JUNE 5, 1995

Forrest Gump to save Simtek?

THE MTV Simtek Ford team will not be at the Canadian Grand Prix next weekend - but the team should be back in action in France in a month, particularly if Forrest Gump comes to the team's rescue!

The hugely-successful Hollywood movie was made by Paramount Pictures, which is owned by Viacom, which is also the parent company of MTV, Simtek's leading sponsor.

Viacom recently announced a $56 million profit for the first quarter of 1995 and Simtek has asked MTV to increase its involvement with the team in an effort to find a solution to the team's financial troubles. Similar pleas have been made to Russell Athletic and Korean Air but they will not commit themselves unless the team has a solid base on which to build. That would be possible if Simtek can convince a Dutch backer to lend his support to the team. The Dutchman is keen to further JosÊVerstappen's career, but cannot decide on whether to invest the money necessary.

F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is helping Simtek by not fining the team for missing the Canadian race. Ecclestone has agreed that the team entered the championship to compete in 16 races and is being asked to do 17 instead.

The month-long break will give the team time to regroup both financially and technically, the rush of races since the start of the season having meant that no development or testing have been done. The team should be able to come back in France with a much more competitive package.

Simtek has had a very difficult F1 career since it entered F1 last year. At the team's third race driver Roland Ratzenberger was killed. This year's S951 design has shown signs of being reasonably competitive in the hands of Verstappen, but has been hobbled by a recurring gearbox problem.