Tyrrell racing towards the millennium

AS expected, Tyrrell has announced its deal to run Ford V10 engines in 1998 and has launched a plan called "RacingÊTowardsÊtheÊMillennium", a comprehensive program to make Tyrrell competitive in F1 by the year 2000. Although no details of this scheme have been announced it will include the expansion of the team's headquarters on its 13-acre site near Ockham, in Surrey, and the construction of a state-of-the-art windtunnel.

The team has been based at the site - an old brickyard - since 1960 when Tyrrell ran his racing activities from an old wooden shack. In 1991 the team moved into a purpose-built high-technology factory but this is already too small and several Tyrrell departments are currently working in temporary buildings. In order to challenge the big teams the team will need to double in size from its current staff of 115.

The only thing standing in the way of such a plan is finance, although the team is expected to announce in Japan in a month that it has signed a major new sponsorship deal with a big Japanese company.

As part of the "Racing Towards the Millennium" plan Tyrrell is trying to get a factory engine deal. Nakajima Planning, the Japanese company run by former Tyrrell racer Satoru Nakajima, which has strong links with the Honda Motor Company and with Mugen, is believed to be working on this and it seems that Tyrrell's target is to have an engine built specifically by Mugen, when Honda returns to F1 with its own program.

Mugen wants to be more than just a Honda sub-contractor and has long-term ambitions to build its own high-performance road cars. An F1 engine would be the best way to publicize such a project.

The deal with Ford is a step in the right direction and, we understand, is rather different than normal customer Ford engine deals. Tyrrell will not use old Stewart engines but rather will use this year's V10 engine, developed by Cosworth Racing's V8 development group while Stewart will get an all-new Ford V10.

Although the team has yet to decide on drivers for 1998 we understand that Jos Verstappen is under option and that Toranosuke Takagi is the likely second driver. There are also rumors in F1 circles that the team is interested in signing up Brazilian Formula 3000 driver Max Wilson to be its test driver next year.