FEBRUARY 12, 1996
Arrows to launch FA17
THE Arrows team will reveal its Footwork-Hart FA17 this week at Silverstone, and is expected to announce that its 1996 drivers will be Dutchman Jos Verstappen and Brazilian Ricardo Rosset.
The announcement will mean that with just under a month to go before the start of the new season, there is only one F1 seat still available. The second Forti drive, however, is not in much demand as the underfunded Italian team is planning to run updated versions of last year's cars for the first three races this year. These are extremely unlikely to qualify because of the new 107% rule. If the rule had been applied last year Forti would have qualified only once in the entire season - Roberto Moreno scraping onto the back of the grid in Adelaide.
The man who had been expected to take the drive alongside Andrea Montermini was Hideki Noda, but the Japanese has now announced that he is to contest the Indy Lights Championship with Indy Regency Racing. The only other names being mentioned are Italians and Frenchman Franck Lagorce, who probably has some money from Elf.
The fact is that the drive would probably do any young driver more harm than good, and it is therefore likely to go to someone who has nothing to lose. The logical man in this case is Roberto Moreno - who drove for the team last year.
There continue to be rumors that Forti will not actually make it to Australia - although the team denies that this is the case.