JULY 29, 1996
Stewart close to vast HK deal
THE new Stewart Grand Prix team - which will use Ford factory engines in 1997 - is rumored to be close to a vast $180m five-year sponsorship deal with the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation.
HSBC chairman Sir William Purves may well have been convinced by some of Jackie Stewart's ideas of networking his sponsorships - ensuring that sponsors gain from their association with other team backers.
Stewart was at Silverstone with high-ranking members of HSBC but is currently refusing to comment on any deal. All that he will say is that a number of deals are being discussed.
If Stewart was able to secure such a vast budget, it would certainly improve his chances of success, although money is not everything in F1, one must have time to build a strong organization as well. It would, however, enable him to buy a much more established F1 name, rather than novices such as Jan Magnussen. There were rumors flying around at Hockenheim that Stewart might even bid for Damon Hill - and thus, most likely, start his team's F1 career with the World Champion's number one on the leading car.
Stewart, incidentally, is also being linked to a possible deal with the Texaco oil company, which sponsored Paul Stewart Racing in its early years.