The number of entries for the World Championship series has, as anticipated last year, reached unprecedented levels in response to the new 31/2-litre Formula One. By the final deadline for registrations on January 31, 21 teams and 40 drivers had committed themselves to a full year, in spite of FISA’s eventual failure to enforce its previous commandment that all competing teams must enter two cars.
Osella, BMS Dallara, Coloni, Rial and AGS have all gone ahead with expansion plans, and the returning Brabham and debutant Onyx teams have each named two drivers, but the EuroBrun organisation has shrunk to a single entry in company with the second Formula 3000 graduate, First Racing.
F3000 also provides most of the new drivers in the list — Japanese champion Aguri Suzuki and European champion Roberto Moreno being joined by Olivier Grouillard, Johnny Herbert, Gregor Foitek, Bertrand Gachot, Pierre-Henri Raphanel and Volker Weidler — but Joachim Winkelhock (younger brother of the late ATS and RAM F1 driver Manfred) comes direct from winning the German Formula Three series. Martin Brundle returns after a year’s sabbatical in which he became World Sports-car Champion for Jaguar.
With only 30 places available in qualifying sessions themselves, a quarter of the entries face elimination at the Friday morning pre-qualification stage at each Grand Prix meeting.