AUGUST 18, 1997

Magnussen on thin ice

JAN MAGNUSSEN's future with the Stewart team hangs in the balance for the moment, the young Dane having been a big disappointment this year. Magnussen signed a four-year deal with the team in October last year which was intended to run until the end of the year 2000 but his performances this year have not been as good as expected. He has never qualified higher than 15th while Rubens Barrichello has been as high as third on the grid. His best finish was at Monaco where he came home seventh but this was overshadowed by Barrichello's second position.

It has not been easy for Jan to gain confidence in the car because testing has been restricted and there have been far too many problems in recent weeks with exploding Ford V10 engines. It should also be noted that Jan has suffered several suspension failures - one of which resulted in him receiving a nasty gash to one of his legs when the wishbones were punched through the side of the tub. This will not have helped his confidence at all.

In recent days Jackie Stewart has warned Jan that he needs to up his game a little and it will be interesting to see whether he can improve the situation on the last six races of the season.

Colombian Formula 3000 driver Juan-Pablo Montoya is being mentioned as a possible replacement for Magnussen.