Ireland win fourth season of A1 Grand Prix

Adam Carroll took Ireland to victory in the fourth A1 Grand Prix championship with victory in both races at Brands Hatch today.

It has been a turbulent season for the ‘World Cup of Motorsport’. The Brands Hatch event was originally scheduled as the season finale, but the organisers later moved the postponed Mexican race to the end of the calendar. Then, following the outbreak of swine flu in Mexico, the event was cancelled.

It joined Brazil, Indonesia and Italy in cancelling races. The Brazilian event has repeatedly failed to get off the ground, the Jakarta circuit in Indonesia was not completed in time, and the season-opener at Mugello in Italy was cancelled after too few of the new generation cars were completed in time by constructors Ferrari.

This cut the championship to just seven double-header events. The first race at Zandvoort was contested by a depleted field – and the switch of venue for the Chinese event to Chengdu was not a success.

A1GP has a lot going for it – the new cars are attractive, the racing is good and there are some credible name in the series like Vitantonio Liuzzi, Robert Doornbos, Neel Jani, Marco Andretti and, of course, new champion Carroll. Some of the venues – especially Brands Hatch and the new Portimao circuit in Portugal – are exceptional.

But the future of the series is in doubt. The British team has gone into administration and is being propped up by the organisers.

There are concerns over the financial health of the championship – and fears a fifth season may not materialise. I hope it does, but looking at the state of the world’s economy there are few encouraging signs.

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