FEBRUARY 15, 2002
Arrows and the Verstappen/Frentzen mess
A week after the signing of Heinz-Harald Frentzen and the firing of Jos Verstappen by Arrows without any comment by Tom Walkinshaw, the team boss has finally justified his decision to the world.
"We wanted a driver who was capable of winning races and in the past had won grands prix, because it will provide us with no hiding place," said Walkinshaw. "It will be up to us to achieve results."
"We wanted Frentzen because we feel we have a good car and we wanted to make the most of it."
The F1 world knew these were his reasons, and saw the move coming weeks in advance, but it was not exactly professional protocol for Walkinshaw to tell Verstappen he was fired after he told the public.
With all the race seats in F1 taken at the moment, Verstappen can now only hope a seat opens up during the season. In the immediate future, Verstappen has decided to pursue a claim against his former team in the courts, the Dutchman's manager, Huub Rothengatter, has confirmed.
"We will start to have a substantial claim against Arrows and we are prepared to pursue this through the courts," said Rothengatter. "People think it is the end of the story but it is not. This has been very disappointing and we will take action that's for sure. What is the value of a signed contract? We did not just shake hands or smile at each other. It was a signed contract which had been registered at the contracts recognition bureau in Geneva."