AUGUST 26, 1996
Now Tom tries Ford
IN recent days Tom Walkinshaw has been pushing hard to get Peugeot V10 engines for 1997, but at Spa the Scotsman changed tack again and went in pursuit of a supply of Ford V10 engines, hoping that the changing political situation at Cosworth might open doors for him to snatch the supply which is intended for Sauber.
Ford has had an offer of customer engines to Sauber on the table for some weeks and the Swiss team was due to have made a decision by the Hungarian GP. There were a few rumors at Spa that Sauber actually had another engine deal organized but our sources say that no deal is done and that Ford is probably the only choice, unless a deal can be arranged with Brian Hart.
With Sauber not making up its mind, Walkinshaw hopes that he can convince the Ford Motor Company to let him have the Sauber engines. This move will be opposed very strongly by Jackie Stewart, who has the Ford works engines next year and who is not known to be a big Walkinshaw fan.
In this case Stewart will have an advantage with Ford management as his opposition to the deal will no doubt be based on the fact that Walkinshaw has a deal to run Bridgestone tires and will be developing the Japanese rubber throughout the winter. Stewart is also understood to have managed to sort himself out a Bridgestone deal - Goodyear would not agree to supply him. Having a secondary Bridgestone supply will put him at a disadvantage to Walkinshaw next year because his tires will be less suited to the Stewart chassis than to the Arrows. This argument is likely to put paid to Tom's efforts to get Fords but it may be that he is concentrating his efforts on convincing Cosworth to sell him V10s which either they will look after or which will be handed over to Brian Hart to service and develop.
Sauber says that in a perfect world it will announce its engine deal at Monza but that it is not happy with the terms being offered by Ford.