F1 Rumors - news ahead of the headlines

4th November, 1999

The Worst BAR None

Trouble at the BAR! by Julie Gates

The British American Racing Team appears today a total contrast to this time last year. Vowing to win their first grand prix, things have gone from bad to worse for the over-ambitious team.

They entered Formula One in controversial fashion. First came the dual livery, before the FIA court case and then came talk of winning from the off; all of which angered many rival teams, in addition to the sport's governing body. So it is easy to see why the team with the mouth is today receiving little sympathy for their lack of performance.

The 1999 season has been full of woe for the team. Both cars retired from their first grand prix; Jacques didn't even complete his first race distance until Spa. Zonta missed four races thanks to his accident at Brazil, the team are pleading poverty, board room antics are causing internal mayhem and they failed to score a single World Championship point: a feat that even Minardi achieved on a substantial smaller budget.

All this from a team that spends a fortune on pre-race parties and post-race get togethers, as well as squillions on motor homes designed to outshine their opponents. One could presume that if more time and effort was put into racing rather than out-doing the paddock in the partying stakes, their inaugural one point could already be in the bag.

Even now, more problems are plaguing BAR, this time in the shape of Adrian Reynard demanding Craig Pollock is dropped from the team. However, if when his proposal is put to the eight board members, four of which are from British American Tobacco, and his appeal is successful, not only are the team likely to lose Pollock, but Villeneuve too. The only affect this is likely to have on the team is a bad one.

Without Pollock, success is possible, but if they lose Villeneuve, they will lose the one man who demonstrated at least a smidgen of performance in the multi-liveried car. Also, as both are shareholders, holding twenty percent of the team between them, the team will have to find money from next year's budget to buy them out.

With Honda joining the team next year, many people are anticipating great things. However, while politics rule and manpower is below par, success will not come easy regardless whose engine sits in the chassis. This brings up the inevitable: will Honda be happy with the team's performance, and if not, will they find themselves buying the lacklustre outfit to form their own team?

Many have questioned Honda's decision to join the floundering team, but logically, sense can be made of it. First of all, it is a team that has barely established itself within Formula One. Therefore, they will be able to have more input with the team than with, say, Jordan, thus creating a perfect ledge for a buy-out in the near future. They will be able to adapt the team to work in their style, whereas Jordan is already set in its ways and on the winning streak. BAR is new, open to suggestions and craving for a change. All of which, when put together, make the perfect haven for Honda.

The time may come when the BAR shareholders decide enough is enough, and if this time comes while Honda are on the scene, it presents the Japanese Giants with the perfect opportunity to take on Formula One with their own chassis and engine combination. So regardless on intentions for next year, if BAR continues to fail to improve, a complete Honda makeover could be on the cards.

They have won themselves few fans and most people are dumbfounded why Villeneuve is still at the team. The one significant reason is Craig Pollock, and if he goes, so does Villeneuve… and quite possibly, so might the team.


Article is written by and copyright © 1999-2001 Julie Gates and The F1 Rumors Site

Julie Gates is happiest watching F1 and writing. Also interested in singing, cars, cinema, reading and going to concerts, she has little spare time to relax, but this is the way she likes it - rather being busy than idle as she can't stand still for five minutes! Totally committed to her career as a Formula One journalist, she is determined to succeed.


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