Bjorn Wirdheim Q&A

With just a few seats remaining it looks increasingly like F1 will have few or even no rookies next year. One man who could yet find a seat is highly-rated F3000 champion Bjorn Wirdheim. After a frustrating test at Monza was spoiled by electronic problems he had a more satisfactory outing in front of the whole F1 circus at Indianapolis, while this week he will have a go in a BAR at Mugello. Both teams could have seats open, but the Swede has also generated interest in the USA following the recent success of F3 graduates such as Sebastien Bourdais and Bruno Junqueira. Adam Cooper spoke to Bjorn at Indy

Bjorn Wirdheim Q&A



"No it wasn't easy, and I've never been to the circuit before. But anyway, I think it was a good experience, and it gave me some more F1 miles, which means I will be better prepared for driving the BAR at Mugello next week. And I also got to know the circuit."



"I think I did 45 laps in only two hours, so I got a lot more running than at Monza. The car was quite difficult to drive, although I made some adjustments which made it better. I just need to get more experience to be able to extract everything out of myself."



"I was trying different kinds of tyres with quite a lot of fuel in the car. It was funny because I was supposed to work with an engineer called Dominic. But Ralph Firman's engineer Gerry had to go home because his wife went into labour, and Dominic went to his car, so I had to work directly with Gary Anderson, who normally oversees things. It was interesting working with him, because he has so much experience, and I just had a good time. Hopefully I helped them a little bit with race strategy as well."



"There's going to be one day at Mugello this week, and they've said I might do another day after Suzuka. After the test with BAR I'll do a CART test - which is part of the F3000 prize. That will be after the Fontana race, but I don't think it's been decided what team yet. We met a lot of CART team managers at Indy, and there seems to be quite a lot of interest from them as well. So I guess I'll do a couple of tests in the USA and then see what happens. At the moment I really don't know what I'm going to do next year."



"I wouldn't mind going to the USA to race in CART, but as I've said before the priority is F1 of course. At the end of the year we just have to see what the alternatives are, and make a sensible choice."



"It depends on what kind of test drive it is."



"It was a lot more than I expected, of course. The Arden team was just fantastic, and I hope next year I get to work with a team like that again."



"No really. I would have wanted to win more races, of course. I won three, and it could have been four, with Monaco. But it was very important for me to win the championship, and because of that maybe I didn't challenge for first position in some races. When I finally won the championship I won the last race, which I really didn't need to. But I wanted to do that to prove a point."



"I agree, it's not what it was in 1999. But still there were some really good drivers, and it's been tough competition. People can say what they want, but if you're not really close to the championship you don't really understand how difficult it is, really. So I don't listen to that kind of talk!"



"I think definitely. I really had to push hard to get results in my first year, and that helped me in my second year, of course. We don't know what's going to happen in the championship next year, but there are quite a lot of experienced drivers that are going to move on."

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