FEBRUARY 23, 1998
Scotland's answer to Ferrari
TOM WALKINSHAW finally unveiled his plans for 1998 at a launch of the Arrows A19 at the TWR headquarters in Leafield, Oxfordshire. The big news is that the Brian Hart-designed V10 engine is to be called the "Arrows V10" making the team the only operation other than Ferrari to be building its own engines. Sauber Petronas is expected to join this exclusive club in the next two years.
Walkinshaw began recruiting for the engine program in November last year but had hoped to be able to badge the engine in a deal with a major motor manufacturer and has had talks with a variety of car-makers, ranging from Chrysler to Nissan. The decision to go it alone means that Walkinshaw will have to finance the engine himself and that will inevitably mean that it will have less investment than the top engines like Mercedes-Benz and Ford.
At the same time Walkinshaw knows that if the engine gets close to being competitive it will be much easier to sell a badging deal to a manufacturer. At the same time he could simply continue to produce Arrows engines and later perhaps even Arrows roads cars. Walkinshaw is nothing if not ambitious. The engine has been under development at Brian Hart's since early last year and he is expected to continue to help TWR manufacture the engines although in the longer-term it seems that the Hart company may be merged into the TWR empire. The Arrows F1 engine division is being headed by Peter Dodd and has a highly-experienced staff which includes Hart, Geoff Goddard and Geraint Castleton-White.
The team's technical director John Barnard says that he is delighted to have an engine being built in-house as this means that integrating the entire design package is a much easier task. "The cost of a so-called customer engine is so now high," explained Barnard, "and you have no say on how you want its various features developed that the concept of designing your own engine is a much more attractive proposition. It also allows continuity of the project. It has been a long time since I have done a car with a completely new engine, a completely new gearbox, a completely new chassis and completely new regulations to build it to."
The result is a car which looks similar to all the others but which has some dramatic ideas built into it. Barnard and his design team have placed the hydraulics and cooling systems low down beside the engine with the engine and gearbox oil tanks being slotted in between the engine and the fuel tank. This means the engine cover has been lowered which means that the airflow to the rear wing has been improved.
The A19 features a carbonfiber gearbox casing to keep weight to a minimum and improve the stiffness of the unit. Barnard and his engineers did the same at Ferrari and learned a great deal from the problems encountered with that unit. The delays in finishing the car were largely due to the fact that Barnard had to reorganize the way in which Arrows was working.
The team also announced its full sponsorship package for 1998 with a new black color scheme. Officially the team will now be called Danka Zepter Arrows with Zepter having increased its commitment to become the team's co-title sponsor. Parmalat remains a big backer while further finance comes from Eagle Star, Quest International, Parmacotto and DiverseyLever. While the team may have the right budget to run the team there is no doubt, however, that the engine program is going to need serious investment from the TWR Group.
The team also confirmed that Emmanuel Collard will be the team's official test and reserve driver while South African driver Stephen Watson was also nominated as a test driver for Arrows and for the other TWR racing programs, which include the Volvo British Touring Car Championship challenge and the Nissan Le Mans project.
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