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Verstappen again eyes Champ CarUPDATE #12 Verstappen will test for HVM at Sebring this coming week. See Hot News item. 03/18/05 Jos Verstappen is still gunning for a Champ Car drive. The highly popular Dutchman, who watched Australia's F1 grand prix from a lounge chair, is hopeful that talks with 'Fittipaldi Racing' may bear fruit. He warned on his website: ''But just like F1, it's all about money. ''Some teams are asking for even more (money) than in F1.'' [Editor's Note: AutoRacing1.com already reported that Fittipaldi will not have a Champ Car team in 2005, so Verstappen to Champ Car is looking less likely by the day. If some Champ Car owners are asking for more money than some F1 teams it's time for a reality check for some team owners.] 03/10/05 According to reports out of the Netherlands today, Verstappen still hopes to land a Champ Car ride by the end of March. He says his best chances are with Emerson Fittipaldi's team, which would be run out of PKV Racing's shop if it happens. The team would use Lolas. Word is that all Champ Car races may be shown live on RTL5 in the Netherlands, and his sponsorship may be hinged around that. Without question, RTL5 is the station to be on in Holland. If this deal comes together that late there will be no time for testing. If Champ Car wants the very popular Dutchman, they need to get this deal done ASAP or he will struggle terribly. Champ Car would be wise to get him in someone's Champ Car at the upcoming test in Sebring so he doesn't go into Long Beach cold turkey should his deal with Fittipaldi come together. 02/21/05 By the end of the week, F1's Dutch nearlyman Jos Verstappen should know what he's doing in 2005. The 32-year-old, earlier hopeful of one more go on the grand prix grid, is now aiming for American Champ Car racing. He told The Netherlands' Race Report magazine: ''I would have liked to have done some testing by now ... (but) I don't need many miles to adjust to a racing car. There's still time.'' Verstappen, born in Monfort, last raced for Minardi in 2003. 01/26/05 Verstappen, 32, last raced in F1 for Minardi in 2003 and has been linked to tests with Rocketsports, Conquest Racing and Emerson Fittipaldi’s resurrected team. “I want to be in a car that enables me to show how good I am,” said the Dutchman. “I want to be able to overtake, I want to fight for positions, I want to be running for podium places. That is what I expect to find in America. First of all I will be talking to the teams, then I will go testing and a decision will be made only after that.” After a career including stints with Benetton, Simtek, Arrows, Tyrrell, Stewart and Minardi, the Dutchman says he is tired of scraping around at the back of the F1 grid. “In F1 you depend too much on the equipment and the political games,” he said. “Driving the car is awesome, but I found the driver only plays a minor role when it comes down to performance.” Autosport Magazine01/21/05 Jos Verstappen's regional newspaper "Dagblad de Limburger" reports today that Jos is traveling to the USA next week and will test a Champ Car February 1-3, we assume at Sebring. Verstappen feels that he will draw far more attention in Holland for Champ Car than Albers will in F1 running for backmarker Minardi. Jos is far more popular and has a huge fan club. Besides Trust, he may also bring Dutch TV along as a sponsor. 01/18/05 According to reports in the Dutch media today, Verstappen is talking to Conquest, Rocketsports and a third unnamed team (thought to be Fittipaldi Racing) about a Champ Car ride for 2005. The reports say he will bring Trust as a sponsor. We suspect this will all play out, one way or the other, in two weeks or so as the time is getting close for Champ Car's Spring Training. Mark C.01/07/05 Per the other rumors that he is about to sign with Minardi in F1, Verstappen starts rumors in Champ Car every year to get F1 to stand up and take notice, but he never even comes to the USA for a Champ Car test. We'll believe it when we see it. This rumor is downgraded to speculation. 01/06/05 We are hearing that Verstappen is coming to the USA in the coming weeks and will test for either Forsythe or Walker Racing. 12/24/04 To clarify Verstappen's F1 record, he drove for the following teams, none of them top teams. His last year was 2003 where he teamed with Justin Wilson. He outqualified Wilson more times than not. Ditto did he beat Kiesa when Kiesa filled in for Wilson later in the season. He has the speed, but will he get the chance?: '94 Benetton '95 Simtek '96 Arrows '97 Tyrrell '98 Stewart Racing 2000 Arrows 2001 Arrows 2003 Minardi 12/24/04 This Dutch website article quotes Verstappen as saying they are working hard to put a deal together in Champ Car. F1 appears to be out of reach at the moment. Champ Car would be wise to pick up Verstappen. He is a VERY popular driver and has a huge fan base in Europe. He drove for Arrows when he was in F1, but then the team went bankrupt. Put this guy in a decent ride and Champ Car will move up a notch on the popularity ladder, especially in the Netherlands. Champ Car lost Albers, another Dutchman, to Minardi, but Verstappen is far more popular. Champ Car needs desperately to develop and hire drivers who car or already are heroes in order to rekindle its popularity. 12/18/04 We are bumping this rumor up to 'strong.' This Raceplanet.net article says Verstappen's sponsor Harry Meurmans (of Meurmans Vastgoed) decides where Jos will drive. Quote Meurmans: "Jos needs to focus on Champ Car in 2005." Despite tests by Albers and Pastorelli, Verstappen is still the big star in Holland. He has a huge fan base, even outside of Holland. The women go gaga over his good looks. Albers would be great for Champ Car too as he did make a name in Germany and Holland with DTM. Mark C.12/18/04 It looks like Champ Car's Eurosport TV deal is starting to pay off as European drivers with European sponsors now have something to sell and a lot of drivers with sponsors are knocking on Champ Car team owner doors. Jos Verstappen, healing up nicely following a karting accident this past summer, recently drove the Minardi 2-seater in South Africa. Our sources in Holland tell us he has given up on the notion of landing an F1 ride again and will instead focus on trying to do something in Champ Car and has one of his Dutch sponsors behind him. We have of course heard these rumors about Jos in past years, but at 30-years old and with live TV in Europe, all of a sudden Champ Car looks a lot more promising. It's interesting to note what a positive impact a good TV deal can do for Champ Car. The damage that was done to the series last year because of the poor TV coverage was unconscionable. Mark C.
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