APRIL 1, 1996

Stewart buys Ikuzawa design

WE understand that Stewart Grand Prix has decided to buy the Formula 1 chassis design which was to have been used by the now-defunct Ikuzawa International team. This will enable SGP to short-circuit the lengthy F1 design process so that the prototype Stewart-Ford Grand Prix car can appear as promised in November this year.

Two years ago, Japanese racing entrepreneur Tetsu Ikuzawa established a drawing office for his team in Basildon, England. The design work was done by former Ferrari technical director Enrique Scalabroni and a 25% scale model was built and was given several hundred hours of testing in windtunnels. The Ikuzawa project foundered earlier this year but the sale of the design to Stewart will help Ikuzawa recoup some of the expenditure incurred.

The Ikuzawa was believed to have a rather radical gearbox arrangement but we expect that Stewart will not be taking chances as all its components this year are being made by external suppliers.

At the team's launch in January, Jackie Stewart said this year would be spent securing staff and upgrading the Stewart factory. Both of these programs are now well-advanced with a design office and prototype assembly area being established at the team's Milton Keynes facility.

The Stewart Grand Prix technical staff is also expanding fast and now includes Alan Jenkins (technical director) and his senior designer from Arrows, Dave Amey. Suspension engineer Dave Rendall has been hired from Benetton along with composite specialist Richard McAinsh, while Stewart has poached detailed designer and sometime race engineer AndyÊLeÊFleming from Ferrari Design & Development.

The most recent hiring is a major coup, Jackie having convinced Egbahl Hamidy - a talented young windtunneller from Williams - to join his new team.