...but Peugeot says no

LIGIER'S hopes of landing a French engine supply next year took another knock with Peugeot sources revealing that they will not be involved in supplying Flavio Briatore's team with V10 engines in 1997. Mugen Honda is expected to leave Ligier to join forces with the new TWR Arrows operation.

Peugeot's official spokesman in F1, Corrado Provera, said: "We are not interested in Ligier. We have an exclusive contract with Jordan this year and we will continue to supply them next year. We want to concentrate on one team only."

Unlike Renault, Peugeot is immune to French government pressure as it is a completely private company and the sale a few weeks ago of the French government's shareholding in Total - which helps to fund the Peugeot engine program - wipes out the last major French government influence over Peugeot.

This is not likely to stop the politicking which is currently going on around Ligier. At the center of this is one of French Minister of Youth and Sport Guy Drut's aides Jean-Michel Schoeler. Schoeler has been involved in negotiations over the future of Ligier since January when Guy Ligier organized a meeting between Drut and Briatore. The Italian agreed that he would sell 35% of the shares in the team if French investors can be found. This will help the team to raise money in France and help to bring a French engine.

We understand that French President Jacques Chirac is very keen for Ligier to remain French so it can showcase French technology to the world.

The name Philippe Alliot continues to pop up in rumors relating to the future management of Ligier.

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