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Walkinshaw moves in at Arrows

PRINCE MALIK ADO IBRAHIM did not appear with the Arrows team in Budapest last weekend and although the team blamed "visa problems" it is very clear that the Nigerian is unlikely to be around with Arrows for much longer. The deal to buy the team last autumn dictated that the Prince make a second payment by the end of July. This was not made and Malik and his partner Tom Walkinshaw are now in a period of consultation, which is expected to last around six weeks. If in that period Malik does not come up with around $15m Walkinshaw will be entitled to buy back the 25% of the team which the Prince owns. This will cost him something in the region of $8m.

It is probably not a coincidence that Walkinshaw last week sold his Ixion Motor Group chain of dealerships to the Sytner group, which was established by another former racing driver Frank Sytner. Sytner is paying Walkinshaw $15m for 11 dealerships, including three Jaguar franchises, two BMW garages and six other assorted dealerships with other marques, including Land Rover, Chrysler and Jeep.

This seems to be a very good deal for Sytner as one would expect him to have paid a much higher price for luxury car dealerships. This would also suggest that Walkinshaw is keen to get out of the retail car business to concentrate on his F1 program with Arrows and on the TWR automotive engineering business, which is currently very successful. Tom has recently agreed a big new deal for automotive consultancy work with Renault to build sporty cars for the French company in his factory in Udevalla, Sweden. This facility is currently building the Volvo C70 cabriolet but since the Ford takeover of Volvo, the long-term future of this program is uncertain.

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