JULY 22, 1996
A mysterious car at Snetterton
REPORTS of a mysterious white F1 car testing at Snetterton last week have set tongues wagging in Grand Prix racing. The track was booked by Tyrrell so if there had been a white car running around it is entirely logical that this could be a Tyrrell - as the team has very little sponsorship at the moment. In fact, it seems that the team did not test at Snetterton but went instead to a British government facility at Crowthorne, Berkshire where the Transport Research Laboratory - a division of the Department of Transport - has a testing ground. Tyrrell's test driver Emmanuel Collard ran up and down a long straight, doing data acquisition work which will be useful as the high-speed tracks of Hockenheim and Monza in the weeks ahead. The team was due to run at Brands Hatch at the start of this week to shake down cars prior to the German GP.
One rumor doing the rounds was that Jordan was at Snetterton doing secret testing work for Michelin. Those who have visited Snetterton will know that there is nothing secret that can be done there as there is an active industrial estate close to the track. The best way to give away a secret in motor racing is to test anywhere in England. In addition, Jordan has also recently signed a contract with Goodyear - so is unlikely to be playing games with Michelin.
The French tire company has been looking at F1 in the last year and had even been linked to secret tests with McLaren. The Woking team has now agreed a new long-term deal with Goodyear, which suggests that Michelin is not ready to enter F1 and is waiting to see how Bridgestone does against Goodyear before it joins the fray.
Other suggestions about the Snetterton test are that a private collector was playing with toys; that the Lola F1 car was running again (Lola being located close to Snetterton).
Whatever the case, somebody at Snetterton saw something which they took to be a Formula 1 car...
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