A1GP: Season to end at Brands thanks to swine flu scare

By LJ Hutchins

CalendarWednesday, April 29th, 2009

 
 

Mexico’s swine flu crisis has led to the cancellation of the final date of the A1GP series – meaning that Brands Hatch will once again be hosting the season finale.

It contributes to a championship that has been severely truncated, with two races cancelled and a slated date in March never filled in addition to the loss of the Mexico event.

British fans, disappointed to lose the season finale, would be glad to have it back were it not for the fact that our team went out of business shortly before the Portugal race, and it is now in the hands of administrators.

On April 16 series promoter Tony Teixeira promised to keep it running, saying that as long as there was a championship there would be a Team GBR.

But there has been no further news about its future.

Teams and drivers were scheduled to load up their equipment and fly it straight to Mexico for the May 22 event following the Brands race this weekend. But, following a Foreign Office advisory against non-essential travel, and the cancellation of public gatherings in that country, that is now judged to be impossible.

Teixeira said: “To say we are disappointed to have to make this call is an understatement.

“When the news of the health problems broke last week we made sure we kept ourselves up-to-date with the latest information.

“It soon became obvious this was not an isolated health risk, and when the UK Foreign Office put out its advisory and the World Health Organization raised the level of influenza pandemic alert that was when we had to make our decision.

“We must have the safety of all members of the A1GP community as well as the thousands of loyal fans in Mexico City as our prime concern.”

He said flying out cars and equipment would be a waste of money when it was unlikely that teams would be able to join them.

“However, this cancellation does not impact on the future of the series and, once Brands Hatch is over, we shall be concentrating on Season Five, for which plans are already well-advanced.”

The decision means that just three teams are in the running for the season trophy with the amount of points now available – Switzerland, Ireland and Portugal.

Any one of them will require both sprint and feature race points, which means the championship going down to the last race of the season.

Team GBR has announced that Dan Clarke will be driving at Brands, and that the rookie driver will be Aaron Steele – full preview to follow.

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