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The BAR name change problem

WHILE British American Racing continues to beat the publicity drum at every available opportunity, there is still one major problem to be overcome before the team is up and running in the form that British American Tobacco expect it to be. The most important question mark is over the name of the team. While British American Racing can be the entrant of the cars next year the chassis will have to go on being called Tyrrells until all the team owners agree that the name can be changed. Tom Walkinshaw was faced with a similar problem a few years ago when he wanted to change the Arrows name to TWR.

The shoe is now on the other foot and it is Walkinshaw who is refusing to budge, annoyed at having lost a valuable sponsorship deal with Hollywood cigarettes because BAR bosses blocked the arrangement, Hollywood being a BAT brand.

Walkinshaw says he is quite happy to let the team change its name but only if he is paid $7m as compensation for the lost income. We understand that BAR does not want to pay up and is now trying to convince the Supertec Sport engine company to refuse to supply Tom with engines until he agrees to let BAR change its name.

We expect that eventually there will be a compromise which could even include Finnish driver Mika Salo being transferred to BAR to be Jacques Villeneuve's team-mate.

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