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UNOFFICIAL F3000 INFORMATION

 NEWS ARCHIVES: January 2000

This section contains archived news on International F3000, Italian F3000 and Formula Nippon.

  

January 29th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Racing for Jason raises 35,000 A karting event was held last week which raised 35,000 for the trust fund of Jason Watt, the 1999 F3000 runner-up who was tragically paralysed in a motorbike accident at the end of last year. Many motor racing stars turned up to race against the donating public, including David Coulthard, Damon Hill and Johnny Herbert. Karting sensation Lewis Hamilton took pole and fastest lap to win the endurance event for the 'Simply the best' team.

 

January 29th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Gavin tests for Benetton Oliver Gavin, the 1995 British F3 champion and former F1 safety car driver, tested for Benetton at Lurcy-Levis, France for five days. It is not clear whether the Briton, who had a disappointing first full F3000 season last year with European Formula, will continue to test for the team. Hidetoshi Mitsusada has already been announced as the team's 2000 tester. (Source: www.autosport.com)

 

January 29th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Wilson again favourite for Minardi F1 seat Former F3000 front-runner Max Wilson has emerged as firm favourite to partner Marc Gene at Minardi this year. It has also emerged that Gaston Mazzacane, the former F3000 backmarker and 1999 Minardi test driver is also in contention. The Argentinian tested at Fiorano on Friday. Sometime Sauber driver Norberto Fontana is the other driver in the frame. The decision will be announced this week. (Source: www.autosport.com)

 

January 29th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

McLaren's Sarrazin tops first official FIA test France's Stephane Sarrazin dominated the two days of the first official FIA F3000 test at Jerez. His time for McLaren junior was most closely challenged by Mario Haberfeld. The Brazilian had a dismal season with Sarrazin's team last year but has since proved impressive for Fortec in testing since the end of last year. Sarrazin's teammate Tomas Enge emerged third fastest, followed by Franck Montagny, Enrique Bernoldi and David Saelens. Spain's Fernando Alonso, the 1999 Formula Nissan champion, was highest rookie with an impressive 7th for Astromega. BAR F1 test driver Darren Manning was 8th for his new team Arden. Regarding the remaining drives for next season, Yves Olivier (from German F3) has been testing for Witmeur KTR, Christijan Albers (1999 German F3 champ) for European Formula/Arrows Junior and Dino Morelli for Martello-Coloni. Morelli raced for Coloni in a few races last season, also winning the Italian F3000 finale. Hidetoshi Mitsusada, the new Benetton test driver, looks set to sign for WRT. View the full test times soon in the 2000 SEASON section. (Source: www.autosport.com)

 

January 27th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Martello joins forces with Coloni; Ayari signed Martello Racing, the team which took Giorgio Vinella to the inaugural Italian F3000 title, has linked up with Coloni in its maiden season of International F3000. Two-time race winner Soheil Ayari, the 1996 French F3 champion, will race for the team. He had been expected to race for ORECA for a second season until Red Bull Junior bought out the team's F3000 division. Coloni failed to secure an entry for this year after scoring no points last season, but have nevertheless been testing various drivers. (Source: Autosport)

 

January 27th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Manning signs for Arden Last year's All Japan F3 champion Darren Manning, the official BAR F1 test driver, has been confirmed as partner to Victor Maslov at Arden this year in F3000. (Source: Autosport)

 

January 27th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Nienkotter expected to race for Draco Sudam F3 race winner Leonardo Nienkotter is expected to sign for Draco for the Italian F3000 series this year. The Brazilian will partner French F3 runner-up Jonathan Cochet who has already signed. (Source: Autosport)

 

January 24th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Fortec signs Haberfeld and Scheld British team Fortec has signed Mario Haberfeld as expected. The Brazilian, fastest in testing for the team late last year, will be partnered by the German Andreas Scheld. Haberfeld, the 1998 British F3 champion, failed to score a point with West Competition last year, despite the team taking Nick Heidfeld to a dominant championship victory. Scheld spent last season in the German Super Touring series. (Source: BBC Ceefax)

 

January 24th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Button chosen over Junqueira at Williams Brit Jenson Button has been chosen as WilliamsF1's second driver in Formula One this year, leaving F3000 race winner Bruno Junqueira out in the cold. The duo finally managed to have a decent run in Barcelona on Sunday after car problems in earlier tests. Button, who at 20 is the youngest-ever British F1 driver, emerged slightly faster. Brazilian Junqueira will now race for a third season in F3000; he had re-signed with Petrobras Jr before the surprise chance at Williams emerged, and is picked by many as title favourite. (Source: www.autosport.com)

 

January 21st 2000 - Int'l F3000:

McGarrity to stay with Nordic Kevin McGarrity has signed to race with Nordic for a second full season. He joined the team for part of 1998 after Raceprep pulled out, and finished second in the opening race of last year at Imola. He will be joined by new signing Justin Wilson. The Brit signed for Derek Mower's team after negotiations to remain with Astromega broke down. (Source: Autosport)

 

January 21st 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Alonso signs for Astromega Spaniard Fernando Alonso, who won last year's Euro Open Movistar by Nissan championship, will partner Fabrice Walfisch at Astromega this season. In 1999 Alonso won six of the sixteen races in the Nissan championship which took Marc Gene to Formula One the previous season. Alonso had previously tested an F3000 Lola for Coloni. (Source: Astromega website)

 

January 21st 2000- Formula Nippon:

Matsuda to join Takagi at Nakajima Planning Japanese F3 sensation Tsugio Matsuda has signed to partner F1 refugee Toranosuke Takagi in Satoru Nakajima's Formula Nippon team for this year. (Source: Autosport)

 

January 21st 2000- Formula Nippon:

Kurosawa moves up to Champ Cars Formula Nippon front-runner Takuya Kurosawa has signed to race in CART for Dale Coyne Racing. He will join former rival and F1 driver Shinji Nakano in representing Japan in the series. Kurosawa finished a highest ever second overall in 1997, despite scoring only 28 points to Pedro de la Rosa's 82. In 1999 he only completed a part season for TMS. (Source: Autosport)

 

January 17th 2000 - Int'l F3000:

Benetton F1 tester to race in F3000 Formula Nippon front-runner Hidetoshi Mitsusada, today revealed as Benetton's Formula 1 test driver, has also been confirmed as an entrant to the International F3000 championship for this year. The team he will race for has not yet been announced. The Japanese driver was third in last year's Formula Nippon standings, winning two races for PIAA Nakajima as teammate to champion Tom Coronel. Expected Williams and Arrows test drivers Bruno Junqueira and Mark Webber are already committed to an F3000 season, as are confirmed Prost and BAR test drivers Stephane Sarrazin and Darren Manning. (Source: www.autosport.com )

 

January 14th 2000- Int'l F3000:

Enge signs for McLaren junior team Highly rated Czech Tomas Enge has signed for West Competition, the junior McLaren team. He tested for the team at the end of last year, and will partner Stephane Sarrazin. Enge made an impressive debut in F3000 in the second half of 1998 for the Auto Sport Racing Team, and was signed by WRT for 1999. His first full season was a disappointment, with the Rafanelli-run team and himself both learning together. Nevertheless he finished an excellent second at Magny-Cours for his only points of the year. West Competition may yet change their name for the 2000 season. (Source: ITV Teletext)

 

January 14th 2000- Int'l F3000:

Justin Wilson signs for Nordic Briton Justin Wilson has signed to race for Nordic next year. Wilson had an impressive rookie season in 1999, driving for Benetton-sponsored Astromega as his prize for winning the 1998 Formula Palmer Audi championship. (Source: BBC Ceefax)

 

January 13th 2000- Int'l F3000:

BAR F1 test driver Manning to race in F3000 Darren Manning, recently signed as BAR's F1 test and reserve driver, has signed a deal to race in F3000 this year. The team he has signed to has not yet been announced, but it is expected to be LukOil Arden, who can enter the series after buying out part of the Draco team. Manning emerged as a major talent in 1999, winning the All-Japan F3 championship and the showpiece Macau and Korea Grands Prix. He had previously starred on a few British F3 outings in 1998, but was unable to secure a regular drive. (Source: Autosport)

 

January 13th 2000- Int'l F3000:

LukOil Arden buy into Draco team LukOil Arden, the Prodrive-linked team which failed to score a point in 1999, has secured an entry for 2000 by purchasing the F3000 arm of Draco Engineering. The team has already signed Russian driver Victor Maslov for a second year and may sign the British driver Darren Manning (see story above). Draco will still contest the Italian F3000 championship this year. (Source:Autosport)

 

January 13th 2000- Int'l F3000:

Red Bull Junior buy right to race on The Red Bull Junior team will return in 2000 after buying out part of the ORECA team. They failed to score enough points last year to guarantee an entry for this year's championship. The team, formerly known as RSM Marko, won the title in 1996 with Jorg Muller and almost won it the following year with CART champion Juan Montoya. They returned last year but found the going tough with rookie pairing Enrique Bernoldi and Ricardo Mauricio. The Brazilians are expected to stay with the team now that they have secured an entry. (Source:Autosport)

 

January 10th 2000- Int'l F3000:

Leinders signs for Kid Jensen Belgian Bas Leinders has signed to partner Andrea Piccini at Kid Jensen Racing this season. Leinders, the 1998 German F3 champion, raced with Witmeur KTR last year, where he only scored one point in a difficult season. He also entered the final round of the 1998 championship for West Competition, the McLaren junior team, but was withdrawn to allow Nick Heidfeld onto the grid to fight for the title. (Source: ITV Teletext)

 

January 10th 2000- Int'l F3000:

Junqueira and Button set for Williams shootout Bruno Junqueira, a race winner in 1999, his second season of F3000, is to test for Williams F1 alongside Jenson Button, the British F3 race winner, at Jerez next Friday. The team are seeking a replacement for Alex Zanardi, who is expected to be given a "golden handshake" to release him from his contract a year early. Frank Williams has said he doesn't want to miss out on the highly rated Button, the 1998 British Formula Ford champion, like he had with Michael Schumacher in 1991, and appears to be ready to take on someone without experience to partner Ralf Schumacher. Bruno Junqueira, who drove for Petrobras Jr last year, was already expected to be given a Williams test deal for 2000. He will bring 4 million of sponsorship from Petrobras if he gets the drive. Jenson Button was expected to be signed as Prost test driver before Williams' announcement. (Source: BBC Ceefax)

 

January 8th 2000- Formula Nippon:

Takagi to make shock Formula Nippon return Japanese Formula 1 driver Toranosuke Takagi is to leave the Arrows team and return to Formula Nippon, where he feels he will have a chance of winning. However, he is believed to have a "get-out clause" in his contract with top team PIAA Nakajima if a last-minute chance to race with Arrows materialises. Takagi raced for Satoru Nakajima's team in the series in 1996 and 1997 and was a race winner, but was too erratic and accident prone to put up a title challenge. In 1997 he was the Tyrrell F1 test driver and he graduated to the race team in 1998, where he showed some impressive speed and blew away former F3000 runner-up Riccardo Rosset, a man with F1 experience. At Arrows in 1999 he has been overshadowed on occasion by rookie Pedro de la Rosa and the team are known to be unhappy about his performances. The team are considering as Takagi's replacement current Formula Nippon champion Tom Coronel and former Benetton pilot Jos Verstappen. Verstappen raced for the team in 1996, having also raced for Simtek, Tyrrell and Stewart. Takagi's departure means F1 will be without a Japanese driver for the first time since 1986, the year before Nakajima himself started to compete. (Source: BBC Ceefax)

 

January 6th 2000- Int'l F3000:

Wilson favourite for Minardi F1 seat Brazilian Max Wilson, who has competed for three seasons in Formula 3000, has emerged as favourite to drive in the second Minardi seat next year. He tested for the team in December, where he was slower than Norberto Fontana. The team require a South-American driver to satisfy main sponsor Telefonica. Wilson already has some F1 experience as he shared F1 testing duties with Juan Montoya at Williams in 1998. (Source: Autosport)

 

 Information sourced from various websites, teletext and Autosport magazine, but text is changed from original reports. This news is updated as often as possible, but news stories may be missed.

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