Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Ashes of the Phoenix

I smiled when I read that Super Aguri are negotiating to use the Arrows design for either the old A23 or the stillborn A24 racecar. I love irony, and it seems to me to be poetic justice that a team in urgent need of a chassis design should turn to Arrows.

If I remember rightly, Arrows was formed back in 1977. The name was a kind of acronym for the founders' initials (a bit like March in 1969/70) but to my shame I can only remember three of the founders - Alan Rees, Jackie Oliver and Tony Southgate - if you know who the W was, please let me know. The team put together a car in around eight weeks, and it turned out to be very promising. The young Riccardo Patrese drove the car, scoring a podium finish in its third race, and having been in the lead of the second. Impressive stuff.

But then disaster struck. Southgate had previously been at Shadow, and rather like the recent Toyota/Ferrari issue the matter went to court. The team, figuring they'd lose the court battle, built a new car, the A1, in even less time than the first car took. Arrows continued in F1 for 25 years, despite never winning a race, until it ran out of money under the control of Tom Walkinshaw.

The idea that this team that came into being so quickly, but is now defunct, may come to the rescue of a new team that is desperate for a chassis design appeals to me. I hope it comes off, and not just because it will mean two extra cars on the grid at Bahrain.


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