Diary

JANUARY

19: The March F1 team appears set to be sold.

19: At a meeting chaired by John Macdonald, there is healthy support for the 1993 British F2 Championship. Around 35 UK-based entrants state their intention to compete. If the series can generate decent support, a generous prize fund and TV coverage are promised.

21: FISA issues its entry list for the World Championship. Unsurprisingly, neither Bravo nor Brabham — both of whom were known to have been struggling financially — are included, and neither is Pacific Grand Prix, despite the fact that its first car is well under way. Most notable absentee, however, is Williams. . . The reigning world champion's absence is blamed on an administrative blunder, and the waiver necessary to rectify the error would require the unanimous agreement of all other entrants. Thus far, Minardi and Benetton have refused to play ball, though FISA kindly left a couple of spare numbers available at the top of the list, to be kept warm once the politics have been sorted out. This initial list contains 26 cars, but several drivers have still to be confirmed. As the eventual acceptance (presumably) of Williams and Pacific would only take the total to 30, pre-qualifying won't be necessary in 1993.

21: Benetton's Flavio Briatore is in combative mood. The Italian is pushing for changes to F1's existing Concorde Agreement, and also seeks unanimous approval for the introduction of a 'non-safety' pace car, an artificial — and somewhat ridiculous — means of closing up a Grand Prix should the leader eke out an advantage of 12 seconds.

21: Formula One teams testing at Paul Ricard include Larrousse and Scuderia Italia. Erik Comas drives for the former, and is tipped to join the French team.

21: Former Olympian decathlete Daley Thompson (above) is snapped up by Peugeot to race a factory-supported 106 XSi in the National Saloon Car Championship, run to Group N regulations. Thompson's motor racing mentor is works Peugeot BTCC driver Robb Gravett.

22: A 73 year-old spectator is hit by a car on the fifth stage of the Monte-Carlo Rally, and later succumbs to a heart attack brought on by the shock. Drivers report that lack of spectator control is making the event intolerably dangerous.

24: The New Zealand Formula Atlantic series is heading for a thrilling climax. Jos Verstappen and Craig Baird take a win apiece at Manfeild. With two races to go, Baird has seven points in hand over his Dutch rival . . . and the two of them are split in the championship table by Stuart Crow.

25: Lotus and McLaren appear before the Contract Recognition Board in Geneva, to discuss the ticklish problem of Mika Hakkinen's employment in 1993. The CRB eventually decides that the Finn is not contractually bound to drive for Lotus in 1993, which frees him to drive for McLaren. In the absence of any firm news on Ayrton Senna's intentions, however, it is not clear whether Hakkinen will fulfil a racing or a testing role for Ron Dennis' team.

25: Audi is the latest manufacturer to be linked with a possible BTCC programme.

25: Top F3000 engineer Derek Mower announces plans to run a couple of cars in the European Championship, under the Nordic Racing banner.

25: Jaguar's participation at Le Mans is clouded by uncertainty. Jaguar says it will take part only if the regulations allow it to be fully competitive, both in terms of outright victory and in the GT class.

25: Erstwhile March Grand Prix racer Emanuele Naspetti signs up for a season of Japanese F3000 with Dome.

25: Brands Hatch is added to the list of provisional venues for the European GT series.

25: Audi announces its return to British rallying. Shell Scholarship winner Jonny Milner will drive a Coupe S2 in the British Championship.

25: Erik Comas signs for Larrousse. Much dirty washing is being aired in France at the moment. New Ligier boss Cyril de Rouvre says that Comas had wanted too much money. Comas retorts that this is nonsense, and criticises Ligier, which has been blessed with French governmental support for so long, for signing two British drivers. . .

27: Didier Auriol celebrates his first outing for Toyota with victory on the Monte-Carlo Rally. The new Ford Escort Cosworths of Francois Delecour and Miki Biasion, which set the pace from the start, are overhauled late in the event by the charging Auriol.

27: Eddie Jordan announces that Martin Donnelly will test his F1 car on February 4 at Silverstone.

27: Many of the Fl drivers testing at Estoril dine together to express their discontent at a FISA missive asking them to refrain from making negative statements about F1 in public.

27: It is confirmed that Silverstone will host the second round of the European F3000 Championship, on May 9.

27: Guido Knycz signs with reigning European F3000 champion Team Crypton.

28: Jordan creates something of a surprise by signing Ivan Capelli as team-mate to Rubens Barrichello.

28: Frenchman Jean-Marc Gounon creates a good impression when he tests the Larrousse F1 car. On his first outing in a GP machine, Gounon laps within half a second of team contractee Erik Comas. He is one of several drivers hoping to land the seat.

29: Alain Prost has a huge shunt during testing in Estoril. He later describes it as the biggest of his career. Prior to that, the Williams driver had set quickest time of the week, a couple of tenths faster than Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill. The Ferraris are six seconds off the pace. . .

29: Mark Blundell shakes down the Ligier JS39 at Paul Ricard.

29: Penske quashes any lingering doubts about its 1993 IndyCar line-up by confirming Paul Tracy as Emerson Fittipaldi's team-mate. The team would not have the capability, it says, to run a third car for Ayrton Senna.

30: Stephen Finlay (Ford Sierra Cosworth 4x4) wins the Mazda Car-Line Winter Rally.

31: The Sunday Mercury breaks exclusive news of Tom Wheatcroft's ambitious plans for an all-new motorsports facility in the Midlands. The site, which will cost an estimated £160M to develop, will incorporate both an F1 standard racing circuit and an IndyCar/NASCAR oval.

31: Toyota wins the Daytona 24 Hours. One of the stories of the weekend is that the company will almost certainly follow Nissan and Honda into IndyCar racing.

31: The New Zealand Formula Atlantic series concludes at Pukekohe. Craig Baird wins race one and finishes seventh in the second, enough to give him the title by just three points from Stuart Crow, comfortable winner of the finale.

FEBRUARY

1: Vauxhall announces that David Llewellin will drive its works Astra in the British Rally Championship. Llewellin takes the place of the late Dave Metcalfe.

1: Pacific Grand Prix postpones its planned entry into F1. Proprietor Keith Wiggins says that his team will graduate in 1994 instead. In the meantime, Pacific will remain in Formula 3000.

1: FISA issues official F1 TV viewing figures, which show increased interest everywhere bar Italy.

1: French F3 champion Franck Lagorce signs to drive for the DAMS F3000 team.

1: The Chevron name is set to return to international racing. The marque, now run by Roger Andreason in Eastleigh, sets its sights on IMSA and the Le Mans 24 Hours. The new car will be type-numbered B71.

1: Belgian Marc Goossens re-signs for the West Surrey Racing F3 team.

1: Italian Antonio Tamburini is tipped to be on the verge of a return to Formula 3000. Tamburini, a past winner in the formula, is set to join the new MIS team.

1: Following the postponement of its F1 plans, Escuderia Bravo announces that it hopes to run an F3000 programme for Jordi Gene.

1: The cosmopolitan nature of the forthcoming British Open Formula Ford series is further embellished as Portuguese champion Frederic Viegas signs for the factory Swift team.

1: At the age of 50, Hannu Mikkola is Subaru's surprise choice to replace Ari Vatanen on the Swedish Rally. Vatanen did more harm to his back than was realised during a heavy landing on the Paris-Dakar Rally.

3: Williams' technical director Patrick Head proposes revised F1 regulations. The man who penned the World Championship-winning FW14B suggests reducing downforce by as much as 50 per cent.

3: Michelin concludes testing of its new BTCC tyres at Jerez. The works Peugeot and Renault teams are in attendance.

3: Engineer and constructor Paul Emery dies, aged 75.

4: Martin Donnelly returns to Formula 1. The Ulsterman climbs on board a Sasol Jordan 192 Hart at Silverstone, and reacclimatises quickly, though fuel pump problems and an oil leak restrict him to just a couple of laps. Martin, still lacking full mobility in his left leg, is realistic about his future prospects in the sport. "I'm physically able to drive an F1 car, but I have to respect the technical regulations. With the steering wheel removed I can get out of the cockpit fine, in three to four seconds. But with the wheel attached it's 30 to 35 seconds, an event. I think my days in F1 are severely limited, if not finished." Martin will run two Formula Vauxhall Lotus cars this year, for Jason Plato and Owen McAuley, and is keen to break into touring car racing, with a leading team, in the future.

4: Nigel Mansell breaks the IndyCar lap record during testing at Laguna Seca.

4: While announcing a new junior formula for French drivers aged 16-19, Formule Renault Campus, Renault also confirms that it is to produce F3 engines again. Bernard Dudot is charged with developing a suitable unit for 1994.

4: Ferrari's Luca di Montezemolo says that the team will consider withdrawing from Formula One if the technical regulations aren't changed. "We have reached a point where 95 per cent of the technology learnt from racing cars has no application to road cars."

4: Langbaurgh Council calls a permanent halt to all motorsports activities at Langbaurgh Motor Sports Park, which had staged motorcycle racing, kart meetings and rallycross. Complaints from local residents are blamed.

5: Lotus recruits Alessandro Zanardi to replace Mika Hakkinen.

5: Paul Stewart gives the Cosworth AC F3000 engine its first run at Silverstone.

7: Dale Earnhardt wins the Busch Clash at Daytona, traditional curtain-raiser to the NASCAR season.

7: Austin McHale (Toyota Celica GT4) wins the Galway Rally.

8: Some of the smaller F1 teams meet at Heathrow to discuss cost-cutting measures. Some of their suggestions are adopted at the F1 Commission meeting later in the week.

8: Rumours suggest that a Reynard IndyCar is not merely under construction, but is well advanced. It could test as early as August, in plenty of time to be ready for the 1994 season.

8: Following murmurs of discontent among F1 drivers about the wording of their superlicence application forms, FISA says that the only things that have changed on the forms in the past three seasons are the date and the year. . .

8: Pictures of an all-Honda F1 car reach the UK. Honda says that it's a feasibility study. The car has been driven in private by the company's president Nobuhiko Kawamoto, and was subsequently crash-tested.

8: Tyrrell commences shakedown work on its new Yamaha-engined 020C at Silverstone.

8: Jeff Andretti, youngest son of Mario, announces that he will return to racing in Miami's IMSA event at the end of the month. Andretti, seriously injured at Indy last year, will drive a Spice-Cosworth.

8: The British F3 field takes further shape. West Surrey signs 17 year-old Frenchman Jeremie Dufour and Alan Docking recruits Brazilian Ricardo Rosset and American Brian Cunningham.

8: TOM'S confirms its participation in the European F3000 series, with a single-car entry for Hideki Noda. Another new team intending to compete is ACE Motorsport, established by Dutchman Jeroen van der Ploeg in premises at the rear of Reynard's Bicester factory.

8: Belgian Philippe Adams signs with Madgwick International to contest the British F2 series.

8: For the second successive year, the De Lacy International Rally is cancelled. Last-minute withdrawal of a prospective sponsor is cited.

9: Formula 3000 teams meet with FISA's Technical Commission in Paris to discuss the future of the category. During 90 minutes of talks, the Commission hears arguments in favour of the formula's continuation with strict cost controls. This will now be proposed to the next meeting of FISA's World Council.

9: Ivan Capelli has his first run in a Jordan-Hart.

10: Benetton managing director Flavio Briatore has a nasty surprise when a bomb goes off on the front doorstep of his rented house in West London. Although the building is damaged, nobody is injured. The IRA later admits to having left it there; police work on the theory that the device had been abandoned, possibly because the bomber thought he was under observation.

11: The London Motor Racing Show opens at Earl's Court. Amongst the announcements on the first day, Toyota officially introduces its new Carina BTCC challenger, and Lotus confirms that Chamberlain Engineering will run two of its Esprit Sport 300s in the new European GT series. Lotus has recently been successful in IMSA's supercar series.

11: Britons hold first and second places in the early stages of the Swedish Rally, with Malcolm Wilson running ahead of Colin McRae. Wilson's efforts end with an accident on stage three.

11: European Rallycross veteran Martin Schanche unveils his new car in his native Norway. Based on a Ford Escort RS2000, it is said to have over 600 bhp.

12: The Formula One revolution starts. The F1 Commission meets at Heathrow, and announces sweeping technical changes. A ban on hi-tech driver aids such as traction control, semi-automatic gearboxes and active suspension is revealed. It will take effect for the 1994 season, as will a new stipulation that engine changes are to be outlawed during the course of a race weekend, subject to a maximum of 12 engines per team per season. For 1993, the qualifying procedure will be modified, to reduce the amount of time spent on the track. As a result of these concessions being agreed, Williams' place in the 1993 World Championship entry list is assured. Alain Prost's superlicence application is also accepted, though the Frenchman is still threatened by a possible ban as a result of critical remarks about the sport which he made to the French press. (This news broke after Delirium Tremens, see page 216, had closed for press. See Matters of Moment for further editorial comment.) In a letter to Frank Williams, FISA President Max Mosley expresses reservations about the wisdom of allowing a political animal like Prost participate in F1. Finally, and further ahead, it is proposed that F1 cars will run with a stepped undertray from 1995. This would increase ride heights, and make them less sensitive to small changes. It would also allow them to run on ovals. . . As an aside to which, the reintroduction of fuel stops is proposed, to permit 500-mile races.

12: Larrousse completes its Formula One line-up by signing Philippe Alliot. Alliot's most recent F1 engagement was with Ligier back in 1990. More recently, he's been a member of Peugeot's sports car racing squad

13: David Mann/Kevin Piper (Toyota Celica) win the Breckland Forestry Rally.

14: Mats Jonsson wins the Swedish Rally for the second consecutive year, beating Juha Kankkunen. Colin McRae finishes third. Full report next month.

14: The Daytona 500 opens the NASCAR season. Pre-race favourite Dale Earnhardt is pipped to the line by Dale Jarrett, the margin of victory just 0.19s .

14: The Madras GP, for F3 cars, is won by Hilton Cowie.

15: McLaren hedges its bets. It nominates Michael Andretti, Mika Hakkinen and Ayrton Senna as its drivers for the 1993 season. Senna will decide whether or not to race after testing the new McLaren a few days hence. If he opts to continue, Hakkinen will be reduced to the role of test driver.

15: Although most of the F1 entry list was already known, the identity of March's two candidates becomes public when FISA issues an official entry list. Jean-Marc Gounon and Jan Lammers are slated to drive.

15: FISA issues a list of Formula 3000 entries. Despite recent fears over the category's future, it contains 40 cars.

15: McLaren shakes down its new Ford-powered MP4/8 at Silverstone, but Michael Andretti is thwarted by electrical problems, which refuse to let the car run cleanly.

15: The collapse of Tollgate Holdings, which has a financial interest in Kyalami, starts rumours that the South African GP could be moved to a site near Durban when the Johannesburg circuit's contract expires in 1996.

15: British F3 hopeful Kelvin Burt is released from his contract with Fortec Motorsport, and transfers to Paul Stewart Racing. Brazilian Andre Ribeiro goes the other way.

15: The Albacete F3000 race is cancelled. No replacement is nominated.

15: Team VDS is reborn. Originally the brainchild of the late Count Rudy van der Straten, VDS was set up to aid young Belgian drivers. The new initiative comes from van der Straten's family. Former VDS driver Teddy Pilette will manage a team in the Benelux Formula Ford Championship.

15: Having been excluded from the Swedish Rally for illegal servicing, Team Toyota Europe awaits its punishment. A hefty fine is anticipated, but it isn't clear whether Didier Auriol will be docked 20 points. In a separate controversy, Ford's Francois Delecour is asked to explain comments he made after the Monte-Carlo Rally. The Frenchman went on record in the French press alleging that Toyota had cheated.

16: Lola's new T93/30 F1 car tests for the first time at Estoril.