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 News Archives: September 2000

News on International F3000, Italian F3000, F3000 Autumn Cup (UK) and Formula Nippon.

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September 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Mark Webber, Monaco 2000

Webber set to sign for Super Nova Mark Webber, F3000 rookie of the year with European Arrows, is set to sign with top team Super Nova for next season according to Autosport online. The Aussie has been praised by Super Nova boss David Sears, speaking to Autosport magazine: "There is no substitute for testing new drivers, but we don't need to test someone like Webber to find out about him. He is obviously pretty close to the top of our shopping list." Webber himself suggested the team is likely to be his next berth: "I haven't made any decision on 2001 yet, but if any driver wants to win the F3000 title, Super Nova's record speaks for itself." Webber is expected to be signed as Benetton's 2001 F1 test driver after impressing in recent testing. If this deal is done, it will help Webber gain the Super Nova seat as the team is affiliated with Benetton (via its Playlife sponsorship), as Sears suggests: "It would be logical if he did drive for us, because of the Benetton connection." David Saelens may remain with Super Nova as the team need a French or German speaking driver in one car to satisfy their sponsors. Antonio Pizzonia has also been linked to Super Nova if Benetton sign him for a testing role (see story below), while Champ Car refugee Norberto Fontana is also reportedly seeking a drive at the team.

 

September 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Petrobras Junior wants Pizzonia and Bernoldi Today's Autosport reveals that Petrobras Junior are to test half a dozen South American drivers next month. Team boss Paul Jackson wants to sign British F3 champion Antonio Pizzonia and F3000 front-runner Enrique Bernoldi which he claimed would be a "formidable combination." Pizzonia has been offered to test with the team at Barcelona and Estoril, and is expected to test with the outfit. The two top men in SudAm F3, Vitor Meira and Joao de Oliveira, will also test for the team. Jaime Melo Jr is still in with a chance of remaining with the team, but will have to bring a budget to the team as Petrobras will only subsidise one car next year. Petrobras Junior carried out a similar group test of South Americans last year before settling on evantual champion Bruno Junqueira and Melo Jr.

 

September 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Pizzonia linked to Petrobras Junior and Super Nova Antonio Pizzonia, crowned British F3 champion at Spa last weekend, plans to race in F3000 next year, but may be forced to skip the next step if he is given an F1 testing contract. The 19-year old Amazonian revealed he could join top teams Petrobras Junior or Super Nova next year in a "question and answer" session with Autosport online. Pizzonia said of his options for 2001: "At the moment I'm still planning to do Formula 3000, but I may have to skip it because we have some really good options in Formula 1 for a testing programme. But I don't know yet." Asked whether he'd prefer an F1 test contract or an F3000 seat, Pizzonia replied: "It depends. I think if you can get a testing contract where you can get a lot of mileage then it's a good thing, but it also depends on the team. People say the Formula 3000 car is not the best car to drive and not the best car to learn in. But I can't really say because I have never driven one before. I don't know how good the car is." Pizzonia may be in contention for a test role with Benetton alongside probable test driver Mark Webber. He revealed: "There is a small chance. If I continue to test for Benetton I could drive for Super Nova in F3000, but if I can drive for the Petrobras [Junior] team there is a good chance I could have a testing link with Williams. I'm also talking with various others - things are looking good." Pizzonia is expected to test for Petrobras Junior next month (see story above).

 

September 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter signs for Jaguar McLaren F3000 driver Tomas Scheckter was set to be announced as Jaguar's 2001 test driver as expected today, according to Autosport.

 

September 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Watt may race in DTM Jason Watt has spoken of his plans for the future after a successful return to international motor racing with the Den Bla Avis Panoz. The former F3000 front-runner, speaking to Autosport online, said: "I now have a licence which allows me to do anything apart from F1 and F3000. Realistically, anything is possible. Obviously the DTM is high on my priority list." Jason raced in the old DTM/ITC series for Alfa Romeo. "Either something like that, or sportscars." he continued. Of his SRWC debut at the Nurburgring, Watt said: "I'm so happy to be here, and it's fantastic that Karsten Ree and Den Bla Avis, for whom I raced in F3000, have given me this opportunity…It's 11 months since the [motorcycle] accident, and I've definitely surprised a few people. When I started racing in the Danish Touring Car championship, everyone said how nice it was to have me back. But they were unsure as to how close I was to my old self. Now, I think I'm back to 95% of what I was before - and this is only the early stages. It's very important for me to impress people."

 

September 27th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Valencia F3000 Italia testing dates announced The first collective Italian F3000 tests of the winter will take place on the 8th and 9th of November at Valencia in Spain.

 

September 27th 2000 - International F3000:

Fernando Alonso

Gene move to leave seat for Alonso? Reports in Spain suggest Marc Gene is leaving Minardi to join Prost next season, the move tying in with Prost's attempts to conclude a sponsorship deal with Telefonica. Prost have just lost their title sponsor Gauloises, and Minardi chief shareholder Gabriele Rumi has sold a majority share-holding to a group of investors led by Argentinian cable TV network PSN. If Gene does go to Prost, F3000 rookie sensation Fernando Alonso looks certain to make his F1 race debut with Minardi. As Rumi has sold his 69% share-holding to PSN, the team are likely to retain Argentina's Gaston Mazzacane due to his nationality. Spaniards Gene and Alonso were successive winners of the Formula Nissan series.

 

September 27th 2000 - International F3000:

Junqueira may have Ganassi seat; Rice impresses team Rumours at Autoracing1.com claim a source has revealed that Bruno Junqueira has been given a drive by Target Chip Ganassi Racing after last week's shootout. The F3000 champion reportedly over-drove the car and flat-spotted a number of tyres, but Chip Ganassi liked him anyway. Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice looks to be favourite for the second seat. Despite not being the fastest of the four drivers, he was allegedly the only driver to be allowed to work on car set-up and impressed Ganassi with his feedback. F3000 runner-up Nicolas Minassian and Indy Lights star Casey Mears may have to look elsewhere.

 

September 27th 2000 - International F3000:

Gauloises pulls out of F1; what next for Gauloises Formula? French cigarette company Gauloises has pulled out of Formula 1 as expected earlier in the year, abandoning the Prost team. The future of the Gauloises Formula team, the Prost junior F3000 arm, formerly Apomatox, is unclear at present. Sebastien Bourdais' future with the team depended upon the future direction of Prost. Gauloises will continue to sponsor motorsport. Part of its rumoured £15 million annual budget is set to be diverted into Grand Prix motorcycling. The company was linked to Peugeot's World Rally Championship campaign, but this deal appears unlikely. Prost are now rumoured to take Minardi's Telefonica sponsorship, with Marc Gene partnering Jean Alesi as part of the deal. Prost were dealt a further blow this week with reports that Canadian-based Vector Motorsport group has pulled out of negotiations to buy a stake in the team.

 

September 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Ganassi test concluded; Junqueira "shoe-in" for drive Chip Ganassi Racing's driver evaluation test came to an end on Friday. F3000 champion and runner-up Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian tested alongside Buddy Rice and Casey Mears from Wednesday at Firebird East in Phoenix. Team manager Mike Hull told Autoracing1.com: "These four drivers could easily be open-wheel racing stars in the near future. In addition to great drivers, we also saw some great work from the members of our pit crew, who were volunteering their time this week for the evaluation." Team owner Chip Ganassi said: "This is a good opportunity for us to see some of the top, young open-wheel talent, and we were impressed with what we saw here this week. We've found great drivers like Montoya and Zanardi during tests like this, so we're hoping that trend continues." Each of the four drivers completed 125 incident-free miles at the circuit in the team's Lola-Toyota. An Autoracing1.com reader saw Ganassi and Junqueira at Phoenix airport on Friday and said: "Chip had a briefcase in one arm, and the other arm around little Bruno's shoulders. Wow, was Chip ever that chummy with Juan [Montoya]? Wish I had a camera. Bruno looked like a shoe-in to me." The consensus of opinion appeared to be that Junqueira was all but guaranteed a drive and that the test was largely to determine the second Ganassi driver. The replacements for Montoya and Jimmy Vasser will be chosen in the next few weeks.

 

September 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Minardi youth strategy key to Alonso's F1 hopes Giancarlo Minardi, the general manager of the Italian Minardi team, has given further indication that Fernando Alonso is likely to be signed for next season. He has indicated that he is prepared to follow the recent lead set by Williams in opting for young drivers. At Total F1 he said: "Minardi is the only team to have promoted young drivers in the past. It was our strategy and necessity. Williams also took a risk with Button and showed that you can come out ahead. I hope there will be more younger drivers to come. I think it's important to try out young guys. Often teams don't take a risk and that's wrong". Rumours are increasing that 19-year old Alonso is set to replace Marc Gene as the Spanish driver at Minardi. Alonso took fourth in this year's F3000 standings with Astromega and won the final round at Spa-Francorchamps in his Telefonica-backed Lola. This year he has shared F1 testing duties at Minardi with Giorgio Vinella.

 

September 24th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter set for Jaguar test role Tomas Scheckter is expected to be announced as Jaguar's test driver for 2001. Luciano Burti has been promoted to the second race seat after carrying out test duties this year, and Scheckter has had a few outings for the team due to his British F3 Stewart Racing contract. Scheckter completed the latter half of the F3000 season with McLaren, finishing second at Hockenheim, and also finished second on his one-off F3000 Italia race at Monza. He is competing today at the Spa-Francorchamps British F3 race where he is set to lose the title to Antonio Pizzonia.

 

September 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Giuseppe Burlotti

Super Nova to enter Italian F3000? A report at Prorace claims International F3000 team champions Super Nova are interested in fielding a team in the Italian F3000 series in 2001. Giuseppe Burlotti (left), currently second in the Formula Nissan points standings with Vergani Racing, is a possible driver for David Sears' secondary team. The 23-year old Italian is in his second year of Formula Nissan after graduating from Citroen Saxo and Renault Spider racing. Last year he won the Riccardo Moscatelli Trophy, awarded to the best-placed Italian in the series and introduced in memory of the ex-Italian F3000 driver who tragically died in fitness training.

 

September 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Fortec's Italian debut canned Fortec Motorsport will not make their long-awaited Italian F3000 debut in the final round at Misano. According to Autosport, Fortec's registration in the series which took place earlier this year has lapsed. The team will enter the series next year, possibly with Michael Bentwood (see below)

 

September 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Bentwood plans Italian F3000 campaign British F3 driver Michael Bentwood is to test one of Fortec Motorsport's Lola T96/50s and plans to race in Italian F3000 next year, claim Autosport. The Brit, currently the highest placed "home" driver in British F3, will stand down from his Fortec Motorsport drive for the end of season Macau and Korean F3 races.

 

September 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

McLaren junior team to continue McLaren's F3000 team will continue in the formula despite the announcement that team manager David Brown is joining Jordan as senior race engineer. Brown denied the move will bring an end to the mySAP.com Team, and will remain with the outfit for a few more weeks. Brown told Autosport: "It's time to return [to F1]. I've done the interesting bit of F3000, running a team from scratch. McLaren is close-knit, but I have to move on. This will be a challenge."

 

September 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Cochet looking for F3000 drive Newly crowned French F3 champion Jonathan Cochet plans to compete in F3000 next year. The 24-year old, competing in his third season of French F3 with Signature Competition, clinched the title after colliding with title rival Ryo Fukuda after his brakes failed in last weekend's Le Mans round. Cochet also won the prestigious Pau Grand Prix and Zandvoort Marlboro Masters this year. He told Autosport: "Now I have to concentrate on finding a Formula 3000 drive for next season." Before signing a late deal with Signature Competition at the start of this year, Cochet had been expected to race in Italian F3000 with Draco.

 

September 22nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Cioci tests for First GP Italian Marco Cioci, 12th in this year's Senior Class standings in Euro Formula Palmer Audi, made his F3000 debut in a private test for Italian F3000 team First GP at Magione. Cioci set a time of 1m08.6s in the Lola T96/50. He looks set to race for the team in the final round at Misano on 22nd October. (Source: www.prorace.it)

 

September 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

Alonso close to Minardi deal Latest rumours suggest Fernando Alonso, 4th in this year's F3000 standings, is close to signing a deal with Minardi for 2001. Alonso, 19, would replace fellow Spaniard Marc Gene as Gaston Mazzacane is needed for the sponsorship he brings to the team. Minardi have allegedly been unsatisfied with Gene's performances this season, according to Alpha F1.

 

September 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

Faulkner ready for F3000 The Republic of Ireland's Damien Faulkner is looking forward to his season in International F3000 next year after being given a fully-funded season as the prize for winning the Euro Formula Palmer Audi championship. The 25-year old told Autosport: "This is an opportunity I've been waiting for. I am much better prepared for F3000 now. The only thing I have to work on for next year is fitness. I've now got to get to the level that F3000 requires." Series boss Jonathan Palmer wants Euro FPA to continue to develop as an F3000 feeder series: "We are evolving from a British championship into a European one, and want our young drivers to learn the F3000 circuits." Palmer wants a 10-race calendar next year, the fourth season of FPA, with 5 races on European circuits.

 

September 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

Raikkonen linked to F3000 Formula Renault 2000 champion Kimi Raikkonen could race in International F3000 next year, although a British F3 graduation seems more likely. Raikkonen ran well in his debut F1 test with Sauber at Mugello last week, finishing two seconds off the top time of McLaren's Olivier Panis. According to Autosport, the Finn could be signed as Sauber's test driver while simultaneously racing in British F3 or F3000. The 20-year old said an F3 move is "very likely" and could race for Manor Motorsport, the same team that ran him in Formula Renault 2000.

 

September 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

Ganassi test underway The driver shootout for Chip Ganassi Racing has been taking place this week at Firebird International Raceway. F3000 champion and runner-up Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian were joined by Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice and Indy Lights frontrunner Casey Mears. According to autoracing1.com, Rice tested yesterday and Mears was set to test today (Friday). It is believed Junqueira and Minassian had runs at the test earlier in the week, although no details have been officially released from the private session. Mears also tested for Rahal at Fontana on Wednesday.

 

September 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

CART taking Indy Lights proposals CART is currently receiving proposals for the new Indy Lights chassis to be introduced in 2002, according to autoracing1.com. Bidders are not being told what specifications the car should conform to, and the closing date is the 30th September. Formula 3000 is a formula that is reportedly being considered, while IRL spec cars could also be used.

 

September 22nd 2000 - International F3000:

Watt to drive Panoz again 1999 F3000 runner-up Jason Watt will be given another chance to race the Den Bla Avis Panoz in the Magny-Cours SRWC round on October 1st. The Dane impressed with the team at the Nurburgring last weekend, losing less than ten seconds to the other car of John Nielsen in the first stint which he drove. In other SRWC news, Soheil Ayari is set to remain with Durango for the remainder of the season according to Autosport. F3000 refugee Dino Morelli wants to race in the SR1 class next year rather than in SR2, where he has had a couple of drives for the works Tampolli team. Tomas Scheckter may race, possibly in a Kremer Lola-Ford, in the Kyalami SRWC round in order to gain some sportscar experience.

 

September 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Fontana set for F3000 return Norberto Fontana looks set for an F3000 return according to Seventh Gear after his disappointing CART foray with Della Penna Motorsports came to a premature end. The Argentinian will supposedly test an F3000 car, believed to be with Super Nova, at Estoril on October 24th. He is hoping to sign a deal with Super Nova for 2001. Fontana, the 1995 German F3 champion, has competed in F3000, Formula Nippon and Formula 1 in the past. Last year he raced in F3000 for Fortec but had a poor season. He also had a single race with Edenbridge in 1996.

 

September 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Montoya's Gonzalo Rodriguez tribute helmet

Rodriguez honoured A quick story we didn't cover at the time…Gonzalo Rodriguez, killed at Laguna Seca last year in Saturday practice for his second CART race, was honoured with a memorial service at this year's race. The service, on the 9th of September, was deemed a "celebration of life" by father Phil and included song and poetry. It was also announced that the Gonzalo Rodriguez Memorial Fund will be used to help youngsters starting out in motorsports in Uruguay and a memorial race is scheduled for January 2001. It will give young drivers the chance to meet F1 and Champ Car drivers. Reigning CART champion Juan Montoya honoured Rodriguez's memory at Laguna Seca by wearing a tribute helmet (click to view). (Source: Seventh Gear)

 

September 19th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Italian F3000 set for big grids in 2001 A preliminary list of teams intending to enter next year's F3000 Italia championship suggests fields might swell to up to 32 cars. The list at Prorace claims 10 current teams intend to stay in the formula: Team Ghinzani, GP Racing, Draco Junior Team, Monaco Motorsport, Sighinolfi Autoracing, First GP, Durango, Arden, Da Vinci and ADM Motorsport. They are set to be joined by six other newcomers and returnees: Adrian Campos Motorsport, Scuderia Famá, Fortec Motorsport, B&C Competition, EC Motorsport and an unnamed Dutch team. A silly season page has been added here. Valencia in Spain will host a collective F3000 Italia test in November after the season's end. As reported earlier, a two race mini-series at Zhuhai in China is set to take place over the winter.

 

September 19th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Joel Camathias, Scuderia Fama, Donington

Scuderia Famá and EC Motorsport plan Italian F3000 move Two more teams are set to graduate from Formula Nissan to F3000 Italia next season, following in the footsteps of Adrian Campos Motorsport. Scuderia Famá and EC Motorsport have both stated their intention to join the burgeoning 2001 grid according to Prorace (see also story above). Joel Camathias (pictured) currently lies 9th in the Formula Nissan Open Telefonica standings for Scuderia Famá.

 

September 19th 2000 - International F3000:

Watt returns to international scene Former F3000 driver Jason Watt made his expected return to international competition at last weekend's SportsRacing World Cup round 8. The Dane, paralysed in a motorbike crash after finishing as F3000 runner-up last year, drove the second Den Bla Avis Panoz LMP with Karsten Ree and Jesper Carlsen, finishing 10th. The car was fitted with an advanced version of the hand controls Watt uses in his Peugeot 306 in Danish Touring Cars. Watt, who drove the first stint, told Autosport online: "Handling 600bhp with your fingertips is quite difficult. But eleven months ago I was in hospital and they were telling my family that they didn't think I would live, so I'm very happy to be here. Realistically, now, anything is possible - I have a licence for anything bar F3000 and F1. But I still have a lot to prove." The other Den Bla Avis Panoz took fourth in the hands of the Nielsen/Elgard driver pairing.

 

September 19th 2000 - International F3000:

Terrien & Pescatori clinch SRWC title Former F3000 drivers David Terrien and Christian Pescatori won the 2000 SportsRacing World Cup drivers title at the Nurburgring on Sunday. In wet conditions the Frenchman and Italian took their JMB Giesse Ferrari 333SP to its fourth win of the season. Former World Karting champion Terrien suffered a poor single season in F3000 with DAMS in 1999, failing to score any points. Other F3000 refugees suffered worse fortunes at the Nurburgring. Dino Morelli was classified 20th in his Tampolli RS2, 26 laps down. Soheil Ayari's Durango GMS LMP1 retired after 52 of the 81 laps. 1999 F3000 Italia runner-up Werner Lupberger's Ascari A410-Judd completed only 27 laps. The race also saw Jason Watt return to international competition (see story above).

 

September 19th 2000 - International F3000:

Redon, Zonta and Muller heading to CART? Former DAMS and Super Nova F3000 driver Laurent Redon was spotted at last weekend's Gateway CART round according to Autoracing1.com. The former Minardi and Benetton test driver is scouting for a Champ Car drive in 2001 and also attended the Road America race. Ricardo Zonta is also rumoured to be seeking a CART drive as his F1 options dry up. Zonta and Lemarie were team-mates at Super Nova in the former's 1997 championship year. In another rumour, 1996 F3000 champion Jorg Müller has been linked with a possible deal between Zakspeed and Forsythe. Bryan Herta could be the other driver with the team set to use Ford engines. Müller recently turned down the chance to try out for a seat with Bettenhausen as the team could only offer him a one-year contract.

 

September 19th 2000 - International F3000:

1985/86 F3000 champions set for CART test The first two drivers to win the Formula 3000 championship are set to test a modern Champ Car this week at Putnam Park. 1985 F3000 champion Christian Danner, himself a former CART driver, will be joined by 1986 champion Ivan Capelli and two other ex-F1 drivers, Rene Arnoux and Marc Surer. The semi-secret test, held in one of Andreas Leberle's cars, is purely to give the drivers the chance to experience the cars and will not lead to a drive for next year, according to Autoracing1.com.

 

September 17th 2000 - International F3000:

McLaren junior team to quit F3000? The McLaren F3000 team may not be on the grid next season, according to a report at f1picturenet.com. Team manager David Brown is rumoured to be joining Jordan's technical team next year. Jordan has lost Mike Gascoyne to Benetton, while Arrows' Eghbal Hamidy is set to replace him. Former Williams and McLaren F1 engineer Brown is now also expected to be signed by the team. Should the move be officially announced, the future of the McLaren F3000 team is in serious doubt. The team, as West Competition, won the title in 1999, its second year in the series, with a dominant Nick Heidfeld. Once Heidfeld graduated to F1, the team announced it would only continue in F3000 if they could find a top-line driver. As mySAP.com Team, this year was a great disappointment. Stephane Sarrazin was sacked mid-season, while Tomas Enge took the team's only win at Hockenheim.

 

September 17th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi continues Formula Nippon domination at Mine Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi took yet another win in round 9 at Mine. The PIAA Nakajima driver's win was his eighth of the season and his sixth in succession. With 80 points, he needs to finish better than fifth in the final round to beat Pedro de la Rosa's 1997 points record of 82. The result maintains the PIAA Nakajima Team's 100% win rate this season. Former champion Satoshi Motoyama (IMPUL) took second, elevating him to third in the championship. Third in the race was Tsugio Matsuda (PIAA Nakajima), fourth was Yuji Tachikawa (Cosmo Oil Cerumo), fifth Ralph Firman (Morinaga Nova) and sixth Juichi Wakisaka (ARTA). Katsutomo Kaneishi (ARTA) did not enter after his heavy crash in the previous Fuji race that split his car in half. Takeshi Tsuchiya made his first appearance in a second Olympic Kondo Racing entry, a G-Force GF03, finishing 10th. Former Monaco Motorsport F3000/F3000 Italia driver Alex Yoong (Team Malaysia by Le Mans) had hid best qualifying position yet, qualifying 7th, but retired from the race. Qualifying, race positions and standings are here. See the official site soon for a full race report.

 

September 16th 2000 - International F3000:

More races in 2001 According to Motoring News, the International F3000 championship next year is rumoured to have the number of races increased from 10 to 12. The article also repeats the news that Brazilian Grand Prix organisers want the Interlagos circuit to host the opening round of 2001.

 

September 16th 2000 - International F3000:

FIA official testing dates announced The first official FIA F3000 winter test session will take place on the 1st and 2nd of November at Barcelona. Then a week later teams will travel to the re-opened Estoril in Portugal. In addition, a number of teams are set to test in private sessions at Jerez and Estoril in late October, according to Motoring News.

 

September 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Faulkner "looking forward" to F3000 Damien Faulkner, the newly crowned Euro Formula Palmer Audi champion, has spoken of his delight at taking his prize - a fully funded International F3000 drive next season. The Irishman clinched the title from Justin Keen at Brands Hatch last weekend, winning his sixth race of the season before sealing the title with third in race 2. When informed he was champion the 25-year old said: "I am absolutely ecstatic. I hadn't worked out the championship points, I had blanked it out of my mind and just got on with doing the best I could in the race. People kept trying to tell me, but I just didn't want to hear it and I think that worked in my favour because I was focused on each race. I'm so happy and really looking forward to F3000 next year." Euro FPA boss Jonathan Palmer said: "It is no coincidence that both Faulkner and Keen have been in their third season of FPA, and Robbie Kerr is in his second. Whether in F1, F3000 or FPA, talent must be honed with experience to produce winning performances in such competitive fields. Damien has applied himself most impressively this season. His seven pole positions are more than any other driver as are his six race wins. Damien has also proved outstanding ability to keep out of trouble, never having failed to finish a race this year." There is no news yet on which team Faulkner will race for. (Source: www.formula-palmer-audi.com)

 

September 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Herbert enters Ganassi equation F1 veteran Johnny Herbert has been linked to a seat at Chip Ganassi Racing next year. Recent reports suggested Bruno Junqueira, Nicolas Minassian and Buddy Rice were the three drivers in contention, but now Motoring News has reported Herbert is "close to a deal". Apparently the team want Herbert to provide experience, to balance with the developing talents of F3000 champ Bruno Junqueira who is a likely candidate for one seat. Herbert, previously most closely linked to a seat at Newman-Haas, has refused to comment.

 

September 15th 2000 - International F3000:

F3000 to expand outside Europe? According to a rumour at autoracing1.com, Bernie Ecclestone plans to take Formula 3000 to circuits outside of Europe to support Grands Prix. Venues in consideration are Australia, Malaysia, Brazil, USA and Japan. As reported on this site recently, the organisers of the Brazilian Grand Prix are interested in hosting the opening round of the 2001 championship. Although the series is named International F3000, at present it does not venture outside of Europe. Clearly any move to make F3000 more international will have a large impact on driver and team budgets for a year's racing.

 

September 15th 2000 - International F3000:

Indy Lights could adopt F3000 formula A rumour at autoracing1.com claims that it is hoped CART will adopt either the F3000 formula or the Indy Racing League formula for its new Indy Lights program. Should the F3000 rules be adopted, drivers could switch between Indy Lights and International F3000, having the opportunity of increasing their profile. There has been much discussion in America about the best replacement for the current set of Indy Lights regulations. The rumour also claims Bernie Ecclestone is interested in taking F3000 to F1 venues outside of Europe (see story above).

 

September 15th 2000 - International F3000:

Mark Webber, Estoril

Symonds "amazed" by Webber - test contract likely Mark Webber, the F3000 "rookie of the year", has left Benetton technical director Pat Symonds "amazed" at the Aussie's pace. Webber has just completed a three day test with the team at Estoril, Portugal. He matched the pace of regular driver Giancarlo Fisichella and outperformed reigning F3000 champion Bruno Junqueira who was testing for Williams. Symonds was impressed with Webber, fuelling speculation he will be signed as Benetton's official test driver for 2001: "I'd heard he was good, but frankly I'm amazed." Certain British F3 champion Antonio Pizzonia will not now be picked as test and reserve driver for Benetton after failing to impress in his tests with the team, so Webber seems a very strong bet for the position. Webber has still not decided on his plans for 2001. ITV-F1.com claim that he has been given offers from half of the F3000 teams on the grid, but Webber wants to combine racing with F1 testing.

 

September 15th 2000 - International F3000:

Junqueira, Minassian and Rice to fight for Ganassi seat According to an article at Speedvision.com, the shootout for a seat at Target Chip Ganassi Racing will now only involve three drivers, as Memo Gidley is unlikely to test. Testing a current Champ Car driver would count against the team's allotted number of test days. The shootout was rumoured for earlier this week, but no date has yet been announced. Now F3000 champion Bruno Junqueira will test along with F3000 runner-up Nicolas Minassian and Formula Atlantic title favourite Buddy Rice.

 

September 15th 2000 - International F3000:

Buddy Rice to Petrobras Junior? A rumour at Seventh Gear claims Buddy Rice may be in contention for an F3000 seat with Petrobras Junior next year. However, the rumour comes from a Seventh Gear reader who has possibly mis-translated an article from the Italian Sporting News into English. Formula Atlantic championship leader Rice, of the USA, is expected to test a Champ Car for Chip Ganassi along with Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian in the next few weeks (see story above). Junqueira of course won the F3000 championship this year for Petrobras Junior...

 

September 15th 2000 - International F3000:

Castroneves pays tribute to Rodriguez Champ Car driver Helio Castroneves dedicated his win at last weekend's Laguna Seca round to former Penske driver and F3000 star Gonzalo Rodriguez. Uruguayan Rodriguez was killed in an accident at the circuit last year, in only his second CART race with the Penske team. He took a posthumous third in the F3000 championship with Astromega, having been demoted from second by Jason Watt in the final round. The Penske pair of Castroneves and Gil de Ferran dominated the Laguna Seca weekend, finishing in 1st and 2nd in both qualifying and the race. Ex-F3000 title contender de Ferran now leads the championship. 1996 F3000 runner-up Kenny Brack is currently fifth and 1988 champion Roberto Moreno is sixth.

 

September 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Damien Faulkner, celebrating his Euro FPA title

Faulkner wins International F3000 drive Damien Faulkner clinched the inaugural Euro Formula Palmer Audi title at the Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit last weekend. As his main prize for winning the series, the 25-year old Irishman will receive a Formula 3000 seat next year, although the team he will race for is at present undecided. Faulkner took the Euro FPA title with two races to go. He told Autosport: "I've had some rotten luck over the last couple of years, but this is what I've been after. It's been a brilliant season." France's Bruce Jouanny took the Junior Euro FPA title at the same meeting. The 22 year old will receive a 50% subsidised budget for next year as his prize and plans a move to British F3. Faulkner's F3000 prize-drive is the second to be given to a FPA champion. Justin Wilson was given a seat with Astromega after winning the 1998 FPA title, the first year the championship was contested.

 

September 14th 2000 - Autumn Cup:

AUTUMN CUP CANCELLED The Autumn Cup F3000 mini-series has been cancelled, as only a few drivers have signed up for the opening Donington race later this month. The news follows on from the cancellation of last weekend's Brands Hatch race. That race, the original opening round to the series, was scrapped for exactly the same reason, making the Autumn Cup a three-round series. Co-ordinator Peter Briggs told Autosport online: "It's a shame, because it offered the FIA F3000 Championship teams a great chance to evaluate young drivers, but if they can't find the money to compete then there's not a lot we can do. If we couldn't run it properly it was better not to run it at all." Astromega were one of the few teams to commit to the Autumn Cup. McLaren pulled out last week after the first race was scrapped. They were subsequently followed by Red Bull Junior, who had already cut their effort to a single-car entry. Astromega's Sam Boyle said: "It's a disappointment to hear that it has been called off. We thought it was a good idea and were all set to go, but the fact that it hasn't happened will deter people from trying to organise something similar in the future." The cancellation is the latest in a series of failures by Peter Briggs to get a British F3000 series underway. In 1997 the British F3000 series was scrapped after one race with a three-car turnout, while the 1999 UK3000 series was abandoned pre-season when drivers turned to the oversubscribed International F3000 series. This year the prospects looked good for a successful mini-series. The International F3000 season finished early, and initial support from teams was good, with Astromega, Fortec, Nordic, McLaren, Kid Jensen Racing and Red Bull Junior all deciding to enter.

 

September 14th 2000 - F3000:

Burgueno has Formula 3000 plans Spaniard Angel Burgueno is rumoured to be planning an F3000 campaign next year. It is unclear whether it would be in the International series or in F3000 Italia. Formula Nissan driver Burgueno competed at Monza this year with Team Ghinzani in Italian F3000. Late last year he tested a Lola B99/50 for Coloni. Burgueno competed in British F3 in 1996 with Intersport, finishing 12th overall. The 27-year old has since been a regular in the Formula Nissan series based in Spain. He is currently fourth in the standings with EC Motorsport.

 

September 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Webber tests Benetton at Estoril Mark Webber completes a three-day test for Benetton this week. It is the first proper test the F3000 "rookie of the year" has had with the team and follows on from the Aussie's deal that could see him become the official test driver in 2001.

 

September 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Watt to make Den Bla Avis return in SRWC 1999 F3000 runner-up Jason Watt is set to make a return to International motor-racing this weekend at the Nurburgring, in the SportsRacing World Cup. The Dane, paralysed in a motorcycle accident last year, will race a specially adapted Panoz prototype for the Dave Price Racing-run Den Bla Avis team. Watt, this year competing in the Danish Touring Car Championship in a Peugeot 306, raced for the Den Bla Avis F3000 team in F3000 between 1997 and 1998. In 1999 he switched to David Sears' main team, Super Nova, as the Den Bla Avis outfit was renamed Petrobras Junior. Watt is set to share the second Panoz with the team's boss Karsten Ree and Euro Formula Palmer Audi driver Jesper Carlsen. Jason is confident he will be able to obtain the necessary international race licence before the weekend: "The application is with the FIA, but I'm confident. The rules say I have to be able to get out of the car in seven seconds in an emergency and I've got it down to 6.5."

 

September 14th 2000 - British F3000:

Westwood to make British F3 return Former British F3000 front-runner Julian Westwood is to return to British F3 after eight years away this weekend. Westwood last competed in F3 with Van Diemen in 1992, but is now joining the new Parker F3 team in the Scholarship Class for older cars. He finished third in the 1991 British F3000 championship with CaneCordy Motorsport. (Source: Autosport)

 

September 7th 2000 - Autumn Cup:

Autumn Cup under threat as opener cancelled The first round of the new F3000 Autumn Cup planned for Brands Hatch this weekend has been cancelled. The decision was made by championship organiser Peter Briggs because the size of the grid could not be guaranteed. Now there will be only three rounds, the first being at Donington on September 24th, although the entire series looks to be under threat. Briggs told Autosport: "There weren't enough drivers because it was only two weeks after the last European race. It's tough to find people with money this time of year. As for the other three races, we will have to see how it progresses. We will work really hard on it." The majority of teams committed to the series plan to compete in the three races. Astromega's Sam Boyle said to Autosport: "I'm not surprised, but if it means bigger grids for the other races, then it is a good thing." Fortec Motorsport boss Richard Dutton said: "It's disappointing to say the least, but we will still support it." McLaren have already pulled out of the series (see story below). The disappointing announcement follows on from the last-minute failures of the two previous attempts by Peter Briggs to resurrect the national F3000 series in 1997 and 1999.

 

September 7th 2000 - Autumn Cup:

Friesacher joins Red Bull Junior for Autumn Cup; Bernoldi opts out German F3 front-runner Patrick Friesacher has been signed by the Red Bull Junior squad to compete in the Autumn Cup, now reduced to three rounds (see separate story). The team will run only one car as Enrique Bernoldi has decided not to enter, according to Autosport. Austrian Friesacher drives for the Red Bull-sponsored Opel Team BSR in German F3. His team-mate Andre Lotterer, currently second in the standings, earlier tested for the Red Bull Junior in Hungary along with Formula Holden runner-up Christian Murchison.

 

September 7th 2000 - Autumn Cup:

McLaren pull out of Autumn Cup The McLaren F3000 team (mySAP.com Team) have pulled out of the Autumn Cup following the cancellation of the first round (see story above). The team withdrew its entry and team manager David Brown told Autosport: "We had planned to do the first and third races with Tomas Scheckter, but now it's not worth it."

 

September 7th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Andreas Scheld, Int'l F3000

Fortec to make F3000 Italia debut Fortec Motorsport will finally make their long-awaited Italian F3000 debut in the final round at Misano on October 22nd. The team has not yet confirmed its driver line-up. Fortec was expected to make its debut at the beginning of the season, but opted instead to concentrate on its International F3000 and British F3 campaigns. The team had planned to enter their F3000 rookie Andreas Scheld to help him gain experience. (Source: Autosport)

 

September 7th 2000 - Italian F3000:

F3000 Italia winter series planned for China Italian F3000 looks set to run a mini-series in China this winter. Series organisers are negotiating with the bosses of the Zhuhai circuit to plan a two-race series, according to Autosport. F3000 Italia recently visited Assen for a non-championship race, and has now run a championship round at Donington in each of its two-years of existence.

 

September 7th 2000 - Italian F3000:

Antonio Garcia

Garcia to move to F3000 Italia Formula Nissan championship leader Antonio Garcia plans to graduate with his Adrian Campos Motorsport team to F3000 Italia next year. As revealed here over a week ago, the team will compete in Italian F3000 next year as a two-car outfit. Autosport claims it is unclear whether the team will continue their involvement in the Formula Nissan series. The team won the title in both 1998 and 1999 with F1 and F3000 stars Marc Gene and Fernando Alonso.

 

September 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Minardi wants Alonso for 2001 F3000 rookie sensation Fernando Alonso's chances of landing a drive at Minardi next year look to be increasing. Minardi chief executive Gabriele Rumi told Autosport: "We are talking to our current sponsors about budgets and renewals, and as a result of these talks, in two or three weeks, we will announce our drivers. Our financial situation is such that our choice will be influenced by sponsors." Alonso, a 2000 Minardi tester and Astromega F3000 driver, could race for the team providing title sponsor Telefonica stays on: "Alonso is destined to be a very important Formula 1 driver. We tried him in November at Fiorano and he was excellent." Minardi are almost certain to use Supertec engines next season.

 

September 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheckter doubtful for Macau/Korea double header F3000 rookie Tomas Scheckter may not compete in the Macau and Korea end-of-season F3 races as his Stewart team has pulled out, citing "other projects". Scheckter has also been ruled out of the F3000 Autumn Cup after McLaren withdrew its entry (see stories above). Scheckter finished second to champion elect Antonio Pizzonia at the Snetterton British F3 round last weekend, despite racing with a hand injured when he crashed his McLaren Lola in the Spa F3000 finale. Now Scheckter can only beat Pizzonia to the title if he wins both remaining races and set fastest lap with Pizzonia doing no better than an eighth place. The South African will have his second run in the Jaguar F1 car at Silverstone next week. F3 team-mate Narain Karthikeyan will have his first run.

 

September 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Watt takes breakthrough win 1999 F3000 runner-up Jason Watt, left paralysed after a post-season motorbike crash, has taken a breakthrough debut win in the Danish Touring Car series. Watt was classified fifth in the first race when two competitors ahead of him were excluded. In the second, Mike Legarth collided with John Nielsen, promoting Watt's Peugeot 306 GTi into second. Team-mate Pierre Legarth then let him through, and Watt then had to contend with the VW Golf of Michael Schroter. Watt held him off by just 0.4 seconds for a popular win.

 

September 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Buddy Rice

Junqueira and Minassian in four-way Ganassi shoot-out F3000 champion and vice-champion Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian are set to compete in a shoot-out for a seat at Chip Ganassi Racing in Champ Cars next season. The other drivers involved are Champ Car regular Memo Gidley and Toyota Atlantic championship leader Buddy Rice (left, in his DSTP Motorsports Swift). According to an article by Robin Miller at www.CART.com, the four drivers could test early next week, after the Laguna Seca round, at Firebird Raceway near Phoenix. The main drive up for grabs appears to be the second seat, the first seat likely to go to Junqueira. (Source: www.autoracing1.com)

 

September 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Minardi denies Alonso will race in end of year Grands Prix A report at Alpha F1 claims Fernando Alonso, 4th in this year's F3000 standings, was rumoured to replace Marc Gene at Minardi for the final two Grands Prix of 2000 in Japan and Malaysia. The move would have been at the request of Minardi title-sponsor Telefonica. However, Giancarlo Minardi denied Gene would be replaced: "We have a full complement of drivers for this season, although he may test again, and after that we will look at him." Alonso, 19, won the final race in his rookie season this year, just his second season out of karts. The Spaniard may be signed by Minardi for next year, but might yet remain as Minardi test driver and complete a second season of F3000.

 

September 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Redon looking to CART move A rumour at Seventh Gear claims former F3000 driver Laurent Redon is aiming to make a Champ Car debut. The 26 year-old Frenchman attended the Road America race and is said to have sponsorship available. Redon finished equal 8th overall in 1996 with DAMS, and 9th in 1997 with Super Nova, as team-mate to champion Ricardo Zonta. Redon was the 1995 French F3 champion and carried out F1 testing duties for Minardi in 1998 and Benetton in 1999.

 

September 5th 2000 - International F3000:

Gauloises Formula future to be made clearer The future direction of the Gauloises Formula F3000 team should be made clearer at this weekend's Italian GP. The team, formerly Apomatox, is an affiliate of the Prost F1 team. Alain Prost is set to announce the future of his team at Monza. German media corporation Bertelsmann currently owns a 10% stake in the troubled team, but is set to increase it. According to Autosport online another interested party is delaying the deal. Motoring News has just announced that Prost will use Ferrari engines next year after Peugeot pull out of the sport at the end of the season. Pedro Diniz is likely to join Jean Alesi at the team. The future ownership of the Prost team will have implications for Gauloises Formula. Their rookie driver Sebastien Bourdais is on contract with Prost, and any decision will determine whether or not he continues with Gauloises Formula next year.

 

September 5th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi sets record at Fuji; PIAA Nakajima is Teams Champion Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi set a new record for the series by becoming the first driver to win five consecutive races at Fuji on Sunday. He has also become the first driver to win seven races in a single season. His victory at Fuji guaranteed the PIAA Nakajima Team the Teams Championship. The outfit of former F1 driver Satoru Nakajima has won every single race this year, Tsugio Matsuda winning the one round Takagi retired from. With 70 points to his name and two rounds still to go, Takagi could eclipse the season points record of 82 gained by Pedro de la Rosa in 1997. The race was stopped and had to be restarted after a heavy crash for Katsutomo Kaneishi (ARTA). In the final turn he crashed into the armco in avoidance of another spinning driver, but luckily was uninjured. The race report is now available on the official site. (Source: http://www.f-nippon.co.jp/ / Nicolas Korzan)

 

September 5th 2000 - Italian F3000:

More on Enna-Pergusa F3000 Italia round... Warren Hughes threw away the chance of gaining championship momentum at Enna-Pergusa on Sunday. He led the penultimate F3000 Italia round from new Arden team-mate Darren Manning but spun at the Swimming Pool Bend. He rejoined but could only finish sixth. Ricardo Sperafico took fourth to extend his series lead. A race report will appear here later in the week. (Source: www.autosport.com)

 

September 3rd 2000 - Italian F3000:

Darren Manning

Manning wins at Enna on series debut International F3000 driver Darren Manning won round 7 of the Italian F3000 championship at Enna-Pergusa today. Stepping down to race in one of the Lola T96/50s of the Arden team, the former All-Japan F3 champion finished 7.934 seconds ahead of second-placed Gianluca Calcagni (Monaco Motorsport). It was Italian Calcagni's best result of the year. Third went to Thomas Biagi (GP Racing), the winner of the non-championship Assen race. The first of the title contenders, series leader Ricardo Sperafico (ADM Competition), came home fourth to extend his championship lead. Manuel Giao (Monaco Motorsport) took fifth ahead of Sperafico's title rival Warren Hughes (Arden Team Russia). The other title contender, Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) was classified down in 12th position. Rodrigo Sperafico (Draco Junior Team) has lost his mathematical chance of the title with an 8th place finish. The teams and drivers now face a long wait until the championship can be decided at the final round in Misano on October 22nd. Full race results are here.

 

September 3rd 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi the winner again at Fuji Newly-crowned Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi took yet another victory in round 8 at Fuji. The PIAA Nakajima pilot beat former champion Satoshi Motoyama (IMPUL) to the win in a race which had to be stopped after 10 laps before it restarted. Shinsuke Shibahara (Leyjun) was a surprising third ahead of Yuji Tachikawa (Cerumo) in 4th, Michael Krumm (5Zigen) in 5th and Hideki Noda (Le Mans) in 6th. Qualifying and race positions are here. For more information see the official site: http://www.f-nippon.co.jp/.

 

September 3rd 2000 - International F3000:

Webber signs new sponsor Mark Webber, third in his rookie F3000 season, had his prospects of moving closer to F1 boosted last week when he signed a deal with a new sponsor. The Aussie linked up last Tuesday with technology giant Computershare. He complained of his struggle for funds: "It's very, very difficult for me to find the correct funding which enables me to compete overseas and it's very hard to compete with European and South American drivers." Webber said the deal with global firm Computershare will help him to "get closer to Formula 1." The European Arrows pilot has signed a deal with Benetton which could see him act as their test driver next year. He has already tested the car and will participate in a three-day test at Estoril this month. (Source: www.sportstoday.com.au)

 

September 2nd 2000 - Italian F3000:

F3000 Italia newcomer Manning on pole at Enna Darren Manning joined the field for tomorrow's penultimate F3000 Italia round and immediately took pole position. The 1999 All-Japan F3 champion finished his debut International F3000 season last Saturday, clinching eighth in the championship. He moved over to his Arden Team Russia's F3000 Italia outfit for this weekend's Enna-Pergusa race, in place of Viktor Maslov. Manning immediately adapted to the older Lola T96/50 to set a time of 1:33.109. Second on the grid is Gianluca Calcagni (Monaco Motorsport). The first of the championship contenders is Warren Hughes (Arden Team Russia) in third, while Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) is fourth and Ricardo Sperafico (ADM) sixth. The Da Vinci team did not appear to enter, nor did the second First GP car of Angelo Lancelotti. Times are here.

 

September 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Various 2001 options for Montagny A source informed us that French articles reveal Franck Montagny is considering various alternatives for 2001. The DAMS pilot suffered a difficult second season of F3000, scoring just five points. He is hoping to move to the USA to compete in Champ Cars next year, the same option Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian are likely to take. In another article Montagny claimed he might seek a better F3000 team and stay for a third year, and that he is also considering competing in Japan. He also revealed that he had turned down offers from top F3000 teams Super Nova and McLaren junior for this year.

 

September 1st 2000 - Italian F3000:

Ricardo Sperafico, round 2

Enna set for crucial F3000 Italia race This weekend sees the penultimate round of the F3000 Italia series at Enna-Pergusa. The track, which winds its way around a snake-infested lake, was formerly a mainstay of International F3000 before the series became solely a Grand Prix support category in 1999. The Sicilian circuit became legendary for its inept standard of marshalling, drivers liable to find their crashed cars being tipped upside-down, or forced off the road by the kamikaze marshals in the first place. Combined with the searing heat, dusty conditions and the funnelling of the high-speed track into tight chicanes, Enna is a characteristic stop on the F3000 Italia calendar. Ricardo Sperafico (ADM Competition, above) currently leads the points standings, but the battle at the top is close. Sperafico leads with 33 points from Britain's Warren Hughes (Arden) on 30 and Italy's Gabriele Lancieri (Sighinolfi) on 28. The Brazilian won the two previous rounds at Vallelunga and Donington and continued his form with second on the grid at the non-championship Assen race. If he wins this weekend and his rivals have a bad race he could clinch the championship. His twin brother, Rodrigo, has a mathematical chance of taking the title for Draco, although realistically it is a three-way affair. Andrej Pavicevic of the Durango Benetton Junior Team is looking for his first points of the season after finishing an encouraging fourth at Assen. The Aussie had a new engineer for that race. He told Hot Open Wheelers: "My new engineer for that weekend was an Australian, Don Raper, who is actually a mechanic on the Durango team's SRWC Sports Car and is totally new to engineering F3000 cars but is keen to learn." On his hopes for this weekend, Pavicevic said: "I hope to continue with my new engineer/mechanic in the coming race in Enna-Pergusa, a track where experience is of paramount importance, something which neither of us will have in Enna."

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Sebastien Bourdais

Bourdais to stay at Gauloises Formula F3000 rookie Sebastien Bourdais is set to stay with the Gauloises Formula team for 2001, depending on whether Prost remains in F1. He told Eurosport: "I'm on a contract with the Prost Grand Prix team. At this time I don't have any other choice except staying with Gauloises Formula. I'm happy for that - I think this team will progress and I'll go with them. Now the aim is to continue but we'll have to wait for the future of Prost to be absolutely sure." The Prost F1 team has had a disastrous fourth year and there is much discussion that Alain Prost could sell his beleaguered outfit. If that was the case, the future of the Prost-affiliated Gauloises Formula team would be in doubt. Bourdais, the 1999 French F3 champion, impressed on occasion in his debut season in which he finished ninth overall: "I had the opportunity of better results. I had a good spell with Monaco, we were on row 1, and then the pole at Magny-Cours and second place, but after that it wasn't as good. At the moment though the balance is good. It's a very competitive category. You need experience to really be getting into the leading places. That's what we tried to do but we weren't as successful as we wanted."

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Manning set to stay in F3000 Darren Manning, eighth in his rookie F3000 season with Arden Team Russia, looks set to stay in the category for a second year. He wants to continue his testing contract with BAR at the same time. The 1999 All-Japan F3 champion, who also won the Macau and Korea F3 GPs, told Eurosport: "We're still talking with people like BAR-Honda to see if they're going to renew their test contracts. If that happens, if I become test driver again for another year then I'll probably do another year with Formula 3000, so you'll see me here again next year." Of his first season Manning said: "It was difficult really because at the beginning of the year we were quite fast in testing, but then once it started to get serious and come to the race meetings, and qualifying, and you've got the Formula 1 rubber down and things like this, and difficult circuits, it got a little bit more difficult and the more experienced teams showed their pace." Manning's chances of retaining the test and reserve driver contract with BAR may be under threat due to pressure from Honda to employ a Japanese driver. British F3 revelation Takuma Sato attended the Belgian GP as a guest of Honda, and Autosport believes he will test for either BAR or Jordan, both Honda powered teams in 2001. Formula Nippon champion Toranosuke Takagi is also said to be seeking a return to F1 in a testing capacity. He is considered more likely to join BAR than Jordan.

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Wilson: F3000 is a "strong option" Justin Wilson, who had an impressive second F3000 season with Nordic Racing, taking fifth in the final standings, may stay in the category for a third season in 2001. He told Eurosport: "It's a very strong option at the minute to carry on and do a third year. Obviously...some of the title contenders are in their third season so...it's a possibility that we're strongly looking at so we've just got to weigh up and see what's the best progress for my career."

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Nicolas Minassian

Minassian heads to the USA F3000 series runner-up Nicolas Minassian looks certain to spend next season in the USA. The Frenchman has already been linked to the top Chip Ganassi Racing squad where his title rival Bruno Junqueira may be heading. Speaking to Eurosport after the F3000 finale last Saturday, Minassian said: "The programme now will be to work hard to find new sponsors. I'm going to America next week to meet sponsors and other people, it's going to be important for my future. I think that my future will be in the United States next season. I hope that it will work out and that I will be able to race there." David Sears has previously stated he believes Junqueira and Minassian will both race in the USA.

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Saelens and Enge uncertain over future David Saelens and Tomas Enge have revealed little of their plans for next season. Both drivers shared equal sixth in this year's final F3000 championship standings. Speaking to Eurosport after the Spa final round, Super Nova driver Saelens said of his 2001 plans: "In Europe perhaps, I don't know." Asked if he would continue in F3000, he replied: "I don't know. My managers Keke Rosberg and Didier Cotton are preparing my future, I'll meet them next week. I hope they're going to have some good news for me." Jordan test driver Tomas Enge, who took his first F3000 win at Hockenheim with McLaren, revealed even less: "I won't tell you exactly where, but I think it's...I hope it's looking good for next year and at this moment I don't know exactly where."

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Webber: "chance" of continuing in F3000 F3000 rookie of the year Mark Webber, third in the overall standings, has not yet decided on his plans for next season. The Aussie European Arrows driver told Eurosport: "There is a chance that I'll do 3000 again next year, but really we're going to have a look...it's early days for the 3000 next year so we'll just have a look at what's happening over the winter." Webber signed an agreement with Benetton before the end of the season which could see him become the official test driver next year. Of his season in F3000 the former FIA GT runner-up said: "If you had have asked me at the start of the year if we were going to get third in the championship, uh...I'm happy with third, this season has served its purpose that has put me back on the map again. I got some good results and I've got some Benetton testing coming up, and yeah, it's worked well this year."

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Alonso wants to race in F1 Fernando Alonso, the rookie sensation who became the youngest driver to win in F3000 at Spa last Saturday, wants to graduate to F1 next season. He may be selected as a driver at Minardi, depending upon the situation of the team, but has also been given a number of offers to continue in F3000. The Astromega driver and Minardi tester told Eurosport: "What I'd really like to do is race in Formula 1 and the sooner the better because I really want to get there. It's like if I'd already been through all the stages and when I'm in Formula 1 I'll be doing what I really like to do and I'll be keeping going right for the top. Nothing's set for me next year - we're still in August, we'll have to wait until September or October before they decide all the drivers and sponsors for next year's Formula 1 season." Asked if he is likely to be either a race driver or a test driver Alonso said: "Well, I want to be a driver, I'd rather be a driver than a test driver, but if I can race in another F3000 season and at the same time be a test driver, that's alright."

 

September 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Jaime Melo Jr

Melo Jr. will test for Williams Brazil's Jaime Melo Jr., who finished equal 11th in his rookie F3000 season with Petrobras Junior, is to test for Williams next Monday. Melo will test at Keevil in England. He received the offer on Saturday after team-mate Bruno Junqueira took the F3000 title at Spa-Francorchamps. The test session will be a full day test accompanied by all of the Williams engineers. Jaime said: "It will be my first contact with a car of the Formula 1. It is an accomplishment of a dream and at the same time a new perspective in my career. Therefore after the closing of the Saturday race, Frank Williams called us for a chat in the motorhome of Williams, where it highlighted our work along the season and he spoke about the tests that we will do Monday." (Source: Jaime Melo Jr press release / www.F3000.com)

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

If you have any F3000 news to share with the world, especially from the press outside of the UK, please e-mail me. Thanks!

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