AUGUST 4, 1997

Muller for Arrows

JORG MULLER announced on Friday that he has a deal to race for Tom Walkinshaw's Arrows team next season.

JORG MULLER announced on Friday that he has a deal to race for Tom Walkinshaw's Arrows team next season. If the move is confirmed Muller will become the fourth German driver in Grand Prix racing alongside Michael and Ralf Schumacher and Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

It is an extraordinary coincidence that all four of the German drivers come from the same small area to the west of Cologne, Muller's home town being Huckelhoven-Ratheim.

The 27-year-old has an impressive record in the junior formulae winning titles in Formula Ford and Formula Opel. He then won the support of the German national sporting authority ONS, which had previously helped to fund both Michael Schumacher and Frentzen. He went on to win the German Formula 3 title in 1994 and last year's International Formula 3000 Championship with the RSM Marko team.

He has enjoyed a long and fruitful relationship with Bridgestone, winning an important victory for the Japanese in the Monaco F3 race of 1991.

He has also won the prestigious F3 street race in Macau and, driving a BMW touring car was also a member of the winning crew in last year's Spa 24 Hours classic.

Muller had his first taste of F1 at the end of 1994 thanks to Tom Walkinshaw who gave him runs in both a Benetton and a Ligier. He did his first tests with Arrows in September last year, completing over 2000 miles of Bridgestone tire testing during the winter months. He was nominated as the official Arrows test and reserve driver in December last year and has been doing regular tests all this season, while also being a member of the TWR Nissan sportscar team for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The announcement that he is to graduate to the Arrows racing team is interesting as it would suggest that the team is not planning to continue with pay-driver Pedro Diniz next season, despite the fact that the Brazilian brings around $12m.

The move would suggest that the team is expecting to bring in considerable new finance from the German market - or perhaps is trying to make itself look attractive to a German engine-supplier.

It remains to be seen who will partner Muller as Damon Hill has yet to decide if he wishes to stay. Arrows is now thought likely to name Australian Craig Lowndes as its official test driver for next year - although this will probably not happen until the autumn.

Lowndes - who raced touring cars for Walkinshaw in Australia - is currently getting used to European single-seaters with the RSM Marko team in Formula 3000.