Shoot Out at Jerez?

Early in the week Williams management were talking about a “shoot out” between Antonio Pizzonia and Nick Heidfeld to take place at the Jerez Test beginning December 7. If indeed it was a shoot out then Pizzonia is lying mortally wounded in the dust as Heidfeld was not only three tenths faster on the only day they both ran but was fastest of all in the wet on day five and the fastest of all three Williams drivers over the whole six days. By the end of the week, Sam Michael, Williams Technical Director, was talking down the “shoot out” claiming that any comparisons were worthless because of car issues. The only problem with that comment is that the only car “issues” affected Heidfeld who had a hydraulic leak on the Friday morning. Pizzonia had no such dramas on the day completing a trouble free 141 laps. Heidfeld was simply impressive all week. On his first day (Thursday) he completed 122 laps and finished the day just 0.049 seconds behind team leader Mark Webber, on the Friday he beat Pizzonia and on the Saturday he was the quickest in the wet by almost nine tenths of a second over the next best driver. It would appear that Frank and Patrick now have some serious thinking to do regarding their second race driver for next year.

Another driver who was having a make or break test was Red Bull hopeful, David Coulthard. Despite being written out of the drive by new team owner Dietrich Mateschitz just a week ago he now appears to be back in favour. On the two days that he ran he was comfortably faster than any of the other Red Bull drivers on hand. On Tuesday in his first day in the car he set a time of 1’18.079 which was six tenths better than regular driver Christian Klien and one and a half seconds better than the other hopeful for the seat, Vitantonio Liuzzi. On Wednesday he was again six tenths faster than Klien and eight tenths up on Liuzzi. One would think that he hasn’t done himself any his chances any harm in this showing. After Coulthard had left on the Friday,, which was the quickest day of the six, Klien set a creditable seventh best time of 1’17.117 and ex Sauber tester Neel Jani managed a 1’19.002.

Ferrari began it’s mammoth Bridgestone tyre testing sessions with three drivers on hand. Luca Badoer racked up an enormous 369 laps in just four days supported by Marc Gene’ who completed 228 laps in two days and Rubens Barrichello, back from a short holiday, who did 134 laps in his two days. Bridgestone technical manager, Hisao Suganuma said,”We’ve looked at ten constructions and ten compounds and it has been a very good test. We tested many new things and will now assess the data to decide which tyres we will bring for testing in January.”

Time wise, the best of the test was the McLaren team who had three of their four drivers in the top three positions overall. Pedro de la Rose was the only driver to dip under the 1’16’ second bracket with a brilliant lap of 1’15.837 on Wednesday. He continued this form being fastest on Sunday as well in the wet. He was followed by Raikkonen who was quickest on Thursday and Friday and second overall, and Montoya in third who set the best time on day one.

Toyota also continued to show off-season form with Trulli, Ralf Schumacher and Ricardo Zonta all showing good pace and Ralf was delighted with the progress that the team has made since he began testing with them.Also in action were B.A.R. and Renault who continued to do plenty of mileage for Michelin. B.A.R. Were running their “concept” car with the 2005 rear end bolted onto this years chassis for drivers Button, Sato, Davidson and Bernoldi and Renault had Fisichella and Montagny on hand running with a 2005 aero package.


DRIVER CAR TIME 1Pedro de la Rosa McLaren MP4/19C 1'15.837 (2,6) 2Kimi Raikkonen McLaren MP4/19C 1'16.307 (3,4) 3Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren MP4/19C 1'16.545(1) 4Nick Heidfeld Williams FW26B 1'16.740 (5) 5Rubens Barrichello Ferrari F2004B 1'16.800 6Jarno Trulli Toyota TF104C 1'16.838 7Luca Badoer Ferrari F2004B 1'16.932 8Ralf Schumacher Toyota TF104C 1'16.937 9Antonio Pizzonia Williams FW26B 1'17.097 10Christian Klien Jaguar R5C 1'17.117 11Ricardo Zonta Toyota TF104C 1'17.154 12Alexander Wurz McLaren MP4/19C 1'17.308 13Mark Webber Williams FW26B 1'17.521 14Franck Montagny Renault R24B 1'17.650 15Giancarlo Fisichella Renault R24B 1'17.850 16David Coulthard Jaguar R5C 1'18.009 17Jenson Button BAR 006C 1'18.155 18Anthony Davidson BAR 006C 1'18.243 19Takuma Sato BAR 006C 1'18.400 20Marc Gene' Ferrari F2004B 1'18.789 21Vitantonio Liuzzi Jaguar R5C 1'18.792 22Neel Jani Jaguar R5C 1'19.002 23Enrique Bernoldi BAR 006C 1'19.007

(-) Fastest on day.

Sam Snape


Falls mainly on Jerez when the F1 brigade go testing there. Most teams turned up on Wednesday for a four day test and apart from one or two moments when the track was not quite as wet as the rest of the time they all got to do a lot of wet weather tyre testing. Final times were meaningless as Felipe Massa set a time in the Sauber of 1’17.513, almost a whole two seconds up on the next fastest driver, Jarno Trulli, while running in almost dry conditions on the first day. The fact that team mate Jacques Villeneuve was quickest on each of the next two days and could only manage a 1’28.345 on the third day tells the tale.

Ferrari had Badoer and Gene’ on hand again to do aerodynamic work while BAR had no less than five drivers on hand to go through their programme. Along with Sato and Bernoldi came South African Alan van der Merwe and Brits, Adam Carroll and James Rossiter. Carroll and Rossiter were well off the pace in their first runs in a F1 car but Van der Merwe showed some promise. Bernoldi completely destroyed one of the 006 chassis and plenty of data logging equipment when he aquaplaned under braking for the tight right hander at the end of the back straight. Renault had Fisichella and Montagny on hand again, having to abandon their planned programme and just concentrate on getting more mileage in the conditions.

Webber was out again for Williams and set a fine third fastest on the only day he ran. He was joined by Pizzonia again and Nick Heidfeld who gave a fine account of himself by finishing up six tenths faster than Pizzonia. It is believed that the Williams management were very impressed with the German’s performance and will be asking him back for another test shortly. It would be nice to see Nick in a good car finally.

McLaren, Sauber, Red Bull and Toyota all ran the same drivers (minus Montoya & Zonta) as last week with good pace being shown by Trulli in the Toyota (second overall), Klien (second on day 2) and Liuzzi (ninth overall). They were joined this time by Jordan who had Robert Doornbos and Christijan Albers on hand running with last years Jordan Cosworth combination matched to next years aero kit. Needless to say they were not on the pace and ended up near the foot of the time sheets with Albers showing Doornbos the way by some eight tenths of a second. After his fine test with Minardi last week, Albers is showing some genuine speed but as always, is going to have to find some cash to get a permanent drive. The same can be said of Aussies Ryan Briscoe, Will Power and Will Davison. If only…..It would be quite nice to have four of us on the grid in Melbourne.

DRIVER CAR TIME 1;Felipe Massa Sauber C23 1'17.513 2;Jarno Trulli Toyota TF104B 1'19.287 3;Alexander Wurz McLaren MP4/19C 1'19.750 4;Pedro de la Rosa McLaren MP4/19B 1'19.766 5;Mark Webber Williams FW26B 1'20.171 6;Enrique Bernoldi BAR 006 1'21.370 7;Luca Badoer Ferrari F2004B 1'21.672 8;Takuma Sato BAR 006 1'21.724 9;Vitantonio Liuzzi Jaguar R5 1'21.900 10;Giancarlo Fisichella Renault R24 1'22.206 11;Jacques Villeneuve Sauber C23 1'22.379 12;Marc Gene' Ferrari F2004B 1'22.403 13;Nick Heidfeld Williams FW26B 1'22.713 14;Christian Klien Jaguar R5B 1'22.731 15;Ralf Schumacher Toyota TF104B 1'22.836 16;Franck Montagny Renault R24 1'23.296 17;Antonio Pizzonia Williams FW26B 1'23.382 18;Alan van der Merwe BAR 006 1'23.730 19;Christijan Albers Jordan EJ14 1'24.452 20;Robert Doornbos Jordan EJ14 1'25.291 21;Adam Carroll BAR 006 1'28.885 22;James Rossiter BAR 006 1'31.194

Sam Snape


It may only be mid November but the fight for the 2005 World F1 Championships has just started at a pair of empty and cold circuits in Southern Europe. The warmer of the two, the Catalunya Circuit in Spain hosted the majority of the teams for five days with all but Jordan and Minardi in action. New combinations were the order of business with BAR being the only team to have both their existing race drivers in action. Ferrari used test drivers Luca Badoer and the newly recruited (from Williams) Marc Gene’ to try out some of next years aero kit. Gene’ was quickest on the first day but from then on the Ferraris were stuck solidly in midfield which probably means nothing except that they were possibly the only ones running at the correct weight. The BAR trio of Button, Sato and Enrique Bernoldi were surprisingly off the pace in both the “concept” car and last years model with the three of them rounding out the bottom of the lap chart, 2.5 seconds down on Montoya.

Giancarlo Fisichella got reacquainted with some of his old crew at Renault who also had tester Franck Montagny on hand to do most of the Michelin donkey work. Having his first run in a good car was Australia’s Mark Webber who had ex-Jaguar team mate Antonio Pizzonia as back-up. Despite being hampered by drive shaft problems and completing over 200 laps in the test Webber ended up ninth quickest overall just 0.070 seconds slower than Pizzonia who has been testing and racing for Williams for a year and a half. Webber was also quicker on four out of the five days of the test.

At McLaren, new signing, Juan Pablo Montoya got his year off to the best possible start setting the overall best time for the test on his very first day. He was not, however, given any set programme, just told to settle in with one of last years MP4/19Bs and have some fun. “I’m very happy so far, its been great. It’s been an exciting day and the first time I actually went out of the garage in the car was special. There is a lot of work for us to do before Christmas and I can’t wait.” Test drivers Pedro de la Rosa and Alexander Wurz who were doing the real work of the test ended up down in 12th and 15th places respectively.

Jacques Villeneuve had his first run for Sauber and was 3rd fastest on the only day he ran. Overall he was 0.6 seconds down on team mate Felipe Massa who had run on the two previous days. Over at Jagu…er sorry, Red Bull Christian Klien was showing good form and finished 6th quickest overall while potential team mate Vitantonio Liuzzi also showed good pace to finish 10th. Rounding out the runners were the Toyota boys with both race drivers, Jarno Trulli and Ralf Schumacher being joined by tester and occasional racer Ricardo Zonta. The Toyotas were quick with their drivers filling three of the top five positions on the time sheets by the end of the test. Ralf was the quickest of the three and second overall just four tenths down on Montoya’s best. Trulli was fourth overall just another two tenths down

Over at Misano in Italy Minardi were testing on their own giving a lot of young hopefuls a few laps in which to impress both the team management and potential sponsors. Dutchman, Christijan Albers was the quickest of the bunch and the only one to drop under the one minute, eleven second mark. Venezuelan teenager, Pastor Maldonado was also impressive as he made the big jump from Formula Renault, in which he was Italian Champion this year, finishing third fastest behind Austrian Formula 3000 exponent, Patrick Friesacher. About half a second behind Maldonado was the first of the Australian “Will twins”. Will Power set a very creditable 1’11.790 to pip Will Davison (1’11.900) and demolish Israeli driver Chanock Nissany (1’14.000) to be the fastest on their day of the test Also in action was Champ-Car refugee Tiago Montiero who ran on the first day setting a 1’13.240.

Barcelona Times

DRIVER CAR TIME 1;Juan Pablo Montoya McLaren MP4/19B 1'14.202 2;Ralf Schumacher Toyota TF104B 1'14.618 3;Felipe Massa Sauber C23 1'14.661 4;Jarno Trulli Toyota TF104B 1'14.881 5;Ricardo Zonta Toyota TF104B 1'14.935 6;Christian Klien Jaguar R5B 1'15.148 7;Antonio Pizzonia Williams FW26B 1'15.174 8;Jacques Villeneuve Sauber C23 1'15.219 9;Mark Webber Williams FW26 1'15.244 10;Vitantonio Liuzzi Jaguar R5 1'15.351 11;Giancarlo Fisichella Renault R24 1'15.404 12;Pedro de la Rosa McLaren MP4/19B 1'15.419 13;Marc Gene' Ferrari F2004B 1'15.613 14;Luca Badoer Ferrari F2004B 1'15.649 15;Alexander Wurz McLaren MP4/19C 1'15.871 16;Franck Montagny Renault R24 1'16.435 17;Takuma Sato BAR 006 1'16.736 18;Jenson Button BAR 006 1'16.738 19;Enrique Bernoldi BAR 006B 1'16.864

Misano Times

DRIVER CAR TIME 1;Christijan Albers Minardi PS04B 1'10.800 2;Patrick Friesacher Minardi PS04B 1'11.150 3;Pastor Maldonado Minardi PS04B 1'11.330 4;Will Power Minardi PS04B 1'11.790 5;Will Davison Minardi PS04B 1'11.900 6;Tiago Montiero Minardi PS04B 1'13.240 7;Chanock Nissany Minardi PS04B 1'14.000

Sam Snape


You could just take the motorway and save about ten minutes but where would be the fun in that? Best to arrive from the north (even if you are coming from the south) as the drive through the country lanes in the South West Sussex Downs is just splendid. You motor through the rolling hills & valleys that are so green they are almost glowing then pass the stunning Horse racing facility. Down another hill and you enter a dark green tunnel of trees through the forest where only a few rays of sunlight break through, exit and pass the Golf course on your left and yet another tunnel of vegetation, ignore the cops attempting to herd you in to the wrong parking area and arrive at your destination.

You are met by extremely polite attendants in long white coats who direct you to your correct allocated space (This way if you please, Sir.) If you have timed it right you exit the car to the growling roar of a couple of Rolls Royce Merlin Supercharged 16 cylinder aero engines thundering their way past at maybe 50 feet or so. As the Spitfires, Hurricanes and Mustangs do their aerial dance you are again welcomed at the gate by white coated attendants ( no crowd controllers here) who check your credentials and politely enquire into your health and day so far and allow you to pass into --- Heaven.

Stroll past the ancient busses, breath in the scent of cooking bacon, past the child playing on the swing made from rope & an old tyre, past the mods squabbling with the rockers, past the military medical tent surrounded with jeeps, past the Bobbies directing traffic, head straight into the March enclosure and have a Pint. It may be early but it is already hot. Open the gate, stroll across the track to the assembly area with your flat cap at a jaunty angle and sports jacket over your shoulder and start working. Working???? Not entirely sure that taking close up photos of Alfas, Ferraris, Aston Martins, Maseratis and Bentleys or chatting to folks like Brabham, Moss, Stewart, Arnoux, Tambay, Attwood or David Piper (who owns probably the collection of most beautiful cars imaginable) can be described as work. Some of these guys I have met before & they recognise me from the kilt - I told you it was useful. Former Le Mans winner & Grand Prix driver Richard Attwood wanders over to say hello. I sit with David Piper next to his fabulous Ford 3 Litre sports prototype and chat about the performance of that car now that it has been sorted out. It was bloody evil in its day as it was never truly set up correctly. Every bit as good as his Ferrari P4 he claims. Big claim. He wonders if I am going to Spa next weekend as he will be running his P4 and his Porsche 917. I bury my head in my hands and weep, if bloody Dom (a friend of mine that I'm meeting in Paris on Thursday) wasn't coming over on Thursday I would probably change my plans & go. Ah well, maybe next time.

Turn on the micro cassette recorder I have with me and tape the sounds of the Keift Grand Prix car with its Coventry Climax FPE V8 2.5 litre engine being warmed up. What a marvelous racket, almost as good as the old BRM 1.5 litre supercharged V16 but yet again, sadly this fails to turn up. Have a quick chat to the driver of the Keift (who appears to be a cousin of some description of mine) Greg Snape but he is about to go out onto the track so he promises to catch up later. We never got around to that but not to worry I left him my card and we will sort something out.

Wayne Gardner is sweating profusely after his race and tells me he has a cold and he "feels like shit but (he's) not coming all this way to lie in bed". A huge red 1930's Napier Bentley backfires like a small artillery division every time it exits the chicane, there are huge grins and outbreaks of laughter along the pit wall each time. Rene Arnoux hops out of his little Alfa in the TT Race, eyes ablaze and grinning like a loon. Not the tired and jaded Rene from the end of his Grand Prix days but one that has just rediscovered what he loved about racing in the first place. "When I was a Grand Prix driver people used to say come and look at my car in the museum. I think car in a museum is dead car. Here I come and race live cars and see many thousands of people with big smiles. I think this is fantastic. See you next year."

Another convert.

A little red Austin A35 wins the saloon car race from the rear of the field just holding off the spectacularly sideways Grant Williams Jaguar on the last lap for the lead. The final lap was extraordinary with both cars being hurled about in power slides through every corner. Sadly Win Percy never got to start. After his back operation went wrong and he was paralysed there was a huge effort to convert a Jaguar over to hand controls and get him started. "Good luck and have fun." I tell him in the assembly area. Christ did I put the mockers on the poor fellow or what, the Jag lasted just 2 laps before it blew its engine. He looked desolate as he got out of the car. "Sorry mate." was all I could say to him then. He just nodded and gave a resigned smile.

I thumb a lift in the course car, a little 1961 open topped Daimler V8 sports car and we go for a pretty quick lap of the circuit. Handles beautifully, doesn't wallow as it is power slided through the bends and the sound and smell of the burbling V8 up front is bliss. I step out, eyes ablaze and grinning like a loon! Funny that!

Glover Trophy is red flagged and there is an ominous silence. 3 cars off and 1, a Lotus 18 is a mess. The driver is trapped with broken legs and the fuel lines have ruptured so he is sitting in a bath of petrol. Takes an unpleasently long time to get him out but he is basically OK. During the brake Barrie Williams wants to have the dust on the track in front of his car swept away. I suggest that he gets it swept under Frank Sytner's Brabham on the row in front of him. He laughs. A couple of minutes later I take a shot of him & Richard Attwood doing just that. I am at this time attacked by a mad Irish road worker who is trying to thrust a toilet brush up my kilt. I pointed out that he should at least have the good manners to chat me up in the usual way but thanked him anyway as it was the best offer I have had in quite a while. Sytner still goes on to win this race.

He also wins the final race, the Witsun Trophy in his Lola T70 beating home a somewhat scarred Ford GT40. Drinkie time has arrived and the pretty Verve Cliquot girls make a grand site and we all stand about swapping stories and guzzling champers as fast as it can come out. "They are like jackals" one of the girls exclaims as she only made it about 10 yards before her tray was empty.

The driver of the Napier Bentley says driving it "is a bit like herding cats". I guess you had to see and hear it to fully appreciate his comment. Derek Bell reckons "You should be careful, the real world is just outside those gates." Got Stirling Moss to sign a copy of the programme for his former mechanic, Mal Simpson, who is a mate of mine. Moss writes, "Mal, we had a lot more fun and crumpet, Stirling."

Lord March presents the trophies and yet again the astonishingly sideways Grant Williams is the Driver of the Meeting. There is a spontaneous 3 cheers for Lord March from the crowd. There is a red glow in the West as the sun is setting and you slowly make your way out of the car park and into the green vegetation tunnel to start your drive back through the South West Sussex Downs and Heaven is over for another year.

Ah well just another 365 days until I can suspend reallity once more and greet my Gods in the only Heaven that I ever want.

SAM SNAPE 10-9-04


Away from the glamour and glare of the Grand Prix weekend the daily grind of Formula One continues with eight of the teams testing at two different venues. Ferrari, Williams, McLaren, Renault, BAR, Jaguar and Toyota are pounding about in pouring rain at Silverstone, England while Ferrari, Williams, BAR, Sauber and Toyota also have cars testing at Monza in Italy.

In the sunshine of Northern Italy, Ferrari continued to demonstrate its dominance with test driver, Luca Badoer topping the timesheets on day one of the test. Ralf Schumacher in the Williams was next up followed by the increasingly impressive Anthony Davidson in the BAR-Honda who was less than three tenths of a second off BadoerÕs best time. Toyota drivers Olivier Panis and Ricardo Zonta, split by SauberÕs Felipe Massa rounded out the drivers in action, all three being at least a second and a half slower than the Ferrari. All five teams were evaluating low down force aerodynamic packages that will be in use for the next two races in Canada and Indianapolis.

Back in 1980 two organizations were struggling for control of Formuala 1. On one side was the governing body for international motor sports, FISA and on the other a body that looked after the interests of the teams, FOCA (Formula One Constructors Association). This was a struggle in which self-interest reigned supreme. FISA president, Frenchman Jean-Marie Balestre, was attempting to establish his authority and prestige by forcing through rule changes (including the banning of sliding skirts) that would give an advantage to anyone running the slightly bulkier but far more powerful turbocharged engines including the French Renault team. FOCA teams, realising that as the turbocharged engines were now more powerful than the Ford Cosworth V8s they were running and becoming more reliable did not want this rule change, as it would be at the expense of their only real advantage. The Ford Cosworth was the perfect engine in size and packaging for a ground effect car and the loss of the sliding skirts would mean the loss of most of the aerodynamic down force produced by ground effects. With less power and equal down force there was no way that a normally aspirated powered car would be competitive with a turbocharged one.

The teams with turbocharged engines, or those building them, namely Renault, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo sided with the FISA. Those without, including Williams, McLaren, and Brabham etc sided with the FOCA. This struggle first came to a head just before the 1980 Spanish Grand Prix (just one of the coincidences when you look at where this weekends race is). The race was run eventually by FOCA without FISA approval and a boycott by the three FISA siding teams and was immediately stripped of its World Championship status. The brawl simmered on throughout the summer until late in the year the FOCA teams held a press conference announcing that they would be running a rival Formula One World Championship under the control of their own organization, the World Federation of Motor Sport. These struggles lasted another two years and led to FISA teams boycotting the 1981 South African GP and the FOCA teams boycotting the 1982 San Marino GP until a deal was reached that became known as ÒThe Concorde AgreementÓ and Formula One has been run under that ever since.

It all sounds very familiar, doesnÕt it? Now the FIA trying to force through rule changes & being blocked by the teams who then talk of setting up their own series. Of course, now itÕs the manufacturers, Renault, Mercedes, BMW and Ferrari etc who were talking of their own series (the Grand Prix World Championship or GPWC) and the other major difference is that the two former FOCA heavyweights of the 1980s struggle, Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone are now the men at the head of the FIA trying to re-establish the governing bodies control. As I said, the wheel has turned full circle. Another similarity is that despite a lot of hot air and many pages of press releases both rival championships collapsed before they started.

The GPWC has failed because of money. When it was first announced they got the support of the minor teams such as Jordan and Minardi by saying that there would be a more even spread of the sports income and that there would be financial transparency within the organization. In Malaysia earlier this year, copies of the Memorandum of Understanding that the GPWC sorted out with the FIA were leaked to some of the team bosses who were outraged to find that Ferrari, Williams and McLaren were going to get an even greater share of the income than before. Not even, not transparent and now, not a hope.

The changes that Mosley has announced are in effect, non negotiable. The current Concorde Agreement expires in 2007 and as these changes were slated for the 2008 season they were not bound by the existing contract. With the GPWC dead in the water Mosley has simply imposed these regulations and any teams that want to enter the 2008 series will simply have to abide by them. This may mean the loss of some of the manufacturers from the sport but so what? Formula One has survived and thrived before when there were no major manufacturers involved at all. It just means there will be less money sloshing about to spend on useless stuff like titanium gearboxes or exotic metals being used to reduce weight by another 0.05%. That, after all is also part of MosleyÕs plan, to reduce the costs. Having smaller engines with bans on expensive bits like variable geometry inlet & exhaust systems, ultra high pressure direct injection and that are run with a standard Electronic Control Unit that must last two to three races should help. The use of standard parts such as brakes, wheels & wings etc will also achieve this end. Allowing the sale of chassis to other teams should help entice new teams to enter the championship as buying an existing chassis would cost a fraction of what it does to design and build a new one from scratch. That the standard ECU will be used to control the amount of testing done and eradicate the hideous blight of traction control is for me, the best piece of news I have heard in a very long time. On a purely aesthetic note the potential change back to wider (real) slick tyres at the back and narrower ones at the front is also very pleasing and the additional effect of greater drag caused by these should help Òliven the showÓ by allowing closer racing. Perhaps even real racing where the lead changes on the track and not in the pits. Remember that?

Being presented with this Òfait accompliÓ many of the team bosses have suggested that most of these reforms could be brought forward to 2006. If so, they will need to be voted on by the World Council by June 30 this year as agreed in the current Concorde Agreement. There will be a lot of manoeuvring and arguing to come but this means that we only have another two months before we know just how successful MaxÕs ÒRevolutionÓ has really been. It is ironic that the very men that gave rise to the ÒConcorde AgreementÓ are those who will now bury it.

Sam Snape