PASSING THE BATON This weekend (15th/16th March) sees the A1 Team France doing battle in the eighth round of the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport in Mexico. The team will have a new nominated driver in the cockpit, none other than Jonathan Cochet who...
PASSING THE BATON This weekend (15th/16th March) sees the A1 Team France doing battle in the eighth round of the A1 GP World Cup of Motorsport in Mexico. The team will have a new nominated driver in the cockpit, none other than Jonathan Cochet who took part in the rookie session in Australia and Friday's free practice in South Africa. He will take over from Loic Duval, and Nicolas Prost will be on rookie duty on Friday as he was 3 weeks ago in Durban.
The season is now entering the home straight and the coming races will be crucial in deciding the outcome. Since the start of the championship A1 Team France has finished on the podium on 7 occasions in 14 races. The team is currently lying second overall in the general classification with 108 points, ten behind the leader, Switzerland, and its aim is to close the gap as quickly as possible.
The circuit, on which the cars will race this weekend, was built near the town centre of Mexico City in 1962 at an altitude of 2.285 metres. It hosted its first F1 race the following year surfing on the popular wave of enthusiasm for the famous Rodriguez brothers, Pedro and Ricardo. It was part of the F1 calendar until 1970 and again between 1986 and 1992. After that the circuit did not host any international events until 2002 when the Champcar Series came to race there, which required a revamp.
The track surface is very bumpy which makes both the drivers' and engineers' task very difficult, while the altitude will result in a power loss for the Zytek engines. The circuit has one of the most spectacular corners in motor sport, the famous Peraltada curve. In the past, it was bordered by a solid concrete wall with no run-off area, but it has been improved for this year by the installation of a chicane before the entry. This will slow the cars and hopefully provide some overtaking opportunities.
Olivier Panis, sporting director:
"This weekend a new chapter opens for A1 Team France. We've decided to put our trust in Jonathan Cochet who knows both the car and the team, as he has already spent two weekends with us this year. The two races in Mexico are strategically important, as the championship is so tight that the slightest error could be very costly. But we're not going to put any pressure on Jonathan and we'll do our best to make the job easy for him. His motivation and his desire to do well should make the difference."