NOVEMBER 27, 1995

DAMS misses the cut

AS suggested last week, the DAMS team did not make the official deadline for entry in the 1996 FIA Formula 1 World Championship - although wheeler-dealer boss Jean-Paul Driot is saying that he has not given up hope, and he hopes to finalize sponsorship deals within the next month.

Judging by recent history, F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone will keep the options open for DAMS, at least until the official entry list is published on December 5 - but may allow Driot more time if he believes that the Frenchman is serious.

The DAMS technical team - under Claude Galopin - is currently busy redesigning the prototype chassis, which was built to the 1995 regulations.

Driot's main hope appears to be a major sponsorship deal with Elf, but that will only happen if the French oil company fails to secure another deal with Ligier. Elf currently spends a lot of money with Williams and Benetton, but needs a middle-ranking F1 team in order to place its drivers from the La Filiere scheme.

The DAMS prototype, which ran recently at Paul Ricard, seems to be rather an agricultural machine and will need a lot of money to make it even vaguely competitive.