NEWS ARCHIVE

30 MARCH 1998

BLACKMAILING BERNIE

FOR many years Bernie Ecclestone was little-known to the general public but as Grand Prix racing grew so Ecclestone became more of a public figure.

ENGINEERING CHANGES AT STEWART?

THERE are whispers in the Formula 1 paddock that Stewart Grand Prix is looking for a new technical director because of the problems which have been encountered with the team's innovative new gearbox.

FERRARI AND BRIDGESTONE

ONE rumor doing the rounds in the paddock at Interlagos is that Ferrari is planning a last-minute switch to Bridgestone tires, because of the lack of competitiveness of the team this year.

FORD AND BENETTON

BENETTON boss David Richards and his technical director Pat Symmonds were recently spotted visiting Cosworth Racing in Northampton, adding to speculation that the Benetton team is discussing a switch to Ford V10 engines next year.

POLITICS IN BRAZIL

THE Formula 1 teams indulged in a huge political fight at Interlagos, centered on whether or not the directional braking systems being used by McLaren, Williams and Jordan were legal. In the days before the meeting began the FIA formalized a ban on regenerative electrical motors, thus closing a loophole which McLaren was rumored to have exploited in Australia with the electrical motors running the auxiliary pumps of the engine at certain places on each lap, giving the drivers what amounted to a boost button.

PROBLEMS FOR PROST

PROST GRAND PRIX is not having an easy time at the moment.

THE UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX

AS exclusively predicted earlier this month Las Vegas is still bidding seriously to host the United States Grand Prix with the race promoter Tommy Baker saying that the event will go ahead if the Federal Bureau of Land Management awards a development contract on a 160-acre site to him.

VERSTAPPEN TO TEST FOR BENETTON

DUTCHMAN Jos Verstappen, out of work since he was dropped by Tyrrell in favor of pay-driver Ricardo Rosset, is to test for the Benetton team this week at Silverstone although it is by no means certain that he will be signed up as the team's test driver this year.

WHEN IS A HONDA NOT A HONDA

THE CART race at Motegi came and went without any announcement about Honda's Formula 1 plans but our sources continue to insist that British American racing will have the Japanese V10 engines, despite the fact that Honda has announced that it is planning to build its own chassis in addition to engines.

WORKING TOWARDS THE FLOTATION

THERE are signs that the FIA and Bernie Ecclestone are keen to solve the outstanding problems between the governing body and the European Union. In what is being seen as a conciliatory gesture, the FIA last week announced that it is releasing the TV rights to a number of FIA series to individual promoters on the understanding that the copyright of the film belongs to the FIA and that the coverage is fair and accurate. The FIA will, however, continue to have direct control over the exploitation of the TV rights for Formula 1, Formula 3000, the World Rally Championship and the International GT series.

23 MARCH 1998

...BUT WILL CHINA BE ADDED?

THE FIA World Council has finally managed to confirm a 16-race calendar for this season but there is no guarantee that this is the final change to the F1 dates for 1998.

FERRARI TO PROTEST MCLAREN IN BRAZIL

THE Ferrari Formula 1 team announced last Thursday that it will protest the two McLaren-Mercedes MP4-13s of MikaÊHakkinen and DavidÊCoulthard after the Brazilian Grand Prix at Interlagos.

FRENCH GRAND PRIX CONFIRMED...

THE French Grand Prix, which has been hanging in the balance for the last six months, is back on with the Formula 1 teams scheduled to race at Magny-Cours as expected on June 28.

KEEP AN EYE ON TOYOTA

IT is over a year since reports first emerged from Japan that Toyota was looking seriously at entering Formula 1 as an engine manufacturer, as part of the company's international expansion plans under its go-ahead President Hiroshi Okuda.

MOSLEY GETS FIA SUPPORT OVER EUROPE

THE ongoing dispute between the FIA and the European Commission's Competition Directorate over whether the governing body of the sport is abusing a monopoly position continues with the FIA World Council last week voting for a motion supporting all of FIA President Max Mosley's moves to date and giving him "total support to ensure the defence of the sporting rights and legitimate prerogatives of the 116 member countries of the FIA".

NIGEL MANSELL'S LATEST COMEBACK

FORMER Formula 1 and Indycar Champion Nigel Mansell is to make a racing comeback this season at the wheel of a FordÊMondeo in selected rounds of the British Touring Car Championship.

TESTING ACROSS EUROPE

THE Formula 1 teams did not waste any time after returning from Australia to get back to testing in preparation for the forthcoming races in South America.

THE FIA AND TEAM ORDERS

IN the finest tradition of nonsensical decision-making the FIA World Council has decided to crack down on team orders in Grand Prix racing.

THE VALUE OF MCLAREN DOMINATION

RACE fans all over the world were shocked by the scale of McLaren's domination of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne. But it is emerging that the system which allegedly gives the team the advantage it enjoys could turn out to be a massive boost for Grand Prix racing in the long-term.

16 MARCH 1998

BIG AMBITIONS FOR TYRRELL REFUGEES

TWO former Tyrrell employees have joined forces with Canadian disc jockey David "Kid" Jensen to launch a new team which they hope will eventually grow into a top racing operation.

HONDA CONFIRMS OWN TEAM

THE HONDA MOTOR COMPANY has confirmed that it is going to return to Formula 1 racing with its own team.

IMPERIAL TOBACCO CONSIDERING F1 ASSAULT

BRITAIN's IMPERIAL TOBACCO COMPANY is looking closely at an involvement in Grand Prix racing, as part of its plan to expand sales around the world, particularly in Asia.

MINARDI'S CARGO PROBLEMS

LIFE is never easy for the Minardi team but being Formula 1's least successful team has disadvantages.

NO REST FOR MCLAREN CHASERS

HAVING been embarrassed by the pace of McLaren in Melbourne both Ferrari and Williams wasted no time in getting back into action after the Australian Grand Prix.

PROST MOVING HOUSE

PROST GRAND PRIX has relocated its drawing office, marketing and communication departments to its new headquarters at Guyancourt, near Versailles.

SCHUMACHER AND FERRARI

THE German magazine BILD last week reported that Fiat has offered Michael Schumacher $82m to stay with the Ferrari team for another three seasons.

THE VALUE OF TEAM ORDERS

MUCH fuss has been made in newspapers around the world about team orders after the Australian Grand Prix, in which David Coulthard moved over to let Mika Hakkinen win the race.

9 MARCH 1998

...AND ITS TWO-SEATER F1 CAR

McLAREN kicked off the new Formula 1 season not only with a stunning 1-2 for Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard in Melbourne but also with the revelation that it is building a two-seater Formula 1 car to enable VIPs and media to understand more about how Grand Prix drivers work and what it is like to go at racing speeds in a modern F1 machine.

AMERICAN WHISPERS

WE understand that Bernie Ecclestone is within a matter of days away from signing a deal to take Grand Prix racing back into the United States of America - although the man himself is not giving anything away.

BENETTON GETS PLAYLIFE V10S

BENETTON announced on the eve of the Australian Grand Prix that it is to run with engines called Playlife V10s.

BERNIE TAKES HIS MILLION

THE British Labour Party has revealed that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone has cashed the £1 million cheque which was returned to him in November last year following a political scandal in Britain.

BIG CALENDAR SHAKE-UP NEXT YEAR

THE Formula 1 team bosses met in Melbourne to discuss the F1 calendar.

HONDA'S FORMULA 1 PLANS

THE Honda Motor Company is expected to announced on March 28, at the Twin Ring Motegi CART race in Japan, that it is about to launch a major Grand Prix campaign which will be ready in time for the 1999 season.

MCLAREN'S LITTLE SECRET...

THE two McLaren-Mercedes MP4/13s of Mika Hakkinen and David Coulthard demolished the opposition at the AustralianÊGrandÊPrix, lapping the track three seconds faster than the opposition throughout the race and giving the team a quite remarkable victory.

VERSTAPPEN FOR BENETTON?

HAVING lost out on a drive with Tyrrell to Brazilian Ricardo Rosset, Holland's Jos Verstappen is trying to resurrect his F1 career and is understood to be in negotiation with Benetton for the role of reserve and test driver.

WHEN IS A U-TURN A U-TURN?

THE serpentine manoeuvres between Formula 1 racing, the tobacco companies and the European Commission continued in Melbourne when FIA President Max Mosley announced that the governing body could bring in a worldwide ban on tobacco advertising in Formula 1 as early as 2002.

2 MARCH 1998

CONCORDE AGREEMENT CLOSE

THE long-running squabbling over the 1998-2008 Concorde Agreement are very close to being settled with several sources suggesting that the document will be signed by all the teams before the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne next weekend.

FINAL TESTS AS F1 HEADS FOR MELBOURNE

MOST of the Formula 1 teams finished their winter testing programs last week with shakedown runs before the cars were packed up and sent to London's Heathrow and Milan's Linate airports to be despatched to Australia where practice for the Australian Grand Prix begins on Friday.

FRENCH GP EDGES EVER CLOSER

THE French Grand Prix is expected to return to the Formula 1 calendar later this week following the passage through the French Senate and National Assembly of a new law concerning the televising of sport in France.

GOOD SHOWING FROM ARROWS

TOM WALKINSHAW's Arrows team gave a warning last week that the operation should not be overlooked this year. PedroÊDiniz, at the wheel of the new John Barnard designed Arrows A19 was faster in the wet at Silverstone than both Benetton and Jordan.

MINARDI'S NEW LOOK

MINARDI unveiled a completely new livery in Bologna last week, underlining the increased importance in the team of Gabriele Rumi, who is the major shareholder in Minardi's holding company.

MORE MONEY FOR ALAIN PROST

PROST GRAND PRIX last week announced a major new sponsorship deal with the Sodexho Alliance, a French restaurant services and management group which has become Europe's largest catering business, involving 30 different companies, including several restaurant chains and specialist catering firms which cater for events such as the Tour de France cycle race and the Olympic Games.

RICARD SALE TO ATTRACT F1 TEAMS?

THE Circuit Paul Ricard near Toulon, in the south of France, is up for sale, following the death of the drinks magnate who built the track in 1969.

RUBBER TROUBLE IN AUSTRALIA?

FORMULA 1 team bosses are heading to Melbourne worried about the FIA's ambiguous regulations regarding tire wear of the new grooved slick tires.

SIR NORMAN FOSTER TO DESIGN MCLAREN FACTORY

THE new McLaren factory at Mizens Farm in Woking is to be designed for the team by Britain's best-known architect SirÊNormanÊFoster.

THE HONOURABLE GERALD LASCELLES

IT is with great regret that we must announce the death of The Honourable Gerald Lascelles who, as President of the BritishÊRacingÊDrivers'ÊClub, played an important role in building up Silverstone circuit between 1964 and 1991.

VILLENEUVE AND WILLIAMS

FRANK WILLIAMS has admitted that he is not going to waste time signing up his drivers for 1999, which will force JacquesÊVilleneuve to make up his mind very early in the season if he wants to stay with the team next season.