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Walkinshaw launches TWR F1

TOM WALKINSHAW last weekend unveiled the revamped Arrows team under the "TWR F1" banner, although at the moment the cars are still called Footworks and the team's official entrant is still Arrows. There are complicated legal arguments over whether Walkinshaw can change the team name and the name of the cars without having to sign up as a new entrant and thus have to pay his own expenses for the first half season in F1.

Walkinshaw can solve the car problem by doing a deal with Footwork boss Wataru Ohashi in Japan, but changing the team name may not be as easy as Eddie Jordan is blocking a deal.

Walkinshaw will no doubt work it all out in the fullness of time and announced his intention to use the TWR F1 operation to showcase the TWR Group which does automotive design, engineering and manufacturing work for clients such as Volvo, General Motors, Mitsubishi, Aston Martin, Ford and Jaguar. The TWR Group - which is currently half owned by the Benetton family-controlled Edizione Holding company - has a worldwide workforce of 1200 and turns over around $375m. Walkinshaw says that the Group's motor racing activities are less than 20% of the business. Rumors in Germany suggest that Walkinshaw is trying to buy out the Benetton family to regain full control of his empire. Walkinshaw still controls 30% of the shares of Benetton Formula, although he will no doubt divest himself of these when he finds a suitable buyer, probably using the racing team as a lever to bring down the price of buying back the shares in the TWR Group.

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