VILLENEUVE, TEAM EXECUTIVES EXCITED ABOUT RETURNING TO INDY
INDIANAPOLIS, Jan. 15, 1999 -- The winners of the 1995 Indianapolis 500 are delighted to be coming back to Indianapolis and thrilled about the return of the United States Grand Prix in 2000.
The seeds of the new British American Racing F1 team were born after its founding members won the Indy-style race at Elkhart Lake in 1994 and the Indianapolis 500 in 1995.
Jacques Villeneuve drove a Reynard designed by Malcolm Oastler to win those two races (and the 1995 CART championship), and it was then that Adrian Reynard and Villeneuve's manager, Craig Pollock, began talking about creating a F1 team in the future. That new team, British American Racing, which has Reynard as a technical partner, was formed last year. Their dreams came true when the British American Racing-Supertec made its official debut Jan. 6.
Oastler designed the new F1 car under the direction of Technical Director Adrian Reynard.
Villeneuve, the 1997 F1 World Champion, is looking forward to going back to his old hometown -- he lived in Indianapolis during his racing career in the United States -- and racing in front of his fans again.
"It's great to go back to the States," Villeneuve said. "Certainly Indianapolis, when I was racing there, was definitely very special.
"I had a great time in Indy cars and Formula Atlantic also. It was what allowed me to get into F1, so I have fond memories. Indianapolis was very important. Winning the Indy 500 was very important for my career. So I'm happy to go back there."
Villeneuve's former manager Craig Pollock is now the managing director of British American Racing.
"It's extremely important to go back to Indy," Pollock said. "It's extremely important that F1 has a race in the United States, and it's not important just for our team and our sponsors but for the future of the sport. Major corporations are based out of the United States. There are very few major corporations based out of Europe, so our future in sponsorships ... will probably come out of the United States. So for us it is great.
"I love Indianapolis. I always have. I had a fantastic house and great times in Indianapolis. The F1 event could be one of the nicest races that we have."
Oastler, who designed the 1994 Indy 500 winner and also created Villeneuve's new F1 car, holds the post of chief designer at Reynard and British American Racing.
"We will see the track from a different perspective," Oastler said of the Brickyard F1 race. "It will be a whole different game even though we raced at Indy for years, and a lot of the teams are based in Indy. It's sort of a second home. To go back there and do an F1 race will be great." Adrian Reynard said it's wonderful to being heading back to Indianapolis.
"I'd love to go back to Indy," Reynard said. "I think it's absolutely wonderful. The United States Grand Prix is very important to F1, let alone our team. Obviously (with the team's main sponsor) being British American Tobacco, I'm sure they'd be delighted about it. We at Reynard are constructing a massive technical center at Indianapolis, so I'm sure we'll get some good support while we are there. I'm really pleased about that."