JUNE 30, 1997
Tom and Flavio in trouble
It is also worth noting that Briatore seems to be paying more attention to the Minardi team. Briatore is the major shareholder in Minardi's holding company. There were suggestions in Magny-Cours that Briatore is trying to get Mugen Honda to supply the team with engines. Mugen is not planning a second supply until 1999 but might be forced into it a year early by F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone as engines are short at the moment.
The man most likely to end up without a topline engine next year is Tom Walkinshaw. His hopes of a Mecachrome, Mugen or Ford engine have all seemingly been dashed and the Yamaha V10 engines are so uncompetitive that it is pointless to continue. In the circumstances Walkinshaw is unlikely to keep Damon Hill and has nothing to lose from doing his own F1 project. This is believed to be a long way from fruition at the moment but one option for Tom would be to buy out Brian Hart, who has a new V10 engine which needs to be financed.