December 1999 Motorsport News


F1:- Alex Zanardi is set to leave Williams after just one season according to a report in Autosport magazine. The story claims the former CART driver, who failed to pick up a single Formula One point, is even considering giving up the sport altogether. If he does leave then ex-Williams test driver and this year's CART champion Juan Pablo Montoya could replace him. BAR's former world champion Jacques Villeneuve and ex-Formula One driver Jos Verstappen are other possibilities.

Rubens Barrichello drove his first laps as Michael Schumacher's new team-mate at Ferrari in a test session at the Fiorano track. The Brazilian has replaced Eddie Irvine at the Italian-based team and put the car through its paces at Ferrari's private circuit. He drove a modified F399, the car that gave Ferrari the constructors' crown. "It is a great emotion to see my name written on the red car," he said."I fell very much at ease in it."

RALLYING:- Oxford-based World Championship driver Richard Burns has been confirmed as the UK's top rally driver in the final standings of the year. Burns took over the top spot from Scotland's Colin McRae in June and three wins in 1999 have kept him there. McRae is second overall, just ahead of 1998 British champion Martin Rowe. Published in association with Motoring News, the rankings also include results from the Mobil 1 British, BTRDA, Mintex National and Safety Devices series.

DECEMBER DRIVER LIST:Previous position
 1 R Burns                  1
 2 C McRae                  2
 3 M Rowe                   5
 4 A McRae                  3
 5 G Evans                  4
 6 M Dodd                   6
 7 M Higgins                8
 8 D Higgins                9
 9 N Wearden               10
10 K McKinstry             11

02.12.99 - F1

Jean Alesi predicted that the Peugeot powered Prost would be a force to be reckoned with next season. Speaking after 22 laps of testing at Jerez, Alesi said: "I think we will have a big surprise with Peugeot." David Coulthard was quickest during the session but it was a miserable day for the Williams team. Ralf Schumacher was left stranded after four laps when the new BMW motor on his car failed, while Alex Zanardi was not at the session.


F1:- Michael Schumacher has admitted that he is still suffering from the broken leg he sustained in a crash at the British Grand Prix in July. "I still have problems," Schumacher said. "I still can't follow my normal training programme. Nobody can say at the moment how long this will last." The German will not be back testing until the new Ferrari F320 is ready in January next year. Rubens Barrichello abandoned a practice session with mechanical problems.

British American Racing have confirmed the shape of their management structure for next season. Craig Pollock will be responsible for the management and running of the business side while Adrian Reynard will have technical responsibility. The team have also moved quickly to quash speculation linking Jacques Villeneuve with a move. "I am very much looking forward to being with the team during the 2000 season," Villeneuve said.

RALLYING:- Mohammed Bin Sulayem claimed his 12th win in the Dubai International Rally, clinching the FIA Middle East Rally title at the same time. Britain's Howard Paterson claimed his third win of the season in the two- wheel drive section.

The Micra Challenge 2000 will support each round of the Mobil 1 British Rally Championship next season, running in the Formula 1400 section.

NEWS:- Organisers of the Formula Vauxhall and Vauxhall Vectra SRi V6 Challenge series announced changes for next season. Formula Vauxhall entrants will contests 14 races at 12 events. Vectra Challenge cars will join the BARC's Formula Saloon Championship as a separate class in that 10-race series.

04.12.99 - F1

Alex Zanardi is keen to stay on with Williams next season but is still unsure if the team feels the same way. A report in the Independent quoted the Italian driver as saying: "I have a contract with Williams and I am committed to it. I speak to Frank Williams a lot and we have discussed the situation. But years ago, I was told to ignore stories about losing my Formula One drive at Lotus and the following week, they chose a new driver."

Interlagos will stage the Brazilian Grand Prix until 2002 after race chiefs signed an extension to their current Formula One deal. It is believed that the contract was renewed on the understanding that the track refurbishment will be finished before next year's race on March 26. The improvements will cost around $2m and will include enlarging the paddock and run-off areas. Mika Hakkinen won this year's Brazilian Grand Prix on his way to the title.

07.12.99 - F1

British American Racing and Honda have had their first test at Silverstone in preparation for the 2000 campaign. Jacques Villeneuve took to the track and it was the first time that Honda's RA000E engine has been installed in the new chassis. Honda project leader Takefumi Hosaka said: "Our primary aim was to confirm that all systems were operational. It was even more successful than expected, with 34 trouble-free laps, and is an important first step for us."


F1:- Former world champion Nelson Piquet believes Rubens Barrichello has no chance of winning the 2000 title. Piquet told the Brazilian media: "Certain people have asked me if Barrichello can challenge for the world title. Are they joking? Let's be sincere. Ferrari are very good but Barrichello has no chance because he knows nothing about being in a top team." Former Stewart driver Barrichello has replaced Eddie Irvine at Ferrari.

Toyota want to enter Formula One as a full works team in 2001 rather than their original date of 2003. "We wish to do it in 2001 if it becomes possible in the course of our various preparations," said Toyota's senior managing director Akihiko Saito. "It is going to be our biggest investment in motor sport ever." After pulling out of the World Rally Championship and Le Mans 24-hour race, Toyota will concentrate on Formula One and the US CART series.

Monday's times:              min secs
1 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari  1:39.136
2 L Burti       It  Stewart  1:40.276
3 J Herbert     GB  Stewart  1:40.384
4 M Gene        Sp  Minardi  1:42.474
5 R Zonta       Brz BAR      1:42.862
6 F Alonso      Sp  Minardi  1:43.474
7 G Vinella     It  Minardi  1:45.747

Arrows have appointed Keith Shepherd and Chris Hicks as CEO and CFO with immediate effect.

CLIO CUP:- Daniel Buxton and David Gibson are both moving to the new Renault Sport Clio Cup, thereby renewing their rivalry from Ford Fiestas. Buxton will drive for former BTCC champion Chris Hodgetts' team and Gibson will drive for Colin Stancombe, for whom he won the Fiesta crown. Thirty-four new two-litre Renault Sport Clio Cup cars will replace Renault's Spider sportscar. Ray MacDowall will partner Buxton and Matt Jackson will join Gibson.

BRITISH GTs:- PK Sport will mount their biggest ever programme next year, by running as many as four Porsches in the British GT Championship. Mike Pickup's team will run a pair of new GT3 models and at least one 911GT2. There is also the possibility of a second GT2 car. The build-up to the season will begin at Daytona in February. Calum Locke will also be in the Daytona 24-hour event and will race alongside Cor Euser in the Marcos LM600.

PORSCHE CUP:- The Pirelli Porsche Cup will take a leading position in the new premier package from the British Racing and Sports Car Club. Adrian Slater is one of four front-runners from Team Eurotech, while current champion Peter Chambers will defend the title in a Carrera 996. Twins Godfrey and David Jones will swap cars for 2000. Godfrey will handle the Carrera 996 and David will have the older 993 as the Cup uses slicks for the first time.


F1:- Eddie Irvine has completed his first test drive for the new Jaguar team and declared that he was glad to be back with a British team. Irvine, who left Ferrari last month, said: "I feel completely re-motivated. Speaking English certainly makes life a lot asier than it was at Ferrari. There's definitely some areas where we are stronger than Ferrari, but there are also a few where we are not." Irvine will link up with new team mate Johnny Herbert at Jaguar Racing.

Tuesday's times:              mins secs
 1 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar    1:25.304
 2 O Panis       Fr  McLaren   1:25.515
 3 J Villeneuve  Can BAR       1:25.790
 4 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari   1:25.955
 5 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar    1:26.638
 6 P Diniz       Brz Sauber    1:26.710
 7 M Salo        Fin Sauber    1:26.715
 8 M Gene        Sp  Minardi   1:28.450
 9 B Junqueira   Brz Williams  1:28.718
10 D Manning     GB  Williams  1:29.189
11 M Wilson      Brz Minardi   1:29.462
12 N Fontana     Arg Minardi   1:31.739
13 P Sundberg    Swe Minardi   1:44.256

Jordan have clinched a major new three-year sponsorship deal with German post and transport logistics company Deutsche Post.

BRITISH GTs:- Brookspeed Racing will field a pair of Lotus Elises in the Privilege Insurance British GT Championship next year. Team boss Martin Braybrook said: "We have spotted the potential of the Elise in the new GT3 class. We see it as the start of a long-term relationaship with Lotus. Maybe we can upset some of the bigger GT3 cars for around half the budget of a Porsche." The cars will be based on the Elise models being produced for the company's one-make series.


Wednesday's times:            mins secs
 1 O Panis       Fr  McLaren   1:24.418
 2 R Barrichello Brz Ferrari   1:24.983
 3 J Herbert     GB  Jaguar    1:25.081
 4 M Gene        Sp  Minardi   1:25.157
 5 D Coulthard   GB  McLaren   1:25.508
 6 J Villeneuve  Can BAR       1:25.843
 7 L Burti       It  Jaguar    1:26.177
 8 B Junqueira   Brz Williams  1:26.704
 9 P Diniz       Brz Sauber    1:26.828
10 E Irvine      GB  Jaguar    1:26.946
11 N Fontana     Arg Minardi   1:27.774
12 M Wilson      Brz Minardi   1:27.824
13 D Manning     GB  Williams  1:28.829
14 M Salo        Fin Sauber    1:42.214

RALLYING:- Skoda have signed Spaniard Luis Clement to contest the 2000 World Championship. The 33-year-old will join forces with German Armin Schwarz in a two-pronged attack in Skoda Octavia's.