APRIL 8, 1996
THE TWR Ligier alliance has been terminated with immediate effect and Tom Walkinshaw will pull the remainder of his staff out of the French team before the European Grand Prix. The original deal was to have lasted until the end of July, but neither Walkinshaw nor Ligier owner Flavio Briatore saw much point in continuing after the Scotsman announced he would not be continuing next year and began working on the takeover of Arrows.
In Argentina, Briatore moved to calm fears that Ligier is about to go into decline as the effect of the TWR departures is felt. Briatore announced a restructuring of the team which will see Bruno Michel continuing as General Manager while the team's production manager for the last three years, Didier Perrin, takes over Tony Dowe's role as Operations Manager. Andre de Cortanze is promoted to Technical Director to replace Frank Dernie, while Loic Bigois is to continue as the team's research & development engineer. Both have TWR contracts but have elected to stay in France. The list of people departing Ligier, however, continues to grow. Marketing boss Daniele Audetto completed his last race with Ligier in Buenos Aires and will now join Richard Grundy working on the TWR Arrows operation. Also on the move are engineers Steve Clark and Emmanuel Janodet.
In terms of sponsorship, Ligier will keep backing from Gauloises Blondes and some support from Parmalat - although the Italian dairy company will continue with Arrows as well. Austrian high-energy drink Power Horse has gone to Arrows, although this means that the team can no longer continue with Hype, which seems to have been traded to Briatore by Walkinshaw - and appeared on the Benettons in Argentina.
Walkinshaw has revealed his plans for the two Arrows factories at Milton Keynes. The original facility - which today houses the team's 40% rolling road windtunnel - will become a research and development center for TWR Arrows, while the main factory will be stripped of its machinery at the end of the year. The equipment will be moved to the TWR F1 base at Leafield while the factory will be used for other TWR purposes.
Tom's plan is to "get some engineering into the team and get a test program up and running."
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