FEBRUARY 16, 1998
Rosset signs for Tyrrell
THE line-up of drivers for the 1998 Formula 1 World Championship was completed last week with the announcement that Ricardo Rosset from Brazil has been signed to partner Toranosuke Takagi at Tyrrell. Rosset will bring around $5m of sponsorship with him from his own clothing company Track & Field and from Lycra, the material which Rosset's family owns the rights to in South America.
Although wealthy, Rosset is also a talented driver, the 29-year Brazilian having finished runner up in the 1995 International Formula 3000 Championship before joining Arrows in 1996. Unfortunately this coincided with the team being taken over by Tom Walkinshaw and there was much disruption for the rest of the year. The poor results meant that there was little interest in Rosset for 1997 but in the weeks before the start of the season he came close to signing for Tyrrell. He lost the deal at the last minute when the Ockham team decided to sign Rosset's former Arrows team-mate Jos Verstappen. Rosset was left with no choice but to sign for the Mastercard Lola team, although that adventure ended after just one race. Rosset sat out the remainder of the 1997 season although he did test for Tyrrell in June.
This year Tyrrell decided that Rosset was a better bet than Verstappen - an indication perhaps that money is more important this year at Tyrrell than talent - which means that Verstappen is now out of work in Grand Prix racing. While the Dutchman has been a little accident-prone over the years there is no doubt that he does possess the raw speed which is essential for a top F1 driver and it may be that a rival team will pick him up as a reserve driver.
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