Honda website
Honda website

SEPTEMBER 18, 2001

Designers on the prowl at Monza

FORMULA 1 designers Alan Jenkins and Sergio Rinland were both spotted flitting between the teams at Monza seeing if there were openings which they might be able to fill. Both men have been out of work in F1 this year but they have been either working at other programs or looking around at options. Jenkins, who led the Stewart Grand Prix designer team until Gary Anderson arrived is a man with much experience while Rinland's involvement in this year's Sauber is to be applauded. Rinland was spotted talking to both Jaguar and Arrows in the course of the weekend and both teams might find uses for him. Arrows's current package is not up to much and with Ford engines arriving next year the 2002 season is going to be vital for the long-term future of the team. Tom Walkinshaw is short of money and so needs to come up with a car which can do the job. The current car shows well on occasion because it runs much lighter tanks than its rivals but inevitably fades away during races leaving the team and drivers frustrated.

The problem boils down to money. There are some very good engineers at Arrows but if they do not have the budgets to build a proper car they are not going to get anywhere and in the long-term will leave to find better jobs elsewhere. There is no shortage of demand for good engineers in F1 at the moment.

The problem that exists is more one of credibility as Walkinshaw has now been trying to turn Arrows into a successful team since he took over in March 1996, more than five years ago. The team has been through a series of relaunches since then but the package has never been right and the team's reputation has remained much the same as it always has been. The team has no passed through a series of technical directors: Frank Dernie (1996-97), John Barnard (1998) and since August 1999 Mike Coughlan. Three years on, contracts which he signed with engineers are coming to an end and it will be interesting to see if the team will keep men like Coughlan and its head of research and development John Davis.