F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

October 11th 1998:

1999 Calendar Revealed

China and Malaysia have provisional places on the Formula 1 1999 calendar revealed today by the World Motor Sport Council who met today in Paris.

The Zuhai circuit in China has been give a provisional race date of March 21 and would be the second race of the season.

Kuala Lumpur is also on the calendar with a provisional date of October 17 and would be the penultimate round of the championship.

The San Marino race has a place on the calendar but is subject to the clarification of the Italian law relating to criminal responsibility in dangerous sports which led to the trial of Frank Williams, Adrian Newey and Patrick Head over the death of Ayrton Senna in 1994.

Hungary also has a provisional place after this year's track invasion.

The calender can be found on the 1999 Silly Season Page page

FIA Council Meeting

The FIA are heading into troubled waters on two fronts - at the next meeting, topics are to include banning different liveries for cars in the same team (at the same venue), and insisting that tyre manufacturers give a full years notice of intent to enter or leave the Formula One arena.

The former issue is known to be a sore point with BAR, who wanted to advertise different brands on their cars. So much so, that it is likely we will see Craig Pollock in the courts attempting to reverse the decision - though how he intends to use law to counter the FIA is unknown when even Governments cannot deal effectively with them.

If resorting to the courts fails, the odds are very high that Arrows will indeed have a new sponsor for next year - coming straight out of BARs own budget. That would make for an interesting situation!

The tyre manufacturer issue could upset the plans of Goodyear, who are still rumoured to be in talks with Ferrari about a possible partnership in the future. It means they will have to make up their minds about the coming year in the next week or so... as even though they are definitely supposed to be pulling out, until every team has a cast iron contract with Bridgestone or the FIA bring in the new rule, they could change their mind at any time. And Ferrari would not have been slow to renew their association.

Are Bridgestone gambling against Goodyear's new rubber?

It seems that Bridgestone have decided not to develop new slicks for the Japanese Grand Prix, but rather are concentrating efforts on their wet program. Goodyear on the other hand are expected to produce a completely new compound and utilise new tyre rims for the occasion.

The question is, are Bridgestone gambling on a wet race to excel in the worst conditions, whilst Goodyear spit their efforts? It is known that Bridgestone have 7 years of excellent experience of Suzuka from before their F1 entry, so it is not inconceivable that the current dry tyres were designed with that in mind - in any event, after the minimal differences at the last Grand Prix where the only differential between the manufacturers was wear rate, it will be interesting to see if this gamble pays off.

Gil de Feran to switch to F1?

Rumors suggest that CART driver, Gil de Feran has been in talks with Craig Pollock about the second seat at BAR. Speculation is that De Ferans proven talent in CART might just swing him the very in demand seat alongside Villeneuve.

Verstappen to Minardi for 99

Rumors are flying that Jos Verstappen has landed a drive at Minardi next year. Cesare Fiorio has also announced that he wants Verstappen at Minardi next year. The much maligned Netherlands star is renouned for his testing feedback; alongside his current experience working with Ford engineers, and Minardi's aspirations with the improved Ford engine deal next year, he is an excellent candidate for the role. Watch this space.

Argentine GP to be dropped for 99?

The Argentinean Grand Prix could lose its place on the Formula 1 calendar next year according to insiders.

It is believed that F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is coming under pressure to find a place for a Chinese race next season and Argentina is the most likely race to be dropped. Despite this rumour, it is usual for tracks to be offered five-year contracts and Argentina has only run four races since its reinstatement on the calendar.

Irvine and Alesi to swap?

Michael Schumacher dismissed reports today that Eddie Irvine is to be swapped for Sauber's Jean Alesi. French-Sicilian Alesi has been linked with a return to the Maranello team. "I don't think Eddie can go," said the former double World Champion Schumacher. "He's got a contract for next year, and I work well with him."

Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo was critical of the press and their treatment of the rumour. "I have read some unbelievable things about Irvine in the papers," he said. "They don't even deserve to be denied. It's like talking about things which happen on the moon. But then in 20 years with Ferrari, it's always been like this - and I would be surprised if it wasn't."

Californian GP?

All is not yet lost for a Californian Formula One Grand Prix. In spite of recent reports claiming that a deal has been closed on bringing Formula One to Indianapolis, Chris Pook, the renowned Long Beach promoter, now claims that he is still in for a shot of bringing the F1 circus to San Francisco. Pook has been working all year with San Francisco's mayor Willie Brown to bring a World Championship F1 race to a park in the California City. Brown is considered to be the most powerful politicians in California and is fully supportive of Pook's efforts.

"Bernard (Ecclestone) and I have been talking about this for some time and we hope to get his approval for an F1 race in San Francisco very soon," Pook said. "I think it's the ideal place and location to run the United States GP, much better than somewhere in the Midwest. If Bernard and the FIA want to see Formula One grow in the United States, I think they'll find we have the perfect situation for them in California."

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