A1 Grand Prix organisers have admitted that the field for next weekend's fourth season opener at Zandvoort will be smaller than expected, but insists that those teams present will be fighting for the first points of the year.
It had been suggested that the Dutch event be used merely as a run-out for those teams with cars and the ability to get them on track at Zandvoort but, after the embarrassment of having to cancel the scheduled curtain-raiser, on home soil for new technical partner Ferrari at Mugello, it has been decided to make next weekend's event a fully paid-up part of the championship.
The series has made no secret of its car build delay, and it is this that has impacted so heavily on the number that will be on the grid at Zandvoort.
“The situation we find ourselves in is unfortunate," A1GP CEO Pete da Silva admitted, "We have a small number of teams who will not be in Zandvoort but, while these teams are obviously very disappointed, they understand we have done everything possible but just ran out of time."
Only a handful of teams have been present at the two 'group' tests laid on by the series at Donington Park and Snetterton, while the Ferrari test hack continues to pound around in order to iron out problems that still exist ahead of the new season.
“I am aware of how hard our teams have been working, and are continuing to do that day and night. The fact some won't make the grid next week will not be for lack of trying. We have had an awful lot of support from many areas and I particularly want to thank our suppliers, partners and sponsors who have stood by us. We have asked a lot of many of them and they have delivered. All the teams who are racing are committed to giving the fans the exciting entertainment they have come to expect from A1GP at the Zandvoort track.”
Although da Silva did not say so, the Zandvoort round will
count for full points, with the series hoping to have a full complement of countries on the grid for the second round, at Chengdu in China, over the weekend of 7-9 November.