Motor Racing: McLaren move to take over Ligier

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THE prospects of Martin Brundle retaining a British seat with Williams Renault in 1993 could be greatly enhanced by McLaren's reported attempt to buy out Ligier and its supply of Renault engines.

A successful takeover would give McLaren - who lose their Honda power units at the end of the year - the extra bargaining muscle to keep the disillusioned Ayrton Senna. Williams' managing director Frank Williams still hopes to sign Senna, despite a clause in Alain Prost's contract excluding the Brazilian. Prost has made it clear he does not wish to team up with Senna again, so he could even defect to McLaren-Renault.

Either way, there would be a seat available at Williams, who lose world champion Nigel Mansell at the end of the season. Riccardo Patrese, supposedly on his way to Benetton-Ford, is not necessarily out of the equation yet, but if he does move on it seems the way would then be clear for Brundle. Frank Williams flew to Paris on Tuesday to discuss the situation with his partners Renault and may soon be in a position to announce his line-up for 1993.

Should McLaren take the other Renault units, Ligier's cars would have to be powered by another engine. Ford is a possibility, though Minardi have similar ideas. Whatever the outcome, another British driver could land a job with Ligier, who are understood to have set up a deal with Mark Blundell, currently a McLaren test driver.