JUNE 15, 2001
Arrows and GM
TOM WALKINSHAW has been very busy in recent days trying to decide what to do about engines next year. Arrows has a two-year deal with Asiatech although this can be terminated by either party at the end of this year. Much will depend on the upgrade of the Asiatech engine which is due to be introduced at the French Grand Prix.
Walkinshaw says that he will have a decision by the British GP in mid-July. In the meantime Walkinshaw has been shopping around to see what deals are available and has had long and detailed conversations with Cosworth Racing's Bernard Ferguson. Walkinshaw has also been talking to Renault Sport but the French company's problems with Benetton mean that a secondary supply for next year is not expected.
One intriguing rumor we have heard is that Walkinshaw is trying to do a deal with General Motors, in league with Red Bull's Dietrich Mateschitz who wants to promote his energy drink in the vast US market. At the moment Red Bull owns the majority of the shares in the Sauber team although Mateschitz is on the verge of selling these to Credit Suisse. Mateschitz has already put money into Arrows, sponsoring Enrique Bernoldi. Arrows has 40% of its equity up for sale and it has been having trouble finding a buyer.
Walkinshaw's idea is to give Arrows an American label and proposals have been circulated featuring an orange car with a star-spangled banner at the rear. General Motors would like to be in F1 but at the moment cannot justify a program but as the firm owns 20% of Fiat Auto there is a possibility that a deal could be done for a supply of Ferrari customer engines which could be badged as Chevrolets.
Chevrolet is moving back into single-seater racing in the United States for the first time since 1993 in a similar rebadging deal. The current Oldsmobile engines in the Indy Racing League will be known next year as Chevrolets as GM has decided to close down its Oldsmobile division as part of a huge company restructuring.
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