JANUARY 5, 1998
Who drives where in 1998?
In all probability Minardi will decide to continue with Brazilian Tarso Marques as team-mate for the recently-confirmed Esteban Tuero. The only other serious candidate for the drive is Dane Tom Kristensen and his chances seem to have disappeared now that Tuero has signed up with the team. Kristensen has the misfortune not to have any money behind him.
The situation with the second Tyrrell seat is equally clear-cut. Jos Verstappen has worked with the team for the last year and has a lot of F1 experience. Tyrrell's only current signing is Japanese youngster Toranosuke Takagi, who has very little experience in F1 and has the reputation for being a bit of a wild man. To sign anyone other than Verstappen would be a less than sensible move unless there was a driver of equal talent with more money available - and that does not seem to be the case.ÊBritishÊAmerican Tobacco does not seem to have any involvement in the team in 1998 and so the chances of a drive for Jean-Christophe Boullion are only slight. If BAT comes up with some money, however, Boullion might get the ride. This is notÊlikely.
The existing driver line-up is as follows:
1 Jacques Villeneuve (CDN) Winfield Williams Williams-Mecachrome
2 Heinz-Harald Frentzen (D) Winfield Williams Williams-Mecachrome
3 Michael Schumacher (D) Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari
4 Eddie Irvine (GB) Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro Ferrari
5 Giancarlo Fisichella (I) Mild Seven Benetton Benetton-Mecachrome
6 Alexander Wurz (A) Mild Seven Benetton Benetton-Mecachrome
7 David Coulthard (GB) West McLaren Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes
8 Mika Hakkinen (SF) West McLaren Mercedes McLaren-Mercedes
9 Damon Hill (GB) Benson & Hedges Jordan Jordan-Mugen Honda
10 Ralf Schumacher (D) Benson & Hedges Jordan Jordan-Mugen Honda
11 Olivier Panis (F) Gauloises Prost Peugeot Prost-Peugeot
12 Jarno Trulli (I) Gauloises Prost Peugeot Prost-Peugeot
14 Jean Alesi (F) Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber-Petronas
15 Johnny Herbert (GB) Red Bull Sauber Petronas Sauber-Petronas
16 Pedro Diniz (BR) Arrows Yamaha Arrows-Yamaha
17 Mika Salo (SF) Arrows Yamaha Arrows-Yamaha
18 Rubens Barrichello (BR) Stewart Ford Stewart-Ford
19 Jan Magnussen (DK) Stewart Ford Stewart-Ford
20 Toranosuke Takagi (J) Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford
21 To be nominated Tyrrell Tyrrell-Ford
22 Esteban Tuero (RA) Minardi Team Minardi-Ford
23 To be nominated Minardi Team Minardi-Ford
Nominated drivers can be changed up to 6 pm on March 5, the day before the Australian Grand Prix meeting kicks off in Melbourne.