Honda website
Honda website

MAY 11, 1998

BAR driving forces

WHILE British American Racing is still expected to run Alessandro Zanardi in F1 next year, probably with former Williams test driver Jean-Christophe Boullion alongside him, the team's longer-term plans are very interesting. In the last few months BAR boss Craig Pollock has concluded several new management deals which suggest that there could be some real surprises in the future.

The biggest name signed by Pollock is motorcycle racer Max Biaggi. This might appear to be a deal to expand his management empire into motorcycle racing but it is well known that Biaggi would love to move into car racing when he retires from bikes. Biaggi has been badgering F1 teams for a test drive for some seasons but there has been little reason for them to run him. Pollock, however, seems to have spotted the potential of becoming involved with the Italian ace - who has won four World 250cc titles and recently became the first rider since the 1960s to win a 500cc Grand Prix at his first attempt.

Motorcycle racing is big news in Asia and Biaggi is one of the biggest names in the sport. If that reputation could be transferred to F1 it would help British American Tobacco in its campaign to make a big impact on the Asian markets through Grand Prix racing. If this sounds far-fetched, one should bear in mind that another recent Pollock signing is Portuguese Formula 3000 driver Andre Couto, who is racing this year with the Prema Powerteam.

Couto is a fairly useful driver but his chief importance appears to be that while he is a Portuguese national, he actually comes from the Portuguese enclave of Macau, which will shortly become part of China. This means that Couto will soon become someone who can be promoted as a Chinese driver...