OCTOBER 30, 2002
The road ahead for Arrows
Tom Walkinshaw was present at the F1 Commission and was allowed to cast his vote but the future of the Arrows team remains in considerable doubt despite constant rumors that a new owner has been found. The team is facing a new winding-up petition in the weeks ahead with around $1.2m needed to pay off the creditors involved but judging by the recent activities the creditors will be paid just before the case goes to court.
If there is money at Arrows it is not being used for anything else. According to our sources those employees who are still waiting to see what will happen with the team have taken whatever jobs they can find in the interim with the local construction industry now having something of a glut of labor as a result. Most of the designers have gone to other teams and there is no obvious sign that a new car is being designed for next year. This is not reallly critical as the team currently has no engine deal and so cannot do anything. The logical thing would be to stick with Cosworth but this is not going to be easy as Cosworth is one of the creditors behind the winding up petition.
The other issue which must be addressed is the F1 entry for next year. Entries must be received by the FIA by November 15, accompanied by the necessary entry fee. The FIA will study all the applications and on December 1 will publish its entry list of cars and drivers which have been accepted. On this there is a problem because the rules state that all "participating parties" undertake "to apply as well as observe the rules governing the Championship". To date the rules regarding appearing at races have been carefully ignored by all concerned to give Arrows a chance but the FIA will be breaking its own rules if the regulations are not applied. Before being granted an entry in this year's World Championship Arrows (and all the other teams) gave an undertaking that the team would participate in every event with the number of cars and drivers entered. This did not happen.
Arrows scored two points in 2002 and so the team will not have to supply information about its financial position and its ability to meet its prescribed obligations although in the circumstances the FIA may request that information before accepting the entry. There is also the ominous clause in the FIA Sporting Regulations which states that "if in the opinion of the Formula 1 Commission a competitor fails to operate his team in a manner compatible with the standards of the Championship or in any way brings the Championship into disrepute, the FIA may exclude such competitor from the Championship forthwith".
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