May 18, 2003

FORMULA ONE NOTES: Tonight's Austrian

FORMULA ONE NOTES: Tonight's Austrian Grand Prix will likely be the last in that country. On next year's schedule it is replaced by the first F1 race to be run in China ... The Jordan F1 team is selling the chassis spectacularly destroyed in the 2002 Austrian GP by Takuma Sato (with, er, help from Nick Heidfeld) on eBay (starting bid: $23,500) ... Thanks, Jacques! A dirt-spraying qualifying lap by Jacques Villeneuve ruined Australian Mark Webber's chances of a good grid position for tonight's race ... Webber's Jaguar teammate, Antonio Pizzonia, has meanwhile rescued his career with a highest-ever qualifying performance, finishing 8th ... Airboxes, those scoopy, engine-feeding apertures above drivers' heads, will be larger in 2004 due to a rule change intended to slow cars by interrupting air flow to the rear wing (and to allow more space for sponsor signage, thus spreading evil capitalism to China and beyond) ... When airboxes first appeared in the aerodynamically-unaware 1970s, designs were as diverse as today's are uniform; check this monster pod above the 1976 Ligier ... Ten of the twenty drivers competing in Austria have never won a Formula One race. This was once a lucky event for first-time winners, including Vittorio Brambilla in 1975, John Watson in '76, Alan Jones in '77 and Elio de Angelis in '82 (and almost Jarno Trulli in '97) ... Expect most teams to opt for one-stop pit strategies in tonight's race. Austria is easy on tyres ... Finnish cyborg Kimi Raikkonen has a tattoo of a smiling sun on his wrist; fans are delighted.

(News sources: F1 Racing magazine and

Posted by Tim Blair at May 18, 2003 06:56 PM