JUNE 18, 2003
Cannibalism in Formula 1...
Paul Stoddart was so short of cash until the recent deal with Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone that he was unable to buy in some of the basic raw materials to build and repair Formula 1 cars, notably carbon materials. Fortunately for Stoddart at Monaco the team landed a little extra backing from supporters of Jos Verstappen, on the understanding that the money would be used to improve performance rather than just keep the team going.
Arrows had a huge inventory of equipment and we understand that the receivers recognized that the most likely buyer was someone like Minardi.
"I have never seen expenditure of this size on such a risky business," said receiver Ian Gould. "You have to suspend belief when you see the sort of sums involved. It's like football with two zeros on the end. A lot of people have lost an awful lot of money here."
Stoddart did a deal to acquire not just the supplies he needed but also specialized machinery which previously he had been unable to afford - and at a knockdown price. It is believed that Minardi's sponsors spent around $700,000 to buy in a vast inventory of carbon, nuts and bolts, gearbox parts, tools and so on. The deal included the purchase of five Arrows chassis. This is interesting in that the 2002 Arrows and the 2003 Minardi both use the same engine and so will feature parts which could be used on either car. Stoddart is likely to run one of these chassis in a back-to-back test with the current Minardi at some point to see the difference between the two cars and see what can be learned from the Arrows but a switch to Arrows machinery is not a good idea given the effect it would have on team morale. It is more likely that parts which offered discernible gains would be incorporated into the Minardis.
The receivers are hoping raise more money at the auction of other assets today at Leafield and hope to get money which was due to Arrows from the TV rights, although this is in dispute. There is still some money owed by sponsors and the receivers hope that the biggest sum of money will come from the sale of the Arrows windtunnels, which they think could raise $10m.
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