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SEPTEMBER NEWS ARCHIVE

F1VWC - Monday 29th September, 2003

Wilkinson Wins Stunning United States Grand Prix

EIRE's Daniel Wilkinson has won the 2003 F1VWC United States Grand Prix in stunning fashion, rising from 7th on the grid to victory by a margin of just under 32 seconds. Wilkinson's teammate and pole sitter Kieran Ryan drove the best race of his career to come home in second place, giving EIRE a truly spectacular result. Shiro Ryong also performed more than admirably to snare third place after starting 8th, maintaining his lead in the Driver's Championship but seeing it drop from 9 to 6.
Mapes-VO's Mikko Jakonen had a frustrating race, spinning twice in his final sector to lose third place to Ryong by three seconds. The defending champion is now a full ten points behind Ryong, meaning the only way he can win the championship is for Wilkinson to finish third or lower and Ryong to not score at all.
On the plus side, more than making up for losing the podium, was the victory by Mapes-VO of the Constructor's Championship for the second year running. With Petri Loukasmaki finishing 5th the team scored 9 points to SCUM's 6, thereby taking an insurmountable 30 point lead with one race and only 18 points remaining. Team Owner Matt Maple was more than pleased with the result, saying to win a second consecutive championship is "Great, wonderful, its nice because it shows it was a team effort - I think it's the most important title for a team to hold."
The remainder of the points scorers rounded out as Antonio Irisarri of PhoenixF1 in 6th, Matt Maple, driving for JTM, in 7th, and Jan Kelder giving PhoenixF1 a commendable double points finish in 8th. Kelder though did lose ground to his teammate in the race for 5th place, with Irisarri now leading 46 to 42.
18 drivers completed the Italian Grand Prix, a truly outstanding total. Only Jim Moir retired due to reliability, while Simon Jeavons did not start. But strong showings came from all the league's debutant teams. Paul Sleight, in his return to the VWC, just missed out on giving MMC a point in their first race by finishing 9th. Miodrag Mihailovic was the second rookie and leading MMRT car, coming home in 10th place. SCUM's Peter Harding was 11th, while MMC Boss Ryan McConkey was a very creditable 12th in his first VWC race since Australia. Miguel Oliveira completed the MMRT showing with 13th place, his first ever VWC race after test driving for Stealth earlier in the year. Mariano Malisani, driving his first race of any kind since 1999 and his first ever 100% race, moved up two spots from qualifying to finish 14th. Toby Lock and David George, of JTM and Simsoa respectively, suffered plank wear and were penalized two minutes each. They finished 15th and 17th, sandwiching Willy Ponissi, lapped five times by the cars he owns! A difficult race for the Irishman but a more than admirable job given the short time frame involved. NWO's Matt Hunt also suffered problems and was unable to finish his first VWC race.
With one race remaining, the Driver's Championship, as expected, will go down to the wire. Shiro Ryong needs just four points to guarantee the title, therefore fifth place or higher. His performance at Indy showed that although he qualified poorly, he scored enough points to still maintain a comfortable lead. Daniel Wilkinson is on a tear, pushing extremely hard to win this amazingly competitive championship. He will need at least a third place though to have a chance of passing Ryong. Meanwhile Mikko Jakonen, despite four wins this season, needs quite the miracle to hold on to his championship from last season. If the unthinkable should happen and all three finish tied (if Shiro does not score, Wilko finishes 3rd and Mikko wins), the championship would go to Jakonen on having more third places than Wilkinson. The two drivers would be tied on wins, 5 each, and seconds, 2 each. Ryong would slip to third by having only three wins. Amazing!

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Monday 29th September, 2003

NWO Future Still Uncertain

Despite joining the F1VWC nearly two weeks ago and qualifying two drivers for the United States Grand Prix, NWO Motorsport are still rumoured to have an uncertain future facing them. Rumours have gathered pace in just the last 24 hours that the team may be restructured, or could withdraw altogether. SimRacing will bring you updated information as it arises.

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Monday 22nd September, 2003

Stealth Facing Budget Crisis, Cragg Pushing for Reform

Vodafone Stealth-BMW apparently have a budget crisis looming, as their massively expensive engine constutites a significant drain on their resources. Stealth and BMW apparently have a contract costing the team over 30 million a year, a sum that Team Principal Ted Cragg says "is quickly pushing us to the edge." But uncertainties over the F1VWC's financial system as well as the full extent of 2003 expenses make the entire situation up in the air at the moment.

Cragg says he is calling for careful consideration over just what sort of costs teams will be facing over the winter of 2003/2004 and into the full 2004 season. "The original GPVWC financial system was never completely sound, as there were exorbitant costs for engines and insufficient sponsorship revenues, not to mention opportunities, in return" said Cragg. "We already saw one team go under last year due to the financial strain of having a strong engine, and they almost won the championship. Stealth took the same risks when we signed the BMW contract, but were always confident of reform either to the actual costs, or else in allowing teams to sign more sponsors throughout the season to offset the high costs" he continued.

In addition to the first argument of high costs, the Stealth owner points out that 2003 has been an unexpected season in every sense of the word. "No one could have planned for what happened in March, and I don't think teams should necessarily be caught out because of it. Stealth always understood that we risked not having the money to pay for BMW into 2004 and beyond, but we certainly didn't expect to lose money and therefore BMW engines because the league fell apart" he said.

"There is certainly no need for confrontation on this issue, I have already discussed it briefly with Andy Graydon and Willy Ponissi and I think they understand where I'm coming from" said Cragg. "My principal comment at this point is just for the league to consider all options and all arguments before making firm decisions about how our economy works. Stealth Grand Prix is certainly open to any possible outcomes, but we don't want to rule any out either" he concluded.

SimRacing News Service.

SFO - Monday 22nd September, 2003

Woods to Save Fading SFO?

New reports have suggested that Oliver Woods, of Woods Racing, has expressed an interest in taking over Administration duties of the Simulated Formula One series following the Japanese Grand Prix, when founder Rob Hagarty is due to retire. Despite having trouble attracting drivers to his own team, Woods has been a keen and dedicated member of the SFO for many months now, and was one of the most disappointed league members following the recent turmoil which led to Hagarty's resignation.

Any new administration will face a strong uphill battle though, as in addition to needing hosting space for the website and more admin staff, the SFO has already seen drivers and teams leaving in droves for other leagues, primarily the F1VWC. NWO and MMC have already departed the league, and even Stealth Grand Prix's future participation is uncertain. Miodrag Mihailovic, Miguel Oliveira, Ryan McConkey, Matt Hunt, and Paul Sleight have all joined the VWC, while Jim Moir, Adam Fretter, and even champion Paul Fawcett are rumoured to be close behind.

Nevertheless, strong leadership and direction over the coming months by a new administration could certainly result in renewed faith in the series, if former teams and drivers can be enticed back into the fold.

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Sunday 21st September, 2003

Ponissi Surprise Driver for Stealth at Indianapolis

In a surprise announcement, Vodafone Stealth-BMW Team Principal Ted Cragg has announced that EIRE boss Willy Ponissi will drive for the team at the United States Grand Prix in Indianapolis. Ponissi will team up with Mariano Malisani, who has been confirmed for both remaining races of 2003. Ponissi is expected to race solely at Indy.

While the Irishman is a keen and dependable driver, Cragg admitted that he was never in the picture until the last minute, and that the team's initial driver had fallen through. "We were expecting another driver to partner Mariano at Indianapolis, it's true. But that unfortunately didn't work out and Saturday night we found ourselves looking for an emergency replacement for this race" said Cragg. Rumours pointed to Adam Fretter as being in line to race for Stealth, but Cragg said negotiations never went far. "We tried our best to contact Adam but with such short notice it was too much to ask. Adam is still in the frame for the future, perhaps even at the Japanese Grand Prix. Instead though we look to Willy to show us what he can do" Cragg stated.

Ponissi thus returns to the track for the first time since the French Grand Prix in July, where he finished 6th for EIRE. Ponissi last raced for a team other than EIRE in 2002, when he drove for MCI ironically at the USA Grand Prix. He said "I will do my best, it's a power car. And it would be really nice to pass Dan Regan in the standings." Ponissi has 3 points this year, 16th in the Championship.

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Friday 19th September, 2003

Mantra Motorsport is F1VWC's Newest Team

Miguel Oliveira's Mantra Motorsport Racing Team was announced today as the F1VWC's newest team, replacing TGM in the lineup. This gives the league an even stronger eleven-member grid. Oliveira, a veteran of Stealth Grand Prix in both the GPVWC and SFO, had moved quickly to start up his own outfit following the recent struggles in the SFO. Mantra will finish out the 2003 season and be on the grid for the start of 2004. Oliveira himself is the lead driver, while a second has yet to be confirmed. Rumours have suggested former SFO drivers are in the picture to join him though. A team website is already under construction: http://www.freewebs.com/mantramotorsporst

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Friday 19th September, 2003

Mariano Malisani Confirmed, Mystery Driver Rumoured for Stealth at Indianapolis

Vodafone Stealth-BMW have announced that, pending approval of the contract, Mariano Malisani will drive for the team at the United States Grand Prix. Malisani is well-known as owner of the MolotovF1 team, a GPVWC entrant earlier this year and still racing in the IGP3Championship. His return to the track though is a first for over a year, having concentrated in that time solely on managing. The Argentine-born American will replace Chris Galloway, who is unavailable for the final two events of 2003. Despite an injured wrist, Chris gave his all at Monza and finishes the season with 17 points, likely enough to clinch 9th in the Championship.

Stealth Team Principal Ted Cragg, fresh off of recovering from the team's double-victory party on Wednesday (and Thursday), stated that the team is close to securing the services of a well-known driver for the final two events of 2003. Names would not be released, but confirmation should come as soon as tomorrow. Cragg would only state that he is a driver on par with race-winner Joe Consiglio.

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Friday 19th September, 2003

Mapes-VO Keeps Championship Duo Intact for 2004

Mapes-VO boss Matt Maple confirmed today to SimRacing that current drivers Mikko Jakonen and Petri Loukasmaki, both natives of Finland, will be driving again for the team in 2004. Jakonen won the 2003 GPVWC Championship with 5 wins, and has added another 4 this year. He is nine points behind SCUM's Shiro Ryong with two races remaining as he tried to repeat as champion. Loukasmaki, after a few races in 2003 for Mapes-VO and others, joined the team full time in 2004. He took his maiden VWC victory at the Austrian GP.

Mapes-VO thus keeps intact arguably the strongest current lineup in the F1VWC, as their two drivers have won 10 races between them in the past two seasons and currently sit second and fourth in the championship. Most of all, they are likely just one race away from clinching Mapes-VO their second consecutive Constructor's Championship. The team leads SCUM by 27 points with just 38 left to play.

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Thursday 18th September, 2003

NWO Motorsport Join F1VWC

The NWO Motorsport team have been running since Monaco 2003, and was founded by Matthew Hunt who previously drove for the MX Motorsport group since the start of the 2003 season, up until the change over.

While competing in the SFO, NWO achieved some very good results and with each and every Grand Prix seemed to grow with confidence. When asked to comment about the teams performance in the SFO, Matt Hunt went on to say...

"I was extremely happy with the way things were working out for the team at each event. Don't get me wrong it was a very hard climb to pull the team from the back of the grid and to be able to mix it with the front runners. But the challenge became less intense the moment Jim Moir arrived in the team. Jim pulled off some fantastic results to which dramatically changed the Constructor's Championship. I am also hoping that Jim will accept my offer to purchase a 50% share in the team. I would also like to mention and thank Matt Maple for his one off drive in an NWO car at the French Grand Prix. To which Matt helped race engineers understand setups and basic car data."

"As for competing in the F1VWC, I don't see this being an easy task by no means. As some of the drivers I have raced against are extremely good, and I am fully aware of the talent already signed up to the F1VWC as NWO head-hunters were always on the lookout for great drivers."

"But I am sure with a committed team and a good 2004 package we can achieve some great results. As for the remainder of the 2003 season, I am still a little unsure about, as we have had to suspend our partnership with Volkswagen as the team are always looking to try new things and for the remainder of the season we will be running with a Ferrari package powering the cars."

"Thanks for your time."

Courtesy F1VWC News Service.

F1VWC - Wednesday 17th September, 2003

Consiglio Dominates at Monza, Stealth Win First VWC Race

Briton Joe Consiglio completed a Perfect Race at the F1VWC Italian Grand Prix at Monza, taking pole position, fastest lap and the race win in a field of 14, which included many race winners. For Consiglio, and Stealth Grand Prix, the victory is the culmination of a year and a half of hard work and dedication to the F1VWC and its predecessor, the GPVWC. Consiglio in fact has been out of the picture since March, but returned for a one-off race at Monza and finally took that long awaited first victory.

Consiglio beat EIRE's Daniel Wilkinson by nearly 33 full seconds, and was the only driver in the field to set a lap under 1 minute and 21 seconds. Wilkinson though, although disappointed not to win, will be pleased with his 2nd place after championship leader Shiro Ryong could manage only 6th. Mapes-VO's Mikko Jakonen also moved closer to Ryong with a 3rd place finish. The SCUM driver still leads the championship with 98 points, but Jakonen has 89 and Wilkinson 88.

Petri Loukasmaki placed 4th, with Kieran Ryan a further sixteen seconds behind. JTM's Toby Lock finished a fairly disappointing 7th after qualifying third on the grid, but did net two points for his team. Kelder, Maple and Irisarri rounded out the top ten, with Peter Harding of SCUM in 11th, the last driver to finish the race. Stealth's Chris Galloway got off to a good start, but then suffered a sore wrist and was forced to retire after 17 laps. A disappointing end to Galloway's season, as he was scheduled to have the final two events off anyway. Nevertheless, 2003 netted him 17 points and an expected 9th place in the championship.

Unfortunately for Stealth, Consiglio will be heading off to university in scarcely a week and is thus unavailable for the final two races of the year. The team wishes him the best, and can take solace in the fact that they may have influenced the championship after all: if Joe hadn't raced, Wilkinson would have won and scored more points, as would Jakonen, taking them a point closer to Ryong.

SimRacing News Service.

SFO - Wednesday 17th September, 2003

Mihailovic Wins SFO Italian Grand Prix - More Info To Come!

Stella Stealth-Renault's Miodrag Mihailovic has won the SFO Italian Grand Prix, leading series champion Paul Fawcett home by over 23 seconds. Stealth's Paul Sleight finished 3rd, with Arela's Adam Fretter 4th and Fantom's Simon Heywood 5th. Full results will be released soon.

SimRacing News Service.

SFO - Wednesday 17th September, 2003

NWO Motorsports May Yet Survive

Recent discussions have hinted that NWO Motorsport, recently removed from the SFO, may resurface in the F1VWC. Although this was neither confirmed nor denied, the team is apparently high on the waiting list to enter the league, perhaps even next in line. NWO's Matt Hunt made an initial request to join just a few days ago, but was politely rejected due to members feeling uncomfortable about Hunt's recent comments in the SFO.

It appears though that there may be a change of heart, giving Hunt and NWO a second chance. While he will be under close surveillance, Hunt and co-driver Jim Moir were models of consistency in the SFO. The team clawed from the bottom of the standings to third place before the Italian Grand Prix.

SimRacing News Service.

F1VWC - Tuesday 16th September, 2003

MMC Racing Enters F1VWC

The fairly new team of MMC Racing, which had raced only in the SimulatedF1 League, has been entered into the F1VWC. With the SFO looking set to disappear at the end of this season, Co-Owner Ryan McConkey made the decision to pack up the team and move it to the VWC. McConkey will continue to drive for the team and driver 2 for the team will be Paul Sleight. The two feel they will be an excellent team and hope for the best results possible for next season.

Ryan McConkey - "I had a feeling that the SFO would go under even before season 2 started. It's really a shame, but that's the way it goes sometimes. When it became know for certain that the league boss was stepping down, I immediately began thinking about what I'd do and where I'd go, and what I'd do with the

team. Thought about it and I decided to join the F1VWC. I used to race in GPVWC back in March. My career there wasn't long, but I know a few people that were involved way back then."

"I'm glad to be back though. I wasn't too sure actually about joining, to be honest. As time goes on though, I get better feelings about the whole thing. I am hoping the team does well next season and maybe even get a respectable result in the closing 2 races of this season. My teammate Paul Sleight, is an excellent driver. I'm lucky to have him as a teammate. I think we can both get good results, given we have a good car. I can't wait to begin racing here, and I wish everyone the best of luck in those 2 races and for next season!"

Courtesy MMC Press.

F1VWC - Tuesday 16th September, 2003

FinOz Racing Join F1VWC

Andy Graydon, joint-administrator for the F1VWC, today announced that FinOz would be joining the list of teams entering the league. They will do so immediately after the 2003 season ends.

The agreement for FinOz to join the F1VWC has been running in the background for over a month now, and the confirmation had to be brought forward due to several teams wishing to join the league from the SFO. The following press release confirms the details available so far:

Team Name: FinOz Racing

Team Manager: Kari Koski

"Brand new team called FinOz Racing is working hard to make their debut at Australian Grand Prix in March 2004.

The Team can confirm one driver for sure, Kari Koski from Finland and they are having intense negotiations with IGPC 2003 Champion Australian Steve Elencevski to join the team. Koski and Elencevski have very successful partnership during 2003 season at IGPC as Steve was crowned drivers champion when there were still 3 races to go. Currently Koski is fighting over the 2nd place and their team Megatron is also confirmed as Constructors champion as well. Steve has won 9 races out of 13 and has been on pole also 9 times (from 14 qualifications). Koski haven't been as successful as his team-mate, he is still after his first pole and win. He has been on the podium 8 times this season, 5 times in 2nd.

These are the first news around the team and we are very happy to be involved to this Championship. More news when we have more to tell."

Courtesy F1VWC News Service.

F1VWC - Tuesday 16th September, 2003

Ultima Informed of Removal From League Following F1VWC Admin Decision

It was with deep regret that the F1VWC admin team of Willy Ponissi and Andy Graydon came to the decision to inform Ultima Racing management that they would no longer be competing in the F1VWC.

F1VWC admin released the following press release:

“Ultima has struggled all season long to attract any drivers. Team owner Mal McKee turned out on several occasions, but only appeared for qualifying. With the new influx of teams and drivers from the SFO, the decision had to be made to replace Ultima with a team who would be able to compete on a regular basis. We are disappointed for Mal, but also realise that he runs his team in other leagues and will therefore be able to commit more resource in those areas.”

Courtesy F1VWC News Service.

SFO - Tuesday 16th September, 2003

Simulated Formula One Faces Uncertain Future

By many accounts, the Simulated Formula One series has had a very decent inaugural year, complete with strong competition, dedicated teams and an extremely active community. But the future of the new series is now very much in doubt, after weeks of a gradual build-up of tension culminated in last weekend's explosion of emotions. Matt Hunt's exclusion from the Italian GP qualifying results, where he had qualified a career-best 2nd, lead to a series of outbursts and complaints. SFO Administrator Rob Hagarty responded by announcing his resignation from the league, effective immediately after the season-ending Japanese Grand Prix. Simultaneously, in response to a bitter tirade from Hunt, Hunt and his NWO outfit were removed from the league.

Although signs of tension had been accumulating for weeks, including comments of frustration from Hagarty and a general overall frustration at the lack of race results, the community was still in reasonable shape before the events of last weekend. The Italian Grand Prix will carry on, as well the final two events of the year. Hagarty has stated that he will not personally shut down the SFO, he is merely leaving the league. Therefore a new administration could potentially take over after Japan, but as that event is scarcely a month away the likelihood that a new Admin will be formed is uncertain.

It is quite possible that the SFO may scarcely even make it to Japan with much remaining. With NWO removed, one of the league's steadier teams will no longer be seen, and already other outfits have openly discussed moving to other series or shutting down altogether. Former NWO driver Jim Moir has found a seat with Wanderers, but there are quite possibly no drivers firmly contracted for the 2004 season. Top teams Stella Stealth-Renault and MMC Racing are rumoured to be moving solely to the F1VWC, with possible immediate effect, and even Paul Fawcett, the SFO's first and only champion, may move on now that the championship has been decided. The F1VWC is also rumoured to be his destination.

The Italian results are due in a few days, after which teams and drivers will likely begin re-assessing their futures in earnest. Many league insiders have commented that things will move quickly, possibly within the next week. SimRacing will be there to cover the latest movements as the SFO enters what could be its death throes, less than a year after being founded.

SimRacing News Service.

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