F1 Hot News
By Andrew Maitland
January 8, 2003
Albers Out Of The Minardi Running
23-year-old F1 hopeful Christijan Albers has ruled himself out of a
2003 Grand Prix debut for Minardi.
The Dutchman, with a German F3 title and DTM touring car experience,
was strongly linked to the vacant PS03 seat alongside English rookie
But he explained in a statement issued late yesterday that Minardi
boss Paul Stoddart could not agree with the offer proposed by
'Although we have found the essential budgets for the drive, the
sponsors could not agree on the upfront payments due in the very short
term and the contracts,' Albers said.
It is reported that Stoddart, the 47-year-old Australian entrepreneur,
was asking for nearly half of Albers' 2003 budget before the racing
season even kicked off in March.
'It is highly likely that Christijan will drive DTM (German Touring
Cars) again in 2003,' his manager, Lodewijk Varossieau, added whilst
explaining that a conditional F1 contract with Minardi expired on New
While the race drive is off, then, Varossieau refused to rule out the
possibility that his young charge might spend the new Formula One
season as a test driver.
'If possible he will try to get some more experience as Formula One
driver,' he said.
'This might be attained through a position with Minardi or another
team that has shown serious interest,' he continued. 'We hope to
finalize negotiations soon.'
Despite the setback, Christijan remains steadfastly focused upon his
eventual goal to grace the Grand Prix grid at the pinnacle of
motorsports. 'Formula One remains the ultimate for me,' the Dutchman
'So I do not give up my hopes.'
He added: 'I know I can make it. My sponsors made a fantastic offer to
Paul, which he unfortunately could not accept. Fortunately there is
still a lot to win for me in DTM and I am only 23 so there is enough
time for Formula One.'
30-year-old Dutch countryman Jos Verstappen, also courting the spare
Jordan drive, now moves into pole position to join Minardi as
Christijan Albers falls out of contention.
Albers, then, looks into 2004 for his Formula One debut - possibly
'I still hope that I can start my career with Paul Stoddart,' he said.
'I really like the team and hope that they get stronger soon.'
Sources close to the tiny Faenza-based Minardi team, meanwhile, are
adamant that no decision is yet made and further intimate that all
strongly-linked drivers are still in the running.
'We are still talking to two companies who are interested to become
title sponsor of Minardi F1,' Christijan's management, headed by Cees
Faes, commented of the news.
'We are still looking for companies who are interested in building
Formula One successes together with Christijan - opportunity knocks.'
'We would like to thank everyone who supported Christijan to reach the
highest level in autosport, although at this moment we have no better
'And we want to say that there is still a chance that Christijan will
drive F1 in the season to come.'
Born in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Christijan became the German
Formula 3 Champion with six wins and ten pole positions in 1999 before
moving into Touring Cars and later F3000 with Paul Stoddart.
In 2001, he finished second at the Sachsenring with the DTM Mercedes
team, coming home fifth in that series last year.
Schumacher Plans More Red Domination
Michael Schumacher is hoping to dominate yet another season of Formula
One racing with a new Ferrari charger.
But the German, who stole eleven victories this year and an early
championship bath, concedes that the Maranello marque's unrivaled
supremacy of '02 is not a requisite for success.
'It isn't necessary to be as dominant,' he explained, 'as long as we
can keep on winning races, everything's okay.'
The five times world champion, meanwhile, knows that Williams and
McLaren will eventually curb Ferrari's dominance. 'Of course we hope
that we can put this off for as long as possible,' he said.
'And I naturally also hope that it wont happen in my time. In any
case, our aim is quite clear - to keep this Ferrari era going for as
long as possible.'
Ferrari, with Michael and team-mate Rubens Barrichello, soared to
fifteen wins last year and a mammoth championship points-gap to second
and third placed BMW-Williams and McLaren.
But despite the fortnightly scarlet-wash that eventually epitomized
season 2002, 34-year-old Schumacher rejects the criticism that the
Prancing Horse has made the world of Formula One boring.
'I don't believe it'll be boring,' he says in prospect of a new racing
season, to kick off at Melbourne's Albert Park Circuit this March.
'At least it is not boring for the many Ferrari fans all over the
world,' he smiles.
Ferrari went without success for 21 years; from Jody Scheckter's
triumph in the last year of the Seventies to a new century in 2000 -
when a Kerpen-born German reminded Maranello what world championship
glory felt like.
'They still have all the other years in the back of their heads,' he
says of the ardent tifosi. 'Just as we do - so why would we be bored?'
2003 is Michael Schumacher's twelfth in Formula One, and eighth for
the Maranello-based scarlet marque.
'It would be rather stupid if we were to be tempted to rest on our
laurels,' he concluded. 'After all, experience has shown that things
always fall off after peak periods.'
Earlier this week, Michael Schumacher described a repeat of the 2002
tactic to bring the old car to Melbourne as an unnecessary 'risk.'
'But we don't want to take that risk,' Schumacher continues, adding
that the Prancing Horse will need to take bold steps with the F2003 to
maintain its position of strength.
Barnard Swaps Four Wheels For Two
Legendary Grand Prix designer John Barnard, of winning McLaren and
Ferrari fame, has switched from four wheels to two.
After decades in Formula One, the Englishman has joined MotoGP
motorcycle championship Team Roberts as Technical Director, effective
Mr. Barnard will be responsible for all engineering and technical
development of the organization's projects - including the 2003 Proton
KR V-5 four-stroke grand prix racing motorcycle.
'There are a lot of things that can be done with motorcycles,' said
Barnard. 'It's all very exciting. There are new ways to make things as
well as new ways to approach things in general.'
He added, 'Above all we must be realistic. We need to build a good
foundation and get our feet on the ground, from there we can move
Kenny Roberts, MotoGP Team owner, added: 'Bringing John into our
organization is another step in our quest to achieve a higher level of
engineering, overall expertise, and competitiveness.
'I've known John for a lot of years and have complete faith in his
ability to help us evolve our company and our team to a higher level,'
Barnard, lauded for his innovative styles in the motor-design world,
spent several years in the 70s in America as he penned the Parnelli
Jones VPJ6 series of Indy Cars.
The Briton designed the first composite monocoque Formula One car, the
McLaren MP4/1, whilst heading up Ferrari's Technical Office in England
until the mid-Nineties.
Other notable Barnard-penned cars include Jim Hall's 1980 Indy 500 and
Indy Car championship winning Chaparral 2K, and the first
all-composite monocoque Formula One car - the McLaren MP4/1.
The MP4/1 led to McLaren's dominance of F1 in the mid-80's, before
Barnard developed Formula One's first semi-automatic gearbox whilst
penning Ferraris in England.
Moreover, the 1998 Arrows A19 F1 car was the first car to use a carbon
composite gearbox, which was designed by Barnard.
Coulthard Eyes New Designer Venture
According to reports in a British tabloid, McLaren ace David Coulthard
is eyeing up a new clothing-venture.
News Of The World claims that the 31-year-old Scot, eyeing his ninth
year in Formula One, is planning a chain of designer-wear boutiques
with close friend and clothing guru Scott Henshall.
'Scott Henshall is a very talented designer and David knows all about
models,' a friend of Coulthard's smilingly told the paper.
Rumours whisper that Lady Victoria Harvey, a well-known British model,
is already signed up with Coulthard's new company.
David Coulthard recently told reporters that one of his perilous job's
biggest dangers was keeping his mind on the black tarmac and off the
semi-clad female spectators.
David, for his tenth year at the pinnacle of motorsports, will again
line up alongside Finnish whiz-kid Kimi Raikkonen at the wheel of the
new silver McLaren MP4-18.
Coulthard, with the exception of German racing colleague Ralf
Schumacher, was the only Grand Prix pilot to snatch a Formula One
victory from champions Ferrari in 2002.
Close friends of the Twynholm-born charger say David has popped the
question to 23-year-old Brazilian beauty Simone and they plan to wed
at the end of season 2003.
Pizzonia Warns Racers To Skip F3000
Formula One newcomer Antonio Pizzonia has warned hopeful racers to
steer clear of International Formula 3000.
Support series for Formula One - and previously lauded as the
stepping-stone category to the pinnacle of motorsports - F3000 has
lost stature recently as youngsters enter grands prix from series like
F3 and Formula Renault.
22-year-old Pizzonia, from Manaus in Brazil's Amazon, headed to F3000
from a championship-dominant campaign in British Formula Three two
But his form, sparkling and undoubted at the wheels of F3 and his
Williams Grand Prix testing mounts, failed to shine as he struggled to
match the pace on F3000's European circuits.
'I think basically a racing car is a racing car,' Pizzonia said, 'but
an F3000 is not a very good racing car.'
He finished fourth in the series last year, disappointing a section of
European racing media who expected him to fend off the leading
challenges of Sebastien Bourdais and Tomas Enge.
But Antonio, affectionately known as Jungle-Boy, said that F3 was a
better - and more suitable - launching pad for his Formula One
He warned young aspirants to stay away from F3000, played out on
twelve of Formula One's racing circuits, or risk debasing a future
career in Grand Prix circles.
'I would say an F3 car is nicely balanced, easy to work on, and quite
similar to the way you have to drive the F1 cars,' he explained. 'But
an F3000 is just funny.'
Nonetheless, young pilots including Mark Webber (runner-up 2001), 2001
champion Justin Wilson and race-winner Fernando Alonso vaulted into
the world's premier category from successful F3000 campaigns.
But Jenson Button (F3), Kimi Raikkonen and Felipe Massa (Formula
Renault) found alternate routes into Formula One.
Pizzonia continues: 'You go through Formula Ford, Formula Renault, F3,
or whatever, which are all related and similar to drive. But F3000
seems to take you in a different direction.
'Basically, I wouldn't recommend anybody to do F3000 because it
doesn't teach you the technique you're going to need to drive an F1
Antonio Pizzonia, Grand Prix rookie, will join Aussie star Mark Webber
at the Jaguar Racing R4 controls this year.
Dirty Tricks In Dutch F1 Shoot-Out
Dirty tricks are epitomizing the Dutch shoot-out for Minardi's final
2003 Grand Prix seat, it has emerged.
The racing pair of Jos Verstappen and Christijan Albers, separated in
age by several years but both originating from the Netherlands, are
left as the last standing combatants for the vacant Faenza berth.
But reports now indicate that fans of the highly-popular racers have
attempted to boost their favorite pilot's campaign for the pay-seat by
feeding detrimental information to the media.
Late last year, media agencies received a mail from an anonymous
Formula One fan linking pictures to a punch-up at Michael Schumacher's
Kerpen-based go-kart track in Germany.
The puncher? Jos 'the boss' Verstappen. 'I urge you to follow this
up,' the mystery sender advised.
And in more recent days, editors were encouraged to investigate an
exaggerated claim that pornographic pictures were adorning 23-year-old
Christijan Albers' official internet website.
Verstappen, with seven years of Grand Prix experience at 30-years-old,
has secured the backing of Holland Media Group as he eyes a racing
return with Jordan or Minardi.
But Michiel Mol, boss of internet group Lost Boys, has additionally
promised to boost the career of whichever Dutch racer earns a place on
the Grand Prix grid with $500,000 in sponsorship.
The successful Dutch racer, Verstappen or Albers, will line up
alongside confirmed Minardi pilot Justin Wilson.
Brief: Bernie, Women, BMW, and IndyCar
F1 impresario Bernie Ecclestone has won a Press Complaints
Commission-ruling that he was wronged by a British newspaper.
The Mail on Sunday, ruled the Press Complaints Commission, intruded
upon the 72-year-old and his family's privacy by portraying the
Formula One Management head as a battered husband.
In other news, the British Women Racing Drivers' Club is to hold a
forum on 'The Future Of Women In Motorsport' this Friday at the
Autosport International show at the NEC, Birmingham.
Guest of honor will be Lyn St James, the successful and long-time
female racer from Indy 500 fame. President of the BWRDC, Helen
Bashford-Malkie, will chair the meeting.
Meanwhile, Johnny Herbert - former Grand Prix winner - will race in
sportscar team Bentley's Le Mans 24-Hour lineup in June this year.
Herbert, now 39, raced for Bentley's sister marque Audi at Le Mans
last year, finishing second with Rinaldo Capello and Frank Biela but
won the event with Mazda in the early Nineties.
Turning to America, the BMW Technology Office in California has
transferred micro-display technology, originally developed for Ralf
Schumacher's Formula One Williams helmet, to the BMW Racing sailing
In a successful transfer of technology, BMW has created an integrated
system - introduced as Miniature Head-Up Display - that displays
real-time race information directly and wirelessly onto Ralf's F1
And, now, BMW sailors will enjoy the same technology as HUD
information is beamed onto their sunglasses-lenses.
'Our overall objective is to optimize the speed and performance of
ORACLE BMW Racing's two sailboats,' said Robert Passaro, BMW
Technology Office USA.
He adds: 'To that end, we think microdisplay technology is the perfect
example of cross-pollination of technology from Formula One to
America's Cup yachting - the Formula One of sailing,' says Robert
Passaro, BMW Technology Office USA.
Staying across the Atlantic, America's premier open-wheeler series
will resume its original title from 2003, to be officially known as
the Indy Racing League 'IndyCar' series.
The change in identity is designed to enhance the links between the
series and its premier event, the Indianapolis 500, as American racing
focus is switched from the ailing CART series to IRL.
Past their prime drivers like Dario Franchitti and Michael Andretti,
along with teams including Chip Ganassi and Team Green, turn their
attention to the oval-predominated forum this year.
Frentzen Predicts '03 Ferrari Repeat
Heinz-Harald Frentzen is forecasting a fourth consecutive Drivers'
world championship for German compatriot Michael Schumacher.
'Michael and Ferrari will defend their titles and then we'll see
exactly how much closer Williams and McLaren can get to them,' the
35-year-old from Moenchengladbach said.
The German pair finished equal runner-up in the 1989 German Formula
Three series behind Karl Wendlinger, later joining forces as
team-mates in Mercedes Junior sportscars.
Heading into Formula One, though, Schumacher's career took off to five
world championships whilst Frentzen hovered from one mid-field team to
the next including Sauber, Jordan, Prost and Arrows.
In the late-Nineties, Frentzen tried his hand at the top of the order
with Williams, winning just once whilst team-mate Jacques Villeneuve
snared the championship.
This week, Frentzen will return to the Sauber racing cockpit as he
takes his career full circle.
The German launched his long Grand Prix foray with a three-year stay
at Peter Sauber's team from '94, and will try the brand-new,
Ferrari-powered C22 at Ferrari's private Fiorano track on Friday.
Moreover, Frentzen is confident that changes to the system for
allocating world championship points - reducing the gap between first
and second and awarding points to the top-eight finishers - will help
smaller teams like Sauber.
'The new system also rewards the engineers who do a good job,' the
Experienced pilots like the German, with one win for Williams and two
for Jordan Grand Prix under his belt, are tipped to make the best of
new-for-2003 one-shot qualifying rules.
Unlike the twelve-lap challenge of 2002, each driver will get one
chance only to make his case for the Grand Prix grid this year.
'I can nearly imagine that qualifying on a Saturday will be more
interesting than the actual race on the Sunday,' he said, welcoming
Off The Track: Jacques Villeneuve
'He may not the easiest driver to work with,' says Martine Kindt of
Bell Racing Helmets - 'but he is fun, and he is one of my all-time
The Formula One racer in question is Jacques Villeneuve, the
French-Canadian ace who soared from a successful American career to
snare the limelight as 1997 world champion.
'I am just now waiting for him to be in a competitive car and bring
some suspense into the red era of F1,' Martine continues of the BAR
pilot staring into a fifth year at Brackley.
'When Jacques came to Europe at end of 1995 Formula One was still
mourning the loss of one of the sport's greatest ever drivers, Ayrton
Senna, who died one year before,' Kindt explains.
Jacques - son of the legendary and exhilarating F1 pilot Gilles
Villeneuve who died in his Ferrari in the early Eighties - climbed
into his Williams cockpit for a first test at Estoril, Portugal.
Martine explains the mood in the late '95 paddock at the time:
'Formula One desperately needed somebody with star qualities and the
star attitude, so Jacques' arrival came with a frenzy as he had both
of those attributes.'
Jacques' manager, ex-BAR boss Craig Pollock, called Martine to see if
Bell Helmets were interested in working with Jacques at the pinnacle
'I immediately said 'yes', Martine recalls.
She flew to Estoril where Jacques was to have his first run in the
Williams. 'Sure enough,' she says, 'all we had to do was follow the
group of journalists that had come down for the same reason: to meet
Kindt, a veteran of dealing with new pilots to the Grand Prix paddock,
explains her knack for knowing immediately if a new-boy is precise,
meticulous, cool, easygoing, or 'a pain in the neck.'
She recalls: 'Jacques simply said, 'convince me why I should use your
helmets rather than the ones I have been using!'
'I realized my charming smile would not be enough there, so I got him
a quite long document of our engineering department, with technical
data, graphs, and in-depth analysis of impact testing.
'We have worked with Jacques since end of 1995,' Martine continues.
'Jacques has had wonderful times and bad times as an F1 driver, and
over the years, I have got to know him a little.
'He is one of a kind.'
Martine concludes by revealing that a brand-new aero model of Bell
Helmet will be ready for Jacques Villeneuve to test this month.
'He really pushed us to have it ready and Jacques should test this new
helmet from January onwards.'
22-year-old Englishman Jenson Button will join Villeneuve in the 005
BAR racing cockpit this year.
Ferrari Join Williams At Jerez, Spain
Defending world champions Scuderia Ferrari joined Williams at Jerez de
la Frontera yesterday as the scarlet marque kicked off its Formula One
Italian tester Luca Badoer, sharing one of three F2002 mounts with
track cohort Luciano Burti, topped the times after 59 circuit tours of
the coastal track in southern Spain.
Under cloudy - and later raining - skies, Brazilian-born Burti did one
less lap than his Italian colleague as work centered on Bridgestone
tire and electronics testing.
Burti's best time was just a couple of tenths slower than the pace of
Also in action were 2002 championship runners-up Williams, continuing
to clock up miles after starting a four-day program on Monday.
Ralf Schumacher, brother of world champion Ferrari ace Michael who is
still holidaying in Norway, amassed 78 laps with a best time of
1'21'009, while Spanish tester Marc Gene managed 57 for a time more
than a second slower.
The Grove-based team, from Oxfordshire, continued to supply a hybrid
FW24 for Gene, fitted out with new P83 engine and seven-speed gearbox,
as continuing development work for the new FW25.
'We were expecting heavy rain today but conditions fluctuated between
dry and wet, with the track taking longer than expected to dry out,'
explained test team manager Tim Newton.
'We continued to work through our testing agenda of chassis work,
brakes and tire work with Michelin.
'Ferrari where also out on the track today and we were happy with the
1 Luca Badoer Ferrari 59 1:20.871
2 Ralf Schumacher Williams-BMW 78 1:21.009
3 Luciano Burti Ferrari 58 1:21.029
4 Marc Gene Williams-BMW 57 1:22.241
Secret Meetings At Ferrari Headquarters
Italian sources are claiming that Max Mosley met secretly with Jean
Todt at Ferrari headquarters in Maranello this week.
The pair, respective heads of Formula One's governing FIA and world
champion marque Scuderia Ferrari, are believed to have discussed ways
to cut costs at the troubled pinnacle of motorsports.
Mosley, a Briton, will meet with the ten current team principals in
London this time next week; emergency plans to push through urgent
cost-cutting regulations to get top billing.
Ferrari's Gazzetta dello Sport reported on Tuesday that Mosley is
attempting to privately advance support for his plans - including the
banning of traction control and telemetry - before the January 15
The FIA President was purportedly accompanied by fellow Englishman and
FIA technical delegate Charlie Whiting, as they spent most of Monday
at Ferrari's Maranello base.
Ferrari, interestingly, refused to deny the meeting. 'We don't have
anything to say on that,' Ferrari spokesperson Luca Colajanni said.
Formula One's governing FIA is no doubt worried that the continuing
dominance of Ferrari, which collected fifteen of seventeen (90
percent) of all Grands Prix victories this year, is damaging the
'We have never had a problem like this before,' says Mosley, adding
that a significant decline in television audiences has impacted
severely on the smaller team's sponsorship agreements.
'Maybe it's because people got spoiled,' he adds. 'In five years out
of seven we had the last race as the deciding one which is complete
He goes on to explain the 'biggest problem' - which threatens the very
existence of the championship itself - as Ferrari and its utter
dominance of the Formula One world.
'And,' he adds, 'that Williams and McLaren haven't done quite well
enough and still less Renault, Jaguar so on.'
Furthermore, Max Mosley is reported to have been 'seriously
disappointed' after the recent meeting of a Technical Working Group
that effectively shelved plans for further change until 2005.
In twelve months, Formula One has lost four cars, or two privateer
teams, and two more are in serious prospect of following them out of
'When you are confronted with a problem like a falling television
audience you should react,' says Mosley, whose January 15 meeting in
London could pave the way to the re-banning of traction-control.
Any additional change will be directed at either cutting the costs for
the grid's struggling outfits or spicing up the track action for the
all-important television viewer.
Sponsors, in response to a decline of up to 20 percent in television
figures last year, are said to have cut their cash-offerings by, in
some cases, more than half.
'Three years ago, being a title sponsor for a middle-ranking team
would have set you back around £7 million for one season,' an
anonymous former sponsor told British media.
'That fee has since collapsed to between £4 million and £5 million.'
Sperafico Joins As Williams F1 Tester
It appears increasingly likely that Brazilian ace Ricardo Sperafico
will join Marc Gene as a full-time Williams tester this year.
Despite the absence of an official announcement, the F3000 winner from
Curitiba is now listed as an official development pilot alongside Gene
on the WilliamsF1 website.
It explains: 'Ricardo test drove the WilliamsF1 BMW FW23 in 2001 a
number of times whilst competing in International F3000 for the
Petrobras Junior Team.
'He remains with the BMW WilliamsF1 Team in 2003 as test driver.'
Williams, headed by the eponymous Sir Frank and based in Oxfordshire,
made use of two testers in 2002 as Spanish-born Gene was joined by
Brazilian F3000 star Antonio Pizzonia.
But as Pizzonia heads for a Grand Prix racing career with Jaguar,
Williams looked to fill the vacant seat with an Italian replacement;
the recent tests of Giorgio Pantano and Vitantonio Liuzzi interpreted
as a shoot-out.
Sir Frank Williams, however, was reportedly unimpressed with
23-year-old Liuzzi whilst the rapid Pantano accepted an offer to head
Stateside for a two-year stint in Champcars.
Sperafico, with his links to the recently re-signed Williams sponsor
Petrobras, is an obvious candidate to fill the void having impressed
in F3000 with Rookie of the Year honours in '01.
Last year, he followed Antonio Pizzonia home in the stepping-stone
category to finish fifth.
Ricardo Sperafico, 23-years old, first drove a Formula Ford racing car
aged 17 before becoming the Brazilian Champion in F-Ford and Formula
Three by 1999.
In 2000, the Brazilian rose to ultimate success in Italian F3000
before winning the Spa-Francorchamps race in the International
category a year later and completing Formula One test drives with
The BMW-powered, Grove-based team will keep tester Marc Gene, and
Grand Prix pilots Ralf Schumacher and Juan Pablo Montoya, on board for
New Sauber Breathes Life At Hinwil
Peter Sauber and nearly 200 Swiss workers gathered nervously around
the sparkling-new C22 challenger at Hinwil on Tuesday afternoon.
Ahead of schedule, a mechanic fiddled with the electronic starter as
the 900-horsepower, Swiss-made Grand Prix car burst into life amid
shrill, barking tones of a 2002-spec, 051 Ferrari engine.
'Perfect, fascinating, a picker-upper,' Hinwil team boss Peter Sauber
smiled as he surveyed the new beast. 'No hitches, the gears could be
shifted easily, the temperatures were correct, and the clutch worked
His proudest boast about Petronas-branded C22, however, is that every
component - for the first time - is completely new.
He beamed: 'Here there has been no cloning; everything is new and the
differences are in full sight!'
The Sauber C22, carrying the hopes of everyone at the Swiss factory
and headquarters in Hinwil, will next see light of day when its wraps
are taken off at Fiorano on Thursday.
Here, 27-year-old German pilot Nick Heidfeld will climb into its
cockpit for a first roll-out test on the private Ferrari development
To be joined by fellow Monchengladbach-born pilot Heinz-Harald
Frentzen, eight years Heidfeld's senior, the C22 will be officially
launched in Zurich on Sunday, the ninth day of February.
The public event which will take place, in the evening, in
co-operation with the 'Mövenpick Art on Ice' show in the 'Hallenstadion',
near Zürich airport.
Father Wilson Gambles On Son's Future
Keith Wilson would sell everything he owns to pursue a Formula One
dream with his son.
Last month, 24-year-old Sheffield racer Justin Wilson was announced as
the first 2003 Minardi pilot having penned the novel scheme to sell
shares in his future earnings.
But, as we revealed yesterday, the lanky Englishman is yet to collect
a dime from the plan to recoup a projected $3.2 million for the Faenza
racing seat: 'Officially nobody is on board yet,' Wilson said.
A few years ago, as Wilson emerged as Formula Palmer Audi Champion and
stared into F3000 success, a lack of sponsors nearly scotched the
Grand Prix dream of The Flying Giraffe.
'There was a time about three years ago when we thought we just could
not carry on because we needed £300,000 to go racing,' the
Yorkshireman now continues to explain.
'Dad considered selling the petrol station then,' adds Justin Wilson.
'Now, if the worst comes to the worst, he would do it again.'
Reports in the British press detail that Justin has promised Minardi
boss Paul Stoddart 3.08 million Euros by the end of season 2003; and
Keith has backed up the claim by putting his Petrol Station on the
Speculation also hints that Mr Wilson's company, Solvents For Safety -
valued at several million dollars - might also be representing
collateral for Justin's Formula One career shares-scheme.
'My dad is prepared to go a long way and he has always said he will do
whatever it takes,' said Wilson, 2001 F3000 champion from runner-up
'I do not have any problems paying Paul.'
Veteran Ulsterman Eddie Irvine, former long-time Ferrari and Jaguar
driver, called the move to sell shares in a potentially lucrative
future salary 'brave, but brilliant.'
Time will tell whether it pays off. 'We all know the multi-million
dollar salaries that drivers can earn,' explained his manager Jonathan
Palmer, winner of the F1 championship for naturally-aspirated cars in
Wilson's rise to the Grand Prix grid escalated when he won Palmer's
novel Formula Palmer Audi series in 1998, and fully-funded F3000 seat
as a prize.
'The potential is to come up with schemes whereby people who invest in
drivers can then get a return later on, and that's what we're doing
with Justin,' Palmer adds.
'People that put money into Justin on an enterprise investment scheme
will be in line for a 200 percent return on investment.'
Justin will make his debut on the streets of Australia; at a small
public park on the outskirts of Melbourne.
Ferrari Will Float In 2003
Ferrari will float shares on the stock exchange later this year,
Maranello President Luca di Montezemolo has promised.
Presently across the Atlantic for the North American International
Automobile Show in Detroit, the Italian intimated that the 34 percent
stake owned by a consortium of banks would hit the market in late
'We will do it this year,' the Ferrari Group President said.
Di Montezemolo, at the famous Detroit Motor-Show, called the past year
an 'unforgettable' one for the Ferrari Maserati Group - particularly
at the pinnacle of motorsports with a fourth Consecutive Constructors'
He also revealed a ten percent increase in turnover compared with
2001, explaining that 'a figure of 7,500 cars sold between both
marques is 20 percent up on 2001.
'This success has come on the back of heavy investment in research and
development and in 2002, this represented twenty percent of turnover.'
The scarlet President also promised to expand into new markets,
including Russia and China, as Formula One toys with futures in both
'In 2004,' said Luca, 'We will expand into new markets.'
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