February 1995

01.02.95 - F1
A last-minute hitch involving Nigel Mansell's deal with McLaren has apparently been resolved. The team had hoped to parade Mansell as teammate to Mika Hakkinen at the London Hilton on Wednesday. But the news conference has been delayed until Friday when it is expected that Mansell's signing will be announced. The main sticking-point is thought to have been money, with Mansell reportedly asking for 666,000 a race for the 16-race season.

The Pacific Grand Prix has been rescheduled after the earthquake in Japan and a new F1 calendar issued. Train services to the Aida track were badly hit and the race, due to be held in April, will now take place on October 22 - a week before the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka. The FIA have released a new schedule which also shows the Argentine GP, originally planned as the season opener on March 12, now taking place on April 9. The season is now expected to open on March 26 with the Brazilian GP.

GP dates (* = subject to track approval):
Mar 26    Brazil          Interlagos *
Apr 9     Argentina     Buenos Aires *
Apr 30    San Marino           Imola *
May 14    Spain              Catalunya
May 28    Monaco
Jun 11    Canada              Montreal
Jul 2     France           Magny Cours
Jul 16    Britain          Silverstone
Jul 30    Germany           Hockenheim
Aug 13    Hungary             Budapest
Aug 27    Belgium    Spa-Francorchamps
Sep 10    Italian                Monza
Sep 24    Portugal             Estoril
Oct 1     European         Nurburgring
Oct 22    Pacific                 Aida
Oct 29    Japan                 Suzuka
Nov 12    Australia           Adelaide

Brazilian Pedro Diniz will drive for the newly formed Forti Grand Prix Racing team in the 1995 Formula One World Championship. Diniz moves into F1 after racing with Forti in the 1994 European F3000 championship and a second driver is to be announced. The car is powered by a Ford Cosworth engine and Ford Brazil have been heavily involved in technical and engine development. The Italian-based team has an initial budget of $17m and is run by Guido Forti and Carlo Gancia.

02.02.95 - F1
Lotus face a battle to hang onto one of their most prized remaining assets, Finnish driver Mika Salo. Salo signed a new contract for the now defunct Lotus team after last season's Japanese Grand Prix but has since agreed an optional deal with Tyrrell. Lotus are drawing up plans to return to Formula One in 1996 and want Salo to drive with them. The issue will be settled by the Formula One contract recognition board in Switzerland on Sunday.

03.02.95 - F1
Nigel Mansell has been confirmed as the number one driver for McLaren for the 1995 Formula One season. The Woking-based team finally announced the news after months of speculation over who would join Mika Hakkinen in the team. The former World Champion has won 31 Grands Prix although team boss Ron Dennis denied there was a pecking order. "McLaren have never had number one or two. Our drivers get the same equipment," he said.

Nigel Mansell said he was "extremely happy" to be joining the McLaren Formula One team. The 41-year-old was confirmed as Mika Hakkinen's teammate after months of delicate negotiations. "All credit to McLaren and the team sponsors, it's fabulous," said Mansell, who will make his debut for the team in Brazil on March 26. "Nigel is a proven winner, a proven champion and will bring valuable experience to the team," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis.

Nigel Mansell's partnership with McLaren could be extended until 1996 if they are successful. Team boss Ron Dennis said the contract was for one year only but hinted there could be negotiations for a further term. "If we get the job done in 1995 there is no need for it to change," he said. Mansell added: "The motivation is there like never before. I believe the team will be a force to be reckoned with."

Nigel Mansell returned to Formula One last season after winning the Indycar championship in 1993. He drove four races for Williams but his hopes of staying with the team were dashed when they signed Scot David Coulthard to partner Damon Hill so he turned to McLaren. Contractual details prolonged the delay in signing but when they ended up arguing over a difference of $100,000 they decided to give the money to charity. "The arrangement is confidential," said Mansell.

Argentina has been given the green light to stage its first Formula One Grand Prix for 14 years. FIA official Ronald Bruynseraede adjudged that the Juan Galvez track in Buenos Aires was safe after inspecting it on foot and driving a full lap round it. He said: "I came away with a great impression of the newly-installed pits. It's clear that in the last month a lot of work has been done." The race will be held on April 9.

05.02.95 - Daytona 24 Hrs
Porsche claimed its 19th victory in 26 races at Daytona, completing 690 laps of the 3.56 mile circuit. The Spyder K-8, driven by Germans Jurgen Lassig and Marco Werner, Christophe Bouchut of France and Italian Giovanni Lavaggi, took the lead during the 15th hour. They had been as many as 11 laps behind the favoured Ferraris at one stage but the 333SP's gradually fell out of contention. Second was the Oldsmobile Spice, five laps 2 mins 55.540 secs adrift with a Ford Mustang Cobra third.

06.02.95 - F1
The Lotus Formula One team, which announced last month that it was closing down, is merging with the Pacific Grand Prix team. The new alliance will be known as Pacific Team Lotus. Both teams are based close to Norwich and will be combining all their resources. Lotus boss David Hunt said: "This is a major strategic partnership, aimed at re-establishing the Team Lotus name in Formula One." "We had a large number of offers from various parties but Pacific is a team for the future."

09.02.95 - F1
Damon Hill was quickest on his final day of Formula One testing at the Jerez track in Spain. The Williams Renault driver, who spun off in the wet morning session, set a best time of one minute 23.3 seconds. His best time on Wednesday had been 1:22.64. Rubens Barrichello, driving the new Jordan Peugeot, was second quickest on 1:27.1, despite a few technical problems. Britain's Johnny Herbert, in the Benetton Renault, recorded a best lap of 1:27.4.


Positions after 18 of 25 stages:
(end of day two)              mins secs
 1 K Eriksson  Swe Mitsubishi  3:23:14
 2 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi  3:23:15
 3 T Radstrom  Swe Toyota      3:24:43
 4 C McRae     GB  Subaru      3:24:47
 5 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota      3:25:14
 6 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota      3:25:51
 7 M Jonsson   Swe Subaru      3:26:23
 = S Blomqvist Swe Ford        3:26:23
 9 B Thiry     Bel Ford        3:28:19
10 M Gronholm  Fin Toyota      3:29:22
France's Francois Delecour became the latest big name casualty of the Swedish Rally when he was forced to pull out on the second day. He was running ninth when the engine of his RAS Ford Escort Cosworth seized 2kms from the end of stage 12 at Oje. "There were no signs of any problem beforehand," said team engineer Philip Dunabin. Carlos Sainz was forced to withdraw after stage nine as he developed a major oil leak and stages 10 and 11 has no service stations.


Final positions after 25 stages:mins secs
 1 K Eriksson  Swe Mitsubishi  4:51:27
 2 T Makinen   Fin Mitsubishi  4:51:39
 3 T Radstrom  Swe Toyota      4:52:34
 4 J Kankkunen Fin Toyota      4:53:45
 5 D Auriol    Fr  Toyota      4:53:47
 6 B Thiry     Bel Ford        4:56:58
 7 S Blomqvist Swe Ford        4:58:16
 8 T Jansson   Swe Toyota      4:59:29
 9 A Schwarz   Ger Toyota      5:01:12
10 K Backlund  Swe Mitsubishi  5:04:11

Points after the Swedish Rally:

DRIVERS' TITLE                pts
1 T Makinen   Fin  Mitsubishi  25
2 J Kankkunen Fin  Toyota      22
3 C Sainz     Sp   Subaru      20
= K Eriksson  Swe  Mitsubishi  20
5 F Delecour  Fr   Ford        15
6 B Thiry     Bel  Ford        14
7 T Radstrom  Swe  Toyota      12
8 D Auriol    Fr   Ford         8

1 Mitsubishi                  100
2 Ford                         75
= Toyota                       71
4 Subaru                       46
Local boy Kenneth Eriksson was handed victory by generous teammate Tommi Makinen at the end of the Swedish International rally. Makinen led by 43 secs going into the final stage but pulled his Mitsubishi Lancer over just 500 metres from the finish line. It was later revealed Makinen had followed team orders as overnight leader Eriksson had lost time by going first in heavy snow. But Makinen had the consolation of taking the overall championship lead from Juha Kankkunen.

Scotland's Colin McRae suffered disappointment as he and teammate Mats Jonsson failed to start on the final day. The Subaru duo were lying fourth and seventh but their cars were hit by suspected oil filter failure. Team leader Carlos Sainz had to pull out on day two after his car developed a major oil leak and he could not get to a service station. "With the weather changing, third was a realistic position. It's very disappointing," said McRae.

14.02.95 - F3000
Scotland's Allan McNish has joined the Milton Keynes-based Paul Stewart Racing team for this season's European Formula 3000 Championship.

15.02.95 - Touring Cars
Total Team Peugeot have confirmed Simon Harrison as their second driver for the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship. The Northampton-based driver was chosen as Patrick Watts' partner after tests involving four candidates at Silverstone.

F1:- Jos Verstappen will race for the Simtek F1 team after being released by the Mild Seven Benetton Renault Team for the 1995 season. Verstappen, who scored 10 points for Benetton last year, remains under contract to the team. Benetton Formula managing director Flavio Briatore said Verstappen was a very talented young driver. "I am happy to give him the chance to gain more experience and show his driving skills consistently on the circuit this season," he added.

Mercedes are preparing to compete for the F1 title with McLaren - in the second half of the season. Norbert Haug, head of Mercedes-Benz Motor Sport, said the first half would be "a learning process, hopefully at racing speed". The new McLaren-Mercedes MP4/10, with a 3-litre V10 engine, was on show at a London press conference. Jurgen Hubbert of Mercedes added: "In the past we have had success in touring car and IndyCar activities. ... After a learning phase in F1, we will compete for the title."

Nigel Mansell warned his rivals to be on their guard as McLaren unveiled their radical new car. He said: "It is the first time I have had a chance to look at it and if it goes as quick as it looks everyone else had better watch out." McLaren boss Ron Dennis said the car, with a revolutionary central wing positioned immediately behind the driver's head, was right on the limit, but legal. "We wanted it to be like this, to be as close to the limit as we could go," he said.

WILLHIRE 24Hrs - The BRSCC have decided to cancel this year's 24-hour race at Snetterton which has been staged for the last 15 years. It had been proposed that the event would take the broadest number of vehicles rather than the limited production saloons of recent years. A number of past entrants had said they hoped to be there this year. But the circuit owner and the club decided that the budget would leave them with a deficit unless they found more sponsorship.

HEART OF ENGLAND RALLY:- Defending champion Pete Doughty starts favourite in his Sierra for the multi-venue Heart of England National Rally on Sunday. Doughty won round one of the EARS/Motoring News National Tarmac Rally Championship but he and co-driver Jerry Freeman will be tested here. Among their rivals will be Richard Moore in his Subaru Impreza and Steve Hill, returning after a long absence, in his Mitsubishi Galant. The stages can be found at Blenheim near Oxford, Cornbury Deer Park and on an unnamed military airfield.

Hereford's Stephen Price was the surprise winner in his Metro 6R4 at the multi-venue Heart of England National Rally. Defending champion Stephen Doughty suffered gearbox problems in his Sierra Cosworth as Price took the lead over on the very last mile. Doughty still maintains a narrow lead in the EARS/Motoring News National Tarmac Rally Series after major rivals Richard Moore and Steve Hill retired from the event. Tim Jones finished third behind Doughty in his Escort Cosworth.

21.02.95 - F1
Williams-Renault have unveiled their new car for the Formula One season and Damon Hill has given his immediate seal of approval. Hill said he was delighted with the successor to the FW16, with which the team won the Constructors' World Championship last year. He said: "It has been radically redesigned. We'll do some tests at Silverstone and then we'll have 10 days or so in Estoril. That will be the proof of the pudding but I'm very excited about the car."

Tyrrell made an impressive start to pre-season testing of their new Formula One car at Paul Ricard. Ukyo Katayama set the quickest time of the day of 1 min 09.01 secs with new tyres and a 50 per cent fuel load, more than a second faster than the Ferrari of Jean Alesi. Tyrrell Yamaha team manager Rupert Manwaring said: "The new 023 ran very reliably and we did 93 laps... He is happy with the balance of the car and there is more to come." Katayama finished the session with 10 laps at under 1:09.25.

F1:- Pacific Team Lotus have unveiled their new Pacific-Ford PR02 car, the first wholly designed and produced in-house. They hope it will put them in contention when the new Formula One season starts next month. Pacific founder Keith Wiggins said: "Last year didn't go as we would have hoped but at least it got us into Formula One. This year we aim to finish in the top ten." Bertrand Gachot will drive for them this season and Pacific hope to name their second driver shortly.

KARTING:- Australian David Brabham, BMW's new driver for the British Touring Car Championship, has joined a team of four for a world record attempt. He will be at Brooklands along with brothers Steve and Russ Malkin and ex-Neighbours star Stefan Dennis to bid for the 24-hour outdoor karting record starting at 10am Friday. The team, in a 160cc Zip kart with top speed of 55mph, must travel more than 1,018 miles at an average speed of 43mph including stops.

F1:- Experts investigating the crashes which killed Ayrton Senna and Roland Ratzenberger have given the findings to Italian court officials. Details of the 500-page report have not been made public but Italian news agency ANSA claim that Senna's crash was thought to have been caused by a steering wheel problem. This theory has already been put forward during the current inquiry by the Bologna prosecutors' office. The Williams team could face prosecution if it was proved the car was faulty.

WINTER RALLY:- Last year's winner David Gillanders will be first away in his Escort Cosworth in the first round of the Mintex National Rally Series. He will be followed by National Champion Chris Mellors, making his first outing in the ex-Francois Delecour Escort, and Murray Grierson in his Subaru Legacy. The Bournemouth-based event, one of seven in the series, has 17 stages with some tarmac and some gravel. The first of 70 competitors leaves the town centre at 8am and is due back at the finish at around 5.30pm.

First round - top-seeded drivers:
0 D Gillanders/J Bennie Escort Cosworth
1 C Mellors/B Goff      Escort Cosworth
2 M Grierson/S Merry    Subaru Legacy
3 R Munro/G Brunton     Escort Cosworth
4 S Hill/S Boyles       Mitsubishi Galant
5 T Smith/R Jones       Escort Cosworth
6 B Lyall/N Ewing       Escort Cosworth
7 J Easson/tba          Escort Cosworth
8 T Ellis-Jones/H Lewis Nissan Sunny
9 S Petch/P Croft       Subaru Impreza

KARTING:- Two Englishmen and two Australians have set a new world record at the historic Brooklands, the world's first purpose-built circuit. David Brabham, ex-Neighbours star Stefan Dennis and brothers Russ and Steve Malkin overcame cold and wet conditions as they bid for the 24-hour outdoor karting mark. The existing record of 1,018 miles was extended by more than 20 miles, authenticated by Autosport magazine for the Guinness Book of Records. 20 miles to the current record.

RALLYING:- Sunseeker Powerboats Winter Rally
Final positions after 17 stages:mins secs
 1 Gillanders/Bennie Escort Cos   59:32
 2 Mellors/Goff      Escort Cos   59:43
 3 Grierson/Ewing    Subaru       59:58
 4 Hill/Boyles       Mitsubishi   60:01
 5 Lyall/Ewing       Escort Cos   60:25
 6 Smith/Jones       Escort Cos   60:33
 7 Munro/Brunton     Escort Cos   60:44
 8 Moore/Cook        Subaru       61:04
 9 Smith/Hughes      Lancia Delta 61:08
10 Price/Sturrock    Metro 6R4    61:26
David Gillanders and John Bennie won the Sunseeker Powerboats Winter Rally for the second year running. Gillanders, in the Malcolm Wilson-built Escort Cosworth, held off the challenge of defending National Champion Chris Mellors in his new Escort who finished in second spot. Jeremy Easson continued where he left off at the end of last season and claimed the Group N category in his showroom-standard Escort. Julian Reynolds, the 1993 Mintex F2 champion, returned in a Peugeot 205 to win the 2-litre 2wd category.

Early leader Tony Davies retired at the start of ss10 when the clutch on his Metro failed. Brian Lyall suffered turbo failure in his ex-Malcolm Wilson Escort on ss14, losing about 20 seconds and one place on the leaderboard. Australian Leigh Heynes's Mintex debut ended on the first stage, his Sierra out with front diff failure. Steve Petch had a burst radiator on ss5 after hitting a deer. The rally was delayed after ss16 was cancelled due to an accident.

26.02.95 - F1
F1 team boss Frank Williams faces questioning by Italian prosecutors over the crash which killed Ayrton Senna at the San Marino Grand Prix. Prosecutors are deciding whether to recommend pressing manslaughter charges. Investigating magistrate Maurizio Pasarini says it would be in the team's interest to talk. A recent report appears to have cleared the Imola track of blame but claims the steering on Senna's car may have failed. Williams' lawyers insist data shows the steering had been working.