Atlas F1

The Grapevine
Rumours and speculation in the world of Formula One
by The F1 Rumors Team


This week's Grapevine brings you
information fresh from the paddock on:

  • Foulston Still Targeting Silverstone
  • Silly Season Update
  • Picked from the Bunch
  • Britain Tidbits

Foulston Still Targeting Silverstone

Nicola Foulston has put in another bid for the Silverstone circuit, this time in the form of a 43 million leasehold - a deal worth about 60,000 to each of the members of the British Racing Drivers Club (BRDC).

Despite winning the rights to host the 2002 British Grand Prix at Brands Hatch, the agreement is conditional on the circuit being substantially upgraded to current Formula One standards. This would require a lot of work over the next three years, costing upwards of 20m and disrupting a lot of events in the meanwhile.

Additionally, it seems that there may be some problems with planning permission, as a number of locals have raised objections to the changes. Some are believed to be unwilling for the Grand Prix to be hosted so close to home, with traffic and noise levels rising significantly, not only from the event itself, but also the testing that would inevitably take place over the year.

The protests are not expected to prevent the changes taking place, but could delay proceedings, which would cause difficulties getting the work completed without cancelling a number events already booked for 2000 and 2001.

Silly Season Update

  • Mark Webber has been in touch with both Jordan and Ferrari about a testing role in 2000. He believes there's a real chance he can get a test in the Jordan this year, which would give him the opportunity to demonstrate he's a real talent. This could earn a full time testing roll in Formula One - possibly with Ferrari - next year. Bernie Ecclestone is supporting his bid to bring an Australian driver back into the sport.

  • Ford have decided to spend big bucks on drivers for 2000. They hope to keep Barrichello - promising a car that will compete at the front - and hope to entice Coulthard or Hakkinen from McLaren, or Irvine from Ferrari. The picture is completed by the belief that the team can make the same progress with next year's car that they managed with this years, but ensuring they learned from the reliability issues that plagued the 1999 campaign, they might be surprise contenders for a title in 2000.

  • Toyota have denied claims they will be involved in Formula One next year, in any shape. This does not rule out the possibility that Minardi could be "Yamaha" powered next year.

    The Grapevine will have a regular Silly Season update, along with the Silly Season Page of the F1 Rumors Team.

    Picked from the Bunch

  • Mercedes parent company Daimler-Chrysler buying a 40% stake in McLaren has, it seems, caused BMW to renew pressure on Williams to sell part of the team. Furthermore, it's believed that Honda will buy into British American Racing if the 2000 season runs according to plan - ensuring that the partnership extends beyond the current three year deal.

  • Jordan are expecting a boost from Mugen-Honda in Spa, with a new engine step. The engine is expected to be significantly lighter, and generate more power. It will coincide with planned aerodynamic changes.

  • Having resolved their difference with the FIA, British broadcaster ITV have started negotiating for the rights to broadcast digital coverage in 2000.

    Britain Tidbits

  • The Jordan factory is closer to Silverstone circuit than any other team. In fact, its driveway is literally just across the road from the main gates to the track. However, when it came to delivering its race cars on Thursday, even this short journey proved too much; the transporter stopped in the middle of the road with a gearbox problem...

  • ITV Commentators Murray Walker and Martin Brundle were appalled by the partisan Silverstone crowd, which contained elements who continued to cheer even after it was established that Schumacher was hurt. It's been considered normal for years for crowds to cheer when misfortune befalls tough opponents of "their" heroes, but both agreed with common opinion that this behaviour was out of order.

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    "The Grapevine", a weekly column covering the latest gossip in the paddock, is prepared for Atlas F1 by The F1 Rumors team