JANUARY 24, 2002
The Formula 3000 grid is forming
THE International Formula 3000 scene has been pretty quiet for a while with most of the top teams yet to confirm their drivers (and in some cases their participation) in 2002.
Champions Coca-Cola Nordic Racing has already confirmed that it will be running Hungary's Zsolt Baumgartner and is expected to confirm shortly that it has also signed a deal with Toyota protege Ryan Briscoe. Last year's title rival Super Nova Racing will sign Giorgio Pantano, although there are contractual issues that need to be sorted out with Team Astromega as Pantano was under potion to the team. Super Nova Racing is expected to take Portugal's Tiago Monteiro in the second car, with Renault Sport apparently backing that move. France's Sebastien Bourdais is still in the picture but may end up not getting the ride.
Petrobras Junior Team will keep its two existing drivers Williams test driver Antonio Pizzonia and Ricardo Sperafico while Helmut Marko's Red Bull Junior Team has confirmed Patrick Friesacher of Austria and Brazil's Ricardo Mauricio.
Arden Team Russia is banking on Tomas Enge to give it better results than in recent seasons. Enge, who finished third in the championship in 2001 Nordic and made his F1 debut with Prost, will be partnered by Viktor Maslov.
Astromega has signed Mario Haberfeld but will not make a decision on its second driver until the Pantano issue is sorted out. Waiting in the wings are believed to be Nicolas Kiesa and Alex Muller.
KTR is expected to continue with Bas Leinders and there are a variety of drivers shooting for the two seats at European Minardi, including David Saelens, Gianmaria Bruni, Tomas Scheckter and Christjian Albers.
For the moment it is unclear as to whether either of the French teams will be racing this year: DAMS and the Prost Junior Team are both in some difficulties. DAMS looks like it is going to concentrate on its sportscar programs while the Prost Junior Team has closed down.
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