Arrows Grand Prix International Ltd
|Based in: Witney, Oxon|
Founded: 1977 (active 1978-2003)
Managing director: Tom Walkinshaw (1998-2003)
Technical Director: Mike Coughlan
Team manager: John Walton
Chief Designer: Sergio Rinland
Head of Aerodynamics: Nicolo Petrucci
Arrows is one of the sport's great survivors, with a turbulent history that stretches back to its founding in 1977. The team has yet to score its first Grand Prix win although there have been a handful of second places over the years.
The team had something of a controversial birth as it was founded by a group of individuals who broke away from the Shadow team. At the time Shadow had been sponsored by the Italian Franco Ambrosio. Ambrosio became the 'AR' of Arrows with the other initials belonging to Alan Rees, former driver Jackie Olivier and the designers Dave Wass and Tony Southgate. Initially the Swedish driver Gunnar Nilsson was earmarked to lead the team but when he contracted stomach cancer and died less than a year later Arrows opted for the young Riccardo Patrese instead.
Amazingly the first car was developed in less than sixty days, but the High Court deemed it to be a copy of the Shadow. The team had to build a new car and they did; even quicker than the first. Despite the early glitches, the team showed promise with several podium finishes for Riccardo Patrese. At this time the cars carried the distinctive gold livery of the Warsteiner Brewery, which combined with the futuristic looking design led to the car being dubbed the 'buzz bomb'.
Towards the end of the 1980's Oliver was approached by the Japanese Footwork corporation who were anxious to break into Formula One. A deal was struck and for a time the team was renamed Footwork. For a while it looked as if the injection of Japanese cash combined with an engine deal with Porsche would help propel Arrows forward. It was not to be and although Arrows had their best ever finish during this period - 4th in the championship - the Footwork-Porsche deal fizzled out to nothing.
The last few years, though, have been tough for remaining founder Jackie Oliver. Footwork decreased its involvement in the early 1990s, and, following a debacle in 1991 with overweight and underpowered Porsche engines, Arrows has struggled to find powerplants to match its basic but reliable chassis.
Tom Walkinshaw bought the team in early 1996 to run as part of his TWR group, the ambitious Scot intending to turn it into a front-line team. He pulled of the coup of the year by signing world champion Damon Hill, but a lack of pace and reliability meant they struggled to score points. Performance improved gradually over the year, though, and new technical director John Barnard had instant effect on the car's handling.
Jenkins left to join Stewart Grand Prix and Frank Dernie, who arrived with Walkinshaw from Ligier, took over as technical director. The Arrows-Yamaha A18 was launched in January but was not very competitive although, thanks to Bridgestone tyres and an improving Yamaha engine, Hill was able to dominate the Hungarian GP before mechanical gremlins slowed him in the final laps and he finished second.
With an innovative new design, in-house powerplant and carbon fibre gearbox, things looked promising for drivers Mika Salo and Pedro Diniz in 1998 but once again it was not be be. A late unveiling and consequent lack of testing miles means the team spent much of the early part of the season looking for solutions to their ongoing technical problems.
Funds appeared to dry up in mid season and testing simply stopped. The situation was made even worse after the Belgian race when three cars were written off over the course of the weekend. The cost of replacing them almost sank the team. At the end of the season Pedro Diniz decided to buy himself a better car and jumped ship towards Sauber.
For 1999 the team are using a modified 1998 car and intend to continue with their own engine project. For 1999 the team will also have new owners, following the sale of a 70% stake in a £77m deal, which saw Nigerian Prince Malik Ado Ibrahim and Morgan Grenfell join forces with Tom Walkinshaw.
For 2000 Walkinshaw managed to find backing from the Orange mobile telephone company and with Egbahl Hamidy designing and Supertec engines the team showed well in 2000 with Jos Verstappen and Pedro de la Rosa driving. A switch to Asiatech V10s in 2001 and the loss of a lot staff left the team rather weaker in 2001 when Walkinshaw decided to replace de la Rosa with F1 debutant Enrique Bernoldi.
The team struggled through the season and Verstappen scored the team's only point in Austria. For 2002 Walkinshaw did a deal to use Cosworth V10 engines and retained Bernoldi (with support from Red Bull) but dropped Verstappen in favour of Heinz-Harald Frentzen who became available when Prost Grand Prix closed down. The team ran out of money in the midseason and failed to appear at all the races at the end of the year. As a result it went into liquidation at the end of the season.
|Car designation||Race years|
|Arrows A3||1980 - 1982|
|Arrows A6||1983 - 1984|
|Arrows A8||1985 - 1986|
|Arrows A10||1987 - 1988|
|Arrows A11||1989 - 1990|