SEPTEMBER 4, 2000
Barry Green and British American Racing
Employing Green makes a lot of sense for BAT because he is probably an acceptable choice for Jacques Villeneuve, having run the Canadian successfully in CART in 1995. It is hard to see how Green could run BAR on a daily basis because of his other commitments but he might be able to act as chairman for BAT teams on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean if the right people can be found to operate the teams. Team Kool Green is already being run to some extent by his brother and there could be a similar arrangement involving Michael Andretti, particularly if that deal also involved BAT sponsorship.
There are currently six BAT-funded cars in action in CART: two Forsythe cars in Players colors which are paid for by BAT's Canadian offshoot; there are two Kool cars run by Team Green (paid for by the company's US offshoot Brown & Williamson) and two Hollywood cars run by Arciero and Mo Nunn Racing which are paid for by Souza Cruz.
Under the latest deal between the US government and the tobacco companies BAT is allowed to continue with existing sponsorships but is not allowed to start new ones. Under such restrictions it makes sense for BAT to run all of its cars in different color schemes (which is allowed in CART) to ensure at least some exposure for the company's products in the UnitedÊStates. This could easily be achieved by switching a Forsythe car to a different brand sold in Canada and switching the Andretti car to a BAT brand marketed by Souza Cruz. This might mean that the Hollywood branding might have to be dropped, but to get Michael Andretti into a BAT car for the long term might not be such a bad idea.
It is worth noting that last week Team Kool Green confirmed that Paul Tracy has signed a new five-year contract and that Dario Franchitti is to be retained for one more season. This curious arrangement appears to have come about because Franchitti wants to be available in 2002 for a Jaguar F1 drive but it would also allow for a Brazilian to join the team in 2002, which would suit Souza Cruz perfectly.
It is worth noting that from the very beginning of the BAT program there has been a goal of running cars in identical branding in different series around the world as part of the global brand-building process. BAR originally planned to run cars with different branding in F1 but that was blocked by the FIA. It may be that BAT is now rethinking its program so that at least one car in CART is run in the same color scheme as in F1. Michael Andretti in a Lucky Strike car? It is possible.