CART on the verge of collapse?

THERE are reports from the United States of America of a revolt by the promoters of the races who are rumored to be insisting that CART guarantees a minimum number of cars and a cut in the fees being levied for the races. If CART refuses to agree to these terms we hear that several tracks are threatening to pull the plug on the series. The tracks involved are believed to include Chicago, Cleveland, Elkhart Lake, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio, Montreal, Surfers Paradise, Toronto and Vancouver.

Matters are expected to come to a head on Tuesday next week when there is a CART board meeting. This is expected to follow an announcement on Monday that Roger Penske will cut back to just one car in CART, his main effort in 2002 will be in the Indy Racing League. The decision has been made because last year's controversy at Indianapolis where Penske was not allowed to run with Marlboro branding. There is an agreement in the United States that a tobacco company will run each brand in only one nominated series. Marlboro nominated CART and so when the Ferraris went to Indianapolis they had to run without branding. The same happened to Penske at the Indianapolis 500. The 500 is the biggest singles-seater event in the United States and Marlboro does not want to miss it.

The CART board meeting the following day promises to be a lively affair with chief executive Joe Heitzler expected to demand more power and if he fails to get it he may decide that he is wasting his time.

If CART does implode there will be a number of important opportunities created in the United States for Formula 1 to expand and the F1 team bosses would be wise to grab the chances if they are available.

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