The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 09 Jul 2020, 18:37

Press Release - Minardi Team

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Minardi Team is announcing its driver line-up and presenting its car for the 1996 Formula One season. Portuguese driver Pedro Lamy had already driven the last races of the 1995 season and was already confirmed for 1996. Joining him will be Japanese driver Taki Inoue. Inoue gained some solid F1 experience in the past two years, having driven for several teams.

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Furthermore, Minardi completed its first tests with the upgraded car for 1996, the Minardi M195B. The M195B is an upgrade of last year's M195, which secured the team an 8th position in the constructors' championship. The Minardi M195B is once again powered by a Ford Cosworth V8 engine, which will also be an upgrade from last year's unit.

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Giancarlo Minardi, team owner, shared his thoughts on the new year, saying "We had a relatively good year last year, despite the struggles with engine suppliers. This year, we will again have Ford V8s, but we have proven last year we can be fighting in the midfield with those. Our financial resources are still quite a lot less than many of our competitors', so that is still a big challenge. We hope we can be competitive again and punch above our weight."


Press Release - MTV Simtek Ford

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MTV Simtek Ford had their official 1996 team presentation at the Silverstone circuit. The new Simtek S961 was presented by team principal Nick Wirth. The S961 is an evolution of the S951 which ran in the 1995 season. The car's new livery immediately caught a lot of attention: the asymmetrical design was a hit with the journalists and especially with the photographers.

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"This car is the next step in our growth to be a competitive team," said Wirth "although it may not look too different from the S951. We are convinced we had a very good basic design, which we especially showed by scoring our first point. We refined this design in many small details, in order to unleash its full potential this year. We have pretty high hopes of scoring more points than last year, despite our financial limitations."

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Not only the new Simtek S961 was shown for the first time at Silverstone, MTV Simtek Ford also announced the completion of its driver line-up for 1996. Tom Kristensen had been confirmed as one of Simtek's racing drivers at an earlier stage. Italian driver Andrea Montermini will join him in 1996, making his comeback with the team after entering the 1994 Spanish Grand Prix for Simtek. Montermini has gained valuable F1 experience last year, as he drove all the races.


Press Release - L'Oréal Larrousse DAMS GP

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After an intensive testing programme was completed, L'Oréal Larrousse DAMS GP is now officially launching its chassis, livery, commercial package and driver line-up for the 1996 Formula 1 season. With this launch, the team is celebrating the return of the Larrousse name after one year of absence and the debut of the DAMS name in F1 racing. Now the commercial package is complete, the team is showing it in its racing livery. L'Oréal is the team's main sponsor, but Panasonic, Elf, Rizla, Kronenbourg and Zanussi will be big commercial partners as well. "With these sponsors, Larrousse DAMS GP is not only sure to have the opportunity to keep developing the LD-I during the season, but also to keep a stable team in the longer term," said Gérard Larrousse, co-owner of the team.

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Emmanuel Collard has performed all the tests with the new car so far. He will also be one of Larrousse DAMS' race drivers for 1996. Joining him will be Japanese driver Hiro Matsushita, who signed a two-year contract with the team. Matsushita has a vast experience in single seater racing, as he has driven in several classes in the USA. He scored podium finished at the 24 Hours of Daytona and the Sebring 12 Hours, but his biggest success was winning the 1989 Toyota Atlantic championship with the largest point margin of all time. Subsequently, Matsushita drove in Champ Car, becoming the first ever Japanese driver to participate in the world-famous Indy 500 race.
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 10 Jul 2020, 12:56

Press Release - Minardi Team

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Minardi Team has ended their contract with Taki Inoue due to commercial issues. Inoue's sponsors were not able to meet the obligations in his contract. The young and talented Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella will replace him on a race-by-race basis. Fisichella won the Italian Formula 3 championship in 1994, as well as the F3 Grand Prix of Monaco. He gained important experience as a test driver with Minardi last year, so the team is confident he will be on the pace right away.
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 11 Jul 2020, 09:31

GRAND PRIX NEWS
Your monthly source for racing news, stories and rumors | Wednesday 6th March, 1996


1996 Season Preview

The wonderful world of Formula 1 will start its first race of yet another exciting season in just a few days. The 1996 season will have its overture on the new Albert Park circuit in Melbourne, Australia. Not only that track is new; no less than 6 drivers will enter their first Grand Prix there. Many driver transfers have also taken place before this season, most notably the reigning world champion, Michael Schumacher's move to Ferrari, David Coulthard's switch to McLaren and Jean Alesi's new signing at Benetton. To prepare all of you, our readers, to the 1996 season, Grand Prix News provides an overview of all the teams and drivers and we looked into our crystal ball to see what we can expect next Sunday when the lights turn green.

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Many eyes are on Ferrari this season, even more than the years before. Michael Schumacher arrives as a double world champion, bringing the number 1 back to the Italian team. Eddie Irvine is one of F1's most promising young drivers and played a big role in Jordan's impressive 1995 season. However, it does not look likely that the team will be a serious challenger for the championship yet. Pre-season testing has been very troublesome with many reliability issues, although when the car ran, it ran according to the team's expectations.

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Benetton is the reigning constructors' champion and they will be looking to keep their title. There are some reasons why they may not make it, though. Their star driver Schumacher left and their star designer, Rory Byrne, has already announced that 1996 is his last year. This might decrease the motivation within the team, although the driver duo will be very eager. Jean Alesi is chasing better luck after he once again proved he can win races if his car lasts a race distance, while Johnny Herbert had his first taste of a title challenge last year. The Briton showed he can be a challenger and he just needs a slight improvement.

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The Williams team is perhaps the top favourite for the championship this year. Ferrari and McLaren will not be ready yet and whether Benetton can continue their form is uncertain, so that leaves the Didcot-based team to seize the opportunity. The FW18, designed by Adrian Newey, looks very fast and the Renault V10 is still the engine to beat. Damon Hill had a difficult season last year, but he proved what he is worth in the last few races. Jacques Villeneuve is the most exciting rookie of 1996. The 1995 IndyCar champion has had an extensive preparation programme, but the pressure on him will be high to be on the pace from the word go.

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Jordan enjoyed their most successful season yet last year with a fast, albeit unreliable car. The new 196 looks interesting, the Peugeot engine has been further developed and, perhaps most importantly, the team now has a strong financial partner in Benson & Hedges, enabling them to invest more in in-season development. Barrichello was unlucky on several occasions last year, but he remains very quick. Brundle brings a lot of experience to the team. The team is still chasing its first win and with the challenging circumstances at several of their competitors, 1996 may just be the year it all comes together for them.

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McLaren-Mercedes was without a doubt the biggest disappointment of the 1995 season. The car was fast in some races, but due to the woeful reliability they almost never capitalized on that. Furthermore, the shenanigans over the second drive cast another shadow over their year. 1996 has to be the year of their resurgence and the MP4/11 is the tool to do it. The car has been co-developed by Alain Prost, but Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard will be the race drivers. It is a young, fresh duo and McLaren will hope to finally end the driver carrousel of the last few years.

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Sauber already knows it will be their final year of their partnership as the principal customer of Ford engines. It will therefore be a crucial year to show their competences, in order to secure another competitive engine deal. If the new Zetec-R V10 engine is as good as it promises to be, the team may be an outsider for some good results this year after 1995 was their best season in F1 so far. Heinz-Harald Frentzen will try to prove once again he deserves a top seat, while Gerhard Berger will be eager to show he is still quick and he can still add value to a team.

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Ligier will be one of the dark horses for this season. Their engine supplier Mugen does not work with the big budgets some of their competitors have, but the V10 was more than solid last year. Both Olivier Panis and Luca Badoer maximised their chances last year, so the French team may be the one to take some surprise results. The JS43 looked decent in pre-season testing, albeit not spectacular.

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The small Italian Minardi team had a good chassis last year, but they were let down by the underpowered Ford V8 engine. Not too much has changed for 1996, as the chassis is only a B-version and the engine is just a small development too. The team's lack of financial backing is the main reason for their lack of development. The fact that rookie Giancarlo Fisichella will be flown in last minute, will also not help their performance, although the young Italian is likely to be faster than Inoue had been. Joining him is Pedro Lamy, who did a solid job last year.

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Simtek looks to be in the same boat as Minardi. The team did a good job last year, but their development has also been critically underfunded. The S961 looks worryingly similar to last year's S951, but at least it performed a solid pre-season testing programme. Simtek's first driver Andrea Montermini did a solid job last year, although the Pacific was too far off the pace to truly judge the Italian's qualities. Tom Kristensen was rewarded for making a good impression in his two starts for the team last year. The drivers do not look to be a problem for Simtek, but the competitiveness of the car may be one.

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Tyrrell tried to punch above their weight last year and unfortunately, they miserably failed. The car was too complex and too ambitious for the little team. The new 024 is more conservative, although the new Yamaha V10 engine does look to be innovative. The Japanese engine is remarkably light, which might contribute to some good team performances on the slower circuits. Their driver duo is the same as last year, with Katayama bringing some considerable experience and Salo wanting to fulfill more of his promise in 1996.

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The Arrows team returns to F1, with Tom Walkinshaw's TWR as owner. TWR's influence on the 1996 car has not been big yet, but the A17 looks quite competitive nevertheless. Their major weakness will be the Hart V8 engine, which is light, but down on power from the V10s. Jos Verstappen is the driver who will need to get the results in for Arrows this year. He proved he is more than capable of doing so, regularly punching above his and the Simtek's weight in 1995. His team mate will be 1995 F3000 runner-up Ricardo Rosset from Brazil. Rosset brings a healthy amount of sponsor money to the team, but question marks have been raised about his speed. Perhaps Arrows' biggest issue for this year will be the question when they will shift their focus to 1997, though, as Walkinshaw has great ambitions for the future.

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The team formerly known as Forti struggled in their debut season in F1. The FG01 was underpowered and lacked aerodynamic stability. However, the FG03 looks to be a big step forward, as does the Ford Zetec-R V10 engine, despite the fact that DFC will receive updates later than Sauber. Pedro Diniz made it to the podium in his third F3000 season, but in general he was not impressive. Of course, he is in the team because of the "D" in DFC, but he will need to be surprisingly quick to get any results. Nathan van Dijk is his team mate, staying at the team for another year. The Dutchman, still only 20 years old, gets an early chance to lead a team which may now be capable of scoring some points.

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The Larrousse name is back in Formula 1, now merged with the DAMS racing outfit. Their Reynard-designed LD-I has undergone a long testing programme and looked at least able to challenge teams like Minardi and Simtek to get off the last row on the grid. The French team has two weaknesses: an underpowered Ford V8 engine and a rookie driver duo. Emmanuel Collard has been something of a promise for some years and is finally on the grid in 1996. His team mate, Hiro Matsushita from Japan, is the biggest mystery of F1 this year. Matsushita was quick in the lower American single-seater classes, but he never got up to speed in IndyCars. He is already 33 years old, so it seems quite uncertain that he can manage the steep learning curve to be on the pace in Formula 1.


Short but Sweet
Mugen-Hondas for Sauber in 1997? • Keith Wiggins (Pacific) to get involved in Lola's F1 programme • FOCA awards French GP to Magny-Cours until 2001 • Former Ferrari engineer Franco Rocchi (72) passed away
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 19 Jul 2020, 11:12

1996 Australian Grand Prix

The waiting is over, another F1 season gets underway! New track, new cars, many drivers in new positions, six new drivers: there is enough to be excited about. Will Williams live up to their role as favourites? Is the new Ferrari really that bad? Can Benetton defend their titles this year? And how will the pecking order be further down the grid? It is time to find out in the first Australian Grand Prix at Albert Park, Melbourne!


Qualifying

Damon Hill showed the quality of the new Williams, securing pole position. Jacques Villeneuve had an impressive maiden qualifying too, as he became the first rookie on the front row since Carlos Reutemann back in 1972. The Ferraris were surprisingly quick as they occupied the second row. Alesi and Hakkinen showed that Benetton and McLaren are not far off the pace as well.

Jordan and Sauber seem to be heading the midfield, like they did by the end of 1995. In fact, only one main change could be seen in the midfield: the DFCs showed a big improvement from last year's Fortis by qualifying in 16th and 19th. Remakably, rookie Diniz outqualified his team mate. Other rookies Fisichella and Collard did the same, but Rosset and Matsushita seemed to be somewhat off the pace.

Results
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Race

Damon Hill started well and kept the lead, but his team mate Villeneuve lost a place to Michael Schumacher. Irvine, Hakkinen and Barrichello, who gained three places, followed them coming out of the first two corners. The Brazilian would not stay in the points for long, as Alesi passed him still in the first lap. A little further back, Jos Verstappen caught a lot of attention. The Dutchman gained no less than 6 places at the start, but he lost it all just three corners later, running wide through the gravel in turn 6. When he rejoined the track, he touched wheels with Gerhard Berger, who for his part pushed Katayama in a spin. All drivers could continue their race, albeit with some time lost.

Jean Alesi was on the move in the opening stages. The Frenchman passed Hakkinen in lap 3 and Irvine in lap 4. Jacques Villeneuve was increasing the pressure in Schumacher in the meantime, but he did not need to make a move. The race was over after just 4 laps for the reigning world champion, because the transmission in his Ferrari failed. Villeneuve had now some free space and he showed how quick he is. He closed the gap to his team mate in just a couple of laps and in lap 10 he made his move. The rookie led an F1 race for the first time in his life. Hill was fighting to keep close to him, but he took too much risk in lap 6, running wide and struggling to get out of the gravel trap. The Briton dropped all the way back to 21st and had to start a recovery drive.

The first round of pit stops was coming up, but David Coulthard would not make it. The Scot had made his way up into 6th by lap 18, but he had to retire with a water leak. The entire top 6 appeared to be on a two stop strategy, all of them stopping between the laps 20 and 23. Johnny Herbert made up several positions by pitting late, rejoining in 4th after his first stop. Remarkably, Damon Hill did not stop as he was on a one stop strategy. His race could have been great, if only he had kept close to his team mate during that first stint. Pedro Lamy had a scary moment during the pit stop sequence when he lost control over his Minardi and had a big crash. Thankfully, the Portuguese walked away without injuries.

In the laps after the first stops, Irvine and Hakkinen completed the double retirements of both Ferrari and McLaren, having driven in 4th and 6th place respectively. Both teams needed a good start to the season, but they got a disastrous one. Rubens Barrichello had preceded them already, as his Jordan let him down just after he exited the pits. Damon Hill now found a way around all issues and had made his way up into the top six, even after his only stop. Just after his stop, he took 5th from Berger again and he looked like he still had a shot at a podium finish.

The second round of stops had not influenced the running order, so Jacques Villeneuve was still enjoying a vast lead over the Benetton duo of Jean Alesi and Johnny Herbert. Damon Hill was now up to 4th and closing in on Herbert. Gerhard Berger ran in a fine 5th, while Martin Brundle held onto the last point. The battle for the final point was intense, as Nathan van Dijk was chasing Brundle just 2 seconds back and Luca Badoer followed them by another 3 seconds. Jean Alesi's fortunes did not seem to have changed over the winter when the Frenchman had to retire from a fine 2nd place. Hill was now pushing to complete the Williams 1-2 and he got past Herbert on lap 52.

In the final laps, Nathan van Dijk had to focus on defending his 6th place in the closing stages, as Luca Badoer had closed the gap. The young Dutchman did a fine job in doing so, as he managed to keep the Italian behind until the finish line. The same could not be said from Damon Hill, although this time the Briton was not to be blamed himself. His Williams suffered from severe braking issues in the final two laps, requiring Hill to limp home and give up his 2nd place again. It did not harm his Canadian rookie team mate, however. Jacques Villeneuve won his very first F1 Grand Prix, followed almost a full minute later by Benetton's Johnny Herbert. Damon Hill was the only other driver to finish on the lead lap in 3rd. Gerhard Berger booked a good result in his first race for Sauber in 4th, followed by Brundle in 5th. Nathan van Dijk scored his and DFC's maiden point by finishing 6th.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Jacques Villeneuve (1st): "This was insane, to be honest. Winning my very first race is really something special. The car and the team were great all week-end. I must say, I really like F1 so far!"
Johnny Herbert (2nd): "Let's start with the good news: second place is quite a good result. But I am concerned about our lack of pace. The Williams looked superior here and the Ferraris are no slouches too."
Damon Hill (3rd): "I made a silly mistake early in the race and I payed the price for it. With the additional brake problems towards the end, I think I should be happy that we at least managed a podium finish."
Nathan van Dijk (6th): "Didn't we tell you so? We did make a big step and we were able to score points this year. The car was great, although I struggled a bit in qualifying. The race was almost perfect, I think."
Jos Verstappen (8th): "Qualifying and the first few corners were very good. It was a shame I lost some time by a mistake and after that, I never really could make up for it."


Drivers' Championship
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Constructors' Championship
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 19 Jul 2020, 18:17

Press Release - Minardi Team

Minardi Team are announcing a deal with Brazilian driver Tarso Marques for the next two Grands Prix, in Brazil and Argentina. The 20 year old driver will be replacing Giancarlo Fisichella, who was in the second car on a race-by-race basis. After Marques' deal expires, Fisichella will be back in the car on the same basis.

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Tarso Marques will be making his Formula 1 debut in Brazil, after he had an impressive career in several junior categories. Marques became the youngest driver to ever win a car race in 1992, when he won on several occasions in Brazilian Formula Chevrolet. A year later, he moved up to South American Formula 3, where he was the youngest man ever to take a pole position and win a race. Marques also became the youngest ever to score points, a pole position and a race win in International F3000 in the subsequent two years.
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 26 Jul 2020, 15:27

1996 Brazilian Grand Prix

The Williams team was dominant in the season opener, but Damon Hill will be looking for revenge after an incident-filled race. Both Ferrari and McLaren had a double DNF and will also want to do much better this time. How will the cards be stacked in the second race of the year?


Qualifying

The top 3 was exactly the same as in Australia, although Damon Hill's margin was a lot smaller this time. Both Benettons were a lot closer to the front now, with Herbert in 4th and Alesi 5th. Irvine still did a decent job in 6th, just in front of the McLarens who looked like the 4th fastest team again. In the midfield, Mika Salo and Nathan van Dijk stood out by qualifying a lot better than in the season opener: they now got 13th and 14th on the grid respectively. Tarso Marques raised some eyebrows too, by qualifying only 0.08 s behind his experienced team mate, Pedro Lamy.

Results
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Race

Damon Hill had a poor start from pole position and got passed by Villeneuve and Schumacher on the way to turn 1. Things looked even worse for him when Johnny Herbert also outbraked him into turn 4. Alesi had meanwhile kept his place, while Hakkinen had gained a place on Irvine to move up into the points. The opening laps of the race would be eventful, starting with two overtaking maneuvers in the first corner of the second lap. For the first time, Michael Schumacher took the lead in a Ferrari when he passed Villeneuve. Behind them, Hill regained 3rd by passing Herbert again. Just one lap later, on the same part of the circuit, the top positions were shuffled again. Schumacher's engine blew and Damon Hill was more alert than his team mate in the smoke, overtaking him into the first corner. Some meters further, Alesi, who had passed Herbert in the meantime, was caught by surprise by the slow Ferrari and had to dodge him through the grass. The Frenchman dropped to 7th as a result, while Michael Schumacher came to a standstill. The German had a terrible start to the season, completing just 5 laps in the first two races.

Alesi quickly moved back up through the ranks by passing both Irvine and Hakkinen in the next few laps. Hakkinen had already been passed by his team mate, David Coulthard. In lap 9, Alesi also found a way past the Scot and was back in 4th position. Hill was building a steady lead in the meantime, securing him a fine track position after the first stops. Those first stops were kicked off by Jean Alesi, who came into the pits in lap 19. The rest of the top six followed, with two exceptions. Jacques Villeneuve appeared to be on a one stop strategy and was now in the lead. Eddie Irvine ran in 6th, but his race ended with an engine failure, just like Schumacher's. Home driver Rubens Barrichello was also on a one stop strategy; the Brazilian was up to 6th after the first round of stops. That would even become a fine 5th position when both McLarens retired from the race once again, showing that Ferrari was not the only top team struggling with reliability issues.

Villeneuve's lead had shrunk to just 2 seconds when he came into the pits to make his only stop of the race. The Canadian would rejoin in 3rd, just behind Herbert. The Canadian got past swiftly and started chasing his team mate again. Barrichello's stop saw him drop to 6th behind Frentzen, who was on a two stop strategy like most of the field. It was clear that the second round of stops would most probably restore the pecking order in this race. Hill and Alesi kicked off that round in lap 46. While Alesi kept his 4th position, Hill rejoined the track right behind Herbert in 3rd. Herbert would stop in lap 48, but Hill had no patience to wait for that. He outbraked Herbert with quite some risk in the Juncao corner. Herbert subsequently just about kept his 3rd position after his stop, but Alesi was not too far away. Frentzen also pitted in lap 48, handing points positions to both Jordan cars of Barrichello and Brundle.

Damon Hill was still on the move and closed the gap with his team mate quickly. He was right on Villeneuve's gearbox by lap 52 and just one lap later, he made his final move in Descida do Lago. While Hill disappeared in the distance, Frentzen was making his way back up into the points. Much like Hill, the German made good use of his fresher tyres to take back 6th from Brundle. The Benetton duo were driving a less eventful race in 3rd and 4th position, although Alesi was still pushing to beat his team mate. The Frenchman overcooked it in lap 58, spinning and suffering significant time loss, although he could continue in 4th. Just two laps later, Herbert unexpectedly made an extra pit stop and his steering wheel needed to be replaced. The team cleverly made use of the situation to put him on fresh tyres once again too, but the Briton lost his 3rd place to his team mate.

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Damon Hill wins the Brazilian Grand Prix

Hill cruised to victory, followed by Villeneuve who could not stay close to him in the closing stages. The Benettons did have a close battle in the final laps, as Alesi suffered from the flat spots on his tyres, while Herbert was flying on a fresh set. Herbert had one chance to pass the Frenchman in the final lap and he took it when he outbraked Alesi into the first corner. Alesi could not attack him any more and finished behind him in 4th. Barrichello finished his home Grand Prix in a fine 5th place, while Frentzen took the final point. The only home driver still running towards the end was Tarso Marques, who had had a solid race. He unfortunately had to retire his car just before the finish, which handed Montermini the 10th place.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Damon Hill (1st): "This is more like it. I think we had a perfect weekend, with pole position, fastest lap and the race win. I had to fight some other drivers to make the two stop strategy work, but we pulled it off in good fashion."
Jacques Villeneuve (2nd): "We chose to split the strategies, just like we had done in Australia. This time, my strategy did not seem to work perfectly, but Damon was very quick too. I'm still satisfied with 2nd and I've kept the championship lead."
Johnny Herbert (3rd): "I think this was the maximum we could achieve this weekend. As I said last time, we are not really quick enough to challenge the Williams, but at least we got the most out of what we currently have."
Nathan van Dijk (retired): "I really think we were stronger this weekend than we were in Australia, although the results don't match that. I ran comfortably in front of Brundle when we got to the first stops, but unfortunately we had cooling issues after that. It would have been a nice fight with Frentzen for the final point, I think."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "This was a weekend to forget, to be honest. Qualifying was not great and the race was over way too soon."


Drivers' Championship
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Constructors' Championship
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 29 Jul 2020, 18:23

GRAND PRIX NEWS
Your monthly source for racing news, stories and rumors | Wednesday 3rd April, 1996


Teams in Trouble

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The 1996 season has barely started, but it looks like some teams are in trouble already. Many eyes were on Ferrari and Michael Schumacher during the first two races, but they certainly did not live up to expectations. The German retired very early in both races and his team mate, Eddie Irvine, suffered from mechanical failures as well. It seems clear that more changes on the technical side are needed at the Italian team. John Barnard may well be the victim of those changes, as sources in the paddock tell Grand Prix News that Ferrari is either trying to sign Adrian Newey, or to lure back former Benetton designer Rory Byrne from retirement.

Meanwhile things at McLaren are not too much better. The MP4/11's pace does definitely not look better than last year's car and much like Ferrari, McLaren is yet to finish a race. McLaren is said to be developing some radical updates for later in the season, although they are not expected to become serious contenders for race wins anymore. The updates may be crucial for McLaren's partnership with Mercedes-Benz. Last year, the German manufacturer did not provide a reliable engine, costing the team some good results, but this year the McLaren chassis seems to be the main weakness. Mercedes is believed to be disappointed in McLaren's performance so far.

Troubles at the back of the grid are on quite a different level. The small Simtek team is showing even bigger MTV logos on the car this year, but insiders say this is not due to increased sponsoring. On the contrary, MTV negotiated a deal to pay less for more exposure. By lack of alternatives, Simtek had no choice but to accept this setback. The team is said to be looking for at least $15 million extra before the end of the year to survive. Fellow minnows Minardi have a similar problem after Taki Inoue's sponsors withdrew short before the season. Minardi's financial hole is estimated to be $10 million.


Dome Kicks Off

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The Japanese Dome team have set an important step towards their 1997 Formula 1 entry. A prototype F1 chassis, the Dome F105, was revealed two weeks ago and underwent its first testing at the Mine and Suzuka circuits. Dome is planning to perform an extensive testing program this year, including several runs on European circuits in the summer.

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The F105 is powered by the same Mugen-Honda V10 as currently used by Ligier. The chassis was designed by Akiyoshi Oku, who also designed the constructors' F104 chassis, which won the 1994 Japanese F3000 championship, driven by Marco Apicella. The Italian is also one of the team's test drivers for this year, joined by Japanese drivers Naoki Hattori and Shinji Nakano.

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To complete their preparation for 1997, Dome still needs two major things: tyres and money. The F105 is running on Goodyear tyres so far, but no tyre deal is in place yet. Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone is entering F1 in 1997 and looks to be a likely candidate for the team. Perhaps even more important is a sponsor package. The car still looks quite empty as the team is still looking for sponsors. Several companies are being rumored, most notably retail company 7-Eleven, Pepsi cola, video game and console brand Nintendo and printer manufacturer OKI. However, until a deal is in place, all the testing may be in vain.


Short but Sweet

Renault to decide in 2 months whether it stays in F1 after '97 • Taki Inoue might get paid Simtek seat • Ecclestone negiotiates F1 mechandising with Disney • Austrian GP will return from '97 onwards • Williams engineer Eghbal Hamidy to join Stewart Grand Prix
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 29 Jul 2020, 19:06

Press Release - Scuderia Ferrari

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Scuderia Ferrari is officially confirming that its second driver, Eddie Irvine, will not drive in the Argentinian Grand Prix this weekend. Irvine is suffering from a serious food poisoning, so it was decided on Friday morning that his place will be taken by test and reserve driver Nicola Larini. Irvine is expected to be back in the car for the next Grand Prix on the Nürburgring.
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 04 Aug 2020, 18:32

1996 Argentinian Grand Prix

Just one week after the tough Brazilian GP it is time for the Argentinian Grand Prix. The slowest circuit so far on the calendar may give teams with a less powerful engine an opportunity to shine. Last year's race in Buenos Aires was also full of attrition, enabling Minardi and Simtek to score their only points of the season. Will the 1996 edition spring new surprises, or is it business as usual in Argentina?

Qualifying

Once again, Hill and Villeneuve lock out the front row, followed by Schumacher and the Benettons. Rubens Barrichello had a great qualifying, beating both McLarens to claim 6th on the grid. The barely prepared Nicola Larini did a very solid job to take 9th, while it was more or less business as usual in the midfield. The biggest disappointments were Martin Brundle, Luca Badoer and Ricardo Rosset, who were all too far back on the grid and beaten soundly by their team mates.

Results
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Race

Hill kept the lead at the start, but both Benettons rocketed out of their grid slots with Herbert taking 2nd and Alesi 3rd. Schumacher, Villeneuve and Coulthard completed the top 6 out of the first corner, but Villeneuve conquered 4th a couple of metres later in the S do Senna. Although Schumacher was running a bit further back than in the previous races, he must have been glad that his car lasted more than 3 laps for the first time this year. That could not be said of his team mate's car: Nicola Larini had to retire with a puncture in lap 3, probably caused by small debris from the midfield battles in the first laps.

Another tyre failed because of these debris and it caused another retirement: Jacques Villeneuve could also not continue in lap 7. The Canadian's retirement put Barrichello back in the top 6 and the Brazilian was on the move. He passed Coulthard for 5th a couple of laps later. The Scot's team mate followed some more laps later. No further changes would occur in the top 6 until Johnny Herbert kicked off the first round of pit stops, in lap 30, followed by Barrichello and both McLarens. Hill, Alesi and Schumacher now made up the top 3, all appearing to be on a one stop strategy. Hill and Alesi stopped in lap 43 and 46 respectively and kept their positions. Although he got a lot closer this time, Michael Schumacher still did not get to make his first pit stop for Ferrari. Once again he had to retire with transmission issues.

After the whole field had made their first stop, Hill was still in the lead, followed by Alesi and Herbert. Barrichello had moved up to a brilliant 4th, followed within a few seconds by Hakkinen in 5th and Frentzen in a fine 6th position. Nobody was able to really close in on a rival until the second round of stops, which was once again started by Herbert. Barrichello, Hakkinen and Frentzen followed later, with the latter losing a place to David Coulthard in the process. With reasonably big gaps between all drivers, it looked like a simple cruise to the finish for the top six.

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Damon Hill won by more than a minute in Buenos Aires

However, the sting was in the tail of this Argentinian Grand Prix. No less than three drivers retired in the final six laps of the race. Johnny Herbert saw a 3rd place disappear when his transmission failed, while Minardi's Tarso Marques had to end another solid race just before the finish. Rubens Barrichello was now set to be rewarded with a podium finish for a very strong weekend, but the Brazilian would not get what he deserved. In lap 70, his Jordan came to a standstill due to electrical problems. This meant that Damon Hill and Jean Alesi were joined on the podium by Mika Hakkinen, who scored his first points of the year. David Coulthard took his first points for McLaren with a 4th place, while Heinz-Harald Frentzen came home in 5th, finishing in the points for the second race in a row. Olivier Panis scored Ligier's first point of 1996 by finishing 6th.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Damon Hill (1st): "Another great weekend, I think. I'm actually struggling to find anything that could have gone better here. It's also great to be in the championship lead now, I believe this is the first time that's happened to me."
Jean Alesi (2nd): "The gap to Damon was definitely too big, but I am getting more and more used to the car and the team. I think we are still getting stronger each race and 2nd is a very good result today."
Mika Hakkinen (3rd): "Well, this was an unexpected podium. It is very good that both our cars finished today, but we need to work on our pace. Anyway, I am enjoying this first podium of the year now!"
Nathan van DIjk (9th): "I think it was a solid race. The car was stable, but we lacked a bit of pace. The extra pit stop half way through the race also did not really help. We might have been closer to points again."
Jos Verstappen (10th): "The race was quite boring, to be honest. I think this is where we are at the moment, so we need to seize every opportunity for results. Today, that opportunity did not come."

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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 22 Aug 2020, 14:26

1996 European Grand Prix

Formula 1 is back in Europe, 3 weeks after the previous race in Argentina. Most of the teams have used the time to test and introduce upgrades. The Nürburgring will be the proving ground for these upgrades. Will Williams retain their dominance? Will Ferrari find their reliability in the first of Schumacher's home races? Or will Benetton or Mclaren perhaps close the gap?

Qualifying

Damon Hill had another very strong qualifying, but his team mate Villeneuve lagged a bit behind, allowing Schumacher to take 2nd on the grid. The Canadian followed in 3rd, just in front of Alesi and Herbert. Barrichello did very well again to take 6th. McLaren's European season did not start well at all, as Coulthard and Hakkinen were only able to qualify in 9th and 10th respectively. The biggest gap between team mates was once again between Verstappen and Rosset, the latter still having to prove he is worthy of an F1 seat.

Results
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Race

Both Williams had a good start, but Jean Alesi cheekily took 2nd in the Castrol-S. Hill kept the lead, while Villeneuve remained in 3rd. Michael Schumacher got away poorly and had lost two places in the first metres. Behind the German, Herbert kept 5th into the Castrol-S, but Frentzen gained another place by passing him at the exit of the chicane. Herbert lost one more place when Barrichello outbraked him into turn 3. The Veedol chicane was the scene for more action, as Schumacher passed Villeneuve and Herbert regained his 6th place on Barrichello.

Just one lap later, the top 6 was shook up again. Jacques Villeneuve regained a podium spot by passing Schumacher, while Johnny Herbert further recovered from his poor start and overtook Frentzen. The British Benetton driver kept the momentum and outbraked Schumacher for 4th just 2 laps later. After this, the order seemed pretty much settled for the first stint, with Hill leading from Alesi, Villeneuve, Herbert, Schumacher and Frentzen. The latter lost his place in the points to Barrichello in lap 11 when he had to retire with transmission issues. Alesi had the same kind of trouble one lap later, handing Coulthard a place in the top 6.

While Damon Hill was still comfortably leading, Johnny Herbert showed a very strong pace and closed the gap to Villeneuve. He managed to get passed in lap 19 and was now up to 2nd. 3 laps later, Herbert was handed the lead of the race as the most shocking moment of the race took place. Damon Hill got on the throttle too early out of the Coca-Cola Kurve, lost control of his Williams, and crashed out of the race. Hill had won the previous two races, but this was already the second time this year he lost points due to a driver error.

Herbert came into the pits in lap 24; he looked to be the only driver at the front to be on a two-stop strategy. He rejoined in 5th, but he quickly found a way past both Coulthard and Barrichello to move up to 3rd. The one-stoppers followed from lap 34, when Barrichello and Hakkinen were the first two drivers to make their stop. Villeneuve followed one lap later, which meant that Michael Schumacher was leading a race for Ferrari for the first time. It only lasted for one lap, as the German came into the pits in lap 36. After the entire field had made their first stop, the top 6 consisted of Herbert, Villeneuve, Schumacher, Barrichello, Hakkinen, who had passed his team mate just before the stops, and Coulthard.

The leading Benetton of Johnny Herbert suddenly drove slowly around the track in lap 43. The team declared after the race that it was a throttle issue, which fortunately could be fixed in the pits. Herbert did need to stop a bit earlier than planned and he did lose quite some time on that particular lap. The Briton rejoined the race in 3rd and his chances of winning were gone. The same could be said once again about Michael Schumacher just one lap later. The German had a puncture and was unable to return to the pits. As a very small consolation for Ferrari, the world champion's retirement did promote his team mate, Eddie Irvine, into the points.

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Jacques Villeneuve wins his second race and re-takes the championship lead

The only position change in the last stint occured when Mika Hakkinen had to stop his car with a failed suspension. Jacques Villeneuve could take it easy after Herbert's problems to take his second F1 victory. Herbert followed him home in 2nd after an impressive, albeit unlucky, race. Just like in Argentina, Rubens Barrichello had a stong weekend, but the difference was that he did finish on the Nürburgring to take his and Jordan's first podium finish of the season. David Coulthard finished in 4th, while Eddie Irvine scored Ferrari's first points of 1996 in 5th. Gerhard Berger took the final point after a rather anonymous race.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Jacques Villeneuve (1st): "I must admit: Damon was faster all weekend and it could have been a tense battle with Herbert if he hadn't struck trouble. But we made no mistakes where others did and that's why we took the win."
Johnny Herbert (2nd): "I somehow couldn't get the car to really work in qualifying, but the race pace was fine. The bad start and the throttle problem did harm my race, but I'm not sure if we could have won today anyway."
Rubens Barrichello (3rd): "Well, after the unfortunate last weekend, I think we got wat we deserved here. Before the season, we perhaps hoped to be closer to the top, but looking at where we stand now, 3rd is a very nice result."
Jos Verstappen (8th): "It's good that we finished again, but we do need to improve the car to be closer to the points. The race itself went quite well, but I drove alone for most of the time, so it was not too exciting to be honest."
Nathan van Dijk (retired): "Until the retirement, it was another solid weekend. We are more and more understanding the car after the testing and I hope we can show that in the following races."


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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 23 Aug 2020, 11:14

GRAND PRIX NEWS
Your monthly source for racing news, stories and rumors | Wednesday 1st May, 1996

Engines and Politics

The 1996 season has barely started, but work and negotiations have already started for 1997 and beyond. One of the hottest topics at the moment are the engines. Big changes could be about to happen, although nobody seems to be sure how and when exactly. The only thing set in stone for the next years, is Ferrari's own engine supply. Grand Prix News tries to unravel the mysteries in this article.

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Renault is a dominant force in F1, having powered the constructor's champion every year since 1992. The French V10 is still the engine to have and currently, Williams and Benetton are the lucky ones. Both teams have a contract until the end of 1997 and Renault wants to limit their engine supply to two teams. However, French political pressure to make Ligier an all-French team again, may interfere with this plan. Ligier had Renault engines in the past and getting them again as early as next year would undoubtedly be an upgrade. Renault's plans for 1998 and beyond are a different story. Benetton's results may not be sufficient for Renault to continue their collaboration, especially when Williams remains the dominant force they are now. If Renault leaves F1, that would leave an even bigger impact. Renault Sport boss Patrick Faure admitted lately that the company does not have any plans yet for '98 and '99.

The second French engine supplier, Peugeot, is in a more or less similar situation. Their deal with Jordan is running until the end of next year and there seems to be a preference to stay exclusive. Ligier could however become a second team with Peugeot's V10s, which have improved significantly over the last year. Rumor also has it that DFC and Arrows are looking for a full works deal, with Peugeot being one of the candidates. Both teams will need to sign some top notch technicians though, as Peugeot will need to be convinced that these teams are capable of challenging for top results.

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Mercedes-Benz meanwhile has a deal with McLaren that ends this year. The partnership has been one with ups and downs so far, but the Mercedes engine does not seem to be without its flaws. Still, it seems that McLaren will need to convince Mercedes that things will get better soon, or the Germans may well be on their way out of the team, or even out of the sport. DFC is believed to be the only team both interested and financially capable to take over the deal if McLaren is left behind.

Ford's plans with their works V10 are already known: the new Stewart team as a 3-year deal. If and how this will impact Sauber and DFC still remains to be seen. It seems unlikely that both teams will keep the V10s, but perhaps one of them could sign a deal similar to DFC's 1996 supply. Ford is also badging Cosworth V8 engines, which are supplied to Simtek, Minardi and Larrousse DAMS. No decision has been taken by Ford yet on whether they will continue supporting this program. If Ford withdraws its support, it may cause trouble for these budget-strapped teams as it is unlikely they will find such a cheap supplier anywhere else.

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Mugen-Honda, Yamaha and Hart will as always be interesting options for teams in the midfield. Mugen's deal with Ligier is likely to be extended for a year if the French government does not manage to arrange a French engine. The most exciting thing about Mugen is the possibility that Honda could take over business again. Strong rumors suggest that Benetton is already in talks for 1998 and beyond, while Walkinshaw's Arrows is also on the outlook. The new Dome team is very likely to get a customer deal with them as well, perhaps for a downgraded version of the Japanese V10. Arrows is also linked by insiders to Yamaha, while they are currently being supplied by Hart, which is eager to resume its V10 programme. The Hart engines may be rebadged as Volvo's as an extension of TWR's current joint venture with the Swedish company. Hart is also an option for Sauber and Tyrrell, as their engine deals are set to end this year.


A Chat with Nathan

On the Sunday evening after the European GP, Grand Prix News was able to sit down with Dutch DFC driver Nathan van Dijk. We caught up with him about his season so far, we discussed both his and DFC's future and we even got a glimpse of his personal life and friendships.

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Nathan, thanks for making time for this interview. To start off with a standard question: how are you doing?
You're welcome. I am fine; I am getting more and more used to F1 and it really begins to feel like "my world" now.

That's good to year. Does the season so far meet your expectations?
Well, before the season DFC set their target to score points this year. We already met that in the first race, where I took 6th place. I do need to admit that after that race, we were perhaps too optimistic about the rest of the year. We are still quite competitive, we are well in the midfield, but I am not sure if it is very realistic to say we will score a lot more. Let's see how good the upgrades through the season turn out to be.

For those upgrades, DFC will need more resources than they had last year. Can you tell us anything about that?
I think Guido Forti and Abilio Diniz can give you a better answer, but the team has grown for sure. We have tripled the amount of employees and we are still expanding. The sponsor budget is bigger as well with the new partners. The only thing we can only hope for at the moment is that later in the season, we get the same engine upgrade Sauber got for the Nürburgring.

So things look to be on the rise at DFC. However, you do only have a contract until the end of the year. Will you stay at DFC?
So far I see no reason why not. The team is satisfied with my performance and I feel like I am still growing.

What do you then make of the rumours that Abilio Diniz wants to sign a Brazilian star driver to lead the team?
Well, they are rumours, so I am not sure how true they are. I have gotten to know Mr. Diniz as a very performance-focused person, though, so I am sure that he will keep me if I keep performing well.

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Forti had something of a Brazilian star driver last year with the experienced Roberto Moreno. This year, rookie Pedro Diniz is your team mate. How are your relationships with them and what are the main differences?
Roberto was great to have as a team mate. Such an experienced driver, who had seen it all. His technical feedback was great, but he was most of all a very good mentor for a young rookie like me, who really lacked a lot of experience. I definitely learned a lot from him and I think I am bringing that in practice this year. Pedro is now the rookie and I have a year under my belt. I am still learning, but Pedro is new to the F1 world, although he has more experience in the lower classes than I had. I know opinions on Pedro are sometimes harsh, simply because his father owns the team, but I don't think that is really justified. He is genuinely quick, especially in qualifying, and he is a nice guy to work with.

And how are your contacts with other drivers in the paddock? Do you sometimes have a conversation in Dutch with Jos Verstappen, for example?
I was kind of shy when I started last year. I was a bit of an unknown guy in the paddock, but I grew into it as I grew into every aspect of F1. For sure, it is nice to talk in Dutch with Jos sometimes, but other youngsters like Rubens Barrichello and Giancarlo Fisichella are nice guys too. I wouldn't call them friends, but we get along well.

Well Nathan, thank you very much for having us. Good luck on the rest of the season, with the next race already in a week. One last question: what do you need to do the rest of the season to make be satisfied at the end of the year?
Thank you for interviewing, I enjoyed it! That's actually a tough question. I suppose it is three things: score more points on at least one or two occasions, beat Pedro in the qualifying and in the championship and making sure that I have a race seat in 1997.


Short but Sweet

F3 and F3000 team Shannon looking to form alliance with current F1 team • Williams' wind tunnel moved to new base in Grove • Hakkinen and Frentzen linked to Hill's Williams seat • Agip possibly to sponsor Benetton, Minardi, or both in 1997 • 1996 German GP first to be broadcast digitally • Martin Whitaker new Ford European Motorsport Director, Gilitzer dumped
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 25 Aug 2020, 20:57

1996 San Marino Grand Prix

Jacques Villeneuve conquered the lead after Damon Hill made an unforced error on the Nürburgring. Eddie Irvine scored Ferrari's first points, but Michael Schumacher suffered another retirement. Only one week later, the next race is coming up. Can Villeneuve extend his lead or will Hill strike back?

Qualifying

Jacques Villeneuve qualified on pole position for the first time in his F1 career, while Damon Hill completed Williams' front row lockout. Michael Schumacher beat both Benettons once again, taking 3rd in front of Johnny Herbert and Jean Alesi. Eddie Irvine completed the top 6. At the back, Ricardo Rosset qualified in a career-best 22nd position, while Hiro Matsushita was the only driver to qualify in the same spot for five races in a row. The Japanese cannot be satisfied with this peculiar statistic, as he qualified last for all those races.

Results
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Race

Michael Schumacher had a brilliant start in front of the Italian crowd. He took the lead on the way to the first corner, followed by Jacques Villeneuve. Damon Hill and Jean Alesi started the race with an intense battle for 3rd. The duo went side by side into the first corner and they lasted until Hill got ahead in Piratella. Rubens Barrichello and Johnny Herbert completed the top 6, while things behind them went completely wrong in Acqua Minerale. Eddie Irvine braked too late and punted David Coulthard off the track, while the Ulsterman himself spun off. They both ended in the gravel, but both could continue their race without damage. A recovery drive awaited both of them, although Irvine's ended after just 10 laps.

The incident between Irvine and Coulthard proved to be the first of many. In lap 3, Villeneuve braked too late for Taguardo. He tried to quickly rejoin the track, but forced his team mate off the track in the process. While the Canadian kept his 2nd place, Hill lost everything and dropped back to the last place. Just behind the shenanigans of the Williams duo, Herbert moved up to 4th by outbraking Barrichello. The Briton gained another position in the same lap when he passed his team mate at the Variante Bassa. Herbert was now increasing the pressure on Villeneuve, but despite several fierce efforts, he could not get past in the opening stages. Villeneuve's team mate Hill was less fortunate when his recovery drive ended prematurely in lap 8. His transmission had let him down.

Michael Schumacher lost the lead in another incident in lap 13. The German ran wide in Acque Minerali, had to take the long route through the gravel and rejoined in 4th, behind Villeneuve, Herbert and Alesi. Just one lap later, it was Villeneuve who succumbed to the pressure of Herbert. The Canadian spun on the same point where Schumacher had made his mistake. He tried to rejoin just in front of Schumacher, slowing both of them down so much that Barrichello could get passed and move up to 3rd. Surprisingly, the Brazilian was able to hold on to that position for many laps.

It became clear why Herbert had been to quick when he came into the pits as early as lap 17. The Benetton driver was the only one in the entire field on a 3 stop strategy. He dropped to 8th, but made his way back into the top 6 in just two laps time. Not only did he pass Frentzen, but he gained another place when Jacques Villeneuve completed a disastrous weekend for Williams. His retirement was caused by an engine failure. Michael Schumacher was next to share the misfortunes when his engine failed in lap 21.

The two-stoppers came into the pits in the next laps, when it appeared that Mika Hakkinen was on a one stop strategy. The Finn had moved up to 2nd, although Alesi was able to pass him quickly after his stop. After Hakkinen and Frentzen, who had the same strategy, had made their only stops, Herbert was back in the lead, followed by Alesi, Barrichello, Hakkinen, Brundle and Frentzen. Herbert soon had to make his second stop and came back in 3rd. Frentzen lost his chance of a good result when his engine was the next one to fail, while Brundle harmed his potential result by spinning and losing a place to Panis.

The second round of stops came and almost simultaneously, Herbert had to make his third and final stop as well. After the stops, Alesi and Barrichello were still the numbers 1 and 2. Hakkinen's strategy paid off as he was back in 3rd, just in front of Herbert. Panis and Brundle completed the top 6. Herbert made good use of his fresher tyres by passing Hakkinen, but he could only enjoy his 3rd position for a few corners before his engine made him leave Imola empty handed. Herbert's retirement resulted in Coulthard's comeback in the top 6. The Scot extended his surge through the field by overtaking Brundle for 5th in the closing stages of the race.

A top 6 of Alesi, Barrichello, Hakkinen, Panis, Coulthard and Brundle seemed to settle, but nothing was as it seemed in this San Marino Grand Prix. Olivier Panis was on his way to a brilliant 4th place after a strong race, but his suspension failed just 5 laps from the finish. The Frenchman's bad luck put Nathan van Dijk in the position to score a point for the second time in his career. The Dutchman managed a comfortable lead over his team mate Pedro Diniz, but he would lose it all even closer to the finish. Just two laps from the end, his suspension failed. His team would still get the final point though, as it was now rookie Diniz who scored his first ever point in his first ever race finish.

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Jean Alesi takes his maiden win in an eventful GP at Imola

Jean Alesi could not be bothered by anyone's misfortunes on this day. Finally the Frenchman had luck on his side and he took a much-deserved maiden win. Rubens Barrichello got his second consecutive podium by finishing 2nd and Mika Hakkinen finished 3rd for the second time this year. David Coulthard finished 4th after an impressive catch-up race, followed by Martin Brundle in 5th. Pedro Diniz completed the top 6.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes
Jean Alesi (1st): "Finally! This is a great feeling, even when we know we were a bit lucky. I do think, however, that we could have beaten everyone today, apart from Hill maybe. The car felt great and I could quite easily go fast. We will definitely celebrate tonight!"
Rubens Barrichello (2nd): "Things are now going our way and that is great. I could really keep up with the leaders in the first stint and it was not too difficult to keep Villeneuve behind, which was nice. In the end, we did not fail where others did and 2nd is a great result."
Mika Hakkinen (3rd): "We took a bit of a gamble with our strategy, but I don't think we could have gotten a better result otherwise. We are not yet fast enough, to be honest, but the team is working hard and until we improve the car, at least the team shows we can maximize our results."
Nathan van Dijk (12th): "I'll try not to swear, haha. It's great for Pedro, who had lost time earlier in the race and who did really do well today, but so did I, I think. Better luck next time."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "I am actually a bit more positive than last week. The car did well, I was involved in some nice battles in the first stint and to be honest, I think I was at least as quick as Diniz today. It shows that we may be able to score some points this year."


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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 30 Aug 2020, 11:44

1996 Monaco Grand Prix

Formula One's most famous venue was last year the stage for Ferrari's only win of the season. The Italian formation are yet to score a podium this year. Will they finally be able to challenge Williams and Benetton for the top positions? Can Benetton keep the momentum and will they decrease Williams' lead further? Or will Williams restore the pecking order? A surprising weekend may be coming up, especially because many teams have brought new upgrades.


Qualifying

Damon Hill scored another pole position, but the margin was surprisingly small. Johnny Herbert showed that Benetton's upgrades were effective: the Briton was only 0.008s slower. Jacques Villeneuve qualified in 3rd, closely followed by the other Benetton of Jean Alesi. Michael Schumacher did not completely feel comfortable in the Ferrari, but managed a 5th place, while Gerhard Berger had by far his best qualifying of the year, earning himself a 6th position on the grid. Experience seemed valuable in more cases: Hakkinen, Brundle, Verstappen and Van Dijk all easily outqualified their less experienced team mates. Three youngsters impressed however: Salo, Fisichella and Kristensen all got a fine position on the grid and beat their team mates.

Results
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Race

Damon Hill kept the lead at the start, but it was Michael Schumacher who got away the fastest. The German rocketed to 2nd place, in front of Herbert, Villeneuve and Alesi. Gerhard Berger lost two places from his good starting slot, handing Mika Hakkinen the last points position. Hill swiftly pulled a gap in the first laps, while Schumacher seemed to be holding up the three cars behind him. However, he German's race once again ended prematurely in lap 5. For the second time this year, it was a puncture that rendered his car unable to continue. Because Schumacher slowed down rather abruptly, Herbert had to brake, allowing Villeneuve and Alesi to get past him when entering the tunnel. Alesi also tried to get past Villeneuve when braking for the Nouvelle Chicane, but the Canadian kept 2nd position.

Although Villeneuve, Alesi and Herbert stayed close together, overtaking was as difficult as usual in the principality. The order remained unchanged until lap 26, when Alesi suddenly slowed down and Herbert got past. Herbert had to make his first pit stop right after, while Alesi also had to come in to get a new steering wheel. The Frenchman lost even more time waiting some seconds when Herbert got fresh tyres and fuel. Herbert came back in 4th, while Alesi dropped behind Heinz-Harald Frentzen in 6th. It did not take the Frenchman long to pass the German, though: just one lap later he gained 5th position. Both Benettons also had not much trouble to get in front of Hakkinen again, but they did lose too much time in the process, as Damon Hill could make his first stop and stay ahead in 2nd position.

Because Villeneuve was on a one stop strategy, he was now in the lead. Hill and the Benettons did close in on him, but the Canadian had a couple of seconds margin left when he made his first stop in lap 38. He rejoined the race in 4th, but just two laps after, it was Alesi who already made his second stop. The Frenchman had closed the gap to Hill and Herbert significantly with his lighter car, but now he was back in 4th again. Meanwhile, Gerhard Berger had made an early two stop strategy work to get up to 5th. The experienced Austrian showed that his qualifying speed was no fluke: his race pace was impressive as well.

The second round of pit stops was kicked off by Berger and Hakkinen in lap 47. The Sauber team did well with a quick stop, keeping Berger in front of the Finn. Herbert came in in lap 50. It was crucial now to see if his margin over Villeneuve and Alesi, who were now very close together, would be sufficient to keep his track position. He got caught short, though, and rejoined even a couple of seconds behind his team mate. The same question was asked when Hill pitted in lap 52. His position looked a lot better, but also Hill would rejoin behind the fighting duo. Hill and Herbert were over a second per lap faster than Villeneuve and Alesi, and were closing the gap quickly.

After all pit stops were made, the top 6 consisted of Villeneuve, Alesi, Hill, Herbert, Berger and Hakkinen. The top 4 remained very closely together, but again, no overtaking between them seemed possible. Especially the Benettons did make some attempts in vain. The situation changed in lap 62, when Andrea Montermini's Simtek was to be lapped by the nervous group of leaders. Villeneuve got past easily, but when Alesi tried to lap the Italian in the tunnel, things went completely wrong. Montermini seemed to make a last-minute move, trying to leave the racing line, but Alesi had already chosen the outside. The Benetton ran into the Simtek, damaged its front wing, and bounced off into the Williams of Damon Hill, who also suffered front wing damage. Herbert got away with it, only losing a couple of seconds, but not suffering any damage. Hill and Alesi had to come to the pits for repairs and Hill got out of it faster than Alesi, gaining 3rd position.

Both Williams were now under pressure from a Benetton, but both of them benefitted from the earlier mentioned fact that overtaking in Monaco is notoriously difficult. After the incident in the tunnel, the top 6 remained therefore unchanged. Behind them, a remarkably big number of drivers retired in the final 8 laps: Rosset, Panis, both DFCs, Lamy, Montermini and Coulthard all suffered mechanical problems just before the finish.

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Jacques Villeneuve does not crack under pressure and wins the Monaco Grand Prix

Jacques Villeneuve scored another 10 points and extended his championship lead by an impressively calm race. 15 years after his father's win in the principality, the Villeneuve name was victorious in Monaco again. Johnny Herbert scored another strong result in 2nd, while Damon Hill limited the damage by finishing 3rd, just in front of Jean Alesi. Gerhard Berger got rewarded for a tremendous weekend with 5th place and Mika Hakkinen scored the final point.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Jacques Villeneuve (1st): "I think this was my best race in F1 so far. I am really proud of what we did and how we made the strategy work today. I could not really see what happened behind me in the tunnel there, but at least everybody is OK. I think that could have been a lot worse."
Johnny Herbert (2nd): "We lost this race in the qualifying and at the start, I think. I dropped to 5th and after that, it was really difficult to get back to the front. A 2nd place is good damage limitation in my opinion."
Damon Hill (3rd): "It was a pity that the strategy didn't work out like we hoped. I was definitely fast enough to win today and I still thought I had a chance before that incident with the Simtek happened. I definitely do not blame Jean for it, I think he was very unfortunate as well."
Nathan van DIjk (12th): "This was a difficult weekend for us. I never really felt comfortable with the car in this high-downforce setup and some other teams seemed to do better. I was going to challenge Salo for 10th near the end, but then we had to retire the car again."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "Well, the race was short for me: just 5 laps. The car was actually quite good, of course here the effect of the lighter, less powered V8 is completely different. It's a shame we couldn't see where we would have ended up in the race."


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Last edited by BassTrombone on 30 Aug 2020, 12:27, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 30 Aug 2020, 12:19

Press Release - FIA World Motor Sport Council

The FIA World Motor Sport Council announces the verdict of the stewards in response to the lap 62 incident of the Monaco Grand Prix, involving Jean Alesi, Damon Hill and Andrea Montermini. After analyzing the available camera recordings and interviewing all involved drivers, it has been decided that Montermini shall receive a one-race ban, effective for the Spanish Grand Prix. Montermini was found to be guilty of failing to make way for the leaders after being shown blue flags and causing a dangerous situation by moving off his line unexpectedly.


Press Release - MTV Simtek Ford

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After the verdict of the FIA World Motor Sport Council, MTV Simtek Ford announces the replacement of Andrea Montermini for the Spanish Grand Prix. Montermini will be replaced by David Brabham, who already drove for the team in the 1994 season. Brabham will perform a quick test in Jerez on Wednesday, before travelling to Barcelona for the race weekend. The team is convinced that Brabham will be able to have a solid performance, before Montermini will be back in the car in the Canadian Grand Prix.
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Re: The Virtual Racing Career of Nathan van Dijk

Postby BassTrombone » 05 Sep 2020, 20:46

1996 Spanish Grand Prix

Qualifying

Damon Hill extended Williams' perfect qualifying run in 1996, but the Benettons were close. Jean Alesi joined Hill on the first row, followed by Johnny Herbert and Michael Schumacher. Jacques Villeneuve had a disappointing qualifying: the rookie only got up to 5th on the grid. Eddie Irvine did well to complete the top 6. The McLarens disappointed once again as Coulthard and Hakkinen would have to start from the fifth row. At the back, David Brabham did a credible job by putting his Simtek in 24th, just a couple of tenths off the time of his team mate Tom Kristensen. Behind Brabham there was a première: Hiro Matsushita was off the last grid slot, having beaten Ricardo Rosset.

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Race

Damon Hill was able to keep the lead, although Jean Alesi got very close. Both Ferraris seemed to take a lot of risk by braking extremely late for the first corner, but it paid off. Michael Schumacher moved up to 3rd and his team mate Eddie Irvine conquered 4th position. Johnny Herbert and Jacques Villeneuve had dropped to 5th and 6th respectively. Schumacher was not at all done gaining positions in the first lap: the German passed Alesi at La Caixa.

Going into lap 2, David Coulthard and Rubens Barrichello grabbed the attention on Barcelona's long main straight. Barrichello's Jordan came to a standstill before the first corner with a broken suspension, while Coulthard managed to pass not only the Brazilian's slowing car, but also Villeneuve and Herbert. The Scot subsequently also got past Irvine at the Repsol corner, moving him up from 8th to 4th in just a few corners. Ferrari's second driver was under more pressure from Herbert, but the Briton spun trying to pass the Ulsterman and dropped to last place. Meanwhile, Schumacher fared better in the #1 Ferrari: the reigning world champion outbraked Hill at La Caixa and was now in the lead.

The action continued in lap 3. Firstly, Hill lost another place when Alesi passed him going into turn 1. A little further behind, Villeneuve pulled off a similar move on Irvine to get into 5th place. Half a lap later, Irvine also saw Hakkinen get past and the Ulsterman would drop further down the order in the next laps, on his way to an anonymous race. Villeneuve would do the opposite: the Canadian took 4th from Coulthard in lap 4, he passed his team mate in lap 8 and in lap 10, he was up into 2nd when he got past Alesi into turn 1. After the Canadian's surge forward, the top 6 seemed settled, but one other moment changed the order before the first stops. Coulthard spun in La Caixa, losing positions to Hakkinen and Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Until the first pit stops, the top 6 consisted of Schumacher, Villeneuve, Alesi, Hill, Hakkinen and Frentzen.

Hakkinen was the first driver to make a pit stop in lap 18. Schumacher, Villeneuve and Coulthard followed in the next two laps; Frentzen 3 laps after that. Meanwhile, Alesi and Hill stayed out on a one-stopper. Villeneuve saw his race, which was rather impressive up until this point, heavily compromised when he was forced to come in for an extra stop. Williams declared after the race that a software issue caused the delay. Villeneuve's team mate Hill also lost a place in lap 25, when Schumacher barged past again into 2nd position. One lap later, Herbert got back into the top 6 by passing Coulthard. Frentzen's race ended in lap 29, when the German lost hopes of an impressive result because of an engine failure. After that, the top 6 remained unchanged until the final round of pit stops.

Hakkinen was again the first one to pit, as it appeared that Alesi and Hill had started on a very heavy fuel load. Alesi was next, dropping behind Schumacher and Hill. Hill was next to make his stop, rejoining in 4th behind Schumacher, Alesi and Villeneuve. When Schumacher made his stop, he crucially rejoined in front of Villeneuve, giving him an extra margin to Hill until the Canadian would come in. Just when things seemed to be finally working out for the double world champion, he lost his chance of a first podium for Ferrari. Only 2 laps after his final stop, the Ferrari slowed down, allowing Hill to pass. Schumacher came into the pits; Villeneuve behind him did the same. Only Villeneuve's stop was a regular one, while Schumacher's was because he required some repairs. Ferrari took some seconds longer than Williams, allowing the Canadian rookie to get out in front of the German.

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Jean Alesi makes a one-stopper work and wins in Barcelona

Hakkinen's early stop had enabled him to perform an undercut and it seemed to work when both Villeneuve and Schumacher came back on the track behind him. Both of them were significanly faster, though, and Hakkinen could keep neither of them behind, settling for 5th place instead. Nothing else changed in the final stint, so it was Alesi who drove to a controlled victory. The Frenchman was now truly showing to be a candidate for the championship. Behind him, Hill closed the gap to his team mate by 2 points, finishing in 2nd. Villeneuve finished in 3rd, followed by Schumacher, who finally finished his first race in a Ferrari. Hakkinen and Coulthard completed the top 6.

Results
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Post-Race Quotes

Jean Alesi (1st): "This was a very good weekend. 2nd in qualifying and I think we were the fastest in the race as well. Compliments to the team for the strategy: I was a bit worried about Schumacher in the opening stage, but I never saw him again after his first stop."
Damon Hill (2nd): "Yesterday, everything went perfectly. Today, it felt more like damage limitation. I unfortunately could not keep up with Jean and I was lucky that Michael had problems. After all, second is not a bad result and it is quite good for the championship."
Jacques Villeneuve (3rd): "I still don't know what happened in qualifying, but we need to figure that out. I just did not feel at ease in the car. Today was a lot better, but the software issue was a shame. I might have been able to challenge Jean and Damon otherwise."
Nathan van Dijk (retired): "Qualifying was once again difficult and together with the team, we are really looking at how to improve that. The race was quite good. I was on an agressive two-stopper and I could even keep up with Irvine in my first stint. But then, it was all over way too soon."
Jos Verstappen (retired): "Qualifying was all right and the start was all right. I can't tell you too much more, because my race was over just after it started."


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