Barnard joins Prost
John Barnard has joined Prost Grand Prix.
The British designer, who has worked for McLaren, Ferrari, Benetton, Arrows and Toyota, is joining the team owned by a driver whom won 2 titles in one of his cars.
Honda ready to test
Stories are emerging that the Honda-Dallara chassis will test for the first time this week. It is expected to be driven by Jos Verstappen. A Honda spokesman was quoted as saying: 'We're just going to put an engine in it and see if it rolls out, it's not a Honda. Let's call it a Honda prototype.'
The project is part of the two angles that Honda is believed to be looking at re-entering F1 with. The first is to buy into an existing team, which is expected to be Jordan. The second idea is to run with the Harvey Postlethwaite run concern who are doing the testing this year.
de la Rosa tests for Arrows
Jordan test driver Pedro de la Rosa is to test for Arrows this week. This would appear to scupper earlier stories that Tiger Takagi has signed with the team. Jordan has released Pedro especially for the test.
After the first day of Barcelona testing, Damon Hill emerged fastest some .4 seconds faster than ex-teammate Ralf Schumacher. The McLaren of Coulthard was a further 5/100th adrift. Villeneuve didn't put up a time in the BAR 001
Engine Maps banned
The controversial system of 3D engine mapping has been banned for the 1999 season in F1. This system lead to accusations of traction control from some factions of the F1 circus.
FIA accused of 'weasel words'
ASH (Action on Smoking and Health) has accused FIA Max Mosley of changing his stance on tobacco advertising. The FIA have previously asked for proof that tobacco advertising causes people to smoke. The FIA have now set a July 1st deadline for proof of a link between F1 advertising and smoking. Clive Bates of ASH said "This is weasel wording Originally it wanted to see evidence of a link between sports tobacco sponsorship - now it has narrowed it down to just F1. It is almost impossible to prove a direct link between motor racing and cigarettes, but it is most definitely part of the bigger picture." This is even more important when it is realised that the WHO has already presented it's evidence to the FIA. This move is likely to put the FIA into further conflict with the EC.
Mosley in battle of the tyre
The FIA president, Max Mosley, has called for drivers to stop complaining about the new tyre formula. "Last year it was the same, the drivers complain, then at mid- season they are as fast as they were before. It is best not to draw conclusions in a hurry", he is quoted as saying. He has also confirmed plans to introduce the "All-Weather" tyre in the year 2001.
Bernie Bond saga continues...
A German bank has offered to purchase all of BCE's bonds providing "certain conditions" are met. They are rumoured not to be interested in them as such, but need a Standard and Poor rated bond as collateral for another deal. As such, the Bernie bonds have appeared at the right time. Other analysts have given the bonds an A rating, but S and P will only do so if the size of the issue is reduced. If BCE does this, then the German bank will go ahead with the deal.
Dario to stay in states
Dario Franchitti has signed a deal to stay in ChampCar through 2000. He says that he is still interested in F1, but feels his best chances lie in the states at the moment: "I'd like to continue winning in Champ Cars and at a later stage look at the options for F1."
Schumacher believes in Head
Ralf Schumacher has gone on record saying that he is confident that the Williams team will make a good car next season. He is expecting to have some "good races" and "good results".
Muller still at Sauber
The Jorg Muller deal with BMW is further complicated. Peter Sauber has announced that his team still has him as their reserve driver for 1999.
Sauber not to build own engine
Sauber and Petronas have put on hold their plan to build their own F1 engine. They are to continue badging the Ferrari engines. Peter Sauber has been quoted saying it is essential to join forces with a major manufacturer for survival.
Arrows close to sale - Government link
Zakspeed are set to take over Arrows within the week if they get an expected grant from the government. The sticking point is believed to centre around the 49% Jackie Oliver still owns. Bernie Ecclestone is believed to own another chunk, and he is apparantly willing to sell. It is unclear where Tom Walkinshaw comes into the equation.
BMW signs Muller
BMW have confirmed that Jorg Muller has been signed as BMW's official test driver for 1999. This choice was apparantly Gerhard Berger's - the new motor sport director of BMW.
New BAR chassis unveiled
British American Racing has run it's new car in anger for the first time. The car was running in Spain with Jacques Villeneuve at the wheel. The car didn't have any sponsors on board.
-- Stephen M Baines