JANUARY 12, 2002
The confirmation of Bernoldi
It has been expected for a long time but the interesting thing about the Orange Arrows announcement that Enrique Bernoldi is to stay for a second season with the Leafield team is that the press release completely failed to mention that Jos Verstappen has already been confirmed as a driver.
This cannot be very settling news for Verstappen amid rumors that he is about to lose his seat to Heinz-Harald Frentzen. Bernoldi comes to the team with substantial backing from Red Bull.
Everything would now appear to depend on what happens with Prost Grand Prix. If the team does announce a rescue plan Frentzen will stay, if the team closes he will move to Arrows and Verstappen will be booted out of the door. In all probability he will then go to Minardi.
However, it is looking more and more likely that Prost will survive and so Frentzen will stay where he is and Verstappen will stay with Arrows.
Expediency has long been the team's watchword in Formula 1. This is fine but if this is the case there seems to be little point in the team getting hot and bothered when people point out that its pronouncements cannot be taken too seriously as things may suddenly change without warning.
The team says that the new Arrows A23 will appear at the end of January. It will be interesting to see if this comes true...