Proxis Grand Prix - Volume 41 - Mon 06 SEP 97 E-Mail: Internet: _______________________________________________

Irvine being forced out at Ferrari

It has recently become apparent that Ferrari is indeed exploring all options for a replacement of the underachieving Eddie Irvine next season. Since producing solid results in the first half of the season which helped Ferrari hold a=20 Constructors Championship lead, the Ulsterman has fallen flat as of late, and the patience of the Prancing Horse is wearing thin.

Gerhard Berger confirmed yesterday that he had recently flown to the home of Ferrari in Maranello, Italy to discuss his future. He said the talks went well, but he could not confirm or deny his situation at this time. He is expected to announce his decisions of his future after the penultimate round at Suzuka this upcoming weekend.

Besides Berger, Tom Walkinshaw has said he did indeed get a call from Ferrari regarding a possible purchase of Mika Salo's new TWR contract, in which he will drive for Arrows next season. Ferrari had extensive talks with the Finnish star earlier in the year, and they were believed to be very impressed.

If Eddie Irvine is bought out by his bosses, his options for a drive next year would be extremely limited this late into the silly season. The only possibilities remain Tyrrell, Minardi, or maybe Stewart on a longshot. If Ferrari were to buy Mika Salo, that would leave a spot at Arrows, but Jorg Muller's earlier signed contract with TWR ensures that he gets first choice for a drive seat -- so it would be tough for Irvine to get in there.

Ferrari are clearly sending a message by this. It comes out clear that they are serious about winning both champ- ionships -- not just pushing Michael Schumacher to the=20 Drivers Championship. The Constructors trophy hasn't been seen in Maranello in nearly two decades, and they were counting on Eddie Irvine to help bring it home this year. He hasn't delivered. ________________________________________________ Copyright =A9 1997 by John E. Klender. All rights reserved. =20