Tuesday, November 1, 2016

RETRO: Setting the Stage for the '01 USGP

Mystery 1990'sScuderia Ferrari F1 racecar Postcard from Michael Schumacher era - with long abandoned Asprey sponsorship on its flanks. (The Tomaso Collection)
So just who were the Playahs' for this most vaunted '01 United States Grand Prix I'm still Harpin' on 'bout, eh?

Although naturally Uncle Bernaughty's, nee Mr. Bernard Charles ecclestone's F1 Circus looked vastly different fifteen years ago, vs. today's performers, albeit the core F1 Constructors still remain, i.e.; Ferrari, Williams and McLaren being the sport's oldest teams. Along with Minardi, Benetton, Sauber, Jordan, BAR, and Jaguar all still on the grid in some shape or form.

Although any of Yuhs astute F1 Aficionados will know that Minardi's now Scuderia Toro Rosso, becoming Red Bull Racing's 'lil Seester after Deeter Majestik bought it from Paul Stoddart.

While 'Ol Deeter was so deeply offended over Peter Sauber's shunning of his preferred driver Enrique-Who? that he took his Red Bull sponsorship and bought Jaguar - turning I-T into a quadruple Driver's and Constructor's champion.

Jordan went thru a revolving door of owners before finally settling down as Vijay Duh Playahs' Force India. whilst BAR, which began life as "Uncle Chopper's" (Ken) Tyrrell Grand Prix, then BAR, later Honda's factory team before winning the world championship as Brawn, is now the mighty A-L-L Conquering Silver Arrows, nee Mercedes GP Panzerwagon, Ja Volt!

Benetton was bought out by Renault, won two world championships before falling into ill-repute over "Crash-gate!" Becoming Lotus-Lotus; Err Lotus-Renault, then Lotus and now regaining its Freckles 'N Spots; Err Stripes, having returned this year as Tuh-Duh! Renault Sport F1.

As only the Arrows and Prost team's have long since folded, albeit interestingly we're back to the exact same number 'O Formula 1 Constructors this season with the arrival of Haas F1.

"Fishyfellah" & Orange Arrows were featured on this page of '01 USGP Spotters' Guide. (The Tomaso Collection)
As the following twenty-two drivers and eleven teams participated in the '01 USGP at Indianapolis...

Ferrari: Michael Schumacher & Rubens Barrichello; McLaren: Mika Hakkinen & David Coulthard; Williams: Ralf Schumacher & Juan Pablo Montoya; Benetton: Giancarlo Fisichella & Jenson Button; BAR: Olivier Panis & Jacques Villeneuve; Jordan: Jean Alesi & Jarno Trulli; Arrows: Jos Verstappen & Enrique Bernoldi; Sauber: Nick Heidfeld & Kimi Raikkonen; Jaguar: Eddie Irvine & Pedro De la Rosa; Minardi: Alex Yooung & Fernando Alonso, and Prost: Heinz-Harald Frentzen & Tomas Enge.

Benson & Hedges Jordan Honda, BMW Williams F1, European Minardi F1, Jaguar Racing, Lucky Strike British American Racing Honda, Mild Seven Benetton Renault, Orange Arrows Asiatech, Prost Grand Prix, Red Bull Sauber Petronas, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro and West McLaren Mercedes.

The entire grid were running the now de riggour three litre normally aspirated V-10 lumps', with a total of six manufacturers taking part. As Ferrari led the way, supplying three teams in total, with two being customers, i.e.; Sauber and Prost.

Honda was next with two teams in its fold, with Eddie Jordan's Jordan Grand Prix and Jacques Villeneuve's British American Racing squad both sponsored by "BAD HABITS" Smokey-Smoke cigarette brands.

Team Willy was arguably running it's Works" BMW squad with the most powerful lumps' on the grid, as they garnered four wins that season. Three by Michael's famous brother Ralfanzo, with JPM winning his maiden Grand Prix at Monza.

McLaren were running the only other winning engine, besides Ferrari and Williams that year, utilizing the Ilmor-Mercedes F0110K, which Hakkinen & Coulthard both scored two wins apiece with.

Jaguar was actually FoMoCo's (Ford Motor Company) entry into Formula 1 as an F1 Constructor after having been pushed by Sir Jackie to get on with I-T! As JYS had successfully coaxed the Dearborn Auto giant to purchase his Stewart Grand Prix, with the team running factory Cosworth engines.

Benetton had been bought by Renault, who were establishing their somewhat different engines, utilizing an ultra wide 111-degree angle V-10 unit for aerodynamic gains, as Y'all know that wider's better; Hooah! In what would be the final year of Benetton.

Arrows was running the Asiatech, a rebadged version of the ex-Works Peugeot engine, as the French Automaker had quit F1 the year prior.

Sauber and Prost were running rebadged customer Ferrari lumps, with Sauber's branded Petronas units and Prost's being Acer's. As both were major sponsors of their respective teams.

And lastly, Paul Stoddart had purchased Minardi that season and rebranded his aging Cossie' (Cosworth) V-10's engines, being the old Fondmetal branded '98-spec units derived from the Sauber Ford "Works" era as European's in deference to his Aeroplane business...

But seriously? Did anybody expect to beat 'DER TERMINATOR at Mother Speedway? After all Herr Schumacher had just won his second championship for la Scuderia, and fourth world championship overall then. Having wrapped up the title at Hungary en route to taking nine victories during the season, which was one more than the totals of both McLaren and Williams team-mates put together!

As not only was Michael Schumacher Heads 'N Shoulders ahead of the Formula 1 circus at the Speedway, he even gave some Roundy-round Taxicab driver fits Thar...

For thee final portion; Honest! Of this epic, ever growing story, see; RETRO: The year McLaren blew the Deckles' Off Scuderia Ferrari atIndianapolis!