According to the FIA this year’s Portuguese GP at Estoril on October 26th has been replaced by the reserve race at Jerez which will be renamed the European GP. This is because they doubt that repairs at the track will be ready in time for the season finale.
According to the Portuguese race authorities the repairs will be finished and the Estoril track will host a GP this year on November 9th. This would have to be an extra (18th) race as the contested event at Estoril was to have been the season closer. The additional 18th race would have to be put before FOCA for approval.
Only time will tell…
In a quick game of musical chairs before the Spanish GP Nicola Larini and Gianni Morbidelli have traded places. Morbidelli, formerly the test driver at Ferrari has been given the #2 seat at Sauber whilst Larini who had that seat for the first 5 races of the year moves back to his former job at Ferrari.
Vincenzo Sospiri has since moved to the Indy Racing League (IRL) in America where he qualified in 3rd place for this year’s Indy 500. On the outside front row of the grid he was both the fastest rookie and the fastest non exempt entrant.
As a footnote to the earlier story the Lola Ford Formula 1 team has since been wound up and is currently in the hands of Lola’s bank who are trying to recover some of the funds which Lola pumped into the project to keep it afloat after the failure of their original sponsorship deal.
After what must be the shortest comeback in the history of Formula 1 the Lola-Ford team packed up and went home before the Brazilian GP announcing that they were withdrawing for the rest of the year.
Having failed to qualify either of their cars for the first race of the year in Melbourne and amidst rumours of trouble with sponsors they have departed without turning a single racing lap. This must be a bitter disappointment for Lola who had plans to build their own engine for next year and become only the second current F1 team — Ferrari of course being the first — to provide their own entire car.
It was certainly a shock for Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset who apparently found out that they were without a ride after reading it in the newspaper.