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Hart attacks new V10

BRIAN HART - the last privateer engine-builder involved in Grand Prix racing - is planning to return to V10 engines in 1998 if there is a team which will be willing to fund his new power unit. Hart is currently supplying Minardi with his air-valve V8 engines. These have struggled to be competitive with the manufacturer-backed engines and have had a series of electronic problems this year due to a change from TAG Electronics to Magneti-Marelli engine-management during the winter. Things have not been helped by the fact that the team has not been able to test as much as it would have liked.

The team has yet to decide if it wants to continue with Hart but is unlikely to have either the money or the connections to get a better engine deal.

Apart from the customer Ford engines, Hart's V8s are the only ones left in F1 and they are becoming an anachronism given that the refueling regulations have negated any consumption advantage they had over V10s.

Hart is not new to V10s. He supplied Jordan with his 10-35 engine in 1993 and 1994 with some success but when Jordan went to Peugeot at the end of 1994 there was no money available to develop this engine in three-liter form and Hart found himself supplying Arrows with a V8 design he had been working on.

In 1996 he developed the air-valve version of the V8 but the 60-year-old engine builder from Harlow knows that he needs to switch back to V10s - and an all-new design which he has been working on for some time - if he is to remain competitive.

The problem, as always, is that Brian needs to invest in the V10 program at a time when no-one is ready to make the necessary decisions about engine contracts for 1998.

Hart has yet to conclude a badging deal with a manufacturer - his rivals Ilmor and Judd went to Mercedes-Benz and Yamaha respectively - Brian may find more interest in his skills in the next few months as some teams are likely to conclude that it is probably wiser to initiate their own engine programs - as Sauber is doing and Lola planned - rather than paying out vast sums of money to manufacturers.

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