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Ford confirms Sauber and V10 engines

THE Ford Motor Company has confirmed its involvement in Formula 1 racing for 1996 and will, as expected, be building a new V10 engine for next year. Ford sources have also confirmed that Sauber will remain the company's "officially designated factory team" and say that Sauber engineers have been involved in the design of the engine installation since the very beginning of the program.

"The packaging of the engine in the car is vital, as it is the overall package - chassis and engine - that wins races," says Ford's F1 boss Peter Gillitzer. "The Ford V10 will be smaller in all major dimensions than the Zetec-R it replaces, and will have a lower center of gravity and reduced weight."

Ford has been behind many of the recent changes at Sauber, and there are strong rumors that there will be a big shake-up of the Sauber design staff with Andre de Cortanze on the move and either Gustav Brunner or Nick Wirth tipped to move in at Hinwil. Brunner was the favorite for the job as he is a German-speaker; but he seems to be tied in at Ferrari, and so Wirth is now the firm favorite to become technical director. He is expected to bring another important engineer - Paul Crooks - with him.

On the driver front, it is unclear whether Sauber will be able to keep either Heinz-Harald Frentzen or Jean-Christophe Boullion in 1996. Frentzen is rumored to be on the shopping list of several top teams, and Boullion is likely to be placed elsewhere by Elf. It is likely, therefore, that Sauber will be looking for at least one new driver; and Briton Johnny Herbert is one name being mentioned.

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