JULY 17, 1995

Ford - a V10 for 1996

THE Ford Motor Company is to build a brand new V10 engine for the 1996 season.

THE Ford Motor Company is to build a brand new V10 engine for the 1996 season. The new power unit will be designed and constructed by Martin Walters and his team of engineers at Cosworth Engineering in Northampton, England.

The new engine, which will be announced within the next week, will be a major break from Cosworth's V8 tradition. The company did design and build a V12 a few years ago but it was never successful enough to be put into production, although many of the ideas evolved from that engine went on to be incorporated in the Zetec-R V8 which won the World Championship at its first attempt with Michael Schumacher in 1994.

Ford's current relationship with Sauber will continue next year, although we understand that the exclusive arrangement currently enjoyed by the Swiss team does not currently extend to next season. In other words Ford could pick up another team, if a good one became available. There were plenty of rumors circulating in the Silverstone paddock that Ford is in negotiation with Williams, but insiders at both Ford and Williams tell us that it is very unlikely that there will be a Williams-Ford combination next year as Frank Williams is likely to stick it out with Renault for another season, the French engines currently being the best on offer in F1.

There were also stories suggesting that Tom Walkinshaw was trying to work a deal with Ford for a supply of the V10s, as it looks less and less likely that Ligier will be continuing with Honda next year. Walkinshaw however fell out of favor with Ford in the middle of last year and although he retains some allies in the company's top management, he does not enjoy the power within Ford which was once the case.

Ford appears, therefore, to be planning to continue its involvement with Sauber, building on the investment made this year and changing the team to make it more successful. There are strong rumors that there will be a big shake-up of the Sauber design staff with Andre de Cortanze on the move and either Gustav Brunner or Nick Wirth tipped to move in at Hinwil. Brunner is the favorite for the job as he is a German-speaker.

There are, however, other problems which need to be addressed at Cosworth as there is considerable discontent in the ranks. This has led to the departure of Geoff Goddard, who has joined Tom Walkinshaw's TWR empire and we hear that experienced Cosworth engineer David Wood, who currently runs the F1 customer programs is also moving to a new job, being fed up with the situation.