A race against time A1 Team Switzerland took delivery of chassis for Zandvoort at the last moment After an uncertainty due to technical reasons that lasted for weeks, the Swiss A1GP team was given the green light for the season opener...
A race against time
A1 Team Switzerland took delivery of chassis for Zandvoort at the last moment
After an uncertainty due to technical reasons that lasted for weeks, the Swiss A1GP team was given the green light for the season opener after all. Four days before the first practice session at Zandvoort, the defending champions of the Nations' Cup of Motorsport took delivery of the latest vehicle from the delayed chassis production batch. The current situation is that 18 national teams will be on the grid in The Netherlands.
Team principal Max Welti is relieved: "We started with the assembly of the car straight away and hired additional staff at short notice. Now, I hope that all the necessary parts are available. When that is the case, nothing can prevent us from racing at Zandvoort anymore."
The partnership with Ferrari that only came about in October, 2007, and the resulting radical technical changes for the A1GP series led to logistical difficulties, as could be expected. The supply of the 4.5 litre eight cylinder engines from the Ferrari F430, delivering some 600 hp in competition version, didn't cause any problems. The chassis manufacturing process was more a reason for concern. The monocoque, based on the Ferrari F2004 Formula 1 car, is being manufactured in the UK rather than in Maranello.
The Swiss team will be out to defend its title with Neel Jani. The soon-to-be 25-year old from Berne is by no means affected by the logistical challenges. "Moaning doesn't bring a thing. Therefore, my motivation is as good as ever and I want to try to make the best out of this", said Jani before heading off to England, where he was to keep an eye on the preparation of the car and then put it through the test in a roll-out at Snetterton on Friday at the latest. At Zandvoort, practice will only start on Saturday as planned, with no rookie drivers scheduled to participate. The full programme will be run for the first time at Chengdu (China) on the second weekend of November. At that occasion, Alexandre Imperatori looks set to be out as the rookie driver for Switzerland.
Because there weren't sufficient chassis available, the opening round of the fourth A1GP season at Mugello (I), planned for September 21st, already had to be called off. At Zandvoort, five national teams will still be missing, reported to be Germany, Canada, Mexico, India and Great Britain. In order to give them still more or less equal chances in the battle for the title, a new points' system has been introduced. For every team, the worst combined result of any two races at one venue will be dropped.
Compared to last year, the field has expanded to 23 cars. New entries are Korea and Monaco, whereas the Czech Republic is no longer present. The World Cup of Motorsport incluces ten rounds, like before. The season will end at Brands Hatch (UK) on May 3rd.