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DAMS lets go of the F1 dream

JEAN-PAUL DRIOT, boss of Driot Arnoux Motor Sport (DAMS), has announced that DAMS is staying in Formula 3000 in 1996. It is the second consecutive year in which DAMS has aborted F1 plans because it has been unable to find the sponsorship necessary to run the team at a competitive level. Driot says that he will try again in 1997, and will use his prototype GD01 chassis for a testing and development program this year.

The car, designed by ex-Ligier engineer Claude Galopin, ran briefly in October at Paul Ricard, but it is already out of date as it was built to 1995 specifications. It would, however, be useful for testing other systems. The team already has a well-developed gearbox - having lent its 1995 design to Minardi to race this season.

Although this is another setback for Driot, he is probably wise to bide his time as entering F1 with a customer Ford V8 engine is probably not the way to be successful when you consider what has happened in recent years with Pacific, Simtek and Larrousse.

Driot will be hoping that he can maneuver himself into the position of being the top French team, and thus convince Renault or Peugeot to supply him with more competitive engines with which to make the all-important break into Grand Prix racing. As Ligier becomes less and less of a French team - hiring Brazilian pay-driver Pedro Diniz is not going to help the team's credibility in France - DAMS is aiming to pick up what French money is left. A strong involvement with Elf is logical because the French oil companies needs an F1 team in which to place its young proteges.

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