USGP Notebook 99-02-26

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX AT INDIANAPOLIS NOTEBOOK BAR splits difference in livery dispute; Villeneuve ready to roll By Dan Knutson indyf1.com Special Contributor INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 26, 1999 -- British American Racing, which lost its appeal to...

UNITED STATES GRAND PRIX AT INDIANAPOLIS NOTEBOOK BAR splits difference in livery dispute; Villeneuve ready to roll

By Dan Knutson indyf1.com Special Contributor

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 26, 1999 -- British American Racing, which lost its appeal to run its two cars in separate sponsorship liveries, has decided to split the difference.

The team had hoped to have one car painted the blue and gold of the State Express 555 cigarette brand and the other the red and white of the Lucky Strike brand. But this is against F1 rules, which state both cars in a team must have substantially the same paint scheme.

The new livery features 555 on one side of the car and Lucky Strike on the other, with a zipper painted on the nose between the two color schemes.

"While this design is obviously not our first choice," managing director Craig Pollock said, "we believe it provides value for our sponsors and maintains the first-class image of the team. Now it is time to refocus on the business of racing. Ultimately, it's on the track where British American Racing must make its mark."

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Villeneuve comfortable, confident: 1995 Indianapolis 500 winner Jacques Villeneuve gave the new BAR-Supertec its final shakedown Feb. 24 at Silverstone before the cars and equipment were shipped to Australia for the Grand Prix season opener March 7. "We used this shakedown to verify that everything was in place and ready for Australia," Villeneuve said. "For example, we made sure that the pedals and seat were comfortable for me. Now we can go to Melbourne confident that all is fine and that we should be competitive in our first race." The Australian Grand Prix will mark the debut for the Reynard-designed BAR car.

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Where to watch: Television viewers in the United States can view the Australian Grand Prix on FOX Sports Net or SpeedVision. FOX Sports Net will show the race, taped-delay, at 10 a.m. (EST) Sunday, March 7. SpeedVision will air qualifying live at 9 p.m. Friday, March 5 and will show the race live at 9:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 6.

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Championship decider: Since 1990, with the exception of 1997, the driver who has won the F1 season opener has gone on to win the World Championship that season. Will the winner to this year's Australian Grand Prix continue the trend?

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Minardi fills second seat: Minardi has signed Ferrari test driver Luca Badoer as teammate to rookie Marc Gene.

Badoer has competed in 35 Grand Prix races with a best finish of seventh. He last raced F1 in 1996.

"I find myself in the enviable position of being bound to Ferrari as test driver and competing at the same time for Minardi," Badoer said. Arrows has confirmed rookie Pedro de la Rosa as one of its drivers this year but has yet to decide whether Mika Salo or Tora Takagi will fill the other seat.

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Zanardi's salary cut: It has been reported that two-time CART champion Alex Zanardi took a massive pay cut to return to F1.

In an interview with Autosport magazine, Zanardi's former team manager says the Italian star was offered $13 million to stay with Chip Ganassi's Target team but instead accepted $5 million to drive for Team Williams.

Source: IRL/IMS

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Pedro de la Rosa , Marc Gene , Mika Salo , Alex Zanardi , Tora Takagi , Chip Ganassi
Teams Ferrari , Williams , British American Racing , Minardi