Brands hits further environmental problems
English Nature, the Government's conservation advisors, has stepped in to the Brands Hatch planning permission war lodging it's own objections to planning permission being granted for development work at the circuit. It is unhappy about 15 acres of ancient woodland being destroyed for the new pits and paddock.
The Woodland Trust has also lodged an objection, but the English Nature protest has more weight due to it's links with the Government. Phil Williams of EN said "We have no objection to Brands Hatch staging a Grand Prix, but we don't want it to be at the cost of destroying ancient woodland. We would like to meet the circuit wners to discuss alternative options. If the district council is minded to accept the planning application, we are empowered to order a public enquiry to investigate the case."
Brands Hatch have claimed that this will not cause any problems. "We always knew that objections would be raised, but we remain confident that our planning permission will be successful. If it comes to a public enquiry, we will pull out all the stops to make sure it is dealt with quickly". This contradicts claims that Nichola Foulston made back in May, when she said "All of these changes [to the circuit and paddock] are totally consistent with our existing planning permission. We expect it to be passed with problem."
Restructure at BAR
The restructure of the management at British American Racing has been completed, with Craig Pollock moving from his post as chairman to managing director. Pollock will be responsible for the business side of the team, whilst Reynard will be in charge of the technical side. Pollock has been quoted saying: "I am happy that the team's management structure is now settled and all our energies can be directed towards the performance of the team for the 2000 season".
Speculation is now surrounding Pollock's shareholding, as it is believed that despite the outward show of unity trying to be put forward, Pollock is set to quit, and try and sell his shareholding to Dave Richards of Prodrive. Prodrive already have substantial links with Honda through the BTCC effort, and with BAT Industries who previously backed the Prodrive Subaru's.
Minardi not taken over
Further to previous stories, sources within the Minardi team are insisting that the team has not been bought by Telefonica, but rather they are making a substantial increase in the amount available to the team next season. The condition attached for this increase in funds is that they have a South American driver in the second seat, to help with Telefonica's push into the region. Max Wilson and Norberto Fontana are favourites for the drive, whilst the car is still not finalised due to the Ford deal not being inked.
-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk