A1GP: Inaugural series news 2005-08-04

* Jos Verstappen to drive for A1 Team Netherlands * USA, France and Switzerland confirmed * Race on for Brazilian seat * International teams converge on Silverstone August 4, 2005 - The inaugural A1 Grand Prix Series is beginning to ...

* Jos Verstappen to drive for A1 Team Netherlands

* USA, France and Switzerland confirmed

* Race on for Brazilian seat

* International teams converge on Silverstone

August 4, 2005 - The inaugural A1 Grand Prix Series is beginning to take shape with just over 50 days until the first race meeting at Brands Hatch in England.

Founder, President and Chairman of A1 Grand Prix, His Highness Sheikh Maktoum Hasher Maktoum Al Maktoum has announced three new national teams have now signed on for the series - taking the number to 19 of the planned 25 national teams. The confirmation of USA, France and Switzerland came as part of the Indian franchise's launch last weekend.

Plans for the Australian leg of the series - at Eastern Creek International Raceway across the weekend of November 4-6, 2005 - are continuing, with major announcements expected soon.

THREE NEW TEAMS CONFIRMED

Three new teams representing some of the biggest consumer markets in the world were revealed at the launch of A1 Team India -- the USA, France and Switzerland.

* A1 Team USA has been acquired by Rick Weidinger -- a telecommunications tycoon and former part-owner of leading Indy Racing League team -- Kelley Racing, who ran Scott Sharp in the predominantly oval track series. A1 Grand Prix sees the American market as crucial for the growth of the Series and the majority of the races will occur outside the traditional American motorsport season. It is anticipated the USA will host two of the twelve races -- one at the spectacular Laguna Seca circuit in California and one on the streets of San Antonio, Texas.

* A1 Team France has been acquired by Jean Paul Driot -- the owner of uber-experienced French racing outfit DAMS (Driot Associates Motor Sport), that was started by Driot and ex-F1 driver Rene Arnoux in 1988. DAMS has been involved in a variety of motorsports throughout the years, including F3000, Sportscar/GT Racing and this year is competing in both the GP2 and World Series by Renault Series'. DAMS Driver, Alx Danielson, finished second to Australian, Will Power at the most recent round of WSR.

* A1 Grand Prix has approached former Sauber F1 and Porsche Motorsport Director, Max Welti, to head up A1 Team Switzerland.

VERSTAPPEN TO RACE FOR HOLLAND!

Ex-Formula One driver, Jos Verstappen will be the lead strikeforce for A1 Team Netherlands. With his many years experience combined with that of another ex-F1 talent in Jan Lammers -- who is the seat holder for A1 Team Netherlands -- a formidable combination has been formed.

Verstappen expressed his desire to race in the national colours of The Netherlands -- the traditional bright orange -- along with his appreciation of the unique A1 concept.

"Of course it's very unusual having to defend your country," Verstappen said. "The fact that I will climb into a bright orange car not to represent a team or a sponsor, but an entire population does make this very special. I find it an honour that I will be able to do this."

RACE HOTS UP FOR BRAZILIAN SEAT!

A number of the world's leading drivers are vying for A1 Team Brazil's seat, according to reports emanating from grandprix.com.

The Brazilian franchise -- headed up by Ronaldo and double world F1 champion, Emerson Fittipaldi -- is almost spoilt for choice with the drivers that have reportedly put their hands up for the seat.

Grandprix.com reports that Cristiano da Matta -- the former Champ Car World Series Champion and Toyota F1 driver, Tony Kanaan -- the defending Indy Racing League Champion and Antonio Pizzonia -- Williams F1 test driver have all put their hand up to drive the A1 Team Brazil entry.

Whilst all three are firmly ensconced in their current roles, under the unique A1 Grand Prix sporting regulations -- where a team can change driver from round to round -- it may be possible that all can drive for A1 Team Brazil at some point.

Nelson Piquet Jnr is one of the drivers testing for A1 Team Brazil this week at Silverstone and given his early form, one would have to think he'd be staking a claim for a seat as well.

INTERNATIONAL TEAMS CONVERGE ON SILVERSTONE

The first official test for 15 of the A1 Grand Prix teams is taking place this week at Silverstone in the UK.

All teams in attendance are under no illusion as to the purpose of the test -- it is merely a chance for each of them to bed in componentry ahead of the first "serious" test at the Paul Ricard circuit in France in a few weeks time.

A1 Team Australia is being represented by Christian Jones at Silverstone. The official Australian driver line-up will be announced in the coming weeks, along with detail regarding the Australian event at Sydney's Eastern Creek International Raceway across the weekend of November 4-6, the fourth round of the global 12 round series.

-iicpr.com

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About this article
Series A1GP
Drivers Jan Lammers , Jos Verstappen , Antonio Pizzonia , Scott Sharp , Tony Kanaan , René Arnoux , Nelson Piquet , Emerson Fittipaldi , Will Power , Christian Jones , Max Welti , Rick Weidinger , Cristiano da Matta
Teams Sauber , Williams , DAMS