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Wheldon to replace Villeneuve?

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  • Wheldon to replace Villeneuve?

    Dan is still racing go-karts in South America so no word from him but the rumors continue to swirl:

    The deal which makes the most sense as far as we can see is for Dan Wheldon to become the team's test driver in 2006, learn the cars and the circuits and move up to replace Villeneuve in 2007. The problem with this, so we hear, is that BMW is not willing to give a commitment for 2007 and so Wheldon is not willing to take the risk that the Bavarians will leave him as a test driver - a position in which an Indianapolis 500 winner does not want to be. There is also talk that Wheldon may be looking at NASCAR but that is probably more to do with negotiations elsewhere than a serious option.
    link

    I'm missing something - why would BMW/Sauber even be interested in Wheldon? It's not like he demolished the IRL field in the road races this past season and one would think that if he was going to get any F-1 attention, he'd have to bring money with him and I don't see where that would be coming from. As far as I know, he doesn't have big personal sponsors in his pocket and so that leaves his current team sponsors moving with him. Jim Beam? Klein Tools? That seems very unlikely - so why would Honda want to finance a driver at the competition?

  • #2
    It's all about Indy. He is the last winner.

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    • #3
      I can't imagine that the Indianapolis 500 Champ and IRL Series champ would rather serve as an F1 test driver than defend his championships.

      If this is really the case, it speaks volumes.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by JoeBob
        I can't imagine that the Indianapolis 500 Champ and IRL Series champ would rather serve as an F1 test driver than defend his championships.

        If this is really the case, it speaks volumes.
        I agree. Whatever the case, it is all very interesting.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by JoeBob
          I can't imagine that the Indianapolis 500 Champ and IRL Series champ would rather serve as an F1 test driver than defend his championships.

          If this is really the case, it speaks volumes.


          For two silly seasons now the reigning CCWS champ Seebass has been looking for an F1 offer, so what does that say?

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          • #6
            It says you only get into F1 if your earmarked or rich. For some reason that i cant really figure out, Wheldon seems to be earmarked all of a sudden. I personally thought there were at least 3-4 drivers more impressive at the ICS road courses this year than Dan... but low and behold, hes getting all the rumors. Also make note that Seabass has said that he wont run for an F1 team if its going to be a testing role, which is part of the rumor with Wheldon at Sauber.

            I think he will land in the IRL when all is said and done. F1 has a glut of young guys that need seats.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by JoeBob
              I can't imagine that the Indianapolis 500 Champ and IRL Series champ would rather serve as an F1 test driver than defend his championships.

              If this is really the case, it speaks volumes.
              Read it again, it says he won't take a test seat unless there is a guarantee of a race seat the following season. Think Bourdais would take that deal?

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              • #8
                Originally posted by SportscarBruce


                For two silly seasons now the reigning CCWS champ Seebass has been looking for an F1 offer, so what does that say?
                A lot about the profile of US OW overseas.

                However, Sebastian is looking for either a race seat or a test ride that would allow him to continue in CCWS. He probably wouldn't accept leaving the series for a test ride for BMW.

                jono

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                • #9
                  Seeing that the story is on grandprix.com just an off the wall guess that the context of the unsubstansiated story would lean heavily towards the belief that Dan Weldon would be with an F-1 team in any capacity. That's the story the writer heard so that's who would be interested. If the same writer hears an unconfirmed story he's going with Ganassi in the IRL not a big grandprix.com story.

                  Every off season there are plenty of writers putting out stories of drivers said to be going in multiple directions and as a rule only one ends up being right. If there was someone keeping score and a public scorecard as to who was right and who was wrong maybe there would be fewer speculation stories.
                  "You can't arrest those guys, they're folk heroes"
                  "They're criminals"
                  "Well most folk heroes started out as criminals"

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                    Read it again, it says he won't take a test seat unless there is a guarantee of a race seat the following season. Think Bourdais would take that deal?
                    Ask Pizzonia how those deals work out....
                    "Being second is to be the first of the ones who lose." --- Ayrton Senna

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                    • #11
                      Why would anyone associated or with F1 want to even think about an IRL driver?
                      Get your head out of your past!!!

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                      • #12
                        I have no idea - makes no sense unless he brings money and I can't see Honda funding a year of training with another team and, as I pointed out before, I don't think Wheldon has a bunch of sponsors in his pocket.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                          I have no idea - makes no sense unless he brings money and I can't see Honda funding a year of training with another team and, as I pointed out before, I don't think Wheldon has a bunch of sponsors in his pocket.
                          You have to be kidding me. The Indy 500 champ doesn't have a bunch of sponsors in his pocket? Guess the 600...I mean 500, doesn't mean as much as it used to. Such a shame. I wonder who did that? TG?

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                          • #14
                            Hey, at least he's getting a little interest and some rumors tossed about. The two-time Van de Lay Cup winner can't even get a phone call.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Jim Wilke
                              I have no idea - makes no sense unless he brings money and I can't see Honda funding a year of training with another team and, as I pointed out before, I don't think Wheldon has a bunch of sponsors in his pocket.
                              Forget Honda. I don't think BMW is looking for guys with money. They have money or else they wouldn't have bought out Sauber and Credit Suisse. They are looking for guys who can win or put big points on the board. Heidfeld has shown to be very quick and has scored high placings with Williams. Unfortunately Jaques didn't do so well against Massa, so it is real curious how all this will sort out. Anyway, I don't see Dan as being part of the mix...

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