FEBRUARY 23, 1998
Yamaha is out!
THE announcement that Arrows is to use its own engines brings to a close the disastrous history of Yamaha in Formula 1. The company entered Grand Prix racing in 1989 with Zakspeed but that debut season was so bad that the company withdrew in 1990. The engine program was completely reorganized under new project leader Takaaki Kimura and a new V12 - the OX99 - was designed for 1991 and a new partnership begun with Brabham. The package was not bad and Mark Blundell scored Yamaha's first F1 point at the Belgian GP that year. Brabham's financial problems were so bad that Yamaha had to switch to Jordan in 1992 by which time it was becoming clear that a V10 engine was better than a V12. For 1993 Jordan signed with Brian Hart while Yamaha began a five-year relationship with John Judd's Engine Developments for Yamaha to badge the Judd V10. This engine and its derivatives were supplied to Tyrrell for 1993, 1994 and 1995 with Blundell giving Yamaha its first podium finish in Spain in 1993. Judd and Yamaha produced a brand new engine for 1996 but this was hopelessly unreliable and Tyrrell gave up leaving the engine to be used last year by Arrows. It shone on one occasion when Damon Hill finished second at the Hungarian GP.
In its eight seasons of Grand Prix racing Yamaha scored around 30 points. In the same period Renault collected over 900. The lack of success was mystifying because of Yamaha's tradition of making progress through competition and its incredible success in motorcycle racing.
The announcement also means that John Judd no longer has any involvement in Grand Prix racing, for the first time in 10 years. Engine Developments, which Judd co-owns with Sir Jack Brabham, entered F1 in 1988 with a V8 engine and has been involved ever since.
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