The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 14 Sep 2020, 20:38

GRAND PRIX NEWS
Your monthly source for racing news, stories and rumors | Wednesday 5th June, 1996

The Silly Season has Started

Although the current season is not even halfway done, much work in the paddock is already being done for 1997. And of course, the spread of rumors cannot be avoided, especially when speaking about one of the most asked questions: who drives where next year? With only eight drivers already under contract for next year and, if all the announced teams make it to the grid, 32 seats to fill, there is a lot to talk and gossip about. Furthermore, the teams will need an engine to power their cars as well. Grand Prix News tells you per team what we know and what we heard.

Ferrari
Ferrari is the only team where everything seems sure. Obviously they will keep Ferrari engines, but both Michael Schumacher (until '98) and Eddie Irvine ('97) have a contract for next year. The only way something might change, is if Schumacher is bought out of his contract by Williams or McLaren, but it seems more likely that he continues his Ferrari project.
Engine
Confirmed: Ferrari
Drivers
Confirmed: Michael Schumacher, Eddie Irvine

Williams
Both Renault and Jacques Villeneuve have a deal for 1997 with Williams. The biggest mystery is the other seat at the championship-leading team. Damon Hill is Williams' current lead driver, although he is behind his team mate in the standings. Hill does not have a contract for next year, though. Heinz-Harald Frentzen is strongly rumored to have already signed a contract with the team. A perhaps less likely story is that Williams is looking to buy Mika Hakkinen out of his contract with McLaren. Renault is said to desire a French driver, which would make Olivier Panis an outsider to snatch the seat as well.
Engine
Confirmed: Renault
Drivers
Confirmed: Jacques Villeneuve
Likely: Heinz-Harald Frentzen/Damon Hill
Rumored: Mika Hakkinen/Olivier Panis

Benetton
Benetton looks to have suffered from the departure of Michael Schumacher and Rory Byrne, although the Italo-British team seems to have recovered a little bit over the last few races. Renault still has a contract for one more year with them and Jean Alesi was recently rewarded with a contract extension for 1997 as well. Johnny Herbert's future is a little less certain at the moment. He was expected to lead Benetton's title charge this year, but so far, Alesi is the main candidate for it. Meanwhile, Italian youngster Giancarlo Fisichella is showing at Minardi that he deserves a better seat in F1.
Engine
Confirmed: Renault
Drivers
Confirmed: Jean Alesi
Likely: Giancarlo Fisichella/Johnny Herbert

Jordan
1996 should have been the year Jordan really closed the gap to the top, but it has been slightly disappointing so far. Peugeot will stay for 1997 nevertheless, although that may well be their final year together. Jordan has not signed any drivers for next year. Rubens Barrichello is performing maybe better than ever and he should be likely to stay. However, some say the Brazilian is not happy anymore at the Irish team and he is looking for new possibilities. Brundle looks unlikely to stay, unless he improves a lot in the second half of the season, while the team may have a golden opportunity to sign Damon Hill if he is dropped by Williams. Eddie Jordan is said to be looking for a new young talent. Ralf Schumacher, Michael's younger brother, has sparked Eddie's interest, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Nathan van Dijk may be possibilities as well. The wildest, yet still persisting rumor is that Nigel Mansell is plotting a comeback.
Engine
Confirmed: Peugeot
Drivers
Likely: Rubens Barrichello/Ralf Schumacher
Rumored: Nathan van Dijk/Heinz-Harald Frentzen/Damon Hill/Nigel Mansell

McLaren
Although McLaren hold a solid 3rd position in the constructors' championship, the gap with the top teams is disappointingly big. Mercedes is yet to confirm their plans in F1, although it is getting more and more likely that Ron Dennis can convince them to stay and invest. McLaren's drivers are already signed: Hakkinen has a contract until the end of 1997; Coulthard even until '98.
Engine
Likely: Mercedes
Drivers
Confirmed: Mika Hakkinen, David Coulthard

Sauber
Things are still quite uncertain at Sauber at the moment. The Swiss team is trying to secure another deal with Ford for V10 engines, but DFC's money and the influence of Ford do Brasil may prevent that. Another possibility is that Sauber's sponsor Petronas rebadges V10 engines, which would then most likely come from Hart or Judd (the current Yamaha engines). Sauber did already sign their current driver Gerhard Berger for another year, rewarding the Austrian for a solid season so far. Heinz-Harald Frentzen is under consideration at teams higher up the grid and is likely to leave the team. His successor could almost be anyone at this moment, although the names of both Dutch F1 drivers are being mentioned, among some others.
Engine
Likely: Ford
Rumored: Hart/Judd (Yamaha)
Drivers
Confirmed: Gerhard Berger
Rumored: Nathan van Dijk/Tom Kristensen/Jörg Müller/Jos Verstappen

Ligier
The biggest uncertainty at Ligier is who will own the team next year. The French government would love to make the team all-French again, but they will still have Mugen-Honda engines next year. Olivier Panis is also already contracted for 1997, but his team mate is less certain. So far, Luca Badoer's performances have not been that impressive and Mugen, or rather Honda, is willing to pay to give a Japanese driver a seat. Several Formula Nippon stars' names have been dropped lately. A French youngster such as Laurent Redon could also be an option.
Engine
Confirmed: Mugen-Honda
Drivers
Confirmed: Olivier Panis
Likely: Luca Badoer
Rumored: Emmanuel Collard/Naoki Hattori/Shinji Nakano/Laurent Redon/Toranosuke Takagi

Minardi
The small Minardi team may currently be working more on surviving this year, than preparing for 1997. After the sponsor issues with Taki Inoue, it looks likely that the Italians will need to sign a pay driver to finish the season. A cheap V8 engine and at least one driver with deep pockets will be required next year.
Engine
Likely: Cosworth (Ford)/Hart
Drivers
Rumored: Norberto Fontana/Pedro Lamy/Andrea Montermini/Pedro de la Rosa/Ricardo Rosset

Simtek
The same applies to Simtek as to Minardi. The team is in serious financial trouble and they will need money. Strangely, Taki Inoue's name is still mentioned by several sources when talking about the small British team. Deals with drivers and an engine supplier will be highly dependant on a possible investor.
Engine
Likely: Cosworth (Ford)
Drivers
Likely: Andrea Montermini
Rumored: Naoki Hattori/Taki Inoue/Elton Julian

Tyrrell
Tyrrell's deal with Yamaha is uncertain at the moment. Mutual disappointment and lack of budget may force Yamaha out of the Surrey-based team. Hart or Cosworth customer V8s look like the only feasible alternative, even though both scenarios would be a step backwards. Mika Salo will stay at the team, looking to further improve his performances. Ukyo Katayama's season has been disappointing so far, as he has been largely outperformed by his young team mate. Tyrrell is most probably looking for a new young talent, although Ken Tyrrell also still holds his former test driver, Emmanuel Collard, in high regard.
Engine
Likely: Cosworth (Ford)/Hart/Yamaha
Drivers
Confirmed: Mika Salo
Rumored: Kenny Bräck/Emmanuel Collard/Tom Kristensen/Jan Magnussen/Gianni Morbidelli/Jörg Müller/Vincenzo Sospiri/Jos Verstappen

Arrows
Tom Walkinshaw is highly ambitious with Arrows. According to some, he is even looking to start in-house engine development on the longer term. The easiest way to achieve that is to buy an existing engine program, such as Hart's or Yamaha's. The ambitions are no less on the driver front: a big budget is said to be available to sign one or two big names. Jos Verstappen may be a relatively cheap second driver; the Dutchman performing well with an underwhelming car so far. Several more or less realistic names are rumored for the first driver seat, with the wildest rumor probably being that Walkinshaw is in negotiations with Damon Hill. A paydriver would then be required to pay his salary, though.
Engine
Likely: Hart/Yamaha
Drivers
Likely: Jos Verstappen
Rumored: Rubens Barrichello/Mark Blundell/Martin Brundle/Gil de Ferran/Damon Hill/Pedro Lamy

DFC
DFC is yet another ambitious project. A deal for Ford V10s is all but signed, although Mugen-Honda and Yamaha rumors are persistent, as well as talks about a customer Mercedes deal. The owner's son Pedro Diniz has unsurprisingly extended his contract with the team for two more years. Nathan van Dijk is almost consistently outperforming Diniz in the races, but DFC's plan is to sign a big Brazilian star from F1, F3000 or CART. If that plan proves to be too ambitious at this moment, Van Dijk looks the most likely candidate.
Engine
Likely: Ford
Rumored: Mercedes/Mugen-Honda/Yamaha
Drivers
Confirmed: Pedro Diniz
Likely: Nathan van Dijk/Christian Fittipaldi
Rumored: Rubens Barrichello/Gil de Ferran/Marcos Gueiros

Larrousse DAMS
Things are rather quiet around Larrousse DAMS. The team is having a bit of a slow start on their return in F1 this year, but there seems to be no panic. A customer deal with Peugeot seems quite likely, otherwise the French team will keep the Cosworth V8s for another year. Hiro Matsushita has already a contract for next year and Emmanuel Collard looks likely to stay if he cannot find a better seat. The French sponsors will push another French talent forward if Collard leaves.
Engine
Likely: Cosworth (Ford)/Peugeot
Drivers
Confirmed: Hiro Matsushita
Likely: Emmanuel Collard
Rumored: Jean-Christophe Bouillon/Laurent Redon/Christophe Tinseau

Stewart
Jackie Stewart's new team looks like an interesting gamble for several drivers. Their long-term contract as a works partner of Ford gives them a good prospect, although their performance in their first year could be anything from surprisingly good to disastrous. Apart from Jordan, Stewart looks like the most likely new team for Damon Hill if he loses his seat. A driver with some years of F1 experience seems like a must for the team anyway, so Rubens Barrichello, Nathan van Dijk and Martin Brundle could be serious options. Former or current Paul Stewart Racing drivers like Ralph Firman and Jan Magnussen could join one of the experienced guys.
Engine
Confirmed: Ford
Drivers
Rumored: Rubens Barrichello/Martin Brundle/Nathan van Dijk/Ralph Firman/Dario Franchitti/Damon Hill/Jan Magnussen

Dome
Dome is another new F1 project with some significant backing. In this case, it is Mugen-Honda which will provide the team with engines and it is not unlikely that Honda will take over the project in the near future to transform it into a full works team. Dome is currently testing with Shinji Nakano and Marco Apicella; both seem likely to become the race drivers for 1997. Ukyo Katayama might be an interesting alternative if he is dropped by Tyrrell.
Engine
Confirmed: Mugen-Honda
Drivers
Likely: Marco Apicella/Shinji Nakano
Rumored: Ukyo Katayama

Lola
The third team aspiring to enter F1 in 1997, is Lola. Whether or not they will make it to the entry list, is highly dependant on their search for a main sponsor. At this moment, it is anyone's guess which engines and which drivers they will have. Allan McNish is an educated guess, as he tested for Lola last year. A paydriver to join him is in the line of expectations.
Engine
Rumored: Cosworth (Ford)/Judd (Yamaha)
Drivers
Rumored: Giovanni Lavaggi/Allan McNish/Ricardo Rosset


Short but Sweet

Australian GP will be season opener again in 1997 • First Bridgestone tests to be done by Verstappen this week • Shannon to buy Simtek already this year? • Designer Chris Murphy joins Lola
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 04 Oct 2020, 14:31

1996 Canadian Grand Prix

Qualifying

Damon Hill scored his third consecutive pole position in dominant fashion. Jean Alesi joined him on the front row, just like in Spain. Jacques Villeneuve and Johnny Herbert took the second row, with Michael Schumacher close behind. Rubens Barrichello had another impressive qualifying to take 6th. In the midfield Luca Badoer beat his team mate Olivier Panis for the first time, but it was business as usual for most others. Andrea Montermini had his best qualifying of the year by taking 22nd on his return after his one-race ban.

Results
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Race

Damon Hill kept the lead at the start, but Michael Schumacher showed his class by braking very late into the first corner, moving him up to 2nd. Jacques Villeneuve managed to keep 3rd, followed by Jean Alesi, Johnny Herbert and Rubens Barrichello. Alesi did manage to regain a provisional podium spot a couple of corners later when he outbraked Villeneuve into turn 6. The Canadian would lose another place to a Benetton in lap 2, when Herbert made a similar move in the same corner. Herbert was pushing hard, but it came at a big cost just a few corners later. Still in lap 2, the Briton crashed out of the race in the last corner: a costly mistake. Luckily, Herbert walked away from the heavy impact without injuries.

Villeneuve had briefly lost a place to Barrichello, because he lost time avoiding Herbert's crash, but the Williams rookie was quickly able to regain 4th position. Alesi was meanwhile still on the move and passed Schumacher in lap 4 with a clean manouever in turn 12. The top six settled after that moment and remained unchanged until several laps later, when Villeneuve made a mistake in turn 1. He spun and lost a place to Barrichello, but he was able to continue his race without further problems. Schumacher was less lucky in lap 17. Once again, the title defender retired from a good position in the race, through no fault of his own. This time, an oil leak ended his race which looked like a certain podium finish for the German.

A top six of Hill, Alesi, Barrichello, Villeneuve, Eddie Irvine and Gerhard Berger was now getting ready for the first round of pit stops. Barrichello and Berger looked to be the only ones on a two stop strategy, with stops in lap 22 and 21 respectively. Both of them dropped a couple of positions, but they looked set to move back up the order. Berger would not get the chance however, since he had to retire with a loose wheel. His team, Sauber, was heavily criticized for sending him out with an apparently unfixed wheel, but no further sanctions were given. Barrichello did get back into the top six within few laps when he passed Mika Hakkinen in lap 23.

When the one-stoppers were getting ready to pit, Hill was leading Alesi, Villeneuve, Irvine, Barrichello and Hakkinen. The top three remained unchanged after those stops, but Irvine dropped behind Barrichello again. Mika Hakkinen's stop also made him drop out of the top six, as the surprisingly fast Luca Badoer, who was also on a two-stopper, moved up to 6th. We would never get a realistic outcome of the comparison of the two strategies, though. Barrichello retired from the race in lap 43 with a blown engine. Badoer was forced to pit just one lap later as he was suffering from electrical problems. It looked like the Italian saw another shot at points slip through his fingers.

A top six of Hill, Alesi, Villeneuve, Irvine, Hakkinen and Coulthard was now heading for the finish, but the race proved to be too long for some of them. Firstly, Hakkinen was forced to make an unplanned extra pit stop. Hydraulic issues were the issue, as explained by McLaren after the race. The Finn dropped behind his team mate, but remained in the points. In lap 56, Alesi lost a certain 2nd place when his engine blew and just two laps later, Villeneuve suffered the same fate.

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Survival of the fittest: Hill avoids problems and wins in Canada

All problems for others had moved Irvine up into 2nd, even though he was a full lap down on race leader Hill. Behind them, Coulthard was quickly losing time to his team mate, who was determined to make up for his lost time. Hakkinen finally got past in lap 62, taking the final spot on the podium and Coulthard would finish in 4th. Badoer had passed Martin Brundle earlier and because of Alesi's and Villeneuve's engine woes, he was able to score his first points of the season with a well-deserved 5th place. Brundle brought his car home in 6th.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Damon Hill (1st): "Of course, I'm satisfied. I think it was a perfect weekend all around, but I do realise I am very lucky to be the only title contender to finish today. Nevertheless, it is great to be back in the championship lead, lucky or not!"
Eddie Irvine (2nd): "Finally we're on the podium. As Damon said, it was a strange race and we're lucky to be here, but I really think the team deserves it. We have been very unlucky so far, with many car breakdowns and this makes up for it a little, at least. Although I do feel for Michael, he really deserved this one."
Mika Hakkinen (3rd): "Our car was only the fourth or fifth fastest this weekend and I hit trouble in the final stint. To then still be on the podium is strange, but I am proud of the race I drove. It was not easy to reel David back in, but I managed it."
Jos Verstappen (7th): "I always like this track and the car was not bad at all in the race. I saw on my pit board I was in 7th place all of a sudden. Of course you then hope for one more retirement in front of you, but it was my own car which broke down in the final lap. Thankfully it didn't cost me any places."
Nathan van Dijk (retired): "I think I was really good in the race today. I could match the pace of guys like Brundle and Badoer and I wasn't even that far off the McLarens. The way this race turned out, I'm not sure what would have been possible, but several points could have been on the table. Unfortunately, it was once again a case of what could have been."


Drivers' Championship
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Constructors' Championship
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