AUGUST 16, 1999
Frank going Stateside
SIR FRANK WILLIAMS will be in America next weekend to visit the CART event in Chicago and we hear will go on to visit the new Formula 1 circuit at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - which will host the United States Grand Prix in September 2000. Not surprisingly the visit has led to speculation that the Williams F1 boss is planning to negotiate a deal with Chip Ganassi for the release of Juan-Pablo Montoya, in exchange for the return to the United States of Alex Zanardi, who has struggled terribly in Formula 1 this year. Montoya has a long-term contract with Williams but is under short-term contract to Ganassi for this year and next. He is currently fighting Dario Franchitti for the CART title.
Zanardi has a two-year contract with Williams with an option to continue for a third but he may decide that he no longer wants to stay in F1. The Williams team may not have a very good reputation for how it handles drivers but it is very loyal to those with contracts. No Williams driver has been dropped by the team since it became Williams Grand Prix Engineering in 1977. Two years prior to that, however, Frank did drop Jacky Ickx when he was running the Wolf-Williams team, after the Belgian star failed to qualify for a series of races. The agreement was terminated with both sides agreeing not to continue.
Williams says that his trip to America is important because he has not been to an Indycar race for many years and he needs to know more about the motorsport people in North America.
We think there is probably rather more to it than that...
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