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 NEWS ARCHIVES: November 2000

Archived news on International F3000, Euro F3000 and Formula Nippon.

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November 30th 2000 - Euro F3000:

Michael Bentwood, Donington, Nov 2000

Bentwood and Fortec make Euro F3000 debut Fortec Motorsport started preparations for their Euro F3000 campaign by testing Michael Bentwood at Donington Park last week (left). The British F3 veteran, fifth overall with the team this year, had his first run in one of the team's Lola T96/50s, and is hoping to stay with the team for the inaugural Euro F3000 championship next year. Autosport reveals that Etienne van der Linde is also in talks with Fortec to secure a drive for 2001 in the series which was previously run as F3000 Italia. The South African recently tested for International F3000 teams Kid Jensen Racing and Petrobras Junior, and tested an F3000 Italia Lola T96/50 for First GP at the start of this year.

 

November 30th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Takagi signs for Walker Racing It was announced yesterday that Toranosuke Takagi will race the number 5 Walker Racing entry in CART next year. The Japanese driver dominated this year's Formula Nippon series, winning eight of the ten races with PIAA Nakajima Planning. The 26-year old will race a Pioneer sponsored car with Toyota engines, after the team decided to change their Honda powerplants. Takagi was pleased with the deal: "I am very happy to be joining Walker Racing and the CART series. It will be my first experience with oval tracks in CART, so I'll be learning them as well as the CART car. I have much experience and confidence on street and road courses and I will try to drive them to my full capabilities from the very beginning. I cannot wait for my first test in January."

 

November 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Damien Faulkner

Faulkner chooses Indy Lights over F3000 Euro Formula Palmer Audi champion Damien Faulkner has signed to race for Dorricott Racing in Indy Lights next season, turning his back on his prize of a fully funded season in International F3000 and a management contract with Euro FPA boss Jonathan Palmer. Instead he will accept a cash prize of 100,000 to help towards his 2001 budget. The Irishman will be joined at the three-car squad by Townsend Bell and Jon Fogarty. The trio tested for the team recently at Buttonwillow Park along with Matt Davies, Nilton Rossoni, Marcos Ambrose and Luis Diaz. Faulkner tested for Kid Jensen Racing in the winter F3000 tests, but he went to look for a drive in the USA when no deal with an F3000 team was found. He explained his decision to move across the Atlantic: "I have always said that I want to win races and challenge for a championship when I step up to the next level in 2001. I had an option in F3000 but as soon as I arrived at the Dorricott workshop and tested the car the decision was easy. I enjoyed testing both types of cars this off-season but in the end I felt that driving for Dorricott Racing in Indy Lights would provide the best career advancing opportunities. I obviously have much to learn with all the circuits being new to me, but the superspeedways will be undeniably interesting. I've had an excellent training school in FPA and I thank Mr. Palmer for that. Now I am looking forward to winter testing in the California sunshine. My experience on this side of the Atlantic has been superb so far but the real exams begin in March. I'll work hard to be ready but I can't wait." Palmer said: "Damien is a special talent and I am fully supportive of his decision to opt for Indy Lights, which has proved an excellent feeder series for CART. With Justin Wilson in the Coca-Cola Nordic team in F3000, we will now have two FPA champions running at the front of top series each side of the Atlantic." Wilson was the only other FPA champion to win an F3000 seat, signing for Astromega for the 1999 season. There was no F3000 prize on offer to that year's FPA champion, Richard Tarling.

 

November 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Rice working on Super Nova deal Toyota Atlantic champion Buddy Rice looks set to sign for Super Nova as widely rumoured according to an article by Robin Miller, although it is unclear whether he is set to compete for one or two years before making a likely move into CART. Rice, a 24-year old American, said: "Chip [Ganassi] is working on a sponsor to make it happen, but I don't know the exact game plan, whether it's one or two years over there and then come back. I guess it depends on my options and how I do. I want to run CART and I think I could step into Chip's car and be running up front. But I'm interested in going over there and see what happens. I think it will be difficult to have one year in F3000 and be a front runner. The best thing about racing over there would be the exposure to a different community." Rice tested for David Sears' squad at Estoril this month, finishing 19th overall out of 29 runners. "It wasn't my best test but, all things considered, I was pretty happy," said Rice. "The quickest drivers were the guys with a couple of years experience in those cars and David (Sears) seemed to be happy. Those cars are a lot heavier than Atlantics and the F3000 car lacks mid-corner grip. You can't drive it into the corner and coast it in smoothly. It's more of a four-wheel drift.'' Despite apparently being part of the deal between Ganassi and Sears which saw Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian sign for Chip Ganassi Racing, Rice is not necessarily being primed for a CART career: "I do think there's a lot of interest in having an American in F1,'' he said. "I'm just interested in driving the fastest cars in the world. Whether it's CART or F1 doesn't matter.''

 

November 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Rafanelli quits F3000 to expand sportscar involvement Team Rafanelli will race in both the FIA Sports Car Championship and the American Le Mans Series next year after closing down its F3000 squad, the World Racing Team. WRT failed to score any points in its second year in the formula, and thus failed to secure an entry for next year. The other non-qualifying teams, Witmeur KTR and Kid Jensen Racing, would have had priority over WRT if there were not enough new teams to fill the three available entries for next season, meaning WRT's chances of continuing were minimal. According to Autosport, Rafanelli could race Lolas next year in both sportscar series, but engineer Giuseppe Angiulli's Promec chassis is also a possibility. Mimmo Schiatarella and Didier de Radigues have been retained for the ALMS campaign.

 

November 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Pantano to bypass F3000? Despite impressing in recent F3000 testing with Team Astromega, rumours suggest German F3 champion Giorgio Pantano could move directly into F1 next year. According to Alpha F1, reports say the Italian is set to partner Jean Alesi at Prost at the December tests, with a view to joining the team for 2001. Astromega boss Sam Boyle previously named Pantano a "prime candidate" for a seat at the team, but now he could bypass the series.

 

November 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Webber: Benetton is my last F1 chance F3000 rookie of the year Mark Webber believes his signing as test driver for Benetton is his last chance to break into F1. The Aussie told Autosport: "This is my big chance - probably my last chance. It is pretty serious at Benetton with Renault back, and Flavio Briatore and Mike Gascoyne on board. It's good to come in at the foundation of a new era." Benetton will begin testing an updated version of their current car in December before the new model is launched in January. Webber said: "They have stacks of stuff planned in December but I don't know who will be driving. There is plenty of work to be done although Giancarlo Fisichella and Jenson Button will have priority of course." His career received a boost on Saturday (25th) when he received the prestigious Bruce McLaren Award from McLaren boss Ron Dennis at the annual BRDC Awards ceremony at Grosvenor House in London. It was the second time that Webber has won the award which is presented for the most meritorious performance by a Commonwealth driver. Webber said: "It's nice to receive an award from my peers as a way of their acknowledgment of my efforts in 2000. Britain is the home of the international motorsport industry, so to win an award here is very special." Webber begins his work with Benetton this week, flying to Monaco to participate in a four day fitness camp before returning to the UK for a one day test at Silverstone on Friday. He will continue to race in F3000 next season where he is expected to sign for Super Nova.

 

November 28th 2000 - International F3000:

Watt eyeing Peugeot BTCC drive Former F3000 star Jason Watt plans to move into the relaunched British Touring Car Championship next year, after making an impressive racing return this year in the Danish series and in the SportsRacing World Cup. Watt was paralysed from the waist down in a motorbike accident after finishing second in the 1999 F3000 championship, but now the Dane wants a factory seat with Peugeot, the manufacturer he won for this season in Danish Touring Cars. Watt told Autosport: "I've got Peugeot Denmark trying to push for a BTCC drive for me with Peugeot. I think there's a chance it could happen. The BTCC is top of my list. I think the championship is going to pick up in the future and I'd like to be in at the beginning of a new era. I know all the circuits from my Formula Ford days and I'm sure I could be competitive." Peugeot motorsport boss Mick Linford said that drivers would be chosen only once the team has decided how many cars it will run next season.

 

November 26th 2000 - International F3000 / Formula Nippon:

Couto plans Formula Nippon move Andre Couto, winner of the Macau F3 GP, has set his sights on a Formula Nippon drive and a Formula 1 test next season after a disappointing third year in F3000. After the Macau race he told Autosport: "This is a great moment for me after a really bad season in F3000. I didn't achieve the results I wanted and it was a very sad year - the worst of my life. I had problems with my team and the car, which was not the best vehicle for my style of driving. This victory shows that I can win races at the very highest level. Hopefully this will change things for me in the future." The Macanese driver added: "A Formula 1 test is my aim. If I achieve that I would be really happy because I've waited a long time for that opportunity." Couto finished sixth in today's Korean F3 Super Prix (see separate story below).

 

November 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Bernoldi stays loyal to Red Bull; but with Red Bull Junior, Sauber or Minardi? Enrique Bernoldi will remain loyal to Red Bull next year, but is not certain whether he will run in the distinctive blue colour-scheme in F3000 or F1. He could race for Sauber in F1 next year if Kimi Raikkonen is denied a super-licence, but if Raikkonen is allowed to race then Bernoldi will compete with Red Bull Junior for a third year in F3000. Bernoldi has been targeted by Petrobras Junior, but said to Autosport: "It [Petrobras Junior] is a great team and has better results than Red Bull. But we have a good relationship. I have a Red Bull contract and it is my first option. We are improving and growing together and have the potential to fight for the title." But Bernoldi would rather find himself in an F1 car next year: "I have my hopes. I am confident in myself and I trust Red Bull. It depends on them and Sauber." According to a report in Auto, Motor und Sport, Sauber sponsor Red Bull are planning to purchase the crisis-hit Minardi team, reveals AlphaF1, meaning Bernoldi's F1 chance will not necessarily come with Sauber. Red Bull are said to be planning the team change as a result of their disapproval of Sauber's signing of Kimi Raikkonen, in favour of their driver and Sauber tester Bernoldi. The Brazilian would be given a race seat at the team if the move goes ahead. Red Bull would sell their share in the Sauber team (possibly to Petronas) if they decide to buy-out Minardi. Sauber have made no comment on the rumours.

 

November 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Scheld likely to stay at Fortec German driver Andreas Scheld is set to remain at Fortec Motorsport for a second season in F3000 next year, according to Autosport. Scheld suffered a difficult first season without scoring any points, but took second on the road at the Nurburgring after a mature drive where pitstop strategy had a major part to play. He was subsequently disqualified for a minor technical infringement after Coloni, whose driver Fabrizio Gollin finished behind Scheld, protested the result.

 

November 26th 2000 - International F3000:

McGarrity struggles to stay in F3000 Ulsterman Kevin McGarrity faces a fight to continue his F3000 career after his main sponsor withdrew, reveals Autosport. German communications company Mobilcom has pulled out of sponsoring McGarrity's Nordic Racing car after a disappointing year in which he scored points only once, for fourth place in Monaco.

 

November 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Alonso future yet to be decided The future of F3000 sensation Fernando Alonso is unclear at present, despite reports linking him to Ferrari, Prost, Benetton and Minardi in 2001. The Spaniard's manager Adrian Campos denied a deal with Benetton has been done, and said that no contracts would be signed until the future of Minardi is decided. Alonso is currently under contract to Minardi who he has tested for this year. Campos said: "Fernando has become the fashionable boy but he understands [his position] very clearly. He has said that he will wait and see what happens with Minardi, because firstly we must support and respect this team. His priority is for the Italian team to say if they will be in Formula 1 or not. If the answer is yes, then we will have to wait and see under which circumstances this takes place, otherwise, everything will open up. Any decision, however, will be taken with Minardi's consent." Benetton boss Flavio Briatore recently laughed off the story that Alonso had been signed by his team. The Italian said: "Alonso? I don't know anything!"

 

November 26th 2000 - Italian F3000 / Euro F3000:

Sperafico to test Minardi Italian F3000 champion Ricardo Sperafico will test for Minardi at Barcelona on December 12-14th. The Brazilian, a hot favourite for a seat in F3000 at Petrobras Junior, will be joined in the tests by Formula Nissan champion Antonio Garcia. German F3 frontrunner Andre Lotterer will meanwhile test for Jaguar.

 

November 26th 2000 - International F3000:

Couto sixth in Korea Macau Grand Prix winner Andre Couto couldn't match the feat in this weekend's F3 Korean Super Prix. The F3000 veteran struggled in qualifying at the Changwong City Raceway to start 18th, but in the race he fought his way up the order into 6th place. Of the other F3000/F3000 Italia/Formula Nippon drivers, Peter Sundberg was 5th, Tomas Scheckter 7th, Paolo Montin 17th and Alex Yoong 21st. Narain Karthikeyan, returning to his old Carlin Motorsport team for the two showpiece F3 events, won the race from Tiago Monteiro and Gianmaria Bruni.

 

November 21st 2000 - International F3000:

Faulkner tests for Dorricott Euro Formula Audi champion Damien Faulkner tested for top Indy Lights team Dorricott Racing last week, reveals Speedvision. The Irishman, given a prize F3000 drive which he may now forsake for a season in Indy Lights, drove alongside British F3 frontrunner Matt Davies at Buttonwillow Park on 14th-15th November. The two drivers were tested on the road course for driving ability and technical knowledge, and both are in the running for a race seat in the three car squad. Dorricott took the three top positions in the 1999 standings and two of the top three positions this year. Faulkner said of the test: "The hardest thing to get used to was the power a Lights car has coming out of corners. An F3 car has lots of grip but not much power so they are quite driver friendly. I suppose it has similarities to an Atlantic car whereas a Lights car has lots of grunt but not as much grip as I'm accustomed. It was still a tremendously fun car to drive." Faulkner recently tested an F3000 Lola for Kid Jensen Racing, but his future could now be on the other side of the Atlantic. Meanwhile, French F3 driver Romain Dumas, who failed to qualify in his single F3000 race with Oreca in 1999, drove for Eric Bachelart's Conquest Racing team at Buttonwillow Park after the Fontana CART/Indy Lights finale.

 

November 21st 2000 - Euro F3000:

Durango help out in charity auction The Durango Benetton Junior Team were due to take part in a charity auction promoted by the Clay Regazzoni Club in Paullo (near Milan) last Saturday (18th). An F3000 car and a Formula Renault 2000 car were placed on display, while the team donated some F3000 parts and some mechanical gadgets to raise funds for medical research to help paralysed children. The team's F3000 Italia driver Michele Spoldi was in attendance, alongside the team's Italian Formula Renault driver Michele Rugolo (who recently tested one of the teams' Lola T96/50s). Other team members and shareholder Enrico Magro were also guests at the event. Former F1 star Regazzoni was confined to a wheelchair when he crashed his Ensign in the US GP West at Long Beach in 1980. (Source: Durango, translation courtesy of Fred Breton / Woodcote F3000)

 

November 21st 2000 - International F3000:

Alonso to replace Mazzacane? Reports yesterday stated that Fernando Alonso will replace former F3000 no-hoper Gaston Mazzacane at Minardi next year. Chief shareholder Gabriele Rumi has expressed that he is unwilling to release F3000 sensation Alonso to Ferrari or Prost. The 19-year old Spaniard has been approached by Ferrari and recent rumours suggested he could be leased to Prost while carrying out testing duties for the Scuderia. (Source: Alpha F1)

 

November 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Andre Couto, Macau 2000

Couto wins Macau Grand Prix Andre Couto beat the cream of Formula 3 talent to clinch Sunday's Macau Grand Prix in his home province, making up for a dismal F3000 campaign with Gauloises Formula. Driving for Opel Team BSR, the Macanese resisted intense pressure from former F3000 Italia driver Paolo Montin in the second heat to finish first overall. Montin made some passing attempts but his chances were dashed when the safety car was deployed when Robert Lechner crashed. "I feel really, really happy," said Couto. "This is a great result. It was difficult to achieve this, and it is just great. I was leading with Paulo behind me and just concentrated on not making any mistakes. When I saw the Safety Car I thought it wasn't a good moment because the rest of the field could close up, but when I saw the man with the Last Lap board I realised I had won." Montin, like Couto an ex-Italian F3 driver, was happy with his second-place finish: "I am very happy with this result. This second place is the best of the year for me. I don't know if I could have got past him at the end, because I would only have had two more chances to overtake him." Pierre Kaffer won the first heat from Couto, but in the second he dropped back to third behind Ryo Fukuda. Tomas Scheckter was sixth for the Swiss Racing Team, while new Red Bull Junior F3000 signing Patrick Friesacher could only manage tenth.

 

November 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Prost junior team seeks new sponsor Reports in France claim that Prost wants to continue with its junior F3000 team run by Apomatox, despite title sponsor Gauloises pulling out of F1 and almost certainly F3000 as well. The team, renamed from Apomatox in 1999 as Gauloises Formula, are currently seeking a new main sponsor. Sebastien Bourdais is likely to remain with the squad, backing up his comments that he would stay if the team's future was secured. (Source: Fred Breton, Woodcote F3000)

 

November 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Rodriguez family file lawsuit The survivors of former F3000 front-runner Gonzalo Rodriguez filed a lawsuit against CART in the Superior Court of the State of California, County of Monterey, on September 8, 2000. The suit seeks damages of an unspecified amount for negligence and wrongful death, concerning the accident which killed the Uruguayan in practice for his second Champ Car race at Laguna Seca. A full statement can be viewed here. (Source: Autoracing1)

 

November 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Alonso Benetton link played down It has been rumoured that Fernando Alonso has been lured away from the crisis-hit Minardi team by Benetton's Flavio Briatore. However, the rumours have been dismissed as "wide of the mark". Alonso has a five year contract with Minardi, and he has again been linked to a race drive at the team as he is believed to have access to Lease Plan sponsorship which could help the beleagured outfit. Minardi are expected to announce their 2001 plans early this week.

 

November 20th 2000 - International F3000:

Ganassi signings have first taste of oval driving Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian had their first taste of oval running in their first test as Chip Ganassi Racing CART drivers last week. The test, at the Nazareth one-mile oval, had to be delayed for a day due to rain. International F3000 champion Junqueira said: "Being on an oval was very different, but very good. It was exciting. I appreciate the feedback I get from the team. It is only going to help me learn." F3000 runner-up Minassian was also impressed: "Being out here today was a great start. It's a different kind of track - very challenging. I look forward to getting back out there and learning more."

 

November 16th 2000 - Euro F3000:

Fortina forms new CF Motorsport team for Euro F3000 Former Durango sporting director Fabio Fortina and colleague Carlo Canali have set up a new team to compete in Euro F3000 next year. CF Motorsport will be based in Milan, reveals Autosport, but financed from London. Fortina said: "We are finalising our choice of drivers, all of whom have Formula 3 or F3000 experience. Among them are some British drivers."

 

November 16th 2000 - Euro F3000 / International F3000:

Warren Hughes, Arden Team Russia

Arden likely to continue in Euro F3000 Arden Team Russia boss Christian Horner told Autosport it is "very unlikely" they will enter a second team into International F3000 next year. The outfit won a second entry for clinching the F3000 Italia Teams title, but the expense of setting up a second International team is too great. Instead, the team are set to continue to operate their Italian squad in the renamed Euro F3000 series next year.

 

November 16th 2000 - Euro F3000:

van der Linde eyes Euro F3000 move Etienne van der Linde, the 1998 EFDA Euroseries champion, plans to step up to Euro F3000 next season, reveals Autosport. The South African tested for International F3000 team Petrobras Junior at Estoril.

 

November 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Pantano favourite for Astromega seat German F3 champion Giorgio Pantano looks set to sign for Astromega after impressing in testing at Barcelona and Estoril. Team boss Sam Boyle told Autosport: "He is a prime candidate. I have the same feeling about him that I had about Fernando Alonso." The Italian driver's management Team Brask is also keen on the deal, a spokesman saying: "We've got about three options and this is probably the best. We want Giorgio to dovetail F3000 with an F1 testing contract."

 

November 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Witmeur KTR plans to fight on Witmeur KTR want to continue in F3000 next year, despite failing to secure an entry for next year. Team boss and former F3000 front-runner Kurt Mollekens told Autosport: "We haven't given up but it was close. The problem is finding drivers, but by testing at Estoril we showed that we are still there." F3000 race-winner Marc Goossens tested for the Belgian squad at Estoril, finishing 7th overall.

 

November 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Former DAMS drivers heading Stateside? Franck Montagny and David Terrien, DAMS F3000 drivers in 1999-2000 and 1999 respectively, were present at the Champ Car finale at Fontana recently, reveals a source. SportsRacing World Cup champion David Terrien was meeting some Indy Lights contacts, while Montagny was apparently there "just to see". Earlier in the year Montagny was quoted in the French press as saying he was considering a CART move for 2001.

 

November 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Raikkönen and Garcia possibilities at Red Bull Junior Formula Renault 2000 champion Kimi Raikkonen could partner Patrick Friesacher at Red Bull Junior if he fails to win his request for a superlicense to join Sauber in F1. In that event, Enrique Bernoldi would probably step up to the F1 seat, while Raikkonen could race for a season in F3000 or with Manor Motorsport in British F3. However, Red Bull Junior boss Helmut Marko told Autosport: "I'm planning for a season without him [Raikkonen] at the moment." Antonio Garcia, the 2000 Formula Nissan champion, is also being considered for a drive next season according to Autosport. Recent reports in Spain announced the Spaniard had signed a 5-year deal with the Swiss outfit. Marko commented: "Garcia has natural speed but the main problem was that he did not improve his times on new tyres. But his technical feedback was very good."

 

November 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Faulkner to choose Indy Lights over F3000? Euro Formula Palmer Audi driver Damien Faulkner may not take up his prize of a free F3000 season next year, reveals Autosport. No deal has yet been done to run the Irishman, so he may look for a drive in Indy Lights instead. Motoring News recently revealed he was planning to test an Indy Lights chassis for an un-named team.

 

November 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Nordic happy with testing progress Nordic Racing were pleased with the progress of Justin Wilson and new signing Tomas Enge in the official FIA testing at Barcelona and Estoril this month. In Spain Wilson was 2nd quickest, with Enge 5th, while in Portugal Enge was 2nd and Wilson 5th. Nordic team principal Derek Mower said: "We were very pleased with the performance of Justin and Tomas at Barcelona. Tomas settled in quickly and liked the car set-up and was immediately setting quick times, pushing Justin hard. Considering he is new to the team, he showed great promise and was extremely focused on the job at hand. Justin picked up where he left off at the end of the season and to end up second quickest overall reflected this. He responded well to Tomas' speed and this was just what we wanted to see. Neither Tomas or Justin had been to Estoril before, so track familiarisation was all important for them both on the first day. Having done this Justin was quickest on the second morning with Tomas second quickest on exactly the same time to a thousandth of a second. They finished up with Tomas second quickest overall and Justin fifth. Justin achieved this while suffering bad cramps, having picked up a bug in Estoril. This finished the season on a high as the next testing will take place at the start of 2001, and left the team feeling optimistic about the forthcoming season."

 

November 16th 2000 - Formula Nippon / International F3000:

Coronel and Albers to test DTM Merc 1999 Formula Nippon champion Tom Coronel and F3000 driver Christijan Albers are set to test a factory DTM Mercedes CLK, the former with an eye to moving into the category in 2001. A Mercedes spokesman claimed the Dutchmen's tests held "no special meaning", but Coronel told Autosport: "We'll see what happens. I'd like to race in this kind of professional category and I think it would suit me."

 

November 16th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Yoong hoping for better 2001 Malaysia's Alex Yoong is confident of improving on his disappointing Formula Nippon season next year. For a second season he will race for the Team Malaysia by Le Mans outfit, a secondary Team Le Mans squad. This year he failed to score any points, a surprise considering the potential he showed in Italian F3000 and International F3000 with Monaco Motorsport in 1999. In the final round at Suzuka earlier this month, Yoong retired with a gearbox failure. He told Crash.net: "What happened in this race, and round nine at Fuji when my brake master pump failed, is a result of the old car that I have. The chassis is the 1999 car of [Satoshi] Motoyama which had been repaired after an accident this year. My team has worked very hard this year and I do not blame them at all. In fact, if not for the accidents I had early in the season, we would have had a new 2000 chassis, which would have ensured better reliability. With the Formula Nippon season behind me now, I've got to look forward to the Macau and Korea [Formula 3] GPs to put in a good performance. After that, a completely new car for a strong bid for 2001 Formula Nippon championship will be tops in my mind. I would like to thank Team Malaysia, LeMans Co., Japan Race Promotions, the Government of Malaysia and all the sponsors and fans for their tremendous support this year. With the experience I have gained, I am looking forward to a much better season in 2001 to justify this support."

 

November 16th 2000 - International F3000:

Sears planning CART move? Rumours in Europe suggest Super Nova boss David Sears is considering a move into CART in the future, according to Autoracing1. He was quoted in Autosport recently as saying: "Everyone likes a new challenge, but unless I can move up to a higher level and be able to win, I would rather carry on doing this [F3000] properly." Rumour has it that at the Fontana Champ Car finale, Sears was not only there to oversee Chip Ganassi's signing of his two drivers, but also to become familiar with the Champ Car scene. It has become almost impossible for teams to graduate to F1 now, since manufacturer involvement is considered essential in order to compete and grid sizes have been limited by the FIA. A move into the CART championship which is expanding globally could be the only option for teams like Super Nova.

 

November 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Major hope for Alonso and Bernoldi as Raikkönen bid falters Sources close to the FIA claim it is "very unlikely indeed" that Formula Renault 2000 champion Kimi Raikkonen will be granted a superlicense to compete for Sauber in F1 next year. If he isn't, F3000 frontrunners Fernando Alonso and Enrique Bernoldi will be ready to fill his place at the Swiss squad. The F1 Commission will make the final decision when they meet on December 7th, but FIA President Max Mosley has already voiced his concern that Raikkonen would be bypassing F3 and F3000, crucial steps on the ladder in his opinion. FIA rules require a proven record of achievement in F3000, CART or the Indy Racing League or victory in a national F3 championship for a driver to qualify for a superlicense. Alan Henry claims that Fernando Alonso, 4th in F3000 this season, would be the likely candidate if Raikkonen fails to earn a superlicense. The Spaniard is currently considering approaches from Minardi, Prost and Ferrari, but he was linked to Sauber earlier in the year. Alternatively Sauber's test driver for this season, Enrique Bernoldi, could race for the team. Alonso appears to have three realistic chances of racing in F1 next season. Today it was revealed that Marc Gene looks to have cemented a deal to become the Williams F1 test driver, leaving a vacant berth at Minardi. Alonso could move to the Italian team, or if he becomes Ferrari test driver as rumoured he could race for Prost for one season, although it was said to be highly unlikely that he will race for the French team. A seat at Sauber would appear ideal if Ferrari continue to show their interest and can buy-out his Minardi contract. Like Prost, Sauber use Ferrari engines and could make an agreement with Ferrari to run the 19-year old Spaniard for a season while he carries out testing duties for the Scuderia. Alonso could then race for Ferrari in 2002 in place of Rubens Barrichello, according to the rumours. (Source: Speedvision)

 

November 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Webber to race in F3000 and test for Benetton F3000 rookie of the year Mark Webber has signed a deal with Benetton to become their new F1 test driver. As part of the deal, the Australian will combine his testing duties with a second season of F3000. This is likely to be with the Playlife-sponsored Super Nova team, backed up by comments from Flavio Briatore, although which team he will race for hasn't yet been announced. Benetton managing director Briatore said: "When Webber tested the B200 this year we were impressed by his attitude and skill. I'm happy we can give him the opportunity to develop his F1 experience as well as give him the chance to race in F3000." Webber, 24, was third in this year's F3000 championship with European Arrows, winning in the wet at Silverstone. He was pleased with the deal: "I'm very excited to have such a great opportunity ahead of me next year and to be linking up with two of the most respected names in F1, Benetton and Renault. It is a great opportunity for me to get some mileage and experience in an F1 car and I can learn a lot from working with a top team. I'm also delighted that I can race next year in F3000 so I can keep my racing skills honed." He added: "I really enjoyed the testing at Estoril and working with the team. They were all very supportive of what I was trying to achieve and have been great ever since. I think we've struck up a good rapport already, but I'm looking to build upon it further and to providing genuine back-up to Giancarlo, Jenson and the engineers next season. I'm very excited to have such a great opportunity ahead of me next year and to be linking with two of the most respected names in Formula One, Benetton and Renault. It's a great opportunity for me to get some mileage and experience in a Formula One car and I can learn a lot from working with a top team. With the manufacturers now so heavily involved in Formula One and the testing schedules, the development of the cars is so intense that the race drivers just can't do it all, so they are looking for a reliable third man. I already have a good relationship with the team, and over the winter and into next year they can rely on me and I can rely on them developing the car and going forward."

 

November 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Max Wilson in the Sigma Lola, last Friday

Wilson gives Sigma Champ Car first run Last Friday the new Sigma Champ Car team had its first shakedown test since it was formed, with 2001 driver Max Wilson at the wheel. The test on the Route 66 track apparently went well. Autoracing1 has a special 20-photo pictorial story. Wilson competed in F3000 for three years, with Edenbridge in 1997 and 1998 and with Petrobras Junior in 1999. His best season was 1997 when he was fifth overall, but last year he suffered disappointment, being overshadowed by team-mate Bruno Junqueira (who denied him his elusive first win at Hockenheim) and banned for a race after a collision with Norberto Fontana at the Hungaroring.

 

November 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Hill "in good shape to land a strong ride" for 2001 After testing at Barcelona and Estoril recently, Derek Hill is confident of securing a top drive for next season. The F3000 Italia driver said: "Working with the three teams, Kid Jensen Racing, DAMS and Petrobras Junior Team, has been a great experience. Each team had it's own way of working and I was able to learn a lot from each one. Now it is a matter of getting signed up with the best team we can. It is very difficult to get into one of the top teams for a first season in F3000. The Championship is one of the toughest in the world and the teams all want experienced F3000 drivers to go for the Championship. But we are talking to all the right people and are in good shape to land a strong ride for next season. I feel that I have paid my dues here in Europe. F3000 is now recognized as the hardest championship there is for drivers. I can't wait to be on the grid in Brazil next year for the first race." (Source: Derek Hill)

 

November 14th 2000 - International F3000:

Super Nova set to reveal 2001 "dream team" Super Nova are expected to reveal their 2001 drivers soon. After the Estoril testing last week, where Bas Leinders and Buddy Rice were among those driving the team's silver cars, team boss David Sears said: "Both drivers will be waiting anxiously in the next few days along with many others while Super Nova Racing decides on the dream team for 2001." Newly signed Benetton test driver Mark Webber is strongly tipped to fill one seat, while Rice could fill the other, although there appear to be a number of Europeans in contention as well. Previous reports claimed one of the team's drivers had to be French or German speaking in order to meet sponsors' requirements, meaning regular driver David Saelens could be in with a chance along with fellow Belgian Leinders. Leinders commented after the second day of testing: "We managed to improve the car more to my liking which was also reflected in my times this morning. In the morning I hadn't yet found the exact limits of the car but we were getting very close. We went out a bit early on my first set of tyres because a few of the corners were still damp [both test days started with a damp track], so we lost some tenths there but overall I am very happy with the test. I think this is definitely a car to win races." Toyota Atlantic champion Rice added: "The cars are quite good, there is a bit of a power difference to the cars that I have been driving in the States. They have good driveability with bigger motors. The tracks are also a little quicker and smoother. We had a brake problem this morning so I did not use any new tyres in the morning session, but once that was sorted out the car felt much better." Next year's driver/team line-ups are expected to fall into place at a greater pace once Sear's top teams, Super Nova and Petrobras Junior, confirm their drivers.

 

November 14th 2000 - Euro F3000:

Euro F3000 test update Testing for Draco at the Euro F3000 / F3000 Italia tests in Valencia last week was Nicky Pastorelli, who was third overall in Dutch Formula Arcobaleno this year, a junior category using motorcycle engine-powered cars. Thanks to WJ of F3000 Today for supplying this information. Times are here.

 

November 11th 2000 - International F3000:

More timings from Estoril The Estoril official testing times from last week have been updated here with day 1 (morning), day 2 (morning and afternoon) and overall (aggregate day 1 & 2) times, courtesy of Astromega. Enrique Bernoldi was fastest overall at the Portuguese former F1 circuit from Tomas Enge, Patrick Friesacher, Darren Manning and Justin Wilson.

 

November 10th 2000 - Euro F3000:

Massa on top again in Valencia testing Brazilian newcomer Felipe Massa again topped the times on day 2 of Euro F3000 / F3000 Italia testing at Valencia. Driving for Draco, he improved his Thursday time to 1:25.155. "Babalus" was second quickest overall in the tests, also for Draco, with Rafael Sarandeses third for the new Adrian Campos Motorsport team. Italy's Matteo Bobbi, 11th in Formula Nissan this year, also tested with the Spanish team of the ex-F1 driver. Bobbi tested an F1 Minardi earlier in the year. Durango also tried out their Italian Formula Renault driver Michele Rugolo. Updated times are here.

 

November 10th 2000 - International F3000:

Red Bull Junior test at Valencia International F3000 squad Red Bull Junior joined the Euro F3000 tests at Valencia, Spain, today (Friday). Patrick Friesacher set a time of 1:24.453, while Antonio Garcia was close behind on 1:24.542. Both were faster than Felipe Massa (1:25.155), the quickest of the Euro F3000 / F3000 Italia field in the older Lola T96/50.

 

November 10th 2000 - International F3000:

Alonso Prost seat unlikely; but Ferrari deal could happen Sources claim that Fernando Alonso's potential move to Ferrari as test driver next year will not lead to a race seat at Prost, according to Autosport online. Prost is expected to sign Pedro Diniz to partner Jean Alesi. Alonso played down yesterday's story, but it is clear Ferrari are interested in the young Spanish star: "The only certainty is that there have been contacts with Ferrari, just as other teams have called my manager and Minardi to ask for information about my contract. I have a contract with Minardi, so it is clear that if Ferrari wants me, they have to come to an agreement." If Alonso signs for Ferrari he will join Luca Badoer, 1992 F3000 champion, as a test driver. Yesterday's report in the Gazzeta dello Sport claims Alonso would be set to replace Rubens Barrichello in a race seat in 2002. Alonso's successful 2000 season in F3000 with Astromega saw him win the final round at Spa, arguably the greatest circuit in the world. The fact that he finished fourth in the standings in only his second season of car racing has made him a hot property in a strong crop of drivers otherwise largely ignored by the F1 fraternity.

 

November 9th 2000 - International F3000:

Fernando Alonso

Alonso to Ferrari! - Spaniard set to race Prost in 2001 The prestigious Italian sports paper Gazzeta dello Sport has revealed Jean Todt is in negotiations with Minardi to free Fernando Alonso of his contract, in order to run him as a Ferrari test driver in 2001. He would then be set to replace Rubens Barrichello in the team's second race seat in 2002. Barrichello's contract expires at the end of next season. Todt reportedly wants to place 19-year old Alonso in the Prost team for next year, a deal that would be facilitated by the fact Ferrari will be supplying engines to the French squad. Spain's Alonso, fourth in F3000 with Astromega this year, was quoted as saying he was pleased with the news. Todt claimed he wants Alonso to be the successor of Michael Schumacher when the German three-time World Champion retires. The Gazzeta report also claimed that Telefonica may keep their links with Alonso to support him at Prost next year, bringing much-needed sponsorship to the beleaguered team. Many thanks to reader Jose Ramon Galan for supplying this breakthrough story.

 

November 9th 2000 - Euro F3000:

Massa quickest in Valencia testing F3000 newcomer Felipe Massa was quickest in day 1 of the first official winter tests of F3000 Italia / Euro F3000 in Valencia Spain, today. The Brazilian, a sensation in the Formula Renault Eurocup, set a time of 1:25.375 for Draco Racing, almost a second quicker than the second-placed Gabriele Gardel (GP Racing). Among the other runners was Cyrille Sauvage making an F3000 return with GP Racing, while Durango were third and fourth with Gabriele Lancieri and Joao de Oliviera. Times are here.

 

November 9th 2000 - Euro F3000:

Adrian Campos Motorsport make F3000 debut Top Formula Nissan team Adrian Campos Motorsport made their debut in F3000 at today's Valencia Euro F3000 / F3000 Italia tests. The team, which has won every Formula Nissan title with Marc Gene, Fernando Alonso and Antonio Garcia, ran Formula Nissan driver and former F3000 Italia driver Rafael Sarandeses. The Spaniard was sixth in today's test.

 

November 9th 2000 - International F3000:

Estoril day 2 times updated Full times for day 2 of the Estoril tests have been added here. Buddy Rice finally made his F3000 debut, but was 19th for Super Nova after finding it difficult to adapt to the Lola B99/50 he described as "a bit loose at the back-end". Toyota Atlantic champion Rice told Autosport online: "There's a bit of a power difference to the cars that I have been driving in the States. We had a brake problem in the morning so I did not use any new tyres in the morning session, but once that was sorted out the car felt much better." Amongst the drivers being tried out Gianmaria Bruni drove for Coloni, Marc Goossens for Witmeur KTR, Jean-Christophe Ravier for Petrobras Junior, Gabriele Varano for Gauloises Formula, Andre Lotterer for Astromega, Jonathan Cochet for Kid Jensen Racing, Giuseppe Burlotti for Coloni, Aldo Piedade for Petrobas Junior, Bruce Jouanny for DAMS, Justin Keen and Nicolas Filiberti for Astromega.

 

November 9th 2000 - International F3000:

Patrick Friesacher testing at Barcelona

Friesacher signs for Red Bull German F3 front-runner Patrick Friesacher has signed to race for Red Bull Junior next year, according to Autosport. The Austrian competed for the Red Bull sponsored Bertram Schafer Racing in German F3 this season, taking two wins. He has impressed Red Bull Junior in testing at Barcelona (left) and Estoril. Team boss Helmut Marko stated that he thought wins in 2001 may be difficult due to the high level of competition, but hopes Friesacher can score points and podiums. Enrique Bernoldi is expected to remain at the team next year for a third season, although his participation depends on whether Kimi Räikkönen is granted a super-licence to compete for Sauber in F1. If the Finn fails in his bid, 2000 Sauber tester Bernoldi looks to be the likely alternative. Red Bull Junior have reportedly struck a deal with Spain's Formula Nissan champion Antonio Garcia (see news, 7th November), but his future is unclear at the moment.

 

November 9th 2000 - International F3000:

Pizzonia and Sperafico "favourites" for Petrobras seats Petrobras Junior could sign two reigning champions next year, with Autosport claiming Antonio Pizzonia and Ricardo Sperafico look to be the favourites to land the highly prized seats at Petrobras Junior for 2001. British F3 champion Pizzonia and F3000 Italia champion Sperafico were outpaced by the more experienced Mario Haberfeld in testing at Barcelona, but look likely bets to fill the seats in the team which took Bruno Junqueira to this year's championship.

 

November 9th 2000 - International F3000:

Coke set to back Euro FPA car Nordic Racing sponsor Coca-Cola could back an entry in Euro Formula Palmer Audi next season, reveals Autosport. The company has decided to sponsor the car of Czech driver Jaroslav Janis in this year's Winter Series. The deal came about as German Formula Ford graduate Janis is managed by the same team as Nordic driver and fellow Czech Tomas Enge.

 

November 9th 2000 - International F3000:

F3000 runners to race at Macau As has become the tradition, a number of F3000, F3000 Italia and Formula Nippon drivers are to step down to F3 for this year's prestigious Macau Grand Prix. Among the runners will be Tomas Scheckter, Andre Couto, Paolo Montin and Alex Yoong.

 

November 9th 2000 - International F3000:

Faulkner testing for Kid Jensen Racing Ireland's Damien Faulkner was due to be testing with Kid Jensen Racing at Estoril this week. Faulkner has won a fully-funded season in F3000 next year for taking the Euro Formula Palmer Audi title. There is no word yet on which team he will drive for. Motoring News claims he will also be testing for an unnamed Indy Lights team soon.

 

November 8th 2000 - International F3000:

Estoril Days 1 & 2: Bernoldi fastest Enrique Bernoldi continued his Barcelona form by topping the times on days 1 and 2 of official FIA testing at Estoril yesterday and today (Wednesday). Darren Manning has also been on the pace again, despite a gearbox problem limiting his running in the afternoon today. German F3 graduate Patrick Friesacher has also impressed with Red Bull Junior. Ex-McLaren, Witmeur KTR and Kid Jensen Racing pilot Bas Leinders joined French F3 champion Jonathan Cochet at Super Nova. Team boss David Sears told Autosport online: "Bas impressed the team with his technical feedback and thouroughly enjoyed his test." Buddy Rice, who has been with Super Nova since Barcelona testing last week, was finally due to have his first run today. The top 6 times (from BBC Ceefax) were: DAY 1:- 1. Enrique Bernoldi (BR) (Red Bull Junior) 1:28.9; 2. Darren Manning (GB) (Arden Team Russia) 1:29.3; 3. Sebastien Bourdais (F) (Gauloises Formula) 1:29.4; 4. Patrick Friesacher (A) (Red Bull Junior) 1:29.6; 5. Bas Leinders (B) (Super Nova) 1:29.7; 6. Christijan Albers (NL) (European Arrows) 1:29.8. DAY 2:- 1. Enrique Bernoldi (BR) (Red Bull Junior) 1:29.09; 2. Tomas Enge (CZ) (Nordic Racing) 1:29.17; 3. Patrick Friesacher (A) (Red Bull Junior) 1:29.28; 4. Darren Manning (GB) (Arden Team Russia) 1:29.32; 5. Justin Wilson (GB) (Nordic Racing) 1:29.38; 6. Sebastien Bourdais (F) (Gauloises Formula) 1:29.46. More times can be found here.

 

November 8th 2000 - International F3000:

Further update to Barcelona times: Hynes didn't drive There has been another update to the Barcelona testing times from last week (Nov 1st/2nd), thanks to the Astromega website. Marc Hynes did not drive, despite his name appearing on the timesheets. In position 22 on day 1 was in fact Kristian Kolby again, the Dane driving both DAMS cars. Times are here.

 

November 8th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Krumm to test for PRG Formula Nissan runner-up Michael Krumm is looking increasingly likely to move into CART next year. Autoracing1 spoke to Andreas Leberle who confirmed the PRG team want the German for 2001. He will test for the outfit alongside Luiz Garcia Jr. Krumm's chance depends on whether the team can secure enough sponsorship to run two cars.

 

November 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Antonio Garcia

Garcia in Red Bull Junior deal New Formula Nissan champion Antonio Garcia has signed a five-year deal with Helmut Marko's Red Bull Junior team according today's Spanish press, reveals reader Jose Ramon Galan. Apparently this is not a guarantee that the Spaniard will be driving for the team in 2001, although it is a distinct possibility. Garcia tested for Red Bull Junior at Barcelona last week, and was due to continue testing at Estoril this week. After clinching the Open Telefonica by Nissan title at Valencia on Sunday, Garcia said: "I am the happiest man on Earth. The 2001 season starts for me tomorrow, with the F3000 tests at Estoril. [Patrice] Gay's work today in the second race was fantastic. I have achieved a goal that I set three years ago." Team-mate Gay conceded the lead to Garcia in the second race. Garcia won the title for Adrian Campos Motorsport with a win and a second place. He was previously expected to move up with the team into F3000 Italia (now Euro F3000) next year. Giuseppe Burlotti was second overall in the Formula Nissan standings from ex-F3000 driver Rui Aguas and Angel Burgueno. Garcia, following in the footsteps of Marc Gene and Fernando Alonso, now posesses a super-licence and will have his first taste of F1 when he tests a Minardi in December.

 

November 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Manning/Hughes/Maslov - Arden Team Russia's Barcelona line-up

Barcelona test times updated Full times from day 2 of last week's FIA Barcelona tests have been added here, courtesy of Nicolas Korzan / www.formula1.inode.es/ . New faces of note on the second day included Etienne van der Linde, the South African driving for Kid Jensen Racing along with Formula Nissan driver Jean-Christophe Ravier. F3000 Italia runner-up Warren Hughes (left centre) had a run for Arden's International squad. At Coloni both Marco Cioci and Marco Zadra drove. Euro Formula Palmer Audi driver Cioci earlier made his F3000 debut in this year's F3000 Italia finale for First GP. In other testing news, Antonio Garcia was due to test again at Estoril this week, news thanks to Jose Ramon Galan.

 

November 7th 2000 - International F3000:

Sauber could look to F3000 field if Räikkönen can't race Formula Renault 2000 champion Kimi Räikkönen today (Tuesday) signed for Sauber, according to Alpha F1. The Finn will partner Nick Heidfeld provided he is granted a super-licence, but if he does not get one Sauber will reportedly choose an alternative driver from F3000 while keeping Räikkönen as a test-driver. Current tester Enrique Bernoldi would be a likely choice, although Fernando Alonso is also available as his F1 chances with Minardi and Prost appear to have fallen through. Alonso had already been linked as a possibility at the team. Max Mosley yesterday objected to the granting of a super-licence to Räikkönen, but the final decision will be taken by the F1 Commission.

 

November 5th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Motoyama win ends PIAA Nakajima domination Satoshi Motoyama won the final Formula Nippon round of 2000 from pole today at Suzuka. The win prevented PIAA Nakajima Racing from taking a clean-sweep of wins through the season, with champion Toranosuke Takagi finishing second - the first time since round 3 that the ex-F1 driver failed to win a race. Although Impul's Motoyama won the race, he was beaten to second in the championship by Michael Krumm (5Zigen) who took fourth in the race. Tsugio Matsuda (PIAA Nakajima) was third, Hideki Noda (Le Mans) fifth and Juichi Wakisaka (ARTA) sixth. Former British F3 champion Ralph Firman's dismal season in the Morinaga Nova G-Force came to an end with another retirement. Ex-F3000/F3000 Italia driver Alex Yoong also failed to finish. Race positions have been added here. For full results and a report when available, visit the official site.

 

November 4th 2000 - Formula Nippon:

Motoyama on pole at Suzuka Former champion Satoshi Motoyama took his second pole position of the season at Suzuka today for tomorrow's final Formula Nippon round. The Impul driver will share the front row with champion Toranosuke Takagi (PIAA Nakajima), who is set to compete in Champ Cars next year. Third on the grid is Takagi's team-mate Tsugio Matsuda, fourth Michael Krumm (5Zigen), fifth Naoki Hattori (5Zigen) and sixth Shinsuke Shibahara (Leyjun). Second place in the drivers' championship will be decided tomorrow. With 10 points available for the win, Krumm is currently on 32, ahead of Motoyama with 24 and Matsuda with 23. The teams' title has already been wrapped up by PIAA Nakajima. Qualifying positions have been added here. For full times visit the official site.

 

November 3rd 2000 - International F3000:

Giorgio Pantano in Astromega Lola, Barcelona

Barcelona testing day 2: Bernoldi on top form; Pantano impresses Red Bull Junior driver Enrique Bernoldi again set the pace in the final day of FIA F3000 testing at Barcelona yesterday. He improved on his Wednesday time of 1:31.929 to set the fastest time of the two-day session with 1:31.783. Bernoldi ran well in the race at Circuit de Catalunya this season, and was set to win until a tyre problem forced him to drop down the field. Justin Wilson was second overall (1:32.245) for Nordic. He told Autosport online: "Bernoldi was quick this year so I always expected him to be a contender. I'm going to keep working away and it's encouraging that my car is very consistent - I ran five laps under 1m32.5s. He did his quickest lap of 1m31.7s, then a 32.7s and then he couldn't get back into the 32s at all." Darren Manning was third for Arden (1:32.291) and said: "Decent testing is hard at Barcelona because the tyres are only good for one or two fast laps and then they go off rapidly. We were pleased with the car as it was improved over the race earlier this year and on used tyres I was consistently quick and trading times with Bernoldi." The second day of the test was overcast and interrupted by showers. As a result, most teams sat out the afternoon session until the final 20 minutes when the track was drying. Derek Hill, continuing his preparation for a season in International F3000 by switching to DAMS, set 3rd fastest time in the tricky afternoon conditions. He said: "We have learnt a lot here and worked really well with both KJR and DAMS. The final run with DAMS on Thursday afternoon was very good, I put together a strong lap and we ended the day in third spot - which I am very pleased with. Next week we have the final test in Estoril with the Petrobras Team, and I am really looking forward to this as I know the circuit and should go very well there." Formula Nissan series leader Antonio Garcia tested for the Red Bull Junior team yesterday. The Spaniard, previously expected to race in Euro F3000 (formerly F3000 Italia) with Adrian Campos Motorsport next year, set a time of 1:33.531, completing 48 laps. Giorgio Pantano (above left), the newly crowned German F3 champion, impressed with Astromega, topping the afternoon times. He outpaced British F3 champion Antonio Pizzonia, continuing to test for Petrobras Junior. One of Pantano's F3 rivals, fellow Italian Enrico Toccacelo, impressed on his second day with Coloni (1:32.592). Meanwhile French F3 champion Jonathan Cochet tested for Super Nova. Available times are here.

 

November 3rd 2000 - International F3000:

Langhorne seeking F3000 seat America's Will Langhorne revealed in an article that he is looking for a drive in F3000 next year after testing for Super Nova at Estoril last week. Langhorne has been driving in Toyota Atlantics for the past two seasons for Active Motorsports, and has previously competed in Europe in Formula Vauxhall and European Formula Ford. He tested for Super Nova for a full day, completing 150 miles. Langhorne said: "David Sears has given me a great opportunity to test with one of the best teams in F3000 and I am very appreciative for the opportunity. The car was fantastic to drive. It was a little slower in the corners than the Atlantic car but quicker down the straights. Much like an Indy Lights car." He admitted he struggled to adapt his driving style for the F3000 machinery: "I am a left foot braker and was forced to use my right foot for the test. This was uncomfortable for me under braking for most of the test. I will either have to retrain my right foot or figure out a way to use my left." He added: "It was a great opportunity to test on one of the great circuits that Formula One has raced at. I watched the tapes from the F1 races before I came and there are now some great improvements to the circuit." Langhorne could join Buddy Rice as one of two Atlantics graduates possibly joining the F3000 field in 2001: "I was very happy with my first test in the F3000 car. I am hard at work and optimistic that I will find an opportunity to race there next year."

 

November 3rd 2000 - International F3000:

No Super Nova testing for Webber Mark Webber still looks certain to sign for Super Nova, despite not testing for the team. The Australian was in Barcelona watching the test but did not take part. His manager Ann Neale told Hot Open Wheelers: "...he is under contract to European Formula Racing until the end of the year. Super Nova isn't bothered about Mark not testing as they feel they don't need to test him anyway and rather can use the opportunity to test and assess other drivers for the team line-up".

 

November 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Stephane Sarrazin, Monaco 2000

MCLAREN QUIT F3000 McLaren have canned their F3000 operation after three years of competition, reveals Autosport. The decision was made last Friday, but no official reason for pulling out was given. The future of the team had been in jeopardy since director David Brown left to join Jordan's F1 team. McLaren had been planning to test Fernando Alonso, Enrique Bernoldi, Antonio Pizzonia, Takuma Sato and Giorgio Pantano, but did not attend this week's Barcelona tests and were also absent from recent testing at Jerez and Estoril. It has emerged that British F3 team Carlin Motorsport, which took Sato to third in the championship, was involved in negotiations to buy the team and continue with the same team members, but these fell through at the end of last week. McLaren were a major force in their first two years of F3000, with Nick Heidfeld finishing as runner-up to Juan Pablo Montoya in 1998 and winning the title in 1999. This year they had less success, letting go Stephane Sarrazin mid-season as his predicted title challenge failed to materialise, and winning just one race at Hockenheim with Tomas Enge.

 

November 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Teams banned from selling 2001 entries International F3000 teams cannot sell their 2001 championship entries after a new rule was introduced by the FIA. The top 12 teams in this year's series each earned an automatic entry for 2001, but now they are banned from selling it. They can sell their team and their equipment, but the purchasing team will not be guaranteed a place on the grid next year. They will be treated as "new teams" and will have to be vetted by the FIA before being granted an entry. Last year, three teams - Coloni, Arden and Red Bull Junior - could only continue into 2000 after purchasing the entries of other teams. With McLaren quitting F3000 (see story above) there are now four potential slots for new teams, or returning teams which failed to earn an entry in 2000, available for next year. Arden Team Russia has first priority on one of these having won the Italian F3000 Teams' title, although it remains to be seen whether the team will field two squads in 2001.

 

November 2nd 2000 - International F3000:

Petrobras Junior test line-up for Estoril Amongst the drivers to test for Petrobras Junior at Estoril next week will be Etienne van der Linde, Aldo Piedade, Derek Hill and Formula Nissan driver Jean-Christophe Ravier, according to Motoring News. In other testing news, American Will Langhorne tested for Super Nova at Estoril last week. See exclusive photos at www.F3000.com.

 

November 1st 2000 - International F3000:

Bernoldi tops Barcelona testing Day 1 Enrique Bernoldi was fastest of 26 drivers taking part in the first day of official FIA F3000 testing at Barcelona today. Driving for regular team Red Bull Junior, the Brazilian set a time of 1:31.929 in the morning. Jeffrey van Hooydonk was second, testing for Coloni, while Christijan Albers was third with regular team European Arrows. Darren Manning continued his strong form with fourth for Arden Team Russia, ahead of German F3 driver Patrick Friesacher. The Austrian was testing for Red Bull Junior, the team he planned to race for in the cancelled Autumn Cup. Amongst the other runners: Testing for Petrobras Junior was F3000 Italia champion Ricardo Sperafico and Mario Haberfeld. Stefan Mücke continued testing with Super Nova, joined by Gabriele Varano and regular driver David Saelens. French F3 champion Jonathan Cochet was 13th with Kid Jensen Racing, ahead of German F3 champion Giorgio Pantano at Astromega. Ananda Mikola and Formula Holden runner-up Christian Murchison also tested for the Belgian team. German F3 front-runner Enrico Toccacelo drove for Coloni along with Andrea Piccini, while Joel Camathias tested with Fortec. DAMS ran Kristian Kolby, under contract for next year, and Sascha Bert. Marc Hynes, the 1999 British F3 champion, also returned to test an F3000 car, his team yet to be identified. Buddy Rice did not test for Super Nova today, but is set to tomorrow before rejoining the team at the Estoril tests on the 11th and 12th November. Antonio Pizzonia is expected to test for Petrobras Junior again tomorrow, the final day of the two-day testing. Full times available here.

 

November 1st 2000 - International F3000:

McLaren doubts grow The future of the McLaren F3000 team looks to be in real threat with the absence of the team from official Barcelona testing today. Ron Dennis had previously declared the team's chances of returning in 2001 "60/40" against, and the team were conspicuous by their absence in Spain. They also failed to appear in unofficial testing at Jerez and Estoril recently. Every other team, bar Witmeur KTR and World Racing Team (WRT), competed at the Circuit de Catalunya today. Witmeur KTR may be granted a reprieve to continue in 2001 after finishing outside the top 12 teams this year. WRT on the other hand scored 0 points to Witmeur KTR's 3, and the Rafanelli squad's chances of acquiring an entry for next year are minimal.

 

November 1st 2000 - International F3000:

"Surprises in store" at Super Nova; "All will be revealed by next week" Super Nova boss David Sears said: "We're looking at a few drivers for next year." at Fontana last Friday (27th), and added: "We could have a few surprises in store." In a question and answer session on Autosport online today he was asked how close he was to finalising his drivers for next year, and responded: "Well that's hopefully what we're going to find out over the next few days during these tests. All will be revealed by next week..." Buddy Rice is tipped to race for the team next year, and will run at the Barcelona (tomorrow) and Estoril tests. Sears said: "He's coming over to Barcelona to test for us this week and then he'll test for us again in Estoril next week. We'll see how he gets on. I think he's been overlooked by a few people and Chip would like to see him over here for a couple of years, but we'll see how he goes." Rice tested Chip Ganassi Racing's Champ Car at Firebird in September, an event which led to the apparent agreement between Sears and Ganassi to give him the F3000 test. Sears was asked about his two F3000 teams' new role as a feeder for CART, Chip Ganassi Racing in particular: "Well it's never a good idea to put all of your eggs in one basket, but really I think it's a good idea to have good relationships with good teams. We've got good relationships with Williams and Benetton and other people in F1 as well. That's a very important part of our finishing school or 'Open University' operation that we've got going." Ganassi recently suggested Rice was never really in with a shot for a 2001 Champ Car ride when he said: "I think it's fair to Buddy and, for that matter Casey [Mears, who finished fourth on his debut with Rahal at Fontana] benefitted from their test with us. I don't think it's a secret that Buddy...Buddy is headed for a test in Formula 3000 with David Sears. Maybe he wasn't NOT chosen at that test [at Firebird]." Sears' two season 2000 rivals Bruno Junqueira and Nicolas Minassian instead got the Ganassi drives for 2001.

 

November 1st 2000 - Euro F3000:

F1 Superlicence kudos given to Euro F3000 The champion of the new Euro F3000 series will be given a Superlicence, enabling them to compete in F1, according to Prorace, translation courtesy of Fred Breton. The FIA were impressed enough with F3000 Italia in its first two years to grant it its new FIA designation. Between 24 and 30 drivers will now be allowed to compete next year. In other Euro F3000/F3000 Italia news, the Bologna Motorshow F3000 sprint will again be held for F3000 Italia cars and drivers. Entrants will be selected by promoter International Promotions for the annual event on 11th December.

 

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