Formula one, 2001 season Belgian Grand Prix at Spa: Teams and personnel: the jpoc report

While everyone else was checking their travel arrangements for Hungary, the Toyata team was heading off to the rolling hills of Eastern Belgium to test at Spa. They seemed to be getting closer to the pace, setting times that were just one and a half seconds of the 2000 pole time. However, there was no tyre war in 2000 and the 2001 pole time might be two or even three seconds faster than the previous benchmark.

Toyota were able to help their tyre supplier Michelin. As a non competing team, they were the only cars that were able to try F1 rubber on the Spa circuit before the 2001 Belgian Grand Prix. Of course, this lead to a complaint from Bridgestone who believed that the Toyota team was thus able to give Michelin an unfair boost. This was added to the background over Toyota's planned running during the winter closed season.

Toyota of course denied everything and said that the FIA had told them that they were entitled to test right through the winter and that they were just running standard tyres from Michelin at Spa and not doing any development work for them.

After Spa, Toyota switched to the neaby Nurburgring for some laps at their more normal five seconds off the pace. This time, they managed to put on a lot more miles and professed themselves happy with their work testing engine mappings and their launch and traction control system.

A really strange situation, sparked by the Frentzen affair engulfed the Jaguar team. The full facts were never completely clear but it appeared that somebody at Jordan leaked a story that Jaguar team boss Bobby Rahal had offered to sell Eddie Irvine to Eddie Jordan before the Alesi deal was done. From the lack of categorical denials it looked as though there was some element of truth in the story and if the idea had been to leak the story to cause trouble at Jaguar then the whole scheme was a great success. Finally, everything came to a head at a meeting in the week after the Hungarian race.

Rahal went into the meeting expressing great confidence in himself and his future but it was not to be. He came out expressing a view that his departure from the team was an entirely amicable arrangement. Given his very public failure to recruit Adrian Newey and the constant rumours over the team's driver line up, he had not given the team the sort of stability that his staff needed to do a good job.

The official line was that he was leaving to spend more time with his US based Champ Car team. Lauda said that he would take over the team for the rest of the season and look for a replacement for Rahal from 2002.

The whole 2001 season All the races and the behind the scenes games
Ken Tyrrell Sadly missed
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Who drives what?
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Which engine goes where?
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Business and politics
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Circuit news
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Setting the scene
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Prospects for the race
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Practice and qualifying
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd The starting grid
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Race report
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Results
Belgian GP at Spa September 2nd Championship standings after the race
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