OCTOBER 11, 2001
Arrows to sell windtunnel?
THE big rumor in the paddock in Japan was that Arrows has sold its Bedford windtunnel to Jaguar Racing for $30m. The team has a fallback as it still owns the team's original aerodynamic facility in Milton Keynes, which is a 40% rolling road facility which was state-of-the-art technology at the time it was built.
The sources are, however, very good and the deal makes a lot of sense for the team which is struggling to get the budget together to make a proper job of a car for next year, a critical season as the team is having to pay a huge amount of money to Cosworth for use of V10 engines similar to those being used by Jaguar Racing.
Jaguar has a windtunnel nearing completion in Bicester, built for them by Adrian Reynard but there has long been a plan for a second facility. This is years away and to acquire a facility such as Bedford would be a huge bonus. The Bedford windtunnel is considered to be one of the best in existence. It is unique as it was built from concrete at huge expense by the British government. The 160mph half-scale facility was then run by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency until John Barnard found it and began to use it. The Arrows team acquired it after the brief interlude with Barnard three years ago.
If the rumors turn out to be true, Jaguar will be in a position to become more competitive very quickly although the plans for a new facility at Gaydon are unlikely to be followed through.
It remains to be seen whether the rumors are true as confirmation is hard to get as the team has a curious view of how to deal with the media. In recent days Tom Walkinshaw has denied reports direct from sponsor Dietrich Mateschitz of Red Bull that the Austrian company is buying the team, leaving journalists utterly confused as to who can be trusted.
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