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  Sunday, 15 July, 2001, 13:18 GMT 14:18 UK
Tales from the pits
Michelin tyres have been linked with McLaren and Ferrari
Michelin tyres have been linked with McLaren and Ferrari

BBC Sport Online's motorsport editor Andrew Benson rounds up the Formula One gossip at the British Grand Prix.

Tyre talk

The key question of which tyre company McLaren and Ferrari will use next year looks to have been solved.

Both teams' contracts with Japanese company Bridgestone run out this year and there has been speculation that one or both could swap to Michelin, which returned to Formula One this year.

But sources say that McLaren are virtually certain to stick with Bridgestone - and that Ferrari probably will as well.

Both teams are said to have indicated to the Japanese their intention to extend their deals.

Bridgestone have responded well in the last couple of races to the increasing threat of Michelin on the Williams-BMW.

And Michelin are made less appealing because Williams already have a contract that dictates priority treatment, which both McLaren and Ferrari have with Bridgestone.

There remains, however, more doubt about Ferrari than McLaren.

Some believe Michael Schumacher might push for a switch to Michelin if his brother Ralf, who drives for Williams, has told him good things about them.


Jordan dilemma

With Mika Hakkinen indicating that he will not retire at the end of the year, the biggest remaining question mark in the drivers' market hangs over Jordan.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen is under contract for 2002 and will stay on, and the team want also to hang on to Jarno Trulli, who has been their most impressive performer this season.

Trulli is in talks with Jordan about a new deal, but Benetton-Renault have an option on him. Ultimately, though, the decision lies with the Italian.

Jarno Trulli in talks with Jordan
Jarno Trulli in talks with Jordan

Trulli says he has not yet made up his mind about where to drive next year.

It is most likely that the line-up of the two teams will remain unchanged, even if there is a small possibility that Trulli could swap with Giancarlo Fisichella.

Fisichella has outpaced team-mate Jenson Button for most of this year, but Benetton cannot sign Trulli instead of the Englishman because marketing reasons dictate that they must not have two Italian drivers.


Engine decision

The Prost team are expected to continue with Ferrari customer engines next year despite recent claims that they could switch to Asiatech.

Prost have been happy with their Ferrari deal this year but there were concerns that they could not afford to continue with it.

The French team have to pay $25m (17.8m) to Ferrari for use of last year's engine and gearbox.

However, they have resolved the issue, according to sources, and now Asiatech will probably supply Minardi.

If the deal goes through, the company, which is a consortium of Asian technology companies, will also take a shareholding in Minardi of between 30-51%.


Celebs out in force

Despite the endless traffic jams and unpredictable weather, the British Grand Prix is usually swarming with celebrities and this year is no exception.

Tennis star Tim Henman and rowing gold medallist James Cracknell were in the paddock, as were Australian cricketers Shane Warne and Steve Waugh.

James Cracknell spotted at Silverstone
James Cracknell spotted at Silverstone

Sports minister Richard Caborn was also at Silverstone

It's not known whether he used the opportunity to brush up on his sporting knowledge, which was so badly exposed by BBC Five Live when he took up his role after the election.

Pop band Hear'Say posed with an Arrows on Saturday. Among the TV personalities were news reader Trevor MacDonald and Carol Vorderman.

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See also:

09 Jul 01 | Formula One
10 Jul 01 | Formula One
13 Jul 01 | Formula One
Links to more Formula One stories are at the foot of the page.


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