Welcome to the first episode of the Old Rumour Mill of Formula One. This blog post is about sharing old rumours that appeared in the rich history of the Formula One. The first episode is just a test to see if the readers appreciate these types of blog posts or not. If it does, every week I’m planning to publish one Old Rumour Mill of Formula One, with a headliner in the title.
Gil de Feran to switch to F1?
In 1998 it was said that Gil de Feran was looking to switch to Formula One, at least the rumours suggested that the CART driver was talking with Craig Pollock about the second seat for BAR. BAR would made its debut in 1999. It was said that Villeneuve would have liked it to have his as teammate.
Jos Verstappen and Minardi in 1999?
After Jos Verstappen left the Stewart team during the 1998 season, there was a widely spread rumour that Jos Verstappen was close to sign a deal with the Minardi team to be their first driver in 1999. To add more fuel on the fire Cesare Fiorio announced that he wanted Verstappen at Minardi in 1999. Moreover because Verstappen drove already with the improve Ford engine, which Minardi would have in 1999 as well.
Later it was known that Verstappen was close, but choose for the Honda deal. Later in the season, Minardi asked Verstappen again if he was interested.
Jean Alesi to be swappen with Eddie Irvine?
In 1998 Jean Alesi had been linked with an return to the Scuderia. Rumours stated that Jean Alesi and Eddie Irvine would be swapped. At that time, Jean Alesi was one of the Sauber drivers. However, Michael Schumacher dismissed the reports and stated; “He’s got a contract for next year, and I work well with him”.
Olivier Panis to replace Zanardi?
During the season in 1999, rumours appeared that Patrick Head and Frank Williams were looking to replace Zanardi. After Zanardi struggled, and failed, to pass Marc Gene’s Minardi the rumours became stronger. Olivier Panis was named as his replacement. Panis had excellent technical knowledge.