The Arrows business...

Enrique Bernoldi, San Marino GP 2002

Enrique Bernoldi, San Marino GP 2002 

 © The Cahier Archive

THE behavior of the Arrows team at Magny-Cours was not acceptable - at least not if one listened to the voices in the Press Office. The general feeling was that for Arrows to turn up and only compete for one flying lap for each driver made no sense at all - and even these were aborted in the final sector (presumably to ensure that the cars did not qualify).

It is clear that there is a great deal more to the story than meets the eye. Tom Walkinshaw did face the press on Friday afternoon but he did not explain what was going on, except to say that the team had been advised to do as it had done. Walkinshaw dodged further questions and merely spoke of how everything will look different when the truth is known.

Let us hope that the truth will come out quickly so that Tom can take his place amongst the righteous and we can all go back to racing.

The whole interlude left a nasty taste in the mouth and raised questions about what a team must do to bring the sport into disrepute. In fact the phraseology in the rules is rather different and the most important question about the behavior of Arrows is raised by a clause in the secret Concorde Agreement which says that all F1 teams undertake not to do things which are "prejudicial to the image and dignity of F1 as a high class sport".

We understand that after what happened on Saturday the FIA is discussing with its lawyers about whether or not it was something which can be considered "prejudicial to the image and dignity of F1 as a high class sport" and whether or not the team should (or indeed could) be punished for what happened.

There are other issues involved in all of this because no-one wants to see Arrows close down. That would take the entry in the World Championship down to just 20 cars, which is not good for the sport. At the same time it would mean that a large number of people in Leafield would be out of work and anyone who has been around F1 for a while could recognize at Magny-Cours that the paddock was filled with members of the Prost team who are looking for work. These are hard times and no-one, including the FIA, wants to be seen to be the organization which pushes Arrows out of the business.

At the same time one has to question whether or not the team can survive another weekend like the French GP. There was clearly some kind of Mexican stand-off going on back in London and both sides in the negotiations seemed to be unwilling to back down.

Let us hope that Walkinshaw can pull something out of the fire.

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