Honda website
Honda website

NOVEMBER 2, 1998

Raising cash for Arrows

TOM WALKINSHAW's Arrows team was linked to a possible deal with Toyota during the Suzuka weekend but we do not think anything will come of it, despite the fact that Tom spent five hours meeting with Toyota bosses. Walkinshaw has not had an easy time this year but although there are many rumors suggesting that Tom is struggling with funding we do not believe that there is any real problem to raise a budget. To raise the money to make a big step forward is more difficult, however, and this explains why Tom has lost a lot of engineers in recent weeks: Jean-Paul Gousset and Vincent Gaillardot are leaving to join Prost and Mike Coughlan is expected to join the new Honda F1 operation. In an effort to stop the poaching Walkinshaw and Prost have now agreed a non-poaching pact.

Rumors in Scandinavia suggest that Volvo is trying to buy Walkinshaw out of a joint venture with TWR and this may result in Tom receiving a windfall of around $100m. If this is the case some of that money is likely to find its way into the F1 program. This is by no means certain, however, but Tom should still not have too much difficulty as he can raise a considerable amount of money by selling Mika Salo to the new Honda F1 team which has expressed an interest in hiring the Finn. Salo is currently saying that he wants to race next year but a long-term Honda deal would probably change his mind. This would save Tom $2m in salary and will bring in $3m from the buy-out clause. In addition it will enable Walkinshaw to hire Pedro de la Rosa, who is rumored to have $6m available from Spanish oil company Repsol. Thus letting Salo move on is worth as much as $11m to Tom. In addition Walkinshaw is expected to replace Pedro Diniz with Japanese star Tora Takagi, who has around $12m of money available from PIAA. In addition Tom has TV money coming and he is expected to get at least one sponsorship deal, probably with British American Tobacco's 555 State Express brand to help the company solve its branding problems. All this means that Tom will have plenty of money to run the team although investment in research and development and new personnel may be more difficult unless the team can find a big new sponsor.

The new Arrows A20 chassis will be a development of this year's A19 and the Arrows V10 engine is expected to continue to be developed.