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RUMOURS

SimRacing Magazine: August Rumours Archive

F1VWC - Friday 22nd August, 2003

PHOENIX F1 BOSS RESPONDS TO RUMOURS

In response to recent press speculation – published in SimRacing Magazine – Phoenix F1 boss held a hastily convened press conference where he had the following to say:

“Phoenix F1 currently has two excellent drivers in the F1VWC in Jan Kelder and Antonio Irisarri. Both are on one year contracts, and I have already started talks with both drivers about 2004. Their performances have been excellent, both drivers complementing each other – each track has seen a different driver dominate, and this obviously leads to positive competition within the team. Remember, if it wasn’t for Shiro Ryong’s performances in the similarly underpowered SCUM, I think our drivers performances would have been the talk of the season!

However, I have heard many rumours regarding Jan. Remember, you guys took pictures of him driving a Stealth after the French GP – something that he shouldn’t have done (being under contract to Phoenix F1), but we’ve had an open discussion about that misunderstanding and everything is fine now.

The Kieran Ryan / Daniel Wilkinson rumours? Reference to Kieran saying Jan is leaving (if indeed he did indicate this) is pure speculation. As for Wilkinson, I can confirm that Phoenix F1 have categorically not worked with him in the past.

All I will say is that Phoenix F1 wants the best driver package they can get in 2004. We are not here just to compete – we are here to win races, even Championships. We knew 2003 would be a difficult year, but our sponsors are extremely pleased with the season so far. We are, by far, exceeding our expectations for 2003.

As well as talking to our current drivers I have opened initial discussions with quite a few other drivers too – both within and outside of the F1VWC. I find it interesting that drivers are also contacting me regarding availability of race seats! This is obviously a good situation to be in for the team, and probably a good reflection on how the team is perceived within the sim racing community.

But other than that, there is nothing else to say. No contracts have been signed. No handshake deals – nothing. Our contracted drivers are Jan Kelder and Antonio Irisarri.

Thanks for allowing me the time to clarify the situation.”

Courtesy PhoenixF1 media service.

F1VWC - Friday 22nd August, 2003

ALSEMGEEST A FREE AGENT IN 2004 ?
SimRacing Exclusive

SimRacing found out today that Simsoa driver Patrick Alsemgeest will possibly be a free agent in 2004. The driver, who recently made his debut in the German Grand Prix, is out of contract at the end of the season and as of yet has not signed an extension. Alsemgeest is new to the F1VWC in 2003, and revealed to SimRacing's reporter that he would very much like to continue in the F1VWC but at the moment was still weighing up his options for next season.

SimRacing staff.

F1VWC - Thursday 21st August, 2003

RYAN TO PHOENIX F1 IN 2004
SimRacing Exclusive

After this reporter recieved an anonymous tip from a credited source, it is rumoured that Kieran Ryan is set to join the Phoenix F1 team in a deal taking him through to the end of 2004. The Irish based driver, who finished 2nd in the 2002 GPVWC for Mapes-VO has been like a yoyo around the paddock this year, now driving for his 3rd team in the league in less than 2 seasons. This new twist though could add more fuel to the rumour that Jan Kelder is stepping down from Phoenix when his contract expires in October. Such a move could see him join EIRE as a replacement for Ryan, whose EIRE contract also expires at the end of this season.

When asked to comment on this rumour, our reporter was told by Ryan that ''I know Andy well, good guy good team; I'm surprised to hear Jan may be departing. It's common knowlege that I'm looking for a team, and Phoenix F1 is a good team. As for me going there, it's not impossible. All will be revealed soon."

With Ryan neither confirming nor denying reports, this reporter has a sneaky suspicion that this is not the last we will hear of this story, nor the last time we will hear about the whereabouts of Kelder in 2004 either. After an impressive debut year it is hard to believe the talented Dutchman would end up without a seat in 2004.

SimRacing staff.

F1VWC - Thursday 21st August, 2003

JTM SET TO RETAIN LINEUP?
SimRacing Exclusive

Its been rumoured today that the JTM team are to keep hold of Matt Maple and Toby Lock in a bid for the 2004 F1VWC. Maple who has set a lightening quick pace in his first two qualifying sessions for the team, including a pole and a 2nd place, followed with a podium finish in his debut grand prix has been instantly liked by team boss Juan Tortella who is reported as saying he would be very happy if Maple would stay on.

Maples new teamate, and good friend Toby Lock is also reported to be interested in retaining his race seat in the competitive Ferrari Works team, after a strong 8th position in his debut qualifying team boss Juan Tortella was impressed and in this reporters view would be more than happy to have the competitive and friendly lineup stay on in 2004

Stay tuned to SimRacing for further developments.

SimRacing staff.

SFO - Thursday 21st August, 2003

MAPLE MAY TAKE SABBATICAL FROM SFO
SimRacing Exclusive

Englishman Matt Maple has revealed to SimRacing that he may be forced to take a sabbatical from the SFO as a driver next season, due to other commitments and time constraints. Said Maple: "I have to stop working so much, and sim-racing also...I have A-Levels next year, it's my last year in school." Maple hinted at a 6 month break though, which could see him return to action around June, 2004.

Maple currently has heavy commitments in multiple leagues, including the SFO, F1VWC, IGP3Champ and GPChampionship. These are in addition to managing the Mapes-VO and MMC teams and being an Administrator with the IGP3Championship. The Englishman is currently sitting tenth in the SFO standings with 18 points, after just four races.

Should he depart, the future of MMC, the team Maple co-owns with Ryan McConkey, colud be up in the air. MMC has been one of the most positive new outfits in the SFO after starting up just last month, already scoring 15 points in just three races, including a podium for Maple in Hungary. But it remains to be seen whether McConkey would continue without Maple in a full time role in 2004.

Stay tuned to SimRacing for further developments.

SimRacing staff.

F1VWC - Thursday 21st August, 2003

FURTHER F1VWC SILLY SEASON DEVELOPMENTS: WILKINSON LEAVING EIRE?
SimRacing Exclusive

The most recent rumours in the F1VWC paddock surround Australian Daniel Wilkinson, who may be about to depart the EIRE team. Wilkinson has been a star in the 2003 season, taking four consecutive victories and aiming for a possible fifth this week in Hungary. He is just 11 points behind Shiro Ryong in the Driver's Championship. Prior to the 2003 season however, Wilkinson and a third party apparently negotiated a separate deal for 2004.

When asked about the impending possibility of losing his star driver, EIRE boss Willy Ponissi would only say that the team were keeping their eyes open for another driver for 2004. However this could be referring to the second seat at EIRE, currently occupied by Kieran Ryan, as Ponissi would not get into specifics.

Possible destinations for Wilkinson could include SCUM, replacing the under-performing Peter Harding, Stealth who are rumoured to be losing Eric Sosa's services next year, or PhoenixF1 who have worked with Wilkinson in the past. Phoenix however have two solid drivers in Antonio Irisarri and Jan Kelder.

The driver market for 2004 thus appears to swirl around EIRE, who have had a break-out season this year. After struggling at the bottom of the 2002 standings, the team is close to the Driver's Championship and challenging PhoenixF1 for third in the Constructor's Championship. It could be all change again though for 2004.

SimRacing Staff.

F1VWC - Thursday 21st August, 2003

LEAGUE ADMINISTRATOR HINTS AT POSSIBLE CHAMPIONS SERIES
SimRacing Exclusive

F1 Virtual World Championship Administrator Willy Ponissi today hinted to SimRacing that a proposal is being floated for a Champions Series in the near future. The new series would take place over the winter, between seasons, and would feature the top drivers from the F1VWC, IGP3Champ and SFO competing to determine the top overall driver.

Although the Irishman did not get into much further detail, the target is apparently to start this November or December, scarcely three months from now.

Stay tuned to SimRacing for all the latest developments on this breaking story.

SimRacing staff.

F1VWC - Wednesday 20th August, 2003

MAPLE GETS F1VWC SILLY SEASON ROLLING

Matt Maple has begun silly season today by announcing he is actively seeking a drive for 2004. The 18 year old Briton has raced into the F1VWC scene by scoring a podium and front row grid spot in his first GP, he has now decided he has the skill to battle for a good place in the 2004 championships and will confirm his spot once he gets a contract lined up.

"I'm loving racing here, I feel I can be competitive and have been slashing my personal bests, I am looking for a team in 2004 but I can confirm I wont drive for my own team, as I dont want to interupt what has been superb for 2 years. I have been speaking with my current team but will be open to offers this week before making a decision hopefully before Indianapolis"

Anyone interested in Maple's services for 2004 are advised to e-mail mapesvo@mattmaple.demon.co.uk before the end of the Hungarian Grand Prix to get a head start as he is on vacation next week with some friends. After that he will be able to start negotiations.

Maple is currently battling with Mikko Jakonen for pole position in the Hungarian Grand Prix.


Courtesy Matt Maple Press Department.