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F1 News 98-12-21

Lotus in F1 return? Proton, the current owner of Lotus Engineering, has said it is keen to enter Formula One with the Lotus name as an engine supplier. The boss of Proton, Tengku Datuk Mahaleel has gone on record saying: '...we are totally ...

Lotus in F1 return?

Proton, the current owner of Lotus Engineering, has said it is keen to enter Formula One with the Lotus name as an engine supplier. The boss of Proton, Tengku Datuk Mahaleel has gone on record saying: '...we are totally committed to the future of F1 and we want to make sure that Proton is a part of that. The fact that we now own Lotus is very important, and will form part of the discussion, and we cannot underestimate that'.

Further rumours suggest this could link in with Malaysian oil company Petronas, which wanted to develop its own engine for Sauber. Mahaleel has admitted discussions between the two, but would not be drawn on their nature. Recently the boss of Sauber, Peter Sauber, has said it is important to link up with a manufacturer.

Salo speaks out

Mika Salo has been talking to the press about the Arrows situation. He has said that the team had been courting Toyota, Yamaha and other engine manufacturers about an engine deal of some sort.

BAR admits 'copying'

The designer of the BAR 001 has admitted to borrowing a few ideas from around the grid. 'It's not too hard to evaluate anything on the grid and if it works for you, then you do it.'

Jock lays down gauntlet

Jock Clear, Jacques Villeneuve's engineer, has said that the BAR team can beat the Williams team in its first season. His reasoning is that Williams is running concurrent F1, touring car, sports car and BMW engine testing at the same time.

Honda announces return

Honda have officially announced that they are to return to Formula 1 racing. They left the sport 8 years ago, though they have had a toe in the water with Mugen. The president of Honda, Hiroyuki Yoshino, said that the company would return with its' own chassis and engine in 2000.

Testing will take place all of next year, with Honda recognising the size of the task ahead.

Arrows set to confirm Takagi

After the on/off driver situation at Arrows, it is now looking more and more likely that Tora Takagi will be driving for Arrows next season. He is believed to be able to bring $9m to the team, and is also regarded as having potential as a driver as well - a unusual combination for pay drivers!

Panis makes return

Olivier Panis has made his return to F1 after an operation to remove the pins from his legs. The Prost Grand Prix driver is back a week earlier than expected.

-- Stephen M Baines F1/TouringCars http://www.motorsport.org.uk

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