Villeneuve’s comments about having less ‘fun’ in the new spec cars, Hill continued, "Jacques says he wants it to be more dangerous, well, it will be, so he shouldn't complain about it. I think it is difficult to quantify how much safer it is going to be. The cars will corner slower and you will have less grip in the faster corners, so you may stand a higher chance of falling off."


Hill tries to comfort Arrows, but he may be Jordan - bound with Mercedes cash

...or Prost...or Benetton...or Sauber...or...


Damon Hill was also in the spotlight after comments he made when his TWR Arrows car failed to finish once again at Imola three weeks ago. He was at pains to point out exactly what he had said when he met the press in Monaco. "My remark was to inform people like you of the situations and the problems which we face as a team. It wasn't a threat at all, it was a statement of fact, a statement about the situation. On the grid at Imola it was obviously not very pleasing to have another leak. Everyone on the team knows it has got to be fixed, instead of continually pulling our car back into the garage, we want to make progress. We want to do well and everyone is keen to see that happen as soon as possible."

Hill's name is already being linked to a number of teams next season including McLaren, Prost, Jordan and Benetton. Patrick Head, Hill’s former technical director at Williams, knows him as well as anybody and doesn’t think that Tom Walkinshaw will be able to hold him for next year. "Either Walkinshaw can provide the car he wants or he will look for it elsewhere." He said. "Hill is a well-sorted type who doesn’t want to spend his life at the back of the grid. I’m sure he would rather be at home with his wife and children than doing that." Hill was being tight lipped about his options. "I haven't spoken my views on anything yet," he said. "I'm investigating all possibilities, but right now I'm focusing on Arrows. Anything else is very much hot air, I'm afraid."

The hot rumour floating around the pit lane, is that whilst engaging in conversation with Ron Dennis regarding a future drive with McLaren (see previous Speed news update), Jordan could be looking to do a deal with Mercedes who would bankroll Hill’s drive with the Silverstone based company in exchange for the young German Ralf Schumacher currently signed on a two year contract with the team. Mercedes are anxious to get their hands on the German after missing the opportunity of netting his older brother Michael. Whether Hill would agree is another matter and seeing as his close friend, top aerodynamicist Adrian Newey is about to join the Woking based team and his former mechanic at Williams, David Brown is currently working with David Coulthard, McLaren could be the ideal home from home for him. With contracts on both McLaren drivers, Coulthard and Mika Hakinnen about to expire, it looks likely that there will be changes within the team for 1998. Expressing his admiration for Hill, Dennis as expected, remained vague about the whole thing. "Damon has won races and championships, but we will not reach the point where we look at this situation for a couple of months or so. It's easy to make a decision based on emotional grounds, picking up somebody from one place and putting them down in another," he said. "But objectively, I can't really see any reason for changing our current drivers. Both have the potential to get the job done. We just have to give them the best car."

Alain Prost, it appears, has also been talking with Hill. The Paris based team would love to have him although Prost said that ‘it was too early to come to any firm decisions’. Sauber on the other hand would love Hill to partner No 1 driver Johnny Herbert and Max Welti team director, seen in conversation with Hill during recent testing at Barcelona, is known to be unhappy with 2nd man Nicola Larini’s performances. Whether Ferrari protege, Larini’s departure would affect Saubers supply of Ferrari’s V-10 engines or not, remains to be seen.

Prost in a likewise situation is desperate to replace Shinji Narkano with test driver Emanuele Collard for the remainder of the season. It is thought however, that the Mugen-Honda protege and Fiance to the daughter of Mugen’s Chairman, Hirotoshi Honda (see Speed Motorsport News earlier update), will stay on despite uncompetitive performances so far this year. "I am struggling to find a way to drive the car" Said the Japanese "I have a one year contract and they haven’t said anything about this to me."


Barnard could turn Arrows into a race winner....

As reported earlier, former Ferrari designer John Barnard has joined TWR and will design the 1998 car. Frank Dernie, who designed this year's car and is not a great fan of Barnard’s, has left the company. Ever optimistic and stating the rather obvious, Walkinshaw said, "We have to strengthen our engineering side and it is the one area we are lacking in." Hill might be thinking that he wished he had known about this shortfall before he signed on for the year and was understandably cautious when asked if it would make any difference to his performance with the team. "I hope Barnard will make a considerable difference." He commented, "Making changes is not like flicking a switch and we are stuck with the fundamental design. John will only increase the chances of Arrows producing a race winning car for next season."

In further attempts to secure Hill’s signature for next year, TWR boss Tom Walkinshaw is known to be chasing an engine deal for next season. He has been talking to Mugen Honda, Mecachrome for Renault and Yamaha, who supply this year's engines. Yamaha appear to be last on his list at the moment however, after extremely disappointing figures during recent testing of the new spec V-10. "At the moment I don't want to be drawn into this debate," he said. "Anything I say will just lead to speculation upon more speculation. I would be unhappy if Damon was not disatisfied with his car. At the moment there is no dialogue with Damon and I don't believe he is in serious dialogue with anyone else."

....but not with Yamaha

Despite extensive testing in Barcelona and Magny Cours the New version Yamaha D-Spec engine originally promised for Imola, has proved to be less powerful than its C-spec predecessor. Yamaha’s claims that it would be at least five percent more powerful, are thought to be wide of the mark. "The engine ran well," Said Hill, "but it didn’t show any improvement in horsepower." The Yamaha was to have been used for the first time this coming weekend in Barcelona but it now looks unlikely that it will be used at all. Hill thinks that Arrows will have to use the original spec engine that so far, has failed him four times out of five and has shown absolutely no prospect for the future. "The new engine hasn’t shown too much promise." Hill said at Magny Cours last week. "We shall be using the same engine, probably for the rest of the season."


Estoril. Grand Prix cancelled...reinstated...cancelled

Despite the news this week that the Portuguese Grand Prix at Estoril had been cancelled and replaced by a ‘European Grand Prix’ at Jerez in Spain due to doubts raised over the completion of FIA recommended modifications, Portugal's Economic Affairs Minister, Augusto Mateus denied that Estoril had lost its season-finale. He stated that the race, due to take place on October 26th, had apparantly ‘only been delayed two weeks’ to give time for repairs to the circuit, the government guaranteeing the modifications, which are expected to cost $6 million.

A terse statement issued by the FIA on Thursday (15th) said: "Because of uncertainties as to the status of the work required at the Estoril circuit, the Grand Prix to be held on 26 October will take place at Jerez and will be known as the ‘European Grand Prix’. It is hoped that works at the Estoril circuit will be completed soon and that the Portuguese Grand Prix will re-appear on the World Championship calendar in the near future."

It was however confirmed by Portuguese Automobile Club chairman Alfredo Torres, that Mateus had received later notification from the FIA confirming the rescheduling of the race for November 9th. The FIA deny this, but did issue a further ```statement recognising that improvements are indeed underway.

"The FIA has received confirmation from the Portuguese Minister for Economic Affairs, Mr Augusto Mateus, that extensive works needed at the Estoril circuit will be carried out without delay. Having regard to the excellent relations which have now been established with the Portuguese government, the FIA is confident that the Portuguese Grand Prix will be back on the FIA Formula One World Championship calendar for 1998 and thereafter and hopeful that Formula One cars can run again at Estoril before the end of 1997."

Torres also stated that the date for the Grand Prix at Jerez still stood, thereby filling up the available slots in the FIA calender. Teams belonging to the Concorde Agreement would now have to agree to the new date for Estoril, which would effectively extend the season, raising the total number of races to 18. A decision is expected at Barcelona this coming weekend.


Dubious video ‘editing’ suggested by Italian court

The ‘Senna trial’, scheduled to resume on May 13th is awash with new allegations of falsification. Talking about the video footage collated from the ‘car-cam’ of Ayrton Senna’s Williams, Italian prosecutor Maurizio Pasarini told reporters: "I am certain that the pictures supplied by the FOCA are incomplete." The video recording from Senna's car, the court was told, ended 0.9sec before the Brazilian's fatal impact with the wall at Imola's Tamburello curve. The FOCA TV Director was able to select live feeds from a number of on board cameras attatched to half a dozen cars and it was commonly thought at the time that, in one of the biggest gaffs of live sport coverage, he switched camera views from Senna’s car to the Benetton of Michael Schumacher, at precicely the wrong moment. No foul play has ever been suggested until now. FOCA TV, are looking into the possibility of commencing libel proceedings against Pasarini. FOCA boss Bernie Ecclestone is due to appear on May 14th and Damon Hill on June 2nd.


Stewart left in the cold

Boss of the new and promising Stewart Racing, Jackie Stewart is unhappy with his treatment by the FOCA saying that his team should be entitled to a share of the TV revenue that it split amongst all Concorde Agreement members. Despite not being eligible for any handout until next year, or for that matter, yet being a signtory to the Agreement, he feels that his team is getting exposure on TV and therefore should expect some reward. "We have taken legal advice." He said. "There is a considerable economic question involved here and we are searching for information more than anything else at present." To add insult to injury, the FOCA sited the Stewart motorhome and garage in a multi-story car park, high on the hill in front of the pits for the duration of the Monaco Grand Prix and it was christened ‘Alcatraz’. Boss Bernie Ecclestone in his usual subtle manner responded: "Stewart always wanted to be close to the royals, I've put him up there."


Testing times in Barcelona...

With 8 teams testing at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona, the Williams' drivers were fastest, Jacques Villeneuve clocking a best lap time of 1m 18.35s. Heinz-Harald Frentzen was two tenths of a second down.

The Benson & Hedges Total Jordan Peugeot team had two sessions working on suspension, differential and downforce. Driver Giancarlo Fisichella, 9th with a time of 1.20.17s, said, "At the moment I am working on the last two right hand corners as I find these difficult and I need to make up some more time here." Ralf Schumacher added, "The track is quite bumpy and we have to work very hard to get the right setup. The car has been working well and I am very optimistic for next week’s race." The Jordan driver was 5th fastest on the first day setting a time exactly a second slower than the Williams driver.

Benetton’s Jean Alesi concentrated on race setup and a rear suspension programme on a track with little grip, setting a best time of 1.18.90s. Gerhard Berger worked on mechanical and aerodynamic set-ups, recording a best of 1.20.00s, and is scheduled to work on front and rear suspension geometry on Friday.

Michael Schumacher was not going for an overall fast time and completed a race distance in a Ferrari F310B fitted with the latest spec 046/2 V10 engine, completing 69 laps with a best time of 1m 21.6s. Team mate Eddie Irvine managed a 1m 19.30s and escaped without damage when he had a major 240Kph spin after 50 laps. Irvine is scheduled to continue testing on Friday (16th) with the 046/2 engine while Schumacher will carry out a back-to-back comparison between the two engine specs.

David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen concentrated on improving the balance of their McLaren chassis, which is still giving them handling problems and evaluating different engine specifications. Coulthard managed a 1m 21.53s best on Wednesday while Hakkinen did a 1m 22.06s. On Thursday, their programme was spoiled by intermittent rain but the team was expected to go carry out ‘performance work’ the following day. Coulthard clocked in a 1m 19.75s and Hakkinen, 1m 20.23s.

Team Minardi tested small suspension changes with Ukyo Katayama and test driver Tarso Marques. The Japanese driver managed a best of 1m 21.29s with Marques posting a 1m 23.15s on Thursday. The team was delighted by Katayama's performance, as he lapped a second inside the team's former personal lap record at the Circuit.


Frank not so frank in recent global questions & answers session.

What do you think of Jacques Villeneuve's start in Australia what should he have done to avoid making another start like that again?

F.W: "The start is one of the most critical moments of the race, and should also be considered the position of the car on the grid and in fact in Melbourne, it was on the most favourable line but on the dirty side of the track. Therefore, I think Jacques cannot be blamed for this occurrence. He has well proved he is able to show us very good starts, as well as exciting racing."

If Jacques Villeneuve wins the world championship at the end of the season, will he join the famous list of world champion drivers (Prost, Mansell, Hill) who have left you, taking away the famous number 1?

F.W: "The philosophy of the Williams Renault Team has always been to equally support both drivers throughout the whole season and to provide them with the same chances to win races and the Championship. It has unfortunately happened in the past that we could not find an agreement to extend the relationship with some of the drivers with whom we have shared success and emotion. But nevertheless, we have very much appreciated the work and the efforts we have jointly put in to achieve such success. We hope that these circumstances will not happen should Jacques Villeneuve become the 1997 World Champion with the Williams-Renault team."

How do you reply to people who maliciously say that you give no credit to a driver, but that only the car matters for you?

F.W: "The main goal of the Williams-Renault team is to win races, the Formula One Constructors Championships and to provide our drivers with the best opportunity to win the Drivers World Championship. To achieve this we have the commitment of many dedicated people at Williams and of course at Renault Sport. Our drivers should work with the same eagerness to win and with the same dedication to technically develop the car in order to fully exploit the resources that the team makes available. It is of course very important to find the human qualities which normally go together with the technical capabilities and which make the difference to be true sporting Champion."

Who do you think will win the drivers' championship in 97?

F.W: "The Australian GP has just shown that in 1997 the competition will be very strong and we should not underestimate teams like Ferrari, McLaren, Benetton as well as Prost GP. But I definitely hope that the winner of the 1997 World Drivers Championship is a member of the Williams-Renault team."

Renault are pulling out at the end of the season. How will you manage to stay competitive?

F.W.: "We know the competence and the potential of Mécachrome very well since we have been working with them through Renault Sport over the last 8 years, and we also know that we share the same will for success and victories that they have consolidated through their partnership with Renault Sport for over 20 years. We are confident that their level of high technology will still continue to be developed and ensure us a truly competitive engine. We also feel that this venture will provide us with new communications and marketing opportunities to ensure our team to be well funded in order to meet the requirements necessary to remain very competitive."

How has Williams been able to achieve so much success? Hasn't Adrian Newey been one of the great architects of your success? Have you got a secret for winning?

F.W.: "The results that Williams have achieved since 1978 have always been based on the hard attentive and professional work of its main asset: the people working for Williams. Since 1989 this recipe has been completed by the partnership with Renault Sport with whom we share the same principles and philosophy."

At Melbourne, lap times in qualification were on average 4 to 5 seconds faster than last year. How do you account for these performances?

F.W: "The better average performances obtained by all competitors at the Australian GP are the results of the research and development work made by the relevant teams throughout the 1996 Championship and during the 1997 winter tests which apply during the whole lap of the circuit, regardless to any specific circumstances."

Do you envisage changing tyre supplier in 1998? Especially as there is talk of grooved tyres next year.

F.W: "Williams GP Eng. has been since its origin a Goodyear Team and we have a lot of confidence in their current work and the work they will be doing to always remain at the top."


Latest news..... Latest news..... Latest news..... Latest news..... Latest news.....

Hill Crashes at Magny Cours...Yamaha fails Diniz

Damon Hill escaped unhurt from a crash at Magny-Cours on Wednesday when his Arrows-Yamaha A18 left the road at the fast Estoril corner. The team is investigating the precise cause of the incident which happened after the World Champion completed 16 laps at the Circuit de Nevers. On Tuesday Hill had completed 70 laps with a best time of 1m 17.39s, concentrating on evaluating tyres and improving the balance of the car. He eventually stopped when the Yamaha engine ran out of its allotted mileage. Pedro Diniz tried the new D-spec version of the Yamaha V10 on Tuesday and Wednesday. He completed 41 laps on the first day for a best time of 1m 18.36s but completed only just over two laps before the engine failed on Wednesday.


Tyrrell tests Cosworth ED5

The Tyrrell team had two constructive days testing at Silverstone where both Mika Salo and Jos Verstappen used the new Cosworth ED5 V8 engine. Neither experienced any problem and the initial reports from the drivers was extremely encouraging, indicating satisfactory driveability in addition to extra power.


Truly Charismatic Jarno

The cameras were rolling with Minardi driver Jarno Trulli the star. It was not for Minardi however, but co-owners of the team, Benetton, who had invited the young Italian to stand in for Gerhard Berger for a filming session at Barcelona. He was later invited to drive the car in Wednesday's test where he set a time of 1m 20.76s, a little over half a second down on Berger’s fastest time, 1.8s slower than Alesi and 0.6sec slower than regular test driver Alexander Wurz.

It is rumoured that Benetton boss, Flavio Briatore, unhappy with Alesi’s performance this year, is looking at Trulli for a possible seat in ’98. It is not expected that Alesi will continue with the team.


Chris Richardson May 17th 1997


Formula 1 Contents