SEPTEMBER 16, 1996
Ford decisions expected
THE Ford Motor Company is expected to decide this week on which team it intends to supply with a customer version of its V10 engine next year.
Top of the list is Ford's current works team Sauber. Ford has made an offer to Sauber, but the relationship between the two parties has been a little strained of late. The Swiss are not happy with the deal being offered - it is too expensive - and have been looking elsewhere for alternative power units.
As a result, Tom Walkinshaw of TWR Arrows made a bid for the Ford supply. He is well-connected in Detroit, but it is hard to imagine that fellow Scotsman Jackie Stewart would accept such a deal because Walkinshaw has the works Bridgestone tire deal and Stewart is rumored to be starting out as a Bridgestone customer. This would give TWR an advantage. There is also no love lost between the two ambitious Scotsmen, who have clashed in the past when Walkinshaw was ousted as the boss of the British Racing Drivers' Club.
The rumors that TWR Arrows has secured a Yamaha engine deal leaves Sauber with little choice unless it strikes a deal with Brian Hart. There were talks between Sauber and Hart a couple of months ago but nothing major came of them. In recent weeks Sauber has been trying to convince Yamaha to sell its F1 program so that the V10 engines could be funded from Malaysia and badged "Petronas". Yamaha rejected the deal but a similar offer could be made to Brian Hart for either his V8 engines or a V10 program which he is keen to revive. Hart would be running V10 engines now if he could fund the program.
If such a deal came about it would open the way for Tyrrell to get its hands on the Ford V10s. Stewart might accept a supply of engines to his old boss, although there is no evidence that Ken Tyrrell has the money necessary to pay for such a deal.