MAY 15, 1995

Dutch dollars for Simtek

Nick Wirth's Simtek team nearly didn't make it to Barcelona because of a shortage of cash, and the team is now desperately trying to put together a deal to keep the funding flowing this year.

Italian racer Mimmo Schiatarella, who was hoping to do at least half the season with Simtek, has been told that his services are no longer required after Monaco. This will enable the team to put Japanese racer Hideki Noda into the second Simtek and more money will flow in. Noda's first race for Simtek - he drove briefly for Larrousse last year - should be in Canada.

Jos Verstappen brought money and gearbox technology from Benetton, and now we hear that his promising performances have attracted a wealthy Dutchman who wants to buy into the team. Currently the team is 30% owned by Monaco businesswoman Barbara Behlau, 10% by German race team owner Conrad Schmidt and 60% by founder Nick Wirth. We understand that the Dutch investor may consider buying out both Behlau and Schmidt.

The deal is due to be officially announced in Monaco, and the money which flows in to the team will be vital as Simtek tries to develop the S951 chassis.