AUGUST 5, 1996
Arrows - engine planning
TOM WALKINSHAW's Arrows team will soon have to make a decision about its plans for an engine next season. Walkinshaw had wanted to get his hands on a supply of Mugen Honda V10s, but when Ligier took up its option for 1997 that became impossible.
Walkinshaw hopes to be able to land the Honda factory engines in 1998 and is in competition with Benetton for the supply of the all-new Honda V10. That battle is likely to continue for the next few months but, in the meantime, Walkinshaw is planning alternative strategies.
Walkinshaw began his own TWR engine program at the end of last year when he hired Geoff Goddard from Cosworth. Goddard has now finished the design of a TWR V10 engine and there have even been rumors that an engine is already being run on test beds at the TWR base at Leafield. Even if this is the case - and it is by no means certain - the engine will need a lot more testing and developing before it is ready to go into a car. The start of the 1997 season might be possible, although it would be risky. The 1998 season would be more logical.
The badging of this engine is subject to many rumors - notably Volvo and Daewoo - but a more immediate problem for Walkinshaw is what to do in 1997. Brian Hart wants an answer now because he has to decide on his plans and will not want to risk running into financial trouble hanging around waiting for Walkinshaw.
One suggestion is that rather than paying Hart for a supply of engines, Walkinshaw will simply buy up the entire Hart program. This would enable him to badge the existing Hart V8 for whichever company he intends to run with in 1998.
Will Hart want to sell? Brian is 60 next month. He has spent the last 15 years struggling to build competitive engines without sufficient backing. His company has come close to shutting down on several occasions. Perhaps he will decide that now is a good time to sell out to Walkinshaw.
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