WAY back in March we thought that Jacques Villeneuve would sweep all before him to win the 1997 FIA Formula 1 World Championship. He should have done. The Williams-Renault FW19 was clearly the best car in the field. When he took pole position by 1.7secs in Melbourne it looked as though we were in for a year of domination. In the end, however, Jacques scrambled to the title in a finale of high drama at Jerez de la Frontera at the end of what had been a very unsatisfying season for the Williams team and for many of the millions of F1 spectators.
RICHARD TOMLINSON, who worked as a buyer with Stewart Grand Prix this season, has been jailed for 12 months under Britain's Official Secrets Act.
BENETTON has won the race to be the first Grand Prix team to run its 1998 car.
A year ago Tom Walkinshaw unveiled Danka Business Systems as the new title sponsor of the Arrows Formula 1 team. The deal was for at least two years. Since then, however, Danka - which is one of the world's largest office machinery firms - has run into serious financial difficulties as a result of its $684m acquisition of the office imaging businesses of EastmanÊKodak.
MICHELIN admitted last week that it is considering an involvement in Formula 1 but that no decision has yet been taken.
THE European Union is making life difficult for Grand Prix racing at the moment and there are signs that this could lead to another showdown between the authorities in Brussels and Grand Prix racing bosses.
THE French Minister of Youth and Sport last week upset the FIA by telling her country's National Assembly that she was still trying to win a place on the 1998 Formula 1 calendar for the French Grand Prix but that: "I end up asking myself whether the international federation does not want to remove Formula 1 from the whole of Europe to go to countries where there are not laws protecting public health".
IT has not been a good week for Germany's Mercedes-Benz with the announcement that the firm is stopping production of its second new model because of worries over safety.
AS we suggested in February (INSIDE F1, Issue 9707), Jackie Stewart has concluded a large sponsorship deal with the telecommunications companyÊMCI.
JEAN-PIERRE VAN ROSSEM, the former boss of the Moneytron Onyx Formula 1 team, has been jailed for five years for fraud.
THREE and a half years after the death of Ayrton Senna, Frank Williams, Patrick Head and Adrian Newey have finally been cleared of manslaughter charges.
THE Portuguese Grand Prix looks to be in considerable jeopardy with the FIA insisting that the Estoril circuit gives "a binding undertaking" by December 31 to complete renovation work on schedule.
THE Belgium Grand Prix remains provisional on the Formula 1 calendar as a result of the recently-introduced anti-tobacco laws in Belgium.
FIAT, Italy's largest industrial company, which owns Ferrari has lost the man who had been expected to run the company when the current chairman Cesare Romiti retires.
THE French Grand Prix remains without a place in the 1998 FIA Formula 1 World Championship - despite French government moves to change the law relating to the broadcasting of sporting events.
THE German cigarette industry says it will be challenging the planned European Union ban on tobacco advertising.
THE problems of the French, Portuguese, Belgian and Jerez races are good news for the Chinese and the South Africans bids for Grands Prix which have been listed as reserve races for the 1998 World Championship.
THE only good news for Estoril is that its longtime rival - Jerez de la Frontera - is also in trouble with the FIA as a result of the behavior of the mayor of the town after the European GP in October.
SINCE the European tobacco legislation was agreed - with a total ban on tobacco advertising beginning on OctoberÊ1,Ê2006 there have been a rush of rumors suggesting alternative circuits to those in Europe.
JACKIE STEWART will announce in London this week that he has signed up two major new sponsors for his Grand Prix team.
THE Tyrrell team's plans to build its own half-scale rolling-road windtunnel have been scrapped following the takeover of the team by British American Racing.
BRITISH AMERICAN TOBACCO's racing team was finally announced in London last week - but the launch was far from revealing.
THE FIA Deputy President Cesar Torres has died of cancer at the age of 54.
ANDRE MAES, who runs the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium says that the circuit could lose its Grand Prix in 1998, following the news that the Belgian government has passed a law banning all tobacco advertising and sponsoring from the beginning of 1999.
THE European Health Ministers met in Brussels last week to hammer out a compromise over the banning of tobacco advertising in Europe.
AS we suggested last week the announcement that Goodyear is to pull out of Grand Prix racing at the end of 1998 has led teams to consider jumping to Bridgestone and last week McLaren led the way, terminating its agreement with Goodyear and beginning work with Bridgestone in Spain on Wednesday.
JACKIE STEWART learned the hard way last week that it is better not to talk too loudly against FIA policy.
FORMULA 1 testing began again after the month-long ban with Williams, Benetton, McLaren, Prost, Sauber, Minardi and Arrows all in action at Barcelona.
THE Tyrrell Family last week sold its Formula 1 team to British American Racing (BAR).
THE launch of British American Racing answered few questions - and left the important question of engine supply unanswered.
THE FIA last week issued its provisional Formula 1 entry list and the numbers which the teams will be using next year.
THE Belgian parliament last week voted in favor of a ban on all tobacco sponsorship in the country.
FORMULA 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone last week received a check for one million pounds from Britain's Labour Party, which had been advised to return the money which had been donated to the party by Ecclestone in January.
AS we revealed a couple of months ago the European Commission is to investigate whether Bernie Ecclestone's Formula 1 Holdings company should have the right to centrally-market the FIA's television rights for Grand Prix racing.
THERE have been one or two changes in the engineering team at Jordan Grand Prix with Ralf Schumacher's race engineer Andrew Green departing.
THE FIA's threat to pull Formula 1 out of Europe and relocate in other countries - notably in Asia - which the European Commission has dismissed as "bluffing" may not be as easy to achieve as Max Mosley and Bernie Ecclestone suggested to British Prime Minister Tony Blair as a meeting they had on October 16.
ALTHOUGH Goodyear has announced that it is planning to pull out of Grand Prix racing at the end of 1998 we understand that there is already a movement within the company to reverse that decision, with pressure coming from dealers in Europe, who feel that F1 is very important for their sales.
THE worst kept secret in Formula 1 will be officially announced this week in London with the tie-up between British American Tobacco, Reynard Racing Cars and Tyrrell expected to be revealed.
THE Minardi team is to take a dramatic step forward during the winter months with the aim being to have a staff of 100 before the start of the 1998 Formula 1 World Championship.
THE battle over the European Union tobacco ban comes to a head this week when the 15 EU health ministers meet in Brussels to vote on whether to ban tobacco advertising. Britain is insisting that it will only support such a ban if Grand Prix racing is excluded from the law.
THE Portuguese Government's financial review body has thrown the future of the country's Grand Prix into uncertainty by rejecting the deal done between the government and the former owners of the circuit Autodril so that the race could be saved.
THERE will be a lot of new faces in the forthcoming tests in Barcelona with several F1 teams planning to try out newcomers.