DECEMBER 7, 1998
Zakspeed and Arrows
WHILE negotiations continue between Arrows and Zakspeed there are unlikely rumors that a 40-year-old Nigerian Prince Malik Abo Ibrahim is putting together a bid to beat Zakspeed to the deal. This may be more of a negotiating ploy by Walkinshaw to raise the price of the sale. To complicate matters former Benetton boss Flavio Briatore has managed to get himself involved in the negotiations as a consultant to Zakspeed.
The obvious explanation for this is that Arrows was loaned money by Bernie Ecclestone at the end of this season, against future TV revenues. Ecclestone is a partner in Super Performance Competition Engineering, the company which is selling Mecachrome V10 engines next season, and it seems that a deal has been suggested in which Zakspeed would get the French engines as part of the sale. This has raised the price of the purchase.
From a technical point of view, fitting Mecachrome engines into Arrows chassis would be possible but it is unlikely that the result would be a very competitive package.
There are many different rumors about possible sources of extra income for Zakspeed - notably BAT and Toyota - but at the moment nothing is settled. If the Zakspeed deal goes through we would expect the team to be relocated to Germany with Mika Salo being joined by Zakspeed driver Marcel Tiemann.