Motor Racing: IndyCars facing a Formula One challenge

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The Independent Online
FORMULA ONE teams appear to be sceptical about the prospect of a much vaunted showdown with IndyCars, scheduled for Adelaide on 6 November, the day before the Australian Grand Prix, writes Derick Allsop.

According to the South Australian tourism minister, Mike Rann, his government's proposal for such a contest has been approved in writing by Bernie Ecclestone, Formula One's impresario. The plan now requires the backing of IndyCars and the organisers of the annual IndyCar race at Surfers Paradise.

Rann said he had written to IndyCars' William Stokkan suggesting the race include three or four top drivers from each side, with a cash prize of dollars A5m (pounds 2.2m). 'For years there has been this feud between Formula One and Indy about who is best and who is fastest,' Rann said. 'It would be a coup to have the score settled at our grand prix. It would be one of the world's great sporting events.'

In his letter, Ecclestone said both sides would contribute an equal amount of prize-money, with the winner taking all. The race would come under the same technical regulations used in the Formula One world championship and the IndyCar series.

Frank Williams, the managing director of Williams-Renault, spoke for many in Formula One when he said: 'I have heard a muttering of this but I have no real information on the matter and, in all honesty, I feel that at Adelaide it wouldn't be a fair contest. Formula One cars would obviously be much faster because they are designed for such circuits.'

The idea for such a showdown is not new and was tried in 1957 and 1958 at Monza, without much success.