Tyrrell lands new support

THE Tyrrell team is expected to announce in Japan that it has landed a big new sponsorship deal with a major Japanese company and is expected to announce shortly that it has concluded a deal to run a second supply of Ford V10 engines in 1998. Ford's head of automotive operations Jac Nasser was in Hungary and confirmed that Ford was would be willing to supply two teams if such a deal was acceptable to all the teams involved. A deal involving Stewart and Tyrrell would almost certainly be accepted by all parties given their long ties with one another. Nasser also confirmed that Ford is not interested in supporting a team which is backed by a tobacco company, which means that there is no real chance of an involvement in the long-term with British American Tobacco.

The only other major team which is not involved with a tobacco company and is looking for engines is Arrows although there have been differences of opinion between Tom Walkinshaw and some of Ford's top management in recent years.

Tyrrell is also expected to announce a big increase in sponsorship from one of its existing backers, the most likely ones being either Dutch computer software company ICL or Austrian energy drink company NRG.

The identity of the new Japanese sponsor is not known but it is believed to be an enormous consumer company with worldwide sales. The team is playing its cards very close to its chest about the deal, which will probably guarantee that the team's test driver Toranosuke Takagi because one of the drivers next year. Jos Verstappen is under option to continue next year but the team is still trying to find out whether or not it will be able to hold on to Mika Salo.

Salo is thought likely to be placed at Sauber by Ferrari which will continue to be the Swiss team's unofficial engine supplier next year. Salo had been hoping to go to Ferrari to partner Michael Schumacher and Ferrari team boss Jean Todt may try to organize a deal with Sauber as a consolation prize. Salo is also understood to be talking to Jordan and may be a possibility for that drive as he is understood to have several million dollars of sponsorship available from mobile telephone company Nokia.

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