BAT with Renault and Tyrrell?

AS we exclusively predicted in October the British American Tobacco Reynard Formula 1 team is to be launched in London on December 2. Invitations for the event have now been despatched to F1 journalists and the team has begun advertising anonymously for staff.

The new team has long been linked with a deal which would involve the purchase of Tyrrell and we believe that an arrangement has now been struck which will see Tyrrell sponsored by BAT in 1998, with the ownership of the team being transferred to the new organization at the end of next year. In parallel Reynard will build up a new team and will design a 1999 car. The link with Tyrrell is necessary so that the new team will have access to the funding available through the new Concorde Agreement.

It is still unclear which brand BAT will use with Tyrrell - and later Reynard - but it is expected to be either Lucky Strike or State Express 555. We also expect there to be a tie-in between the F1 program and the CART team, which is sponsored by BAT's Kool brand.

We believe that BAT and Reynard have reached some kind of an agreement with Renault Sport for the supply of V10 engines for testing in 1998 and for racing in 1999. They may, however, be badged differently as the deal is believed to be similar to that of TAG and Porsche in which the TAG organization paid for the entire engine program. Such a deal had been thought impossible as Williams has a deal with Mecachrome to run rebadged Renault V10s and this limits the supply to two teams (the other will be Benetton).

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