Honda website
Honda website

APRIL 13, 1998

BAR and Mecachrome

THERE have been a lot of rumors in recent days linking the new British American Racing with a deal to run MecachromeƊV10 engines in 1999. These stories make little sense, the only obvious justification being that the engines will be reliable. They are not likely to be very competitive, however, as development has slowed down since Mecachrome took over the units from Renault Sport and the indications are that Benetton will be splitting with Mecachrome next year because it is worried that the V10s will not be competitive enough a year from now.

Adrian Reynard has always said that he would not try to get into F1 unless he had factory engines from a major manufacturer and the Mecachrome deal does not fulfil this criteria. Our sources continue to say that the team will use Honda engines although these are likely to be badged differently.

There were suggestions in Argentina that a Mecachrome deal may be necessary if Honda cannot supply engines until the year 2000 and that this has left BAR having to find an engine supply for the 1999 season. If true, this contradicts information we received last summer that an engine deal had been agreed for 1999.

It seems more likely, therefore, that the Mecachrome stories are a smokescreen to take the attention away from the links with Honda in the hope that any eventual announcement will make more of an impact.

Mecachrome could supply three teams but are not allowed to do so because the contracts with Williams restrict the supply to only two operations. If Benetton do leave Mecachrome for a Ford deal the way would, in theory, be open for BAR to get the engines but such a deal would make for a lot less impressive an operation than the BAR management promised when they announced the team in December 1997.

There was crazy rumor doing the rounds in Argentina suggesting that Benetton might be sold to Honda but this seems to have been complete and utter speculation. The Benetton Family denied that it had any intention of selling the team which is currently making considerable progress under the guiding hand of David Richards.