BRYAN HERTA (Team USA) has a unique theme for the team and the car graphics. 'We The People' are the first words to the preamble to the Constitution of the United States, and that phrase is on the rear wing. In fact, the three-word phrase is all over the car, in the languages of each circuit on the eleven-race A1GP schedule.

There are a lot of familiar faces in the paddock, with drivers and team owners/team members coming from a wide variety of disciplines.

The list of those who are involved with the various teams is full of history. Going down the roster, one sees the names of F1 world champions ALAN JONES (Team Australia), NIKI LAUDA and KEKE ROSBERG (Team Austria), EMERSON FITTIPALDI (Team Brazil) and JOHN SURTEES (Team Great Britain), as well as other familiar faces including MICHAEL SCHUMACHER's manager WILLI WEBER (Team Germany), former Jordan F1 marketing director MARK GALLAGHER (Team Ireland), former F1 driver PIERCARLO GHINZANI (Team Italy) and F1/sportscar/touring car driver JAN LAMMERS (Team Netherlands).

Former F1 driver JOHN WATSON does the TV broadcast for the A1GP international feed, while another ex-F1 driver, TIM SCHENKEN of Australia, is A1GP race director.

Team Manager for Team Malaysia is JACK CUNNINGHAM of England, who ran sportscar teams with Chamberlain Motorsports for years. One year, he ran STEPHEN WATSON in a Dodge Viper at the Rolex 24 Hour race and they finished sixth overall, fifth in class. Watson is now the general manager of A1GP. One of Watson's co-drivers was ALLISON DUNCAN, who is now racing NASCAR with Richard Childress Racing. Talk about six degrees of separation. Duncan will receive an award from the Motor Sports Press Association for Best 2005 Oval Track/Closed Wheel Driver at a banquet just prior to the next round of the A1GP Series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The speaker at that ceremony will be DAVID CLARE, COO of A1GP. Clare will be accompanied by SHEIKH MAKTOUM, founder of A1GP. Clare also will be part of the opening ceremonies on race day.

Carlin Motorsports, which run Team Lebanon and Team Portugal is based in England, run by MARTIN STONE and MARTIN DIXON, who is the team manager. Dixon has worked with Bettenhausen Motorsports in CART and with Intersport Racing in American Le Mans Series, both American-based series.

Jo Ramirez, McLaren F1 team manager for nearly 20 years, has had very good success with his book Memoirs of a Racing Man was published in England last year, and now is available in the United States.

The A1GP teams have to nominate their drivers by Friday morning, and can switch them at will until qualifying, when there is another nominating deadline. Only one driver can qualify.

On Friday, only one team ran a different driver in each session. Team Australia ran MARCUS MARSHALL in the morning session and CHRISTIAN JONES, son of Alan Jones, in the afternoon session - although the official timesheets showed Marshall both times. The team told me Jones will qualify the car.

There has been some talk that Alan Jones might get permission to do a parade lap in the 1978 Williams F1 car he raced. The Historic Grand Prix group, based in the United States, is the support race this weekend. Jones' former race car is now owned and raced by HAMISH SOMERVILLE. Lammers and Watson also have been down to the HGP paddock to revisit their old cars. Watson has two of his former rides in the field - the 1975 Penske owned and raced by DOUG MOCKETT and the 1974 Brabham owned and raced by PHIL REILLY. Lammers' former car, a 1979 Shadow, is owned and raced by CHARLES WARNER. Watson has been down several times to see the cars and chat up the owners. Lammers came by also and autographed his car.

The Historic Grand Prix Formula One cars have a race on Saturday and Sunday.

 

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