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Shock News: Arrows Sacks Damon Hill!

18 September 1997

Andrew Frankl
European Bureau Chief

Tom Walkinshaw, multi millionaire boss of the Arrows Formula One Racing Team made the surprise announcement today September 17th ending the speculation concerning his team's future involvement with the 1996 champion. His place will be taken by Finland's Mika Salo, a talented young man who has not had the breaks he deserves.

Mika will be leaving the Tyrrell team where his place will be filled by one of several drivers desperate to get into Formula One.

The fact that Tom sacked Hill is indicative of the fact that yet again, for the second year running Damon and his hapless lawyer Michael Breen are messing everybody about. First he went to Sauber but when the papers were offered to him for signature he said oh no, he was just visiting . . . considering his options. As I have reported previously he was shown the door by a not very amused Mr Peter Sauber.

Since then it has been off and on with Prost, Jordan and his current team Arrows. One minute he was going to join Alain's team next minute he wasn't, then he wanted more money, lots of phone calls, right now with the Arrows door firmly shut in his face it is down to Peugeot's money versus Benson & Hedges, the tobacco giant.

On this year's showing I would not offer him a fortune, apart from his great drive in Hungary he has been somewhat modest in his achievements. All right, the engine was nothing special but he was out-qualified by his team-mate Pedro Diniz who was supposed to be a rent-a-driver with Papa's millions.

Once he finally makes up his mind, as always, you will be the first to know right here on TACH.