NEWS ARCHIVE

29 MARCH 1999

AN INTERESTING IDEA...

THE rumors that Mercedes-Benz might be interested in buying Mansour Ojjeh's majority shareholding of the McLaren team were followed last week by a whisper from France that Ojjeh is keen to sell the TAG McLaren Group in order to finance the purchase of a majority shareholding in Bernie Ecclestone's Formula One Holdings (FOH).

BEIRUT GRAND PRIX HOPES FADING

LEBANON seems to be having second thoughts about plans to host a Formula 1 Grand Prix in 2003.

HONDA F1

AS we reported after the Australian Grand Prix, Honda is now in the final stages of deciding on whether to push ahead with its $1bn five-year plan to run its own F1 team.

MCRAE TALKS F1

COLIN McRAE says he is thinking about switching from rallying to Formula 1 racing in the future and the Ford MotorÊCompany says it will organize a serious test for him at the end of the season.

RENAULT TAKES THE PLUNGE

RENAULT's chances of returning to Formula 1 in the near future reduced dramatically over the weekend when the French car company announced that it is spending $5.1bn to buy a 36.8% shareholding in the Japanese car company Nissan.

REVAMPING CADILLAC

GENERAL MOTOR's Cadillac division has decided to put the striking Evoq roadster into production in 2002. The car, which was shown to the world as the recent North American International Auto Show in Detroit, marks a radical attempt to rid Cadillac of its dull middle-aged image and attract new car buyers.

STILL NO SIGN OF WILLIAMS

THE Williams Formula 1 team was due to turn up at Magny-Cours last week but failed to appear, the test being called off because of a lack of spare parts since the Australian Grand Prix.

TESTING AROUND EUROPE

FORMULA 1 testing continued at various tracks around Europe, despite poor weather which ruined McLaren's test at Jerez in southern Spain and disrupted running at Magny-Cours. The French test was the biggest, featuring Jordan, Prost and Sauber. The first day was ruined by rain although all the drivers present took the opportunity of running in the wet.

22 MARCH 1999

CORDOBA BIDDING FOR ARGENTINE RACE

WITH Argentina having dropped out of the World Championship this year because no money could be found to fund the race in Buenos Aires, the city of Cordoba is planning to make a bid to host the race in the future.

JAGUAR FOR 2000?

OUR spies within the Ford Motor Company tell us that there is a strong possibility that Ford's V10 Formula 1 engines will be rebadged as Jaguar V10s next season.

MCLAREN AND MERCEDES

GERMAN newspapers last week began speculating that DaimlerChrysler - the parent company of Mercedes-Benz - may be negotiating to buy Mansour Ojjeh's 60% shareholding in the TAG/McLaren Group. This would include buying McLarenÊInternational.

MCLAREN DOMINATES AT SILVERSTONE

McLAREN, Benetton, British American Racing and Arrows were all in action last week at Silverstone with McLaren working on the reliability of the cars - and everyone else trying to figure out how to catch up with the rapid silver cars.

RENAULT FALLS INTO BED WITH NISSAN

RENAULT is going to struggle to get back into Formula 1 if its plans to take a 35% shareholding in troubled Japanese carmaker Nissan go ahead. Renault is rumored to be investing around $5.5bn in the deal, which will include the purchase of a shareholding in Nissan Diesel Motor, the Japanese company's truck-making subsidiary.

STEWART SMASHES RECORDS IN SPAIN

RUBENS BARRICHELLO demolished the 1999 lap record at Barcelona last week, lapping the Circuit de Catalunya in 1m20.491s.

THE COMMISSION IS OUT OF COMMISSION

THE battle between Grand Prix racing and the European Commission took a new twist last week when all 20 of the European Commissioners resigned in the wake of a scathing report into fraud and mismanagement. The Commission had agreed to an independent investigation in January in order to avoid being fired by the European Parliament.

WHAT HAPPENED TO WILLIAMS?

THE only Formula 1 team which was not seen out testing last week was Williams and we hear that this was because the team is suffering from a serious shortage of spare parts for the FW21.

15 MARCH 1999

BAR LET OFF THE FIA HOOK

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING has escaped sanction from the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

CADILLAC FOR LE MANS...

GENERAL MOTORS announced at the Geneva Motor Show that, despite gloomy forecasts for the European car market, the company has decided to expand its sales in Europe and will be entering a two-car Cadillac factory team for the 2000 LeÊMans 24 Hours.

CAMEL AND WINSTON GO EAST

JAPAN TOBACCO, the owner of Mild Seven, has just agreed an $8bn deal to buy all the non-American tobacco business of RJR Nabisco.

MALAYSIA UNVEILS SEPANG RACE TRACK

SEVERAL members of the Formula 1 circus stopped off in Malaysia on the way back to Europe from Australia to be present at the official launch of the Sepang International Circuit.

REYNARD BUYING RILEY & SCOTT?

REYNARD MOTORSPORT INC., the holding company of all Reynard operations, is rumored to be on the verge of buying the US racing car manufacturer Riley & Scott.

WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?

THE fact that Cadillac is to enter a factory team in the Le Mans 24 Hours with a Riley & Scott-built sportscar and that RileyÊ&ÊScott is about to be bought by Reynard suggests that there may be more to the Cadillac announcement than meets the eye.

8 MARCH 1999

...WITHOUT THE INVISIBLE MR. REYNARD

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING team principals Craig Pollock and Adrian Reynard have been telling the world for the last year that the new team could win its first Formula 1 Grand Prix.

ENGE AND NAKANO TO TEST FOR JORDAN

JORDAN GRAND PRIX is not planning to have an official test driver this year but it is planning to give several drivers a proper test with the team.

GEORGE DOWN UNDER

TONY GEORGE, president of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, led a 10-member delegation to the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne, to see what lessons could be learned from the highly successful event in Albert Park.

HONDA'S FINAL F1 DECISION

THE Honda Motor Company will make a final decision about its plans to enter Formula 1 racing after a meeting in England on March 18.

POLLOCK BATTLES ON...

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING representatives will travel to Geneva, Switzerland, on Friday to appear before the FIAÊWorldÊMotorÊSport Council to answer allegations that the new team breached the International Sporting Code and the FIA Statutes during its dispute with the governing body over whether or not it could run cars in different liveries.

SCHUMACHER SAYS HE IS NOT QUITTING

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER says that he is not going to retire from Formula 1 at the end of his current Ferrari contract in 2002. Stories had been circulating about Michael's future as a result of an interview published in Germany in which his manager WilliÊWeber said that Michael was planning to quit.

THE FUTURE OF SILVERSTONE

THE British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC) is to hold a meeting for its 800 members next month to decide the future of the Silverstone racing circuit which it owns.

THE SEARCH FOR ENGINES BEGINS

THE Australian Grand Prix gave the Formula 1 circus the first true indication of the relative levels of competitiveness this season, and while several teams were delighted with what they found others were rather disappointed.

TV PRIZE FUND SLASHED

THE Formula 1 prize fund has been slashed by around $75m because Bernie Ecclestone's pay-per-view "satellite" television service is not attracting as many viewers as had been hoped.

1 MARCH 1999

BAR'S NEW SPLIT PERSONALITY

BRITISH AMERICAN RACING has unveiled the livery it intends to use this year in the wake of its battle with the FIA over running two cars in different color schemes. The result is that one side of the car is painted in Lucky Strike colors and the other side is in 555 livery.

DAMON HILL WARNS OF FLEXIBLE REAR WINGS

DAMON HILL thinks that some of the leading Formula 1 teams are putting their drivers at risk with the development of flexible rear wings, which lean backwards when the cars are at high speed, thus reducing drag on the straights.

EUROPE TO KEEP PUSHING ON COMPETITION RULES

EUROPEAN Competition Commissioner Karel Van Miert told reporters last week that he is not going to allow sport to be treated differently from any other big business.

FERRARI TESTING DOWN TO THE WIRE

WHILE most of the Grand Prix teams did only short shakedown tests last week at Silverstone before sending their cars out to Australia, Ferrari embarked on a full-scale week of testing at Mugello, in Italy.

SCHUMACHER TO RETIRE IN 2002?

MICHAEL SCHUMACHER's manager Willy Weber told a German magazine recently that Michael will retire from the sport at the end of the 2002 season and will almost certainly not change teams before then.

THE SEASON AHEAD

WHAT can we expect this year in Grand Prix racing? Well, that is not an easy thing to predict. One can judge the teams on the money they have to spend or the number of people they have working the project but that will only give you a rough guide of where the teams SHOULD be in the hierarchy.

THERE IS MORE TO THIS THAN MEETS THE EYE

AN interesting advertisement appeared last week in a French motor racing magazine. A "large automobile company" announced that it is recruiting a variety of engine designers and electronics engineers for "a high level sporting activity".