F1 News 99-04-09

Shareholders agree to BAT-Rothmans merger The planned merger between British American Tobacco and Rothmans International has been approved by BAT's shareholders. It has received clearance from one of the two regulators in the US, and is now ...

Shareholders agree to BAT-Rothmans merger

The planned merger between British American Tobacco and Rothmans International has been approved by BAT's shareholders. It has received clearance from one of the two regulators in the US, and is now awaiting approval from Australia. The European Commission has already OKd the deal. The deal would mean that BAT would be second to Philip Morris with 16% vs 17%. BAR and WilliamsF1 are sponsored by BAT and Rothmans respectively.

Brazilian drivers blast Brazilian track

According to a press report by Agence France-Presse, the Interlagos circuit's new entry to the pit lane has been slammed by Barrichello, Diniz and Zonta.

Diniz is quoted in the paper Lance as saying "The entrance to the pit lane is very dangerous. I am going to try the manoeuvre several times to see if it is necessary to make a formal complaint." The reasoning being that the entrance is on the fastest part of the circuit and may interfere with drivers trying a fast lap. This was backed up by BAR driver Ricardo Zonta "Formerly Interlagos was used for Formula Three, in which the speeds are different. This place where the pitlane begins is a very high speed point."

Barrichello also has concerns about the track itself "the tyres could quickly lose grip on the track. The drivers' meeting will be used to discuss this issue."

Bernie and Max clash over races

Max Mosley has gone on record saying that he would like to see the calendar expanded to 20 races or so. This goes against Bernie Ecclestone's stance, made public recently, that he does not want the calendar to expand beyond 17 races.

Stewart 'could sell' to Ford

Jackie Stewart has said that the team could possibly sell out to Ford in the future. 'no one will survive in the longer term as a privateer. If the right scenario came along and if we thought it was the right solution for the team, why not?'

Tula to host GP in 2001?

The Russian city of Tula is embarking on a plan to bring F1 to the city in 2001. The city has gathered £90m in private funding for the project, and has approached several constructors about building the circuit, including a UK based constructor. This seems to back up Bernie Ecclestone's claims last week that there are many countries still wanting GPs.

Prost tests mechanical active car

Prost test driver, Stephane Sarrazin, has been testing Prost Grand Prix's new mechanical active suspension system. The system is believed to work on g-force loadings on the car. So far it has only been tested on a '98 car, and is expected to be tested on a 99 car later this year. It is unlikely to appear in races this season.

Supertec blasted by teams

The Supertec using teams have blasted their engine supplier for a series of engine failures and lack of development. All three teams that use the engines suffered engine failures during testing last week, and the engine is now lagging behind the best engines in F1, despite a £13m a year price tag. One team insider is reported to have said "It was sold on the basis that it might not be the best engine but at least it was reliable. These weren't even that, and they were standard-spec engines"

Sarrazin for Minardi

Stephane Sarrazin has been named as Luca Badoer's replacement for the Brazilian Grand Prix this weekend. The Prost test driver has been loaned to Minardi as a thank you for Minardi loaning Trulli to the team in '97.

Badoer decided to miss the race, rather than risk not being able to compete at his home GP at San Marino in May.

Ford denies Jaguar to F1 next season

Top brass at Ford have denied that Jaguar are to replace Ford on the flanks of the Stewart next season. They have not, however, ruled out a return for Jaguar in the future.

Testing deal may be circumvented

Stories are emerging that teams may get around the deal struck with Bridgestone to limit testing this year to a total of 50 days. Some teams have already used up to 20 of the days, and so face the real threat of running out of days by the end of the year.

The issue is further complicated as Ferrari and McLaren are contracted to do development work for Bridgestone in addition to those 50 days. Other teams could conceivably buy tyres from Bridgestone, but Bridgestone have said so far that they will not supply tyres unless some of there personnel are present.

Williams to test this week

Williams are finally to test, after missing two major tests since the last GP. The team says it had nothing ready to test, so there was no point in actually going. The team now has a mixture of aerodynamic and mechanical parts to test.

Berger denies interest in Salo

Gerhard Berger, boss of motorsport at BMW, has denied interest in Mika Salo to test the cars. He said that he knows Mika wants to get back into F1 full time and that "he could use us to do that. We need a driver who will do work for BMW"

Sauber solves gearbox problems

The Sauber team thinks it has solved the gearbox problems that have hampered testing so far this season. The breakages are linked to the weight loss program that the gearbox was put on over the winter.

-- Stephen M Baines http://www.motorsport.org.uk

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Luca Badoer , Ricardo Zonta , Gerhard Berger , Stéphane Sarrazin , Jackie Stewart , Philip Morris , Bernie Ecclestone
Teams Ferrari , Sauber , McLaren , Williams , Minardi