Honda website
Honda website

FEBRUARY 22, 1999

...but watch out for Takagi

IN theory Tom Walkinshaw's Arrows team will be running Mika Salo and Pedro de la Rosa this year but there continue to be well-founded rumors that Salo will be sacrificed by the team so that it can use the $8m which Tora Takagi has available for a drive in 1999. This backing is believed to be from PIAA.

At the moment Arrows has a contract with Salo which means that he should be paid around $2m. By dumping Salo Walkinshaw will, in effect, add $10m to his budget. He will probably have to pay some of Salo's salary but this can be delayed if there is legal action - something which Tom Walkinshaw is quite used to at the moment.

It may be that Walkinshaw will be able to get away with the move because Salo may be forced not to take legal action. If he insists on being paid and goes to court Walkinshaw would be able to stop him racing for another team. At the moment there are no vacancies for the Finn but he could be named as Honda's test driver in Japan - which would be a good springboard for the future - and he might even be nominated as the reserve driver for British American Racing. The team's test driver Patrick Lemarie has no qualification for a superlicence and getting Salo in as a reserve and test driver might be a clever move for BAR, just in case something happens to either Jacques Villeneuve or Ricardo Zonta.