MAY 5, 1997
Dernie on the way
ARROWS technical director Frank Dernie is reported to have left the Leafield team at the end of April - presumably as a result of the yet-to-be-announced deal which has been struck between Tom Walkinshaw's team and Ferrari's departing designer John Barnard.
Barnard is expected to begin research and development work on the 1998 Arrows with immediate effect using his team of designers at B3 Technologies - which was formerly known as Ferrari Design and Development at Shalford, in Surrey.
Walkinshaw is believed to be delaying the announcement of Barnard's recruitment, presumably because he wants to get his entire 1998 package in place before telling the world.
There is little doubt that he is aiming for a package which will include Barnard, Mugen Honda V10 engines, Damon Hill, Bridgestone tires and some new blue chip sponsors.
Walkinshaw came close to signing a Mugen Honda V10 deal last year but lost out to Ligier at the last minute after OlivierÊPanis's unlikely victory in Monte Carlo, which meant that Mugen decided to stay with Ligier (which agreed to take Mugen boss Hirotoshi Honda's future son-in-law Shinji Nakano as one of its drivers). The team has since been taken over by Alain Prost who is trying to get rid of Nakano. Walkinshaw is unlikely to take the Japanese driver and is hoping to sign another top name alongside Damon Hill - although this will depend on how competitive the car is in the latter half of the season and on whether the Arrows commercial department can come up with more money.
There have been a few rumors in recent days that there are plans afoot for Mugen to supply two teams in 1998, with Walkinshaw getting a Honda-financed deal and Mugen having a secondary deal to supply Minardi (which would use Nakano).