News and Analysis
In his heyday as a driver, Jacques Laffite was as popular on the English side of the Channel as he was in his native France - as proven by the thousands of letters bearing British postmarks that he received following his massive crash at Brands Hatch in 1986. Now, two decades into his TV commentary career, he takes some time to reflect with Timothy Collings
Jenson Button said on Thursday that he was surprised no other teams did the same as BAR by taking advantage of an apparent loophole in the engine regulations that saw his BAR outfit retire both cars controversially at the end of the Australian Grand Prix
Paul Stoddart conceded on Friday morning that his Minardi team may not be able to take part in the season-opening Australian Grand prix without a near-miraculous change of heart by Ferrari and the FIA. But the Australian vowed to continue applying pressure on his peers to allow his team to race this weekend.
Italian Giancarlo Fisichella was delighted to be back in the points at last after a barren start to the season with his new Sauber team - and predicted, after the Spanish Grand Prix race, that they were now ready to become stronger and more successful.
Jenson Button's career-best finish in second place at Sunday's San Marino Grand Prix has heralded not only his arrival among the title-challengers, but also the potential break-up of the long-established 'big four' at the top end of the sport.
After all the hype, it was another red-wash. The Aussie fans had nothing Aussie to cheer. The Ferraris came home one-two, McLaren-Mercedes-Benz flopped and Williams-BMW flattered to deceive. Only the Renault of rising Spanish star Fernando Alonso could handle the scarlet pace, finishing third behind Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello, a result that left the 'red baron' flanked by the only two men who can claim to offer a genuine challenge to his claims on securing an amazing seventh world title.
Both Michael and Ralf Schumacher suffered problems on Saturday morning in final free practice for Sunday's United States Grand Prix, but Michael at least had the consolation of seeing his Ferrari teammate Rubens Barrichello topping the times.
Jarno Trulli topped the times for the Renault team for the second time on Friday morning when after finishing quickest in the private testing run he went out and set the best time in a rain-hit first free practice session for Sunday's United States Grand Prix.