OCTOBER 27, 1997

Ford confirms all-new V10

THE Ford Motor Company has finally confirmed that it is planning to have an all-new V10 engine for Stewart Grand Prix in 1998. The engine is being designed and built at Cosworth Racing in Northampton but there has been considerable input into the project from mainstream Ford engineers at the facilities in Dearborn, Michigan, Cologne, Germany and at Dunton in England.

The company has confirmed that the new project - codenamed the "VJ" at Cosworth - was started in June and the first engine should be ready to begin testing in January in the back of the 1998 Stewart SF2 chassis which is currently being designed by Alan Jenkins and his design team at Milton Keynes.

Elements of the new engine formed part of the "Project 9" Ford engine which appeared at Jerez but the 1998 engine will have a completely different engine block, designed from a clean sheet of paper to meet the narrow track rules for next year. The new engine will also do away with the use of chain-drives which have caused such problems this year, replacing the systems with gear-drive.

This is all good news for the Stewart team, although Cosworth V10 customers Tyrrell and Minardi will be forgiven for wondering whether they will spend next year suffering the same kind of problems with chain-drive as Stewart has this year. We are told that it is physically impossible for the current V10 to be modified to gear-drive and so the 1998 customer units will have to use the older chain-drive mechanisms.

Ford sources deny that Renault Sport engineer Jean-Jacques His is about to join their operation but other sources in Europe say that a deal is done and that His will become a Ford man in the months ahead.