Team Pakistan’s Adam Khan has announced that he will not take part in the series’ remaining 2008 events because his car’s chassis must be modified before he can race it properly.
With the series facing delays in manufacturing its new Powered by Ferrari cars that saw a depleted field for the series opener at Zandvoort, and three teams flying to Chengdu without any testing time, the seatholder/driver has been forced to the back of the queue.
He will miss races in Chengdu, China, on November 9 and in Sepang, Malaysia, on November 23.
Khan, who is 6ft 1in tall, found on his first test at Snetterton that he was unable to safely drive the car. His chassis was subsequently handed over to reigning champions Team Switzerland.
He will not be the first racing driver to miss out because of his height. Alex Wurz, also 6ft 1in, has arguably had difficulties securing a race drive for this reason, and had particular problems with the 2005 McLaren MP4/20.
Justin Wilson, who is the tallest of open-wheel racers at 6ft 4ins, was slated to take over from Alex Yoong at Minardi when he was ‘rested’ following problems in 2002.
However difficulties with the car’s chassis meant the drive went to Anthony Davidson instead. In 2003 Minardi was able to build its chassis around Wilson and the problem was solved.
Organisers said of Khan’s situation: “The cars for A1 Teams Great Britain, India and Mexico will be on the plane to join the 17 others that raced in Zandvoort, but A1 Team Pakistan will have to miss the next two races in China and Malaysia while the A1GP Powered by Ferrari car is readied.
“The problem arose after the chassis did not provide the 23-year-old with a comfortable and, therefore, safe racing environment.
“Adam will, however, be attending the next two races and will be working alongside the series PR and productions teams. Not only will he be able to give a driver’s-eye view of the action, but also in Chengdu use his Mandarin to keep the Chinese fans updated in their own language.”
Pete da Silva, A1GP CEO, added: “Not every driver is the same height and, while Adam is perhaps taller than average, he is no different to some of the world’s successful racing drivers.
“It is just unfortunate our chassis needs changes to be made to it to allow Adam to race to the best of his abilities. These will be made and we look forward to seeing his season four race debut in Taupo.”
The German team is also delaying its first appearance until January, although in this case it is a ‘business restructuring’ to blame. Seatholder Willi Weber appears to have become disillusioned with the series, and is putting his half of the team up for sale.