August 30th, 2002

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'Jos the boss' back in F1 next season with Toyota

Formula 1 Online can reveal that Jos Verstappen will be racing for the Toyota team in 2003, alongside Olivier Panis. The Dutchman has been without a drive this season after being dropped by Arrows at the last minute, but is to be named this weekend by the Japanese team as their second driver for the coming season.

The popular Dutchman would bring in sponsorship money, but also a wealth of experience which has been gained over the past 8-years in F1.

Toyota yesterday announced that they were dropping both Allan McNish and Mika Salo, but have so far only announced Olivier Panis' to drive next season.

Verstappen and manager Huub Rothengatter will be present for the Belgian Grand Prix, and current plans are to confirm the deal on Friday.
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Salo waves goodbye to F1

Toyota driver Mika Salo has announced that he will quit Formula One™ racing at the end of the current season.

It follows Toyota's announcement on Wednesday that they would not be retaining the services of the Finn for 2003.

"It's the end of my Formula One career, I'll be leaving at the end of the season," said Salo, according to news agency AFP.

MS - ToyotaToyota signed Frenchman Olivier Panis for the next two seasons on Wednesday, the same day they announced they would not be renewing Salo's contract or that of Scottish driver Allan McNish. Salo's decision brings an end to the career of yet another Finnish Formula One driver, after former world champion Mika Hakkinen's official retirement from the sport only last month. The only remaining Finn is McLaren driver Kimi Raikkonen.

Salo, speaking at Spa-Francorchamps ahead of Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix, added that he did not want to become a test driver in the twilight of his career, but did not rule out the possibility of lending his experience in auto development, "as Alain Prost did with McLaren".

Mika Salo began his Formula One career with Lotus at the end of the 1994 season. He then spent three years with Tyrrell before moving to Arrows in 1998.

The Finn was left out in the cold in 1999, when Arrows announced just a few weeks before the start of the new season that they would not be retaining him. However, a competent performance replacing the injured Ricardo Zonta at BAR kept him in the minds of F1 personnel.

When Michael Schumacher broke his leg at the British GP later in the year, it was Salo that Ferrari called upon to deputise for him and he performed creditably. Had it not been for team orders helping Eddie Irvine in his title quest, the Finn would have taken his maiden GP win that year, at Hockenheim.

Salo moved to Sauber, retaining his links with Ferrari, for 2000 and turned in many a competent drive. However, he made it clear that he wanted a drive with a team capable of winning, something he obviously did not feel the Swiss team was capable of, and accepted Toyota's offer instead.

He spent a year testing with the Japanese team in 2001, ahead of their Grand Prix debut at the start of this season. He has since scored their only two world championship points to date.
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Eddie: "It was meant to be a joke!"

Formula 1's resident comedian, Eddie Irvine says that the comments he made in a recent interview were just 'a joke that made the headlines.' Irvine had told the press that he may be considering a test role for a Ferrari, but has now denied the stories.

Irvine's contract with Jaguar ends at the end of 2002 and reports suggest that he will be replaced by Mark Webber for the coming season.

That's not going to happen, said Eddie.

Mugello's hard work, the idea of driving around Mugello for two or three days and then... you'd actually need a week of recovery after doing three days hard testing for Ferrari at Mugello. No, that's a joke that made a headline.

Asked about his future, Irvine said: "I don't know. I'm in no rush to do anything, I'm quite happy just plodding along and seeing what happens."
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Alonso to Frentzen

Bridgestone may be the one stumbling block for Fernando Alonso this weekend. Rumours had strongly linked the Spaniard to the second Arrows seat, but these talks now appear to have stalled.

Bridgestone are not happy that their tyres are to be used by a driver who currently tests for Michelin and Renault. This could prevent Alonso from working with Arrows, or any other Bridgestone shod outfit at all this year.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen is being lined up by the Arrows team to race this weekend, the German is not yet present in Belgium, but a car is being prepared for him according to reports.
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American billionaire to buy Arrows

The man in talks with Arrows concerning the sale of the team has finally been named. American billionaire Cal Smith is the man behind the purchase of Arrows Grand Prix.

Smith made his money from mining and is in his 80’s is still in talks with Arrows, as the deal is still being worked on.

Smith has signed heads of agreements with team boss Tom Walkinshaw and a deal is expected to be completed soon.
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Arrows are not to race this weekend

Arrows today (friday) confirmed they will take no part in the Belgian Grand Prix. The team released the following statement:

"Further to the statement made on Wednesday (28 August 2002), Arrows Grand Prix International confirms that the legal teams are still working through the detailed documentation that supports the sale of Arrows.

Arrows"Professional advisors on all sides have been working extremely hard all week to finalise the deal in time for this weekend. Unfortunately, due to the sheer amount of paperwork involved, the process cannot be completed by close of business today.

"Consequently the team has been advised to do nothing that could jeopardise the successful completion of the transaction so will not race in Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix."
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