25.08.93JOHN WATSON ON THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX
Michael Schumacher won his maiden Grand Prix in Spa last year and two weekends ago Damon Hill achieved the same goal in Hungary. Both men will be looking to add to their tally and there is a strong possibility that one of them will clinch another victory. But what about Alain Prost, the current world championship leader? If everything is set fair on this famous circuit, Prost should make it his eighth Grand Prix victory of the 1993 season.
Ayrton Senna is still 27 points in arrears and unless fate deals a cruel blow to Alain Prost, the championship race is all but over. The Frenchman could clinch his fourth world championship just by making sure that he always finishes somewhere in the points. But with so many factors beyond the control of drivers and teams, you can be certain that McLaren will not sit back and accept defeat. Their commitment in the sport is second to none.
McLaren are working to narrow the gap on Williams with a testing programme covering more miles than the total race distance of 16 GPs. Ayrton Senna has demonstrated his genius at Spa over the years with four successive wins from 1988-91. Only victory for Senna at the weekend - with Alain Prost out of the top six - can keep alive the battle for this year's championship. But as ever it is the notorious La Source hairpin bend that will contribute to either driver's championship hopes.
Local boy Thierry Boutsen will be the focus of attention here as he celebrates his tenth anniversary as a Grand Prix driver. Over the last few months there has been speculation as to Boutsen's future in Formula One. And he is expected to use this very memorable occasion as a platform to announce his racing plans for 1994. The Belgian's weekend would be crowned if he could produce the sort of performance Jordan have been hoping for all season.
Minardi shook the establishment to the roots in Hungary but it could be a different story on the power circuit at Spa-Francorchamps. Less powerful teams will have to compromise by sacrificing downforce in order to avoid being blown away on the long uphill Kemmel straight. At the same time they have to negotiate the awesome Eau Rouge, undoubtedly high up my chart of top ten corners of the world. As ever the indifferent and unpredictable Belgian weather is the joker in the pack.
Spa is the longest circuit in the calendar and although the drivers enjoy it, they also respect it. The most important factor required to be fast is commitment into the corners without the fear of the car biting you - remember half this circuit follows public roads. Which brings us back to Damon Hill and Michael Schumacher. Both drivers have confidence and commitment in abundance and are bound to excell at Spa.
PETRONAS RALLY, MALAYSIA:- Scotland's Colin McRae maintained his overnight lead, heading a Subaru 1-2 after the second day. McRae, fresh from his brilliant win in New Zealand, span off the road and hit a tree in the slippery conditions, but the team were able to rectify the resultant problems. Teammate Possum Bourne was in second place, six seconds behind, despite a spin on stage 13 which left his car stuck. Kenyiro Shinozuka's Mitsubishi lies third, while Yasuhiro Onishi and Greg Carr crashed out of the race.
26.08.93TOURING CARS:- Andy Rouse broke the touring car lap record at Thruxton in clocking the fastest time for Monday's British Touring Car Championship contest at the circuit. Rouse was timed at 1 min 19.75 secs in his Ford Mondeo, two seconds under Jeff Allam's record. Steve Soper's BMW was second.
1000 LAKES:- Finland's Juha Kankkunen will be hoping to delight his home crowd by widening his championship lead as the race gets underway on Friday. Kankkunen is only one point ahead of Francois Delecour, but neither Delecour or third placed Italian Miki Biaision are competing here. Other notable absentees include Scotland's Colin McRae and world champion Carlos Sainz, with just three of the top ten taking part. Kankkunen's closest challenger should be last year's winner and Toyota teammate Didier Auriol.
27.08.93F1: THE BELGIAN GRAND PRIX:- Damon Hill took provisional pole for Sunday's race just ahead of Alain Prost at Spa Francorchamps. Hill, fresh from his first GP win in Hungary two weeks ago, produced a scorching late run in the session in the Williams-Renault. Michael Schumacher, who won lastyear's race at Spa, was third fastest in the Camel Benetton. Alessandro Zanardi was taken to hospital after a heavy smash at the Eau-Rouge corner. He was okay but may not be in action on Saturday.
FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Friday's qualifying times: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:48.716 2 A Prost Fr Williams 1:48.794 3 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:50.305 4 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:51.385 5 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:51.904 6 R Patrese It Benetton 1:51.925 7 J Alesi It Ferrari 1:52.159 8 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber 1:52.210 9 J Herbert GB Lotus 1:52.369 10 G Berger Aut Ferrari 1:52.689 11 D Warwick GB Footwork 1:52.730 12 M Blundell GB Ligier 1:53.030 13 K Wendlinger Aut Sauber 1:53.139 14 R B'chello Brz Jordan 1:53.235 15 M Brundle GB Ligier 1:53.323 16 M Andretti US McLaren 1:53.553 17 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:53.559 18 P Martini It Minardi 1:54.968 19 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:55.271 20 T Boutsen Bel Jordan 1:55.382 21 E Comas Fr Larrousse 1:56.072 22 P Alliot Fr Larrousse 1:56.822 23 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 1:56.947 24 L Badoer It Lola 1:57.599 25 M Alboreto It Lola 1:57.852 1000 LAKES RALLY, Helsinki Positions after 15 stages: (end of first day) hr mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 1:32.02 2 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 1:32.09 3 D Auriol Fr Toyota 1:32.12 4 T Makinen Fin Lancia 1:34.10 5 K Eriksson Swe Mitsubishi 1:34.37 6 S Lindholm Fin Ford 1:34.52 7 M Wilson GB Ford 1:35.15 8 H Mikkola Fin Toyota 1:35.23 9 M Gronholm Fin Toyota 1:35.45 10 L Lampi Fin Mitsubishi 1:36.13 28.08.93F1:- Alain Prost put in the fastest ever Formula One qualifying lap at Spa to pip Williams teammate Damon Hill for pole position. The Frenchman was at his impressive best as he clocked 1:47.571, with Hill almost a whole second behind. Briton Hill, on a high after his first Grand Prix victory in Hungary two weeks ago, had brake problems and struggled to improve his time. German Michael Schumacher, who won in Belgium last year, was third fastest ahead of Jean Alesi.
FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Final qualifying times: mins secs 1 A Prost Fr Williams 1:47.571 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:48.466 3 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:49.075 4 J Alesi It Ferrari 1:49.825 5 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:49.934 6 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:50.329 7 D Warwick GB Footwork 1:50.628 8 R Patrese It Benetton 1:51.017 9 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber 1:51.048 10 J Herbert GB Lotus 1:51.139 11 M Brundle GB Ligier 1:51.350 12 K Wendlinger Aut Sauber 1:51.440 13 R Bar'chello Brz Jordan 1:51.711 14 M Andretti US McLaren 1:51.833 15 M Blundell GB Ligier 1:51.916 16 G Berger Aut Ferrari 1:52.080 17 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:52.647 18 P Alliot Fr Larrousse 1:52.907 19 E Comas Fr Larrousse 1:53.186 20 T Boutsen Bel Jordan 1:53.465 21 P Martini It Minardi 1:53.523 22 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 1:53.942 23 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:54.551 24 L Badoer It Lola 1:54.978 25 M Alboreto It Lola 1:55.965 Zanardi will not race after crashing in practice on SaturdayTOURING CARS:- David Leslie's first qualifying session time for the fourth round of the Auto Trader British Touring Car Championship at Thruxton remained the fastest after the second session saw no improvements. Leslie clocked a lap of 1:19.67 in his Vauxhall Cavalier with Ford Mondeo pair Paul Radisich and Andy Rouse less than half a second back.
INDYCAR:- Nigel Mansell struggled in first day qualifying for Sunday's IndyCar race on Vancouver's street circuit. The championship leader ended the first session ninth fastest in his ill-handling Lola-Cosworth. The Briton spun at turn three towards the end of the session and brushed the wall. He was unhurt but his car suffered some damage. Championship rivals Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi took advantage of Mansell's misfortune to set the fastest and third fastest times in the Penske cars.
1000 LAKES RALLY, Helsinki Positions after 28 stages: (end of second day) hr mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 3:38.53 2 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 3:39.10 3 D Auriol Fr Toyota 3:40.11 4 T Makinen Fin Lancia 3:42.56 5 K Eriksson Swe Mitsubishi 3:44.11 6 S Lindholm Fin Ford 3:45.36 7 H Mikkola Fin Toyota 3:46.32 8 L Lampi Fin Mitsubishi 3:47.11 9 A Schwarz Ger Mitsubishi 3:47.49 10 M Gronholm Fin Toyota 3:52.53 M Wilson retired after rolling his Ford Cosworth on stage 17 29.08.93 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Result after 44 laps: 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:24:32.124 2 M Schumacher Ger Benetton @ 3.668s 3 A Prost Fr Williams @ 14.988s 4 A Senna Brz McLaren @ 1:39.763 5 J Herbert GB Lotus @ 1 lap 6 R Patrese It Benetton @ 1 lap 7 M Brundle GB Ligier @ 1 lap 8 M Andretti US McLaren @ 1 lap 9 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber @ 1 lap 10 G Berger Aut Ferrari @ 2 laps 11 M Blundell GB Ligier @ 2 laps 12 P Alliot Fr Larousse @ 2 laps 13 L Badoer It Lola @ 2 laps 14 M Alboreto It Lola @ 3 laps 15 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell @ 4 laps F1 DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP 1 A Prost Fr 81 points 2 A Senna Brz 53 3 D Hill GB 48 4 M Schumacher Ger 42 5 R Patrese It 18 6 M Brundle GB 11 = J Herbert GB 11 8 M Blundell GB 10 = G Berger Aut 10 10 JJ Lehto Fin 5 = C Fittipaldi Brz 5 12 J Alesi Fr 4 = D Warwick GB 4 14 M Andretti US 3 15 P Alliot Fr 2 == F Barbazza It 2 == K Wendlinger Aut 2 18 A Zanardi It 1 Standings after Belgian GP: 1 Williams Renault 129 points 2 Benetton Ford 60 3 McLaren Ford 56 4 Ligier Renault 21 5 Ferrari 14 6 Lotus Ford 12 7 Minardi 7 = Sauber 7 9 Footwork 4 10 Larrousse 2 Williams win championshipEnglishman Damon Hill held off an inspired Michael Schumacher to win a thrilling race in Belgium. The Williams driver, who broke his Formula One duck in Hungary two weeks ago, overtook Alain Prost at halfway after his French teammate suffered a slow pit-stop. Schumacher, who won his only Grand Prix here last year, was very slow off the grid but set a number of lap records to close the gap. But Hill hung on in fine style and Prost came third to give Williams the constructors' championship.
Damon Hill drove the race of his life to win a thrilling Belgian Grand Prix and admitted: "I went flat out the whole way. "It was a very quick race and to win two races in a row like this is just fantastic," he added. Prost finished third to win the constructors' championship for Williams and can now clinch the world title with victory at Monza in two weeks time. Briton Johnny Herbert came in an excellent fifth in his Lotus to pick up two championship points.
INDYCAR:- Nigel Mansell will start in third place on the grid for Sunday's IndyCar race in Vancouver. The championship leader, who damaged his Lola-Cosworth in Friday's qualifying session, had to battle on with the back-up car. Canadian Scott Goodyear took a surprise pole with a flying lap at the end of qualifying. Defending champion Bobby Rahal took the second spot ahead of Mansell, with Paul Tracy, fastest on Friday, dropping down to fourth.
1000 LAKES RALLY:- Finland's Juha Kankunnen took his Toyota to victory in the ninth round of the world championships. Compatriot Ari Vatanen, in a Subaru, was second - 47 seconds off the pace - and Frenchman Didier Auriol came home in third place. Kankunnen now leads the overall world drivers' championship with 91 points, followed by Auriol with 71. Ford driver Francois Delecour, not competing in Finland, is third with 70 points.
1000 LAKES RALLY, Helsinki Result after 35 stages: hr mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 4:23.51 2 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 4:24.38 3 D Auriol Fr Toyota 4:26.01 4 T Makinen Fin Lancia 4:28.26 5 K Eriksson Swe Mitsubishi 4:29.32 6 S Lindholm Fin Ford 4:31.34 7 H Mikkola Fin Toyota 4:32.33 8 L Lampi Fin Mitsubishi 4:33.18 9 A Schwarz Ger Mitsubishi 4:34.06 10 M Gronholm Fin Toyota 4:40.20 30.08.93F1:- Damon Hill is expected to meet Frank Williams later this week for talks which could lead him to a œ1 million contract for next year. Hill, buoyed up by his second successive Formula One win in Sunday's Belgian Grand prix, feels he has proved his pedigree in brilliant style at Spa. "I am trying to let my driving do the talking and that's it. I don't know what it will lead to but I can say I shall be seeing Frank later this week. We will talk and see what happens," he said.
TOURING CARS:- David Leslie led from start to finish in a Vauxhall Cavalier to claim his first touring car win. Leslie also set a new lap record while Championship leader Joachim Winkelhock of Germany, in his first race at Thruxton, struggled on the track and finished 14th in his BMW. The Ford Mondeo duo challenged hard with Paul Radisich finishing second just 0.64 seconds off the pace and Andy Rouse third. Championship challenger Steve Soper finished sixth in a BMW to close to within 12 points of Winkelhock.
Results from Thruxton: 1 D Leslie Vaux Cavalier 27:23.57 2 P Radisich Ford Mondeo 27:24.21 3 A Rouse Ford Mondeo 27:24.80 4 R Gravett Peugeot 405 27:25.62 5 E O'Brien Peugeot 405 27:25.86 6 S Soper BMW 318i 27:28.07 7 J Bailey Toyota Carina 27:39.01 8 J Cleland Vaux Cavalier 27:39.16 9 A Menu Renault 19 27:40.27 10 W Hoy Toyota Carina 27:43.00 Fastest lap: Leslie 1:21.06 (new lap record)F.RENAULT:- Tim Stafford in an Orion FR91 won a round of the P&O European Ferries Formula Renault at Thruxton. He finished 3.98 seconds clear of runner-up Paul Ozanne in a Swift.
F.VAUXHALL LOTUS:- Dario Franchitti, already crowned Vauxhall Lotus champion last week, is on pole for Monday's race at Thruxton. Three rounds remain.
TRUCK PRIX:- Steve Parrish raced to victory in the Brands Hatch International Truck Prix final in his 18-litre Team BP Mercedes-Benz. He also clinched the Daily Star British Truck Racing Championship, with two rounds remaining.
INDYCAR:- Nigel Mansell claimed sixth place in the latest round of the IndyCar championship in Vancouver. Mansell finished just ahead of his nearest championship rival, Emerson Fittipaldi, to stretch his overall lead by two points to 33. The race was won by Al Unser Jr, who passed defending champion Bobby Rahal on a tactical pit stop and then held on for victory. Swede Stefan Johansson took third ahead of Canada's Scott Goodyear and Mario Andretti. Mansell had started third on the grid.
Nigel Mansell pronounced himself "just happy to finish" after taking sixth place in Vancouver. He lost vital time when the engine of his car stalled at the first pit stop and he was dogged by handling problems throughout. "This was the toughest race I've ever been in," said Mansell, who now leads Emerson Fittipaldi by 33 points in the Indy title race. "It was a lot of hard work today. My car had no grip. But we gained two points on Fittipaldi and that's what counts," he added.
02.09.93 - INDYCARNigel Mansell is set to agree a three-year $15 million IndyCar deal which will keep him in the United States until the end of his career. Sources close to the Newman-Haas team say Mansell is likely to sign within the next two weeks. Co-owner Carl Haas said: "I think we can work it out with Nigel. It is looking very good and there is nothing to worry about." Mansell is well on the way to becoming the first reigning Formula One driver to win an IndyCar series.
03.09.93 - F1Belgian Thierry Boutsen announced his retirement from Formula One racing after a 10-year career in which he won three Grands Prix. Boutsen, who has had a poor year with Jordan-Hart, is quitting immediately and will not compete in the last four races of the season. The 36-year-old started his career in 1983 with the Arrows Ford team but had to wait six years for his first win - in Montreal. His best placing in the drivers' championship was in 1988 when he finished fourth with Benetton-Ford.
04.09.93 - F1Belgian Thierry Boutsen is having talks with three IndyCar teams, after announcing his retirement from Formula One grand prix racing.
05.09.93 - F3Kelvin Burt and Oliver Gavin will be on the front row for the 13th round of the British Formula Three Championship at Silverstone.
06.09.93 - F3Kelvin Burt became Britain's first Formula Three champion since Johnny Herbert in 1987, with a stylish win at Silverstone. Burt led Sunday's race from start to finish to clinch the title. Burt faced an early challenge from his rival Oliver Gavin but his chance ended in the fourth lap. Gavin tried an ambitious piece of overtaking, but he damaged his car and had to make a pitstop. When he rejoined the race he set a fastest lap time, but could not catch Burt.
07.09.93F1:- Marco Apicella will make his debut with Sasol Jordan at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix. The 27-year-old is being plunged straight into action after being named as the replacement for the retiring Thierry Boutsen. Team owner Eddie Jordan said: "As a team we have always been believers in providing opportunities for up and coming talent. I have known Marco since he was racing in the European F3000 series and he's always been one to watch."
Johnny Herbert is likely to have a new teammate at this weekend's Italian Grand Prix as a replacement for Alessandro Zanardi. Zanardi is still recovering from a shunt at Spa and Portuguese F3000 driver Pedro Lamy could come in. Lotus are expected to make an announcement on Wednesday.
TOURING CARS:- Paul Radisich knocked 1.4 seconds off the Donington Park lap record during testing for this Sunday's penultimate round of the British Touring Car Championship.
08.09.93 - F1 Japan could host two F1 grand prix races in 1994, if the little-known Okayama TI Circuit near Okayama gets the go-ahead next month. Donington Park stepped in this year when Japan's second F1 race, the Asian GP due to be held on the Autopolis circuit, was cancelled.
JOHN WATSON ON THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
The Italian Grand Prix this weekend promises to be a motor racing feast. British interest will focus on Damon Hill trying to make it three-in-a-row. He will be up against his teammate Alain Prost who is seeking to clinch the 1993 title. Hill will have the added incentive of being able to challenge Ayrton Senna for second place since he trails him by just five points. Then there is Michael Schumacher who, while looking at the challenge of the Williams duo, will also be chasing Senna's runner-up spot.
Monza will be a crucial race for Ayrton Senna and McLaren. Senna retains only an outside chance of winning the world drivers title this season and only a faint hope of winning this weekend's GP from the front. He and McLaren will concentrate on producing a performance strong enough to at least protect his second spot in the Championship. This circuit is yet again about power and, with that in mind, it is hard to imagine anyone seriously threatening the Williams duo.
Of course the only team that really matters to the Monza crowd is Ferrari whose best 1993 result was third for Jean Alesi in Monaco. The influence of new team director Jean Todt is now rapidly filtering through the web of Ferrari management but, despite this, a win on home soil is too much to expect. However the aggression of drivers Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi will, I am certain, guarantee that they wring the very last ounce out of their cars.
Injured Alessandro Zanardi will not be fit enough to compete in his home Grand Prix this weekend. News of a replacement was slow to emerge from Lotus with the deadline of 6pm Thursday. The choice falls between F3000 star Pedro Lamy and ex-Benetton driver Roberto Moreno. Meanwhile at Jordan GP, a young Italian race driver makes his F1 debut. Marco Apicella replaces Belgian Thierry Boutsen who retired from Formula One racing last week. He impressed Rubens Barichello, his teammate, in recent Imola testing.
Three main factors will be on Alain Prost's mind at Imola this weekend as he attempts to secure his fourth world drivers' title. He has had 100 per cent reliability from his Williams Renault but can this happy situation last? Then there is the unpredictability of current weather throughout Europe. Finally he must negotiate the hazardous stretch of track between the start and the first chicane. Remember Ayrton Senna must earn two points more than Prost on Sunday or the title will be won.
10.09.93F1:- THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
Alain Prost edged a little closer to a fourth world title by setting a qualifying lap record to claim provisional pole for Sunday's race. The Frenchman clocked 1 min 22.163 secs in his Williams Renault, to shave a tenth of a second off Nigel Mansell's 1992 pole time. But teammate Damon Hill, bidding for a third successive GP win, was only fractionally slower. Jean Alesi delighted the crowd with the third best time of 1:22.625 in his Ferrari.
Lotus have taken their revival plan a step further by signing an engine deal with Mugen-Honda for the 1994 and 1995 Formula One seasons. They have used Ford Cosworth engines this season but say the new deal offers boundless possibilities for the future. The Mugen-Honda V10 engine is an evolved version of the unit which powered McLaren to successive world titles in 1989-90. Team boss Peter Collins said the V10 was the "optimal configuration."
Friday's qualifying times: mins secs 1 A Prost Fr Williams 1:22.163 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:22.283 3 J Alesi It Ferrari 1:22.625 4 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:23.310 5 G Berger Aut Ferrari 1:23.750 6 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:23.888 7 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber 1:24.298 8 M Brundle GB Ligier 1:24.608 9 D Warwick GB Footwork 1:24.673 10 K Wendlinger Aut Sauber 1:25.016 11 M Blundell GB Ligier 1:25.238 12 M Andretti US McLaren 1:25.348 13 J Herbert GB Lotus 1:25.463 14 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:25.482 15 P Alliot Fr Larrousse 1:25.529 16 P Martini It Minardi 1:25.903 17 L Badoer It Lola 1:26.049 18 R Patrese It Benetton 1:26.082 19 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:26.127 20 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 1:26.135 21 M Alboreto It Lola 1:26.287 22 U Katayama Jap Tyrrell 1:26.300 23 E Comas Fr Larrousse 1:26.323 24 P Lamy Por Lotus 1:26.380 25 R Bar'chello Brz Jordan 1:26.664 26 M Apichella It Jordan 1:51.300INDYCAR:- Nigel Mansell has the chance to win the IndyCar title in Sunday's Pioneer Electronics 200 in Ohio. With three races left, Mansell will claim the PPG Cup if he collects 12 points more than Emmerson Fittipaldi and four other rivals. Mansell has never raced on the circuit but during an open session last month he recorded the fast lap of 18 drivers. "It's a very nice course but it's going to be a difficult place for overtaking," commented the Briton.
TOURING CARS - Practice times for Sunday's two-race penultimate round at Donington: mins secs 1 P Radisich Ford Mondeo 1:40.42 2 W Hoy Toyota Carina 1:40.92 3 D Leslie Vauxhall Cav 1:40.96 4 E O'Brien Peugeot 405 1:41.09 5 A Rouse Ford Mondeo 1:41.13 6 S Soper BMW 318i 1:41.19 7 H Nuttall Vauxhall Cav 1:41.22 8 J Winkelhock BMW 318i 1:41.25 9 A Menu Renault 19 1:41.47 10 R Gravett Peugeot 405 1:41.54 11.09.93F1:- THE ITALIAN GRAND PRIX
Alain Prost edged a little closer to a fourth world title by setting a qualifying lap record to claim pole position for Sunday's race. The Frenchman clocked 1 min 21.179 secs in his Williams Renault, breaking the record he himself set on Friday. Teammate Damon Hill is also on the front row after coming home in an excellent 1 min 21,491 secs. Gerhard Berger crashed at high speed trying to avoid teammate Jean Alesi but was able to walk away from the crash.
Saturday's qualifying times: mins secs 1 A Prost Fr Williams 1:21.179 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:21.491 3 J Alesi It Ferrari 1:21.986 4 A Senna Brz Mclaren 1:22.633 5 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:22.910 6 G Berger Aut Ferrari 1:23.150 7 J Herbert GB Lotus 1:23.769 8 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:23.856 9 M Andretti US McLaren 1:23.899 10 R Patrese It Bennetton 1:23.918 11 D Warwick GB Footwork 1:24.048 12 M Brundle GB Ligier 1:24.137 13 M Blundell GB Ligier 1:24.344 14 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber 1:24.419Britain's Damon Hill will be after a hat-trick of Formula One wins at Monza - but is still unsure of his future with Williams. The 32-year-old Londoner, lying third in the championship, has yet to secure a contract for 1994, despite a superb debutant season. But Hill said: "I have had a great opportunity with this team and I believe they will be the team to beat again next year. But if it is not to be, it will not worry me. Above all I want to enjoy myself driving a racing car."
British car makers Lola and Italian Formula 1 team Scuderia are parting company at the end of the year. In a statement issued on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix, Lola said the two parties made the decision mutually, and with regret. Lola chairman Eric Broadley said it was necessary for the team and its design department to be as one, and they planned to prepare their own team for next year's championship. It is widely believed Scuderia will merge with Minardi for the 1994 Formula 1 campaign.
INDYCAR:- Friday qualifying times for the Pioneer Electronics 200 at Lexington: mph 1 P Tracy Can Penske Chev 118.005 2 E Fit'paldi Brz Penske Chev 117.617 3 N Mansell GB Lola Ford 117.443 4 R Boesel Brz Lola Ford 116.987 5 T Fabi It Lola Chev 116.601 6 J Vasser US Lola Chev 116.477 7 S Johansson Swe Penske Chev 116.459 8 S Goodyear Can Lola Ford 116.152 9 B Rahal US Lola Chev 116.116 10 D Sullivan US Lola Chev 116.068 TOURING CARS Overall practice times at Donington: mins secs 1 P Radisich Ford Mondeo 1:40.66 2 A Rouse Ford Mondeo 1:41.08 3 J Winkelhock BMW 318i 1:41.12 4 W Hoy Toyota Carina 1:41.12 5 A Menu Renault 19 1:41.15 6 D Leslie Vauxhall Cav 1:41.24 7 S Soper BMW 318i 1:41.39 8 J Bailey Toyota Carina 1:41.42 9 J Cleland Vauxhall Cav 1:41.46 10 J Kaye Toyota Carina 1:41.52 Radisich 1.2 seconds inside lap record for pole 12.09.93 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Result after 53 laps: hr:mn.secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:71.75 2 J Alesi It Ferrari @ .40 3 M Andretti US McLaren @ 1 lap 4 K Wendlinger Fr Sauber @ 1 lap 5 R Patrese It Bennetton @ 1 lap 6 E Comas Fr Larrousse @ 2 laps 7 P Martini It Minardi @ 2 laps 8 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi @ 2 laps 9 P Alliot Fr Larrousse @ 2 laps 10 L Badoer It Lola @ 2 laps 11 P Lamy Por Lotus @ 4 laps 12 A Prost Fr Williams @ 5 laps 13 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell @ 6 laps 14 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell @ 6 laps F1 DRIVERS' STANDINGS (Italian GP) 1 A Prost Fr 81 points 2 D Hill GB 58 3 A Senna Brz 53 4 M Schumacher Ger 42 5 R Patrese It 20 6 M Brundle GB 11 7 J Herbert GB 11 8 J Alesi Fr 10 9 M Blundell GB 10 10 G Berger Aut 10 11 M Andretti US 7 12 JJ Lehto Fin 5 13 C Fittipaldi Brz 5 14 K Wendlinger Aut 5 15 D Warwick GB 4 Three races remaining Standings after Italian GP: 1 Williams Renault 139 points 2 Benetton Ford 60 3 McLaren Ford 62 4 Ligier Renault 21 5 Ferrari 20 6 Lotus Ford 12 7 Sauber 10 = Minardi 7 9 Footwork 4 10 Larrousse 3Damon Hill chalked up a hat-trick of victories after teammate Alain Prost failed to clinch the title. Hill won his third GP in a row as Prost, who had the chance to wrap up the drivers' championship, had to retire with four laps left. The Briton, who had to fight back from ninth place after an early collision with Ayrton Senna, is now in second place in the championship. Ferrari's Jean Alesi delighted the home fans with second place on the day while Michael Andretti took a creditable third place.
Alain Prost's hopes of a fourth title were put on hold after his engine blew with four laps to go. Prost had led from the start of the 53-lap race although he was being strongly challenged by teammate Damon Hill when misfortune struck. He looked a sure winner with a lead of 19 seconds in mid-race but Hill consistently broke the lap record to ensure a grandstand finish. Ayrton Senna and Michael Schumacher headed a long list of casualties as the Monza circuit took its toll on the field.
Damon Hill experienced a mixture of emotions when Alain Prost's blown engine gave him the chance to win. "I couldn't see a thing when his engine blew," said the Williams driver. "It was a bit of a hairy moment with oil everywhere. But to be honest I was delighted as it opened up the way for me to win and I had a big lead to sit on.
"I had a lot of trouble early on when Ayrton Senna ran into me and it left me with a lot of work to do," added Hill, who now has an outside chance of winning the title.
BRITISH TOURING CAR CHAMPIONSHIP First race result at Donington:mins secs 1 P Radisich Ford Mondeo 26:20.56 2 A Menu Renault 19 26:34.26 3 T Harvey Renault 19 26:40.78 4 D Leslie Vauxhall Cav 26:41.32 5 J Winkelhock BMW 318i 26:45.24 6 E O'Brien Peugeot 405 26:49.52 7 A Rouse Ford Mondeo 26:50.48 8 J Bailey Toyota Carina 27:05.05 9 K Odor Nissan Primera 27:11.95 10 H Nuttall Vauxhall Cav 27:17.00 Second race result at Donington:mins secs 1 A Menu Renault 19 26:27.15 2 P Radisich Ford Mondeo 26:27.47 3 J Winkelhock BMW 318i 26:34.22 4 A Rouse Ford Mondeo 26:40.88 5 S Soper BMW 318i 27:01.62 6 J Cleland Vauxhall Cav 27:08.57 7 W Percy Nissan Primera 27:09.26 8 D Leslie Vauxhall Cav 27:09.93 9 I Ashley Vauxhall Cav 27:16.67 10 I Flux Peugeot 405 27:46.99 Winkelhock leads Soper by 18 points in overall championship standingsF2:- Belgian Mikke van Hool scored his third win in four races in the British F2 round at Brands Hatch.
INDYCAR:- Nigel Mansell moved closer to the Indy title by smashing the lap record to claim pole for today's Pioneer Electronics 200. He produced a 118.372 mph lap with just three minutes of qualifying left at Lexington to edge out Paul Tracy and Emerson Fittipaldi. It is his sixth pole of the season and earned him and extra point in his title quest. Mansell has revealed that he will race in an International Touring Car race at Donnington Park on Sunday, October 31.
Nigel Mansell set a Mid-Ohio qualifying record to win pole position for the Pioneer Electronics 200 at Lexington. His Lola-Ford clocked a fast lap of 118.372 mph and was good enough to relegate Paul Tracy (118.138mph) and Emerson Fittipaldi (118.113mph). Mansell's sixth pole of the season gave him an additional point. The pole position changed hands four times in the final three minutes as the slippery track caused problems for the drivers.
Leading qualifiers for today's Pioneer Electronics 200 at Lexington: mph 1 N Mansell GB Lola Ford 118.372 2 P Tracy Can Penske Chev 118.138 3 E Fit'paldi Brz Penske Chev 118.113 4 R Boesel Brz Lola Ford 117.209 5 S Goodyear Can Lola Ford 117.177 6 A Unser jnr US Lola Chev 117.177 7 T Fabi It Lola Chev 116.601 8 A Luyendyk Hol Lola Ford 116.582 9 J Vasser US Lola Chev 116.477 10 M Andretti US Lola Ford 116.464Emerson Fittipaldi won the Pioneer Electronics 200 race to boost his chances of winning the Indy title. Championship leader Nigel Mansell failed to finish within the points after colliding with Arie Luyendyk in the very first lap. The Brazilian is now just 14 points behind Mansell in the drivers' standings with two races remaining. Fittipaldi took the lead early on when Penske teammate Paul Tracy ran off the track and into a tyre wall. Mansell finished in 12th spot.
13.09.93 - F1Damon Hill's late and unexpected challenge for the Formula One title has teammate Alain Prost looking nervously over his shoulder. Following Hill's third successive win in Italy Prost's lead has been slashed to 23 points, and he said: "Anything can happen now. Damon is driving so well and I have scored only four points from the last three races. I am worried." But Hill refused to admit, with three races left, that he is a realistic challenger, saying: "I have got no real hopes."
14.09.93 - F1Emanuele Naspetti has been confirmed as Jordan's second driver for the Portugese Grand Prix on September 26. The 25-year-old Italian will test the Jordan-Hart at Silverstone, before making his first Grand Prix apearance of the season in Estoril. Naspetti made his Formula One debut at last season's Belgian Grand Prix and competed in the final five rounds of the 1992 championship. He signed a testing contract with Jordan at the end of April after competing in the Japanese F3000.
15.09.93F1:- Peugeot will enter Formula One racing next year by building a V10 engine for a team to be announced. Peugeot, already involved in sports racing and rallying, are expected to join forces with the French Larrousse team. Former F1 and sportcar driver Jean-Pierre Jabouille is Peugeot's new racing team chief. Meanwhile Harvey Postlethwaite, one of the most respected engineers in F1, is quitting Ferrari and will be replaced by Valerio Bianchi.
MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY Positions after 13 stages: mins secs 1 K McKinstry Subaru Legacy 52.54 2 R Burns Subaru Legacy 53.53 3 B Fisher Subaru Legacy 54.14 4 F Meagher Ford Sierra 55.07 5 C Birkbeck Ford Escort 55.38 6 R Head Ford Escort 55.46 7 G Evans Ford Escort 56.00 8 J Cullen Ford Escort 56.51 9 D Llewellin Vauxhall Astra 57.06 10 D Greer Ford Escort 57.06M Wilson crashed out s8; R Burns needs to finish 23rd or better to win title
16.09.93F1:- Michael Andretti is leaving the McLaren Formula One team to resume his career in Indy Car racing. The American has had a miserable season but ironically achieved his best result for McLaren when he was third at last weekend's Italian GP. He will be replaced by the team's test driver Mika Hakkinen for the final three races of the season. "This experience will enable him to be better prepared for next year and help him avoid the initial problems I encountered," he said.
The Gulf state of Qatar has made a $40 million bid to become the first country in the Middle East to host a Formula One Grand Prix. A FISA representatove visited Qatar earlier this week to inspect a proposed site for the circuit. FISA are now studying the plans and is expected to make a decision on the bid early next year. Qatar motor racing officials are confident of staging their first GP either towards the end of 1995 or in early 1996.
MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY Positions after 27 stages: mins secs 1 R Burns Subaru Legacy 2:31.13 2 K McKinstry Subaru Legacy 2:31.32 3 F Meagher Ford Sierra 2:35.56 4 R Head Ford Escort 2:36.01 5 C Birkbeck Ford Escort 2:38.39 6 J Cullen Ford Escort 2:40.52 7 D Llewellin Vauxhall Astra 2:41.30 8 G Evans Ford Escort 2:43.25 9 D Greer Ford Escort 2:44.16 10 G Leece Ford Sierra 2:45.49 17.09.93TOURING CARS:- German Joachim Winkelhock looks set to capture the crown at Silverstone on Sunday - but not if BMW teammate Steve Soper has his way. Soper won the season opener at the Northamptonshire circuit and must triumph again if he is to snatch the title from Smokin' Jo's grasp. Even then, the German needs only a top six finish to become the first overseas victor in the series since Aussie Frank Gardner 20 years ago. Among the many contenders for a win will be Ford's Paul Radisich, a winner twice in the last four races.
AUSTRALIAN RALLY Positions after 3 of 34 stages:mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 25.48 2 D Auriol Fr Toyota 25.50 3 C McRae GB Subaru 26.16 4 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 26.32 5 F Delecour Fr Ford Escort 26.57 6 M Biasion It Ford Escort 27.02 7 R Dunkerton Aus Mitsubishi 27.56 8 S Haider Aut Audi 28.24 9 Y Fujimoto Jpn Mitsubishi 29.04 10 E Ordysnki Aus Mitsubishi 29.11 Sainz crashed out on stage 3MANX INTERNATIONAL RALLY:- Richard Burns became the youngest ever Mobil 1/Top Gear British Rally Champion after winning the Manx in his Elonex Subaru Legacy. The 22-year-old international newcomer stole the lead from Kenny McKinstry on the 22nd stage and never looked back. Burns, who finished the three day event in three hours 36.54 seconds, said: "I cannot believe what I've done. It's absolutely wonderful." McKinstry finished second in his self-prepared Kaliber Legacy, with Robert Head's Escort third.
Positions after 37 stages: hrs mins secs 1 R Burns Subaru Legacy 3:36.54 2 K McKinstry Subaru Legacy 3:37.51 3 R Head Ford Escort 3:42.21 4 F Meagher Ford Sierra 3:44.36 5 C Birkbeck Ford Escort 3:47.04 6 J Cullen Ford Escort 3:50.14 7 D Llewellin Vauxhall Astra 3:50.30 8 G Evans Ford Escort 3:52.26 9 D Greer Ford Escort 3:54.55 10 S Fenwick Ford Sierra 4:01.34 18.09.93INDYCARS:- Nigel Mansell has been handed pole position for Sunday's Nazareth Indycar race after persistent rain forced the cancellation of practice. Officials said as a result the grid positions would be determined by the Indycar points standings, which Mansell currently leads. The Briton has seen his lead whittled away to 14 points by Emerson Fittipaldi but remains confident of winning the title. After a test run on the circuit he said: "It's the quickest I've ever gone round a mile in my life."
Nigel Mansell will continue IndyCar racing for at least the next two years, after agreeing to renew his contract with the Newman Haas team. Mansell, the reigning F1 champion and current IndyCar points leader, has claimed four wins and six pole positions so far this season. "All credit goes to Paul, Carl and the team for what we have achieved this season," said Mansell, who has an option for the next three years. "I'm enjoying racing in IndyCar series and my family are enjoying life in America very much."
TOURING CARS:- German Joachim Winkelhock looks set to capture the crown at Silverstone on Sunday - but not if BMW teammate Steve Soper has his way. Soper won the season opener at this circuit and must triumph again if he is to snatch the title. Even then, the German needs only a top six finish to become the first overseas victor in the series since Aussie Frank Gardner 20 years ago. Among the many contenders for a win will be Ford's Paul Radisich, twice a winner in the last four races and fastest in practice at Silverstone.
Practice leaderboard at Silverstone (after two sessions): mins secs 1 P Radisich Ford Mondeo 1:01.59 2 W Hoy Toyota Carina 1:01.90 3 D Leslie Vauxhall Cav 1:01.97 4 A Rouse Ford Mondeo 1:02.25 5 S Soper BMW 3181 1:02.30 6 J Cleland Vauxhall Cav 1:02.36 7 K Odor Nissan Prim 1:02.37 8 J Winkelhock BMW 318i 1:02.37 9 R Gravett Peugeot 405 1:02.38 10 J Bailey Toyota Carina 1:02.38 AUSTRALIAN RALLY Positions after 9 of 34 stages: hrs min secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 1:00.09 2 C McRae GB Subaru 1:01.26 3 F Delecour Fr Ford Escort 1:02.29 4 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 1:02.41 5 M Biasion It Ford Escort 1:03.18 6 R Dunkerton Aus Mitsubishi 1:05.31 7 N Bates Aus Toyota 1:06.33 8 S Haider Aut Audi 1:06.54 9 E Ordysnki Aus Mitsubishi 1:07.39 10 K Inoue Jpn Mitsubishi 1:09.14 Sainz crashed out on stage 3. Auriol retired with engine failureNew Zealand co-driver Rodger Freeth has died following a crash on the first day of the World Championship event which started in Perth. Freeth, 40 was in a works Subaru Legacy driven by Possum Bourne, also from New Zealand, who leads the Asia-Pacific Championship. Their car left the ground during a series of jumps on Stage 3, went off the road and rolled into trees. Freeth was taken to hospital by helicopter but died soon after. Bourne suffered only minor injuries and is in a stable condition.
Finland's Juha Kankunnen has opened up a healthy lead of 1 min 19 secs over Colin McRae after the nine stages comprising the first leg. Kankkunen's Toyota faired better than teammate Didier Auriol's, which suffered a broken oil sump forcing him to retire. Carlos Sainz is also out after crashing his Lancia into a tree, while Francois Delecour is third. Scotland's McRae has worked hard to stay in touch, matching Kankunnen's time on the last stage, after the Finn dominated the previous eight.
19.09.93INDYCAR:- Britain's Nigel Mansell has made history as the first reigning F1 champion to win the IndyCar title. Mansell clinched the crown with victory in the 200-lap race around the Nazareth Oval in his Lola-Ford. He drove a superb race, passing Paul Tracy on the 47th lap and leaving Championship rival Emerson Fittipaldi trailing in fifth place. Mansell, winning in his debut season, has already agreed to stay with the Newman-Haas team for at least the next two years.
Nigel Mansell became the IndyCar champion and dedicated his success to "the boys of Newman-Haas team". "The mechanics, they all did just an outstanding job all year long," said Mansell after winning in Nazareth. "I like this kind of racing - it's just pure racing." Emerson Fittipaldi, his only title challenger, led for the first 11 laps but was slowed by problems with his Penske-Chevrolet. "Nigel drove a beautiful race," said the Brazilian. "It would have been difficult to catch him."
Result after 200 laps: 1 N Mansell GB Lola-Ford Cos 2 S Goodyear Can Lola-Ford Cos 3 P Tracy Can Penske-Chevrolet 4 R Gordon US Lola-Ford Cos 5 E Fittipaldi Br Penske-Chevrolet 6 B Rahal US Lola-Chevrolet CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE 1 N Mansell 191 pts 2 E Fittipaldi 166 3 P Tracy 136TOURING CARS:- German Joachim Winkelhock captured the drivers' title, despite only finishing eighth in the final round. Winkelhock becomes only the second foreign driver to win the British series in its 36-year history. BMW teammate Steve Soper was the only man who could have pipped him for the title, but he needed to win and could only finish fifth. The race at Silverstone was won by New Zealander Paul Radisich in his Ford Mondeo, with Andy Rouse second to ensure a Mondeo 1-2.
Result from Silverstone mins secs 1 P Radisich Ford Mondeo 23:15.25 2 A Rouse Ford Mondeo 23:16.87 3 W Hoy Toyota Carina 23:17.79 4 D Leslie Vauxhall Cav 23:18.18 5 S Soper BMW 3181 23:22.41 6 J Bailey Toyota Carina 23:24.21 7 J Cleland Vauxhall Cav 23:28.95 8 J Winkelhock BMW 318i 23:30.07 9 J Allam Vauxhall Cav 23:35.84 10 C Goodwin Vauxhall Cav 23:37.40 Drivers' championship: Final positions 1 J Winkelhock Ger 163 points 2 S Soper GB 150 points 3 P Radisich NZ 111 points 4 J Cleland GB 102 points 5 J Bailey GB 87 points 6 K Odor GB 81 points AUSTRALIAN RALLY Positions after 17 of 34 stages: hrs mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 2:13:15 2 C McRae GB Subaru 2:14:34 3 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 2:16:46 4 F Delecour Fr Ford Escort 2:17:49 5 M Biasion It Ford Escort 2:19:19 6 R Dunkerton Aus Mitsubishi 2:25:26 7 N Bates Aus Toyota 2:27:16 8 S Haider Aut Audi 2:29:15 9 E Ordysnki Aus Mitsubishi 2:30:02 10 K Inoue Jpn Mitsubishi 2:32:06 end of second legSubaru drivers Rob Herridge and Rod Horsley have pulled out following the death of their teammate New Zealander Rodger Freeth on Saturday. Freeth, 39, a co-driver for Possum Bourne, died after his Legacy left the road on stage 3 and hit trees. He suffered serious chest injuries. Clerk of the course Garry Connelly said the car had been examined and the rollcage was intact. FISA are to carry out a full inquiry. Scot Colin McRae and Ari Vatanen, also members of the Subaru team, are to continue in the event.
Scot Colin McRae was fastest on three stages on day two in his 555 Subaru but failed to close the gap on the leader Finn Juha Kankkunen. Kankkunen replied with five fastest times in his Toyota to finish the day with a 1 min 19 secs lead, four seconds better than on day one. Ari Vatanen in the second Subaru has moved into third place, ahead of Ford drivers Francois Delecour and Miki Biasion in the new Escorts. Monday's tough 13-stage third leg starts from Perth and includes the fearsome Wellington Dam test.
Subaru star Colin McRae kept up the pressure on leader Juha Kankkunen throughout day two and commented: "Maybe we will have a go tomorrow."
"We closed the gap early in the day a bit," said the Scot. "But then he took it back again. Some of the stages are very daunting. It is difficult to see the road ahead because it is always twisting through the trees." Teammate Ari Vatanen lost about 20 seconds with a failed engine turbocharger wastegate but held on to finish the day in third place.
20.09.93 - AUSTRALIAN RALLYFinland's Juha Kakkunen look set to win the Australian Rally for the fourth time after further extending his lead over Colin McRae. Kankkunen's Toyota Celica dominated Monday's third leg, winning 11 of the 13 legs and finishing the day 2 mins 09 secs ahead of the pack. If he clinches victory on Tuesday, Toyota will become the first Japanese company to win the world manufacturers' championship. Scotland's McRae won the longest stage of the day, with his Subaru teammate Ari Vatanen lying third.
Positions after 30 of 34 stages: hrs mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 4:30:22 2 C McRae GB Subaru 4:32:31 3 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 4:36:38 4 M Biasion It Ford Escort 4:43:10 5 F Delecour Fr Ford Escort 4:51:59 6 R Dunkerton Aus Mitsubishi 4:52:57 7 S Haider Aut Audi 4:56:38 8 E Ordysnki Aus Mitsubishi 5:03:28 9 N Bates Aus Toyota 5:05:27 10 K Inoue Jpn Mitsubishi 5:11:24 End of third day 21.09.93 - AUSTRALIAN RALLYFinland's Juha Kankkunen completed a dominant display to score his fourth Australian rally win with almost six minutes in hand. He was either fastest or equal fastest on 25 of the 34 stages and his victory seals a first-ever manufacturers title for Toyota. Scot Colin McRae saw his chances of finishing as runner-up disappear when he went off on stage 32. He lost over half an hour while his Subaru was freed from a tree stump and dropped to sixth, allowing teammate Ari Vatanen to take second.
The Toyota team were in buoyant mood after Juha Kankkunen's victory gave them the manufacturers title. "This is the moment we have worked to achieve for the last 18 years," said Toyota Europe Team president Ove Anderson. "Our goal now is to secure a fourth world drivers' title for Juha," Anderson added. "The Celica has been perfect all rally and it's fantastic to win the championship for Toyota," a happy Kankkunen commented.
Result after 34 stages: hrs mins secs 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 5:19:58 2 A Vatanen Fin Subaru 5:25:50 3 F Delecour Fr Ford Escort 5:43:42 4 R Dunkerton Aus Mitsubishi 5:46:18 5 S Haider Aut Audi 5:48:48 6 C McRae GB Subaru 5:55:53 7 E Ordynski Aus Mitsubishi 5:58:42 8 N Bates Aus Toyota 6:04:50 9 K Inoue Jpn Mitsubishi 6:09:04 10 D Officer Aus Mitsubishi 6:11:43 DRIVERS 1 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota 111 pts 2 F Delecour Fr Ford 82 3 D Auriol Fr Toyota 71 4 M Biasion It Ford 66 5 C McRae GB Subaru 50 6 C Sainz Sp Lancia 30 MANUFACTURERS 1 Toyota 151 pts 2 Ford 125 3 Subaru 90 4 Mitsubishi 69 5 Lancia 67 22.09.93 - F1: JOHN WATSON ON THE PORUGUESE GRAND PRIXThis weekend's race is the last of the European GPs and once again there is a chance for Alain Prost to win his fourth world F1 title. Unexpectedly the big threat to his Championship chances now comes from his own teammate, Damon Hill, winner of the last three races. But, as in Monza two weeks ago, Prost is given the task of wrapping up the drivers' championship and I do not anticipate a victory bid from Damon Hill this weekend. What we are talking about here are unspoken team orders...
Why are team orders necessary at this point of the season when the Williams have been so dominant? It is not because the team favour Alain Prost over Damon Hill. It is just that, as long as a there is a potential threat from another team - here Senna and McLaren - Williams must ensure the objective is met as quickly as possible. Their plans were disrupted when Prost's engine blew up five laps from the end in Italy. Now he must finish ahead of Hill in order to make certain of the world crown.
There will be little sympathy for Alain Prost from the McLaren or Benetton teams who are the most likely to threaten the Williams duo. Estoril is not so much a power circuit as a handling circuit. The track surface at a number of points makes the set-up process of the cars absolutely critical. The Ford engine runners in theory should not be at such a disadvantage here this weekend. Overtaking will be difficult so the qualification sessions will be extremely important to everyone.
Without doubt the most exciting spot to watch in qualifying will be the long tightening corner leading to the start-finish straight. This corner, in my view, is the key to a fast lap. Michael Schumacher and Ayrton Senna will be mighty... Ferrari will have the opportunity to confirm the form they displayed in Monza although their information data base for this Estoril circuit now needs updating. I am certain though, whatever the circumstances, Gerhard Berger and Jean Alesi will still deliver.
A couple of faces re-appear on the F1 scene at Estoril this weekend. Mika Hakkinen, after a season as McLaren's test driver, finally gets his hands on a race car replacing Michael Andretti. Expect him to be on the pace alongside Ayrton Senna. Jordan have test driver Emanuele Naspetti replacing Marco Apicella and will be trying out a lengthened wheel-base, initially only for Reubens Barrichello on Friday. Pedro Lamy, unlucky to stop with three laps to go in Monza, will be sure of big support in his home GP.
The rumour mill will be overworked this weekend with drivers and engines again the main topics. Top of the driver gossip will be Ayrton Senna and his possible whereabouts for next season. Both Williams and Ferrari have been mentioned as a future home although in either case a driver would have to go. My information from Williams is that Damon Hill looks secure. Peugeot have had informal talks with four teams so far about their V10 F1 engine - McLaren, Benetton, Larrousse and Jordan.
24.09.93 FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP - PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX Friday's qualifying times: mins secs 1 A Prost Fr Williams 1:11.683 2 D Hill GB Williams 1:12.290 3 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:12.954 4 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:12.956 5 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:13.403 6 J Alesi It Ferrari 1:13.682 7 G Berger Aut Ferrari 1:14.159 8 R Patrese It Benetton 1:14.206 9 M Blundell GB Ligier 1:14.591 10 M Brundle GB Ligier 1:14.779 11 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber 1:14.978 12 K Wendlinger Aut Sauber 1:15.016 13 D Warwick GB Footwork 1:15.200 14 R Bar'chello Brz Jordan 1:15.479 15 J Herbert GB Lotus 1:15.831 16 P Martini It Minardi 1:15.942 17 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:15.968 18 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:16.072 19 E Comas Fr Larrousse 1:16.417 20 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 1:16.651 21 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:16.655 22 P Alliot Fr Larrousse 1:16.777 23 P Lamy Por Lotus 1:17.198 24 M Alboreto It Lola 1:17.778 25 E Naspetti It Jordan 1:17.845 26 L Badoer It Lola 1:19.064Alain Prost shattered the Estoril qualifying lap record as he took provisional pole for Sunday's race. The Frenchman, aiming to clinch his fourth world title, clocked a best time of 1 min 11.683 secs. Teammate Damon Hill was beset by problems, including an engine change and a spin in the gravel - but he was still second fastest. The leading four all improved the qualifying record set by Riccardo Patrese in a Williams in 1991 when he lapped in 1:13.001.
Three times world champion Alain Prosthas said he will retire from Formula One at the end of the season. The Frenchman is out to clinch a fourth world crown this weekend in Estoril for Williams. He will bow out in Adelaide on November 7. Ayrton Senna also confirmed that he will leave McLaren at the end of the season - and now seems certain to replace Prost at Williams. Damon Hill's position at Williams now also looks more secure.
MINTEX RALLY SERIES:- The final round of the Mintex National Rally series is staged on Saturday, with four drivers still in with a chance of the title. Chesterfield's Chris Mellors has led the series for most of the season, with Murray Grierson four points behind in second. Other contenders are Dougie Watson-Clark and David Mann.
25.09.93 THE PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX - FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Final qualifying times: mins secs 1 D Hill GB Williams 1:11.494 2 A Prost Fr Williams 1:11.683 3 M Hakkinen Fin McLaren 1:12.443 4 A Senna Brz McLaren 1:12.491 5 J Alesi It Ferrari 1:13.101 6 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:13.403 7 R Patrese It Benetton 1:13.863 8 G Berger Aut Ferrari 1:13.963 9 D Warwick GB Footwork 1:14.388 10 M Blundell GB Ligier 1:14.577 11 M Brundle GB Ligier 1:14.708 12 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber 1:14.833 13 K Wendlinger Aut Sauber 1:15.016 14 J Herbert GB Lotus 1:15.183 15 R Bar'chello Brz Jordan 1:15.433 16 A Suzuki Jpn Footwork 1:15.491 17 A De Cesaris It Tyrrell 1:15.904 18 P Lamy Por Lotus 1:15.920 19 P Martini It Minardi 1:15.942 20 P Alliot Fr Larrousse 1:16.144 21 U Katayama Jpn Tyrrell 1:16.186 22 E Comas Fr Larrousse 1:16.417 23 E Nespetti It Jordan 1:16.566 24 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 1:16.651 25 M Alboreto It Lola 1:17.118 26 L Badoer It Lola 1:17.739Damon Hill broke the lap record in Estoril as he took pole for Sunday's race. Hill overhauled Williams teammate Alain Prost with a scorching time of 1 min 11.434 secs. It lifted him 2/10ths of a second clear of Prost, who spun off and damaged his car early on. Flying Finn Mika Hakkinen, in as a replacement for Michael Andretti in the McLaren for the first time, roared to third on the grid.
Britain's F1 star Damon Hill said he hoped he would be allowed to have "a proper motor race" at Estoril on Sunday afternoon. "I think it is good for Formula One if we are all allowed to race each other," said Hill, who expects to have to make way for teammate Alain Prost as he chases the world title. Prost refused to answer questions about team orders but admitted his spin in practice was his own fault. "I was very surprised. It is hard to understand it," he commented.
MINTEX RALLY SERIES:- Dougie Watson-Clark clinched the Mintex National Rally title in one of the series closest ever finishes. The Ford Escort driver claimed victory in the Artemis Equipment Forest Stages event, reaching the finish in Leeds just 27 seconds clear of rival David Mann (Toyota). Chris Mellors, whose Championship hopes were ended by engine failure on stage 1, was runner-up with Mann taking third in the series. Murray Grierson, who retired on stage 5 while leading, was fourth overall with Martin Rowe fifth.
INTERSERIE CUP:- Series leader Giovanni Lavaggi in a Kremer-Porsche is on pole for the penultimate round of the Interserie Super Sport race at Donington Park. Nick Adams was a surprise second fastest in his Lola to line up alongside Lavaggi for the two 22-lap races on Sunday.
26.09.93F1: THE PORTUGUESE GRAND PRIX
Alain Prost has won the Formula One world crown for the fourth time after taking second place behind Michael Schumacher in Portugal. The Williams driver, who announced his retirement from F1 racing two days ago, showed all his experience as he made certain of the title. He considered a victory bid on the final lap but settled for runner-up spot less than a second behind the Benetton driver, who had been runner-up five times this season. Damon Hill, who started from the back of the grid, finished third.
Damon Hill, due to start in pole position, found himself at the back of the grid after stalling his Williams before the warm-up lap. Hill's mishap left teammate Alain Prost in the best possible position at the start but it was Jean Alesi in his Ferrari leading into the first corner from the two McLarens. Hill produced fastest lap after fastest lap as he tore through the field, to lie fifth after 20 laps. It was a remarkable display on the Estoril circuit where overtaking is very difficult. He finished third.
Alain Prost took the lead at around one-third race distance, taking over from Jean Alesi who opted for an early stop for tyres. McLaren driver Mika Hakkinen also stopped early, as did Michael Schumacher in the Benetton. Schumacher made the best of the fresh rubber and when Prost and second-placed Damon Hill stopped in the pits, he moved into first place. Schumacher, with five runner-up places to his credit this season, was looking good for the second GP victory of his career.
McLaren's new driver Mika Hakkinen was the first of many competitors to crash out on the demanding track. Hakkinen, impressive in practice, started well in his first GP this year but was caught out by loss of downforce trying to pass Jean Alesi. He lost control of his car on the long righthander before the start-finish straight and ran wide before crossing the track into the barrier. Ferrari driver Gerhard Berger also shot across the track, on the exit from the pits, almost collecting Derek Warwick as he crashed out.
Britain's Derek Warwick was in an angry mood after spinning out of sixth place after a near-collision with Riccardo Patrese's Benetton. Patrese slid off the track after locking up his wheels as he tried to challenge the Footwork driver for a leaderboard place - and Warwick went off with him. Mark Blundell was also the victim during an overtaking manoeuvre when his Ligier was in collision with fifth-placed Karl Wendlinger. Wendlinger recovered to finish fifth in his Sauber.
Frenchman Alain Prost clinched his fourth world F1 crown in Estoril and promised he would retire with one more victory to his credit. "It was very difficult to overtake today even when the car ahead was two or three seconds slower. I wanted to win the race but I wanted the Championship more," he said. "Now I will go to Japan and Australia more relaxed and I want to win one more race before the end of the season." Prost, 37, won the world title in 1985, '86 and '89, and has won 51 GPs.
FIA FORMULA ONE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP Result after 71 laps: hr mins secs 1 M Schumacher Ger Benetton 1:32:46.309 2 A Prost Fr Williams 0.982s back 3 D Hill GB Williams 8.206s 4 J Alesi It Ferrari 1:07.605 5 K Wendlinger Aut Sauber 1 lap 6 M Brundle GB Ligier 1 lap 7 JJ Lehto Fin Sauber 2 laps 8 P Martini It Minardi 2 laps 9 C Fittipaldi Brz Minardi 2 laps 10 P Alliot Fr Larrousse 2 laps 11 E Comas Fr Larrousse 3 laps 12 A de Cesaris It Tyrrell 3 laps 13 R Barrichello Brz Tyrrell 3 laps 14 L Badoer It Lola 3 laps 15 D Warwick GB Footwork 8 laps 16 R Patrese It Benetton 8 laps Retirements: apparent reason Naspetti (Jordan) blown engine lap 8 Katayama (Tyrrell) out lap 12 Senna (McLaren) car trouble lap 19 Suzuki (Footwork) stopped lap 27 Hakkinen (McLaren) crashed heavily Berger (Ferrari) crashed out of pits Alboreto (Lola) out lap 38 Blundell (Ligier) collision - 6th Herbert (Lotus) crashed out lap 60 Lamy (Lotus) crashed out lap 61 Warwick (Footwork) collision - 6th Patrese (Benetton) collision - 7th Points after Portuguese GP 1 A Prost Fr 87 points world champion - two races to go 2 D Hill GB 62 3 A Senna Brz 53 4 M Schumacher Ger 52 5 R Patrese It 20 6 J Alesi Fr 13 7 M Brundle GB 12 8 J Herbert GB 11 9 M Blundell GB 10 = G Berger Aut 10 11 M Andretti US 7 == K Wendlinger Aut 7 13 JJ Lehto Fin 5 == C Fittipaldi Brz 5 15 D Warwick GB 4 Standings after Portuguese GP: 1 Williams Renault 149 points 2 Benetton Ford 72 3 McLaren Ford 60 4 Ferrari 23 5 Ligier Renault 22 6 Lotus Ford 12 7 Sauber 12 = Minardi 7 9 Footwork 4 10 Larrousse 3 Williams win championshipF.OPEL EUROSERIES:- Belgium's Vincent Radermecker was declared provisional Opel/Vauxhall Euroseries champion of 1993 after the final round at the Portugese Grand Prix meeting on Sunday. The standings are provisional due to previous disputed results and a pending Appeal hearing.