Ford to buy shares in Benetton?

SEPTEMBER 28, 1998

Ford to buy shares in Benetton?

WE hear rumors that the Ford Motor Company is keen to get more control over its future plans in Formula 1 and is currently in negotiation with the Benetton Family to purchase a shareholding in the Italian team. The deal for equity would include financial backing for the team, and free Ford engines in the year 2000. We believe that the Benetton Family would still like to retain control of the team - at least in the short term - because it has proved to be such a successful marketing tool for the investment that has been made.

What is clear is that Ford wants success and is not willing to wait too long to get it after years of mediocre performance. While the Benetton route is the most obvious course of action, it was interesting to note at the Nurburgring that Ford's NeilÊRessler had several meetings with Arrows boss Tom Walkinshaw. This may be unrelated to the issue - as Tom is a big player in the automotive as well as motor racing world - but there have been rumors for some time that Arrows is for sale and that Walkinshaw might be willing to sell a large chunk of the team if he can remain in charge of the operation.

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