A1 Team Australia to test drivers

Four Drivers to Test for A1 Team Australia at Paul Ricard SYDNEY -- 19 August, 2005: Team players rather than outright pace is what A1 Team Australia seat holder - Alan Jones - is looking for when Australia's A1 Grand Prix team tests Will ...

Four Drivers to Test for A1 Team Australia at Paul Ricard

SYDNEY -- 19 August, 2005: Team players rather than outright pace is what A1 Team Australia seat holder - Alan Jones - is looking for when Australia's A1 Grand Prix team tests Will Power, Will Davison, Christian Jones and Peter Hackett at the Paul Ricard circuit in France next week.

Visiting Sydney today -- the home of Australia's leg of A1 Grand Prix at Eastern Creek International Raceway across November 4-6 -- Jones was adamant that he would be looking very closely at how the drivers interact with the team to give Australia the best chance at winning The World Cup of Motorsport.

"We are only interested in drivers who want to represent their country and give Australia the best opportunity of winning The World Cup of Motorsport," the 1980 World Formula One Champion said. "Personal glory has nothing to do with A1 Grand Prix -- it's nation versus nation."

The four test drivers have tasted significant success in open-wheel racing: Power is currently third in the World Series by Renault, having taken two wins this year, Jones is the defending Asian Formula 3 Champion, Davison is a former race winner in the British Formula 3 Championship -- one of the toughest racing series' in the world -- and Hackett is a former Australian F3 Champion and current leader of the Australian GT Sportscar Championship.

The team will begin to work on setups with the car a little further, according to Motorsport Manager, Mick Webb. "At Silverstone, we were the only team to go out on full tank runs," says Webb. "We did nothing more than really work with tyre pressures and aero at the previous test and again we will be working with the car on full tanks. Given this could be our final test before the A1 series kicks off at Brands Hatch, we will engineer the car to an extra degree at Paul Ricard."

Jones also said that the Australian race livery will make its worldwide debut at Paul Ricard, and according to all reports, looks absolutely stunning. "It will evoke a great deal of national pride when Australians see the car. It will be a magnificent sight at the first event to see all 25 cars painted in their national colours, especially if A1 Team Australia is leading the way," said Jones.

The 2.5 day test in the south of France, beginning Wednesday, will see 17 nations on hand testing drivers ahead of the first A1 Grand Prix event at Brands Hatch, September 23-25 -- just 36 days time. Other drivers at the test will include ex-Formula One talents Jos Verstappen (NED), Ralph Firman (IRL) Pedro Lamy (POR) and Alex Yoong (MAS).

ALAN JONES -- A1 Team Australia Seat Holder: "We'll be at Paul Ricard and really evaluating who has the best synergy with the team and who will represent A1 Team Australia in the best possible way. A1 is all about the nation and the team of that nation -- personal glory has nothing to do with it. It was fantastic to walk up and down pitlane at Silverstone and hear all the different accents of the teams, it really brought home that A1 Grand Prix is The World Cup of Motorsport. The way I like to refer to it is the America's Cup on asphalt -- I never had an interest in sailing, and still don't, but when Australia started doing well in the America's Cup and beating other nations -- then I was hooked -- I was getting up in the middle of the night watching it. I envisage a lot of people who are ambivalent towards motorsport will embrace A1 Grand Prix for the same reasons."

WILL POWER -- A1 Team Australia Test Driver: "From what I can gather, the car is not dissimilar to the car I'm currently driving in the World Series by Renault -- control chassis, control engines and control tyres -- I like that, it's a level playing field and it really comes down to skill rather than the budget you've got behind you. The A1 car has more power and a wider track than my World Series car, so it should be interesting. The concept that Sheikh Maktoum has come up with is something very appealing and I would love the opportunity to drive for A1 Team Australia."

WILL DAVISON -- A1 Team Australia Test Driver: "It will be great to re-acquaint myself with the A1 car again. I drove a few laps at Eastern Creek in March when A1 Team Australia was launched and the car was a lot of fun to drive. It will be good to be a part of a team that represents Australia -- if you look at the Davis Cup and see what that has done for some of our tennis players, hopefully the same will happen for Australian racing drivers through A1 Grand Prix. The cars are great -- loads of downforce, heaps of grip and plenty of horsepower -- the whole concept is awesome."

CHRISTIAN JONES -- A1 Team Australia Test Driver: "We did the test at Silverstone and that went quite well. I was very happy with how the car performed -- amazingly, there wasn't one mechanical failure for all 15 cars on hand -- that's basically unheard of for something that's straight out of the box like the A1 cars were. Going to Ricard is going to be a little different -- there will be three other drivers there with A1 Team Australia and I have to be on my game if I want a race seat. A lot of people say I'm a given to get a race drive due to my father's involvement, but that doesn't hold water, he is focused on winning The World Cup of Motorsport and will choose the drivers who will give A1 Team Australia the best chance of doing just that."

PETER HACKETT -- A1 Team Australia Test Driver: "I'm very honoured to be testing for A1 Team Australia. The concept is one that I have loved since it was first announced 18 months ago -- to drive for your country is a big thing and something that hasn't happened in motorsport before. For me, I am looking forward to benchmarking myself against guys like Will Power and Will Davison. Although I've raced them in the past, there have been a few years since I've driven against them and we've all gone in different directions."

-a1ta-

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Pedro Lamy , Alex Yoong , Alan Jones , Will Davison , Will Power , Peter Hackett , Sheikh Maktoum , Christian Jones