OCTOBER 14, 1996

Goto and Sauber

SAUBER is on the verge of signing a deal to run Ford's customer V8 engines in 1997 but is concentrating on its plans for 1998 when the Swiss team hopes to run a new Petronas V10 engine.

The Malaysian government wants to use Formula 1 to improve the engineering skills in the Malaysian automobile industry in addition to promoting Malaysian companies around the world. After talks with a variety of F1 engine suppliers - notably Cosworth and Yamaha - the Malaysians appear to reached the conclusion that the best course of action is to establish a brand new company and hire a top F1 engine man to run the show. The man chosen appears to be Osamo Goto of Ferrari.

The 47-year-old from Tokyo was one of Honda's brightest young engineers when he joined the company's F1 program in 1984. A year later he became team leader and there followed a string of Honda World Championship victories. He left Honda in 1991 when he was offered a promotion out of F1. Initially he worked as an engineer at McLaren but in January 1994 he moved to Ferrari to oversee research and development of the V10. We hear that his contract is up for renewal at the end of this year and that he will establish a facility to design and build a Petronas V10 somewhere in England. As many as 30 young Malaysian engineers are expected to arrive in Europe early next year to begin the program.