Series Notebook 2000-02-01

Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be busy place for Reynard in 2000 INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2000 -- Race car manufacturer and engineering firm Reynard could be involved in all three of the world-class races at the Indianapolis Motor...

Indianapolis Motor Speedway to be busy place for Reynard in 2000

INDIANAPOLIS, Tuesday, Feb. 1, 2000 -- Race car manufacturer and engineering firm Reynard could be involved in all three of the world-class races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the future.

Reynard, which bought Riley & Scott and helped develop the Mk VII chassis used this season in the Northern Light Indy Racing League by former Indy 500 winners Eddie Cheever Jr. and Buddy Lazier, will be represented at this year's Indianapolis 500 by the marque. Reynard chassis won the Indianapolis 500 in 1995 and 1996.

Reynard will also try to win the inaugural United States Grand Prix at Indianapolis on Sept. 24 with its Formula One partner, British American Racing. Jacques Villeneuve, another former Indy 500 winner, and Ricardo Zonta drive for BAR-Honda.

The only Indianapolis Motor Speedway race missing from Reynard's repertoire is the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Brickyard 400. But that could soon change. "We are not involved in NASCAR at the moment," said Dr. Adrian Reynard, founder and CEO of Reynard and technical development director of British American Racing. "We are talking to some NASACR teams, and some of our Champ Car teams run NASCAR teams. We recognize NASCAR as a very important motorsport sector and would like to do something in it, but right now we are not in it."

Verstappen's Arrows: Dutch driver Jos Verstappen will partner Pedro de la Rosa at Arrows this year. With the exception of one Minardi ride, all the F1 seats are filled for 2000.

"I am happy that the Arrows team has chosen me on account of my speed and ability," Verstappen said. "I have been visiting Arrows on a regular basis over the past few weeks, and the new car has a lot of promise. I am sure that the expertise I have acquired in recent years will help me, together with Pedro, improve the team."

No wedding bells in Melbourne: Jacques Villeneuve has denied stories that he plans to marry his fiancee, Australian singer and actress Dannii Minogue, just prior to the Formula One season opener March 12 in Melbourne, Australia.

"We have not set a date because we have so much going on," Villeneuve said. "I would never do anything that coincides with racing. My private life and my racing is totally separate, so the last thing I would want would be to get married at a race and make sure that there is tons of media around."

New sponsors: Beck's beer and DHL have signed on as major sponsors of the Jaguar team. Compaq is the new primary sponsor for Williams-BMW.

Button getting ready: Jenson Button, 20, is working hard to prepare for his F1 debut with the Williams-BMW team at the season opener March 12 in Australia. While he just turned 20, Button will not be the youngest-ever Grand Prix driver. Mike Thackwell, Ricardo Rodriguez and Chris Amon all began their F1 careers at age 19.

"I'm sure I'm ready for F1," said Button who replaced Alex Zanardi. "When you are ready for F1, you are ready, irrespective of your age. I think this year's going to be a very interesting one for me. I've got a month and a half (before the first race), and I'm sure that's long enough. I've been trying the pitstops every time I come into the pits.

"The mileage accumulated in testing so far has been promising and has certainly helped my fitness program. I have an intense fitness regime to work with. The BMW-WilliamsF1 team is very supportive and has been terrific in welcoming me aboard.

"When the first race comes, it's going to be a great experience for me. I really can't wait to get there."

Indianapolis wishes: Former Indianapolis resident Jacques Villeneuve, winner of the 1995 Indianapolis 500 and the 1997 World Championship, said he is "looking forward to going back to the United States."

He added wistfully: "It's great that we are going to Indy, but I'm just sad we are not going to be racing on the oval! I wish we could put the F1 on the oval. That would be great."

Snow slows Hakkinen but not for long: Snow caused a day of testing to be canceled at Barcelona's circuit Jan. 25 and delayed Mika Hakkinen's return to the cockpit by a day.

But the following day, the reigning World Champion returned from a long vacation and showed he had lost none of his speed by setting the quickest lap time in his West McLaren-Mercedes.

"I needed a good long break," Hakkinen said. "I went skiing, and I spent Christmas in Finland and then I went to Dubai. No telephones, no interviews, just a normal life between snow, beaches, and sunshine. That's what gave me my appetite for racing back."

Warm weather testing: Williams-BMW and Lucky Strike British American Racing-Honda plan to do some warm weather testing at South Africa's Kyalami circuit Feb. 8-14. The South African circuit has had its F1 license renewed. Mario Andretti scored the first of his 12 career Grand Prix victories at Kyalami in 1971. The track, which has since been modified, last played host to a Grand Prix in 1993.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jenson Button , Jos Verstappen , Mika Hakkinen , Jacques Villeneuve , Eddie Cheever , Buddy Lazier , Alex Zanardi , Ricardo Rodríguez , Mario Andretti , Chris Amon , Mike Thackwell
Teams Mercedes , McLaren , Williams , British American Racing , Minardi