Rumour continues to link Benetton with a source of Ford engines for the year 2000 season.

Benetton has constantly denied that this is a possibility, and team boss Dave Richards is known to have approached Mecachrome with a view to continuing the relationship which has performed well this season.

It has emerged, however, that Ford has several performance-related clauses built into its works contract with the Stewart team, which would allow Benetton to receive the latest spec units unless Stewart improves its current form. Stewart has always maintained that the deal is exclusive for five years, and that no other team would receive works-spec engines in that time.

The stories have also been given added strength by the sale of Vickers (and Ford engine tuner Cosworth) to the Volkswagen-Audi group. Audi has spoken to Benetton in the past about becoming motorsport partners, to the extent that they even investigated buying the Anglo-Italian team to secure an F1 entry.

It is expected, however, that Audi will decide to sell Cosworth to Ford in the near future.



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