JANUARY 15, 1996

Noda close to Forti

JAPANESE driver Hideki Noda is understood to be closed to concluding a deal with Forti to partner Andrea Montermini. Noda has been around F1 for a couple of seasons, having made his F1 debut with Larrousse at the European Grand Prix at Jerez in October 1994. He drove for three races at the end of that year and was expected to drive for Simtek last year, but the Kobe earthquake disrupted his sponsorship, and by the time the problem was sorted out the team had closed down.

Towards the end of the year he had long negotiations with Pacific Grand Prix, but was unable to drive for the team at the two Japanese races because the FIA refused him a superlicence.