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Audetto joins TWR-Ligier

TOM WALKINSHAW RACING - which runs the Ligier Formula 1 team - has hired Italian Daniele Audetto to help the operation improve its commercial structure. The team's major weakness at the moment appears to be finding money, following the decline in income from French government-run companies. This has caused Ligier to hire wealthy Brazilian Pedro Diniz, who is rumored to be bringing $10m with him.

Walkinshaw has been trying to hire top F1 marketing men from other teams for some time, but has so far failed to attract anyone as the ownership of the Ligier team remains shrouded in secrecy. Salesmen in F1 like to know exactly what it is they are trying to sell.

Audetto is well-connected in Italian business circles. Now 52, Audetto was a rally co-driver in the late 1960s before a nasty accident - which left him with a permanent limp - ended his career. He turned his attention to management and in 1976 was appointed team manager of Ferrari, replacing Luca di Montezemolo. In 1977 he was promoted to head all Fiat sporting activities. He left Fiat in 1982 and worked for Italian F1 sponsors - notably Candy - as a consultant before being recruited by Lamborghini Engineering in 1986. He quickly became managing-director and, after the company was bought by Chrysler, oversaw the Lamborghini V12 engine program in F1 between 1989 and 1993.

That program was shut down after Lamborghini was sold to a consortium of Indonesian businessmen, and after Chrysler decided against continuing in F1 in their own right when McLaren's Ron Dennis left them in the lurch at the end of 1993. At the time Walkinshaw came close to buying Lamborghini Engineering, which the Indonesians were offering for sale.

Ligier, incidentally, has denied any deal this year with Castrol, although the team has admitted that it was talking with the oil company.

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