Herbert countdown to one more race

After finishing 12th in today's qualifying, there is just one more race to go for veteran Johnny Herbert, the popular Briton who finishes his Formula One career at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

After finishing 12th in today's qualifying, there is just one more race to go for veteran Johnny Herbert, the popular Briton who finishes his Formula One career at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang.

"It will probably hit me harder next year when I watch the race from Melbourne next year, in an armchair, with my feet up, my slippers on my feet and the dog by my side," Herbert said. "The good thing is then is that I will be able to say 'Look at that, I would have done it better."'

Herbert, who turned 36 in June, is still uncertain about where he will drive next year.

"Even if I don't race in CART, I think I would do some racing somewhere else because I still enjoy it and that's what I want to do," Herbert said.

After starting Formula One with Benetton-Ford in 1989, Herbert has raced for Tyrrell, Lotus, Sauber and Stewart - which was changed to Jaguar this year.

He will finish with 161 races. He has three wins - The British and Italian races in 1995 and the European Grand Prix at Nurburgring, Germany in 1999. He is scoreless this year, coming in seventh twice.

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BRIDGESTONE TO STAY

Although there is speculation that it might pull out of Formula One, Bridgestone officials say they will still be on the international racing circuit next year where they will compete against Michelin.

There are financial concerns over possible lawsuits because of the tire failures on sports utility vehicles that have caused accidents and deaths in the United States.

However Hiroshi Yasukawa, the Bridgestone Motorsport Director, said that Bridgestone is already thinking about next year. It has even supplied tires with 2001 specifications for Sunday's race.

"We have already started our tire development program for next season," said Yasukawa. "Our staff is highly motivated and excited by this new and thrilling challenge that we are presented with by Michelin. We hope to have a good and fair fight with them next year."

Yasukawa rejected speculation about the company leaving the international circuit and the American racing series. "I would point out that our long-term commitment, both to F1 and CART series, was recently emphasized by our president, Mr. Yochiro Kaizaki," Yasukawa said.

He also said that Bridgestone's Formula One operations were moved to a new facility near London's Heathrow airport.

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MAHATHIR PROUD OF SUCCESSFUL RACE

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad, a racing enthusiast who pushed to bring Formula One to Malaysia, is pleased with the results.

"This is a privilege which only a few events of the world could provide," he said. "With the Formula One success, Malaysia is never the same again."

He said it showed to the world a different face of Malaysia in an effort to build tourism.

"Setting new international standards, Malaysia has again shown its achievement to the world. A young united nation with strong dedication, firm commitment, a far sighted vision and always ready to take on new challenges."

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