FEBRUARY 19, 1996
The Arrows-Hart FA17 joins the party
JACKIE OLIVER'S Arrows team shook down the prototype FA17 chassis last week at Silverstone - although the commercial package put together by the team will not be revealed for another week or so.
As expected, Dutchman Jos Verstappen and Brazilian Ricardo Rosset are the drivers, although it is not certain that both have full season-long contracts; our sources say that Rosset has a 10-race deal at the moment and that Verstappen's may be even shorter than that.
Testing at Silverstone was inconclusive because of cold track temperatures, but the team is due to begin running at Estoril tomorrow. There should be three FA17s ready in time for Melbourne, although designer Alan Jenkins will be leaving Arrows before then to join the new Stewart Grand Prix team.
Jenkins's last Footwork chassis is a development of the FA16 and is powered by Brian Hart's V8 engine. Hart wanted to return to V10 power but was unable to fund the switch, and so had to continue with the V8, which was introduced before the refueling changes made the V10 a better bet.
The team expects to announce several new sponsorship deals in addition to the backing from high-energy drink Hype. One suggestion is that the team will have backing from ex-Pacific sponsor, vodka company Ursus. Although originally Icelandic, Ursus is owned by Dutchman Casper Veldink who was using F1 to promote the brand worldwide while also helping out fellow countryman Verstappen.
At the Silverstone test, the Footwork carried backing from another ex-Pacific sponsor, trading company Quest International.