JUNE 7, 2002
Walkinshaw claims new backers for Arrows
TOM WALKINSHAW says that he has found two investors who have taken a stake in the team. The story was reported in Autosport magazine in London. However, no details have been given as to who might be involved although there have been suggestions that Craig Pollock could be one of the parties.
Our sources say that Pollock is interested in returning to a frontline role in F1 but that he cannot make any moves until he reaches a settlement with BAR over what to do with his shares in that operation. It is conceivable that Pollock might borrow against that shareholding to raise money to buy into a team but that does not mean that Arrows is the obvious choice.
Rumors in Monaco suggested that Pollock has landed the support of a big new backer and was looking to buy himself back into F1, having learned from his mistakes in the past. The man himself declined to comment. Buying Arrows does not make much sense because the team is known to have a certain amount of debt (although this, of course, does not necessarily show up on any published records. There is however a large number of "redeemable preference shares" which are (in effect) debts.
In addition the team is in court on a regular basis with a string of law suits relating to the team's finances and structure. These cases are mainly being heard "in camera" by the judges and so cannot be reported upon. Suffice to say they are not going to be ignored by any potential investor.
In addition to this the status of Arrows's assets are unclear. The team recently sold its windtunnels to another company and the main F1 factory is part of the bigger TWR facility so it is of little value to anyone else.
In other words the investor is not likely to be Pollock who would probably choose Minardi if he was simply trying to acquire a team which enjoys the benefits of the Concorde Agreement. Minardi has no major debts (at least not in F1 terms).
The recent talk of financial trouble for Arrows and Minardi was not good news for either team. Walkinshaw went as far as to say that he felt that Bernie Ecclestone's comments on this subject were "irresponsible".
Thus it is in the team's interest that there be some good news and, miraculously, it seems that there is.
Time will tell whether or not the investment in the team makes any difference. If the team has now landed more money one would expect to see an intensive testing program in the weeks ahead.
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