|Full name Arrows Grand Prix International|
Base Milton Keynes, UK, later Leafield Technical Centre, UK
Founder(s) Franco Ambrosio Alan Rees Jackie Oliver Dave Wass Tony Southgate
Noted staff Tom Walkinshaw Heini Mader Ross Brawn
Noted drivers Riccardo Patrese Alan Jones Thierry Boutsen Gerhard Berger Derek Warwick Eddie Cheever Damon Hill Taki Inoue Jos Verstappen
First entry 1978 Brazilian Grand Prix
Arrows Grand Prix International was a British Formula One team active from 1978 to 2002. For a period of time, it was also known as Footwork.
The Arrows Grand Prix International team was founded in Milton Keynes, England in 1977, by Italian businessman Franco Ambrosio, Alan Rees, Jackie Oliver, Dave Wass and Tony Southgate (from whose surnames' initials the team took its name) when they left the Shadow team.
Team sponsor Franco Ambrosio's initials were used in the name of Arrows' first car, the Arrows FA1. Shadow sued for copyright infringement, claiming that the FA1 was a copy of the Shadow DN9. Arrows designed a greatly revised car, the Arrows A1, in 52 days. It was shown the day after the High Court of Justice in London upheld Shadow's claim and banned the team from racing the FA1.
Ambrosio left the team in early 1977 when jailed in Italy for financial irregularities.
Arrows driver Riccardo Patrese who scored points in the team's third race, the US West Grand Prix at Long Beach.
Arrows Grand Prix International
For the team's first season in Formula One, the team had signed Swede Gunnar Nilsson to be their first driver. However, he would never get to drive the car, since he contracted a fatal case of testicular cancer and died later that year.
In September 1978, in the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Patrese was involved in an accident which eventually claimed the life of Ronnie Peterson. Patrese was wrongly accused of causing the accident and then subsequently banned from racing at the following event (the United States Grand Prix) by his fellow drivers. In 1981, Patrese scored the team's only Formula One pole position in Long Beach, which he led until retiring with mechanical problems on lap 33 of 80. Arrows finished joint eighth in the Constructors Championship that year.
In 1984 with BMW M12 turbo engines and sponsorship from cigarette company Barclay things got much better. That year they were ninth in the Constructors Championship and eighth in 1985. At the 1985 San Marino Grand Prix, Thierry Boutsen finished third behind Alain Prost and Elio de Angelis. However, after the race, Prost was disqualified because his car was 2 kg underweight, giving Boutsen the second place. In 1987, BMW pulled out of Formula One and the engines were badged Megatron through a deal with Arrows major sponsor USF&G, but the British team had their best seasons yet, finishing sixth in 1987 and fifth in 1988 (the final year for turbocharged engines) thanks to frequent points finishes by drivers Eddie Cheever and Derek Warwick.
While 1987 and 1988 were Arrows' best years in F1, they were also the cause of frustration for the team and its drivers Warwick and Cheever. At the start of 1987 the sports ruling body (FIA) mandated that all turbo powered cars were to use a pop-off valve in order to restrict turbo boost. This was done not only to slow the cars down for safety reasons, but it was an effort to curb the rapidly rising costs of Formula One. The problem for Arrows was that the valve would regularly cut in lower than the set limit (4.0 bar in 1987, 2.5 bar in 1988). This meant that the Megatron engines were not producing their full power. It took the team's chief mechanic Heini Mader until just before the 1988 Italian Grand Prix at Monza (Round 12) to find the solution which was simply moving the valve closer to the engine, something Honda and Ferrari engineers had long before discovered. Although Cheever and Warwick finished the race in 3rd and 4th respectively, it was too little too late as the turbo era ended after the 1988 season.
Warwick and Cheever stayed with the team for 1989 and drove the Ross Brawn designed Arrows A11 which was powered by the Ford DFR V8 engine. The team's best finish came at the United States Grand Prix in Cheever's home town of Phoenix. There the American scored his final podium finish by finishing 3rd. Ultimately though Cheever struggled in the A11 (which had to be specially modified early in the season so the tall American could fit in the car) and he actually failed to qualify at the British and Italian Grands Prix. Warwick's perennial bad luck also continued. A long pit stop during the opening race in Brazil cost him what many believed would have been his first win, while at Round 6 in the wet Canadian Grand Prix, Warwick briefly led and was in second when his Ford V8 blew. He had been regularly faster than those behind him (including eventual winner Thierry Boutsen who drove a Williams-Renault), and could have won when race leader Ayrton Senna blew the Honda engine in his McLaren with only two laps remaining. After finishing 5th in 1988, Arrows dropped to 7th in 1989.
Japanese businessman Wataru Ohashi invested in Arrows in 1990 and the cars started displaying the Footwork logo prominently. The team was officially renamed Footwork in 1991, and secured a deal to race with Porsche engines, but the car was woefully uncompetitive and in 1992 they switched to a Ford V8, and then to Mugen engines. Arrows retained the Footwork name until Ito pulled out before the 1996 season, whereupon the name of the team was changed back to Arrows. Regardless, Jackie Oliver had retained control throughout the entire period.
In March 1996, Tom Walkinshaw bought the team, and in September Walkinshaw signed up World Champion Damon Hill and hired wealthy Brazilian Pedro Diniz to help pay for Hill's salary. The team nearly secured a maiden victory at the 1997 Hungarian Grand Prix where Hill started in third position and passed Michael Schumacher to take first place. A component failure in the final laps of the race saw him finish second. In the following years Walkinshaw would buy the rest of Oliver's shares.
In the 2000 season, Jos Verstappen returned to Arrows where he had driven in 1996 alongside teammate Pedro de la Rosa. The chassis was an Arrows A21 with a Supertec engine. The Supertec engine was not the most powerful, but was still very good, and had been developed further for this season. Allied to an excellent aerodynamic package, and good rear end stability, it allowed the Arrows A21 to consistently set the best straight line speeds around the circuits. Generally, both Verstappen and de la Rosa were competitive within a close midfield. During the 2000 season, the Arrows team took part in a 13-part TV series named 'Racing Arrows' which followed the team and drivers throughout the year. It was shown on British TV channel ITV in 2001 during late-night slots.
A switch to Asiatech V10s in 2001 and the loss of a lot of staff left the team rather weaker in 2001 when Tom 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 made 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. This caused Verstappen to successfully sue for breach of contract. That year also saw a costly payout to Pedro Diniz after unsuccessfully suing the Brazilian, who had taken his funding to Sauber for 1999. The team faced a third litigation from Frentzen, who was on contract by a race-by-race basis and who had not yet been paid. Arrows ran out of money in the midseason and did not appear at all the races at the end of the year, their drivers deliberately failing to qualify for the French Grand Prix.
Negotiations were undertaken throughout the season with potential investors to buy into the team or buy it outright, such as Craig Pollock (who twice made an offer for the team) and Dietrich Mateschitz.
The team went into liquidation at the end of the season, also forcing TWR to close.
A consortium fronted by Phoenix Finance – run by Charles Nickerson, a friend of Walkinshaw – purchased part of the team's assets, specifically the engines, believing that together with their purchase of old Prost Grand Prix assets, it would gain them entrance for the 2003 season. However, their application was rejected by the FIA.
In their chequered history, Arrows set the unenviable record of 382 races without a win, although they collected 9 podium finishes including 5 second places.
Further use of Arrows chassis
The chassis and intellectual property rights for the chassis were later bought by Paul Stoddart, the then-head of the Minardi team as a potential replacement for his own team's chassis. The new Super Aguri F1 team bought the 2002 cars and ran them (with some modifications) as the SA05 during the first races of the 2006 season. One of these cars was said to have been on display at Melbourne airport before being acquired by Super Aguri. After being returned to the factory to be updated to comply with the 2006 regulations, the car was taken back to Melbourne for the Australian Grand Prix. An update still based on the same chassis was designated the SA06 and made its début at the 2006 German Grand Prix. The SA05 and SA06 did not score a single point in the 2006 season.
Complete Formula One World Championship results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)