F-1 Newsline: Tuesday
May 22, 2001 | 10:00 A.M. EST
Barrichello, who has had a rocky season with Ferrari and spoke out vehemently against the way the team operates, said he was ‘very pleased’ to be back for next year.
“There were a lot of rumors about my contract, but I knew everyone - from the President, Mr. Montezemolo, and Jean Todt down - inside the Ferrari family were very relaxed about the situation,” Barrichello said. “I think both sides are happy - both myself and Ferrari."
Barrichello has 12 podium finishes and one win, his first, since joining Ferrari prior to the 2000 season.
Schumacher joined Ferrari in 1996 after winning back-to-back championships with Benetton in 1994 and 1995. He has won 29 races with Ferrari, 47 in his career, including 10 wins last season en route to Ferrari’s World Championship in 21 years. Schumacher has 17 podium finishes in the last 23 races, and is the highest paid driver in Formula One. He is estimated to have earned $51 million.
Schumacher said he felt like Ferrari was his second family.
"I have often said before how well I get on here at Ferrari and that for me, the Scuderia is like a second family," he said. "I am very happy to have prolonged my stay by another two years and I hope that this continuation with the team will bring plenty of successes. I had little doubt that I would do it, once Jean Todt, Ross Brawn, Paolo Martinelli and Rory Byrne had extended their contracts. The discussions took place in the same positive atmosphere which has typified our relationship and we soon reached an agreement."
Schumacher currently leads the Formula One driver standings, just four points ahead of David Coulthard entering this weekend’s Grand Prix of Monaco.
Gabrielle Rumi Dies
Former Minardi team manager and chairman Gabrele Rumi died Monday, after a long battle with cancer. He was 61-years-old.
Rumi founded Fondmetal, the maker of high-tech alloy wheels who supplied F1 teams including Williams, Ligier and Tyrrell. In 1990, Rumi bought the Osella team but the tiny outfit was forced to fold at the end of 1992. He returned to Formula One in 1996, and was chairman of Minardi until this year.
“It will be extremely hard to forget the passion and the determination which have characterized his 20 years-presence in Formula One,” a Minardi spokesperson said. “To the Minardi team and to the motor racing world he has certainly made a considerable contribution as a manager and as a man.”
A memorial service will be held on Wednesday in Rumi’s hometown of Palazzolo sull’Oglio.
Launch Control Fears for Monaco
Following last week’s launch control debacle in Austria that saw four cars stall on the starting grid, several drivers said they will not use the system in this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix.
"It was the first time I have ever stalled on the grid, and I will never use the system again,” Trulli said. "I was not comfortable sitting on the grid like that. I personally won't use it. As for the other people, I don't know, but it's going to be very dangerous if anyone stalls on the grid at Monaco.”
In addition to the loss of position, many drivers and team officials are afraid that a stall on the narrow starting grid on the streets of Monaco could result in a major accident.
However, McLaren technical director Adrian Newey dismissed the fears.
"There'll be cries that it's too dangerous, and that there could have been a start line accident (in Austria)," he said. "But equally there could have been a start line accident if somebody had stalled it with the old strategy. I wouldn't be surprised if there are no such incidents in the next race."
In Other News…
McLaren team boss Ron Dennis has made it clear he wants the team lineup of David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen to remain the same in 2002. Now all he needs is both drivers to sign on the dotted line. With just four championship points this season, Hakkinen has mulled retirement at the end of the year. Coulthard’s contract with the team is up at end of 2001. Fernando Alonso, who is under contract with Benetton but on loan to Minardi, will likely remain with Minardi through next season.