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Walkinshaw and Yamaha

EACH passing week sees Tom Walkinshaw in deep negotiation with another F1 engine manufacturer. Having chased after both Peugeot and Ford, Tom has recently targeted Yamaha and, according to paddock rumors in Monza, the Scotsman is likely to be successful in taking the deal away from Tyrrell.

Tyrrell and Yamaha have been together since 1993 racing derivatives of the OX10A V10 engine. The Yamaha engineers did a good job down-sizing the 3.5-liter OX10B to produce the 3-liter OX10C for 1995, but the Tyrrell 023 chassis was not a good car although it was reliable and finished races, allowing Salo to collect five points towards the end of the year. This year Yamaha introduced the new and revolutionary OX11A but it has proved to be very unreliable. After nearly 50 failures this year there is a certain amount of friction between the two parties. Tyrrell tried hard to get the supply of Mugen Honda V10 engines but the deal went to Ligier.

Yamaha has not officially decided whether it will remain in F1 next year although having invested heavily in the OX11A it would not make sense to pull out. If the new technology can be perfected next year the small and compact V10 should be competitive.

We hear that Sauber recently proposed to run the Yamaha engine next year, badged by Petronas. This appears to have been rejected by Yamaha because the company wishes its name to remain in F1.

The rumors of a Walkinshaw-Yamaha alliance appear to have some foundation. Yamaha personnel have visited the TWR factory at Leafield and were impressed by what they saw. Walkinshaw was tight-lipped at Monza but was in a good mood and admitted that he hopes to be able to announce his engine deal at the Portuguese GP.