JULY 30, 2005

Big names compete for A1 deal in Brazil

We hear from Brazil that some of the biggest names in the sport are fighting over who will be Brazil's driver in the new A1 Grand Prix series. The word is that Champ Car driver Cristiano da Matta is one of those involved, along with Indy Racing League champion Tony Kanaan and F1 test driver Antonio Pizzonia.

Moving to A1 Grand Prix would mean that each of the three would have to give up their current roles. This is most interesting in the case of Kanaan who apparently has had enough of racing on ovals and wants to do more road courses.

It is worth remembering that Kanaan will do a test later this summer with BAR-Honda and while this may not be of any great significance, it is always possible that if Tony goes really well and Jenson Button takes the necessary hike to Williams, the Brazilian might end up at BAR-Honda next year. The 30-year-old did try to go to Europe early in his career but at 21 switched to the United States and has been there ever since. He is very highly rated by Honda and by BAR sporting director Gil de Ferran.

BAR has no shortage of candidates for the two drives next year, not least fellow Brazilians Rubens Barrichello, Felipe Massa and Pizzonia. Also in the frame is Nick Heidfeld.