FEBRUARY 20, 1995

Larrousse still talking

Gerard Larrousse still thinks he can run a Formula 1 team this year, despite the fact that he does not have cars which are in line with the 1995 regulations.

Any hope of a deal with the DAMS Formula 3000 team has gone out the window, and DAMS will now run Guillaume Gomez and Christophe Tinseau in F3000. If the budget is available, DAMS will test the F1 chassis it has built in preparation for a full F1 program in 1996.

Larrousse, however, says he is not going out without a fight and has ordered his technical director Michel Tetu to start work on modifying the 1994 chassis. Considering that these chassis were modified 1993 cars and that the design is much the same as that used in 1992, the team cannot expect to be competitive.

Larrousse UK Ltd, the design bureau in Bicester, England, used by Larrousse, has effectively disappeared and a new company called GenTech (UK) Ltd has taken on all the staff. This organization - headed by veteran designer Robin Herd - has an exclusive contract to consult and provide on-track service for the Forsythe Racing Indycar team, which is running Teo Fabi in a Reynard-Ford XB 95I.

Larrousse is hoping that his plans will be backed by the men behind the stillborn Junior Team F1 program - Jean Messaoudi and Laurent Barlesi. Junior Team says it has a large percentage of the budget necessary to run a team, but not the full amount; and Larrousse is hoping that the French government will step in to help him because it wants to see a French team active in Grand Prix racing. With Ligier now foreign-owned, Larrousse is the only choice.

Jean-Marie Balestre, president of the French national sporting authority, is to meet French prime minister Edouard Balladur to argue that the government must support French motorsport because of the effects of its ban on tobacco and alcohol sponsorship in France and Larrousse's future may rest on the Balladur's decision.

If he gives the go-ahead for government money to go to Larrousse, the team will press on with Erik Comas and Emmanuel Collard likely to be the drivers. If not, Larrousse will probably go out of business.

This would mean that there will only be 26 entries for the World Championship, with the result that all cars will start the races, as long as they have set a time in the course of the qualifying sessions.