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FEBRUARY 15, 2001

Arrows invests in aerodynamics

ARROWS technical director Mike Coughlan believes in the power of positive thinking going into the 2001 season, as he aims to bring the team's 23-year bid to get on terms with the big names in Formula 1 a step closer to fruition. "We can't beat them on numbers so we have to try to beat them on brain power," said the 41-year-old as he unveiled two new thrusts to Arrows's technical challenge at its Leafield base.

Firstly the team is in negotiations to but the former British Ministry of Defence DERA windtunnel at Bedford. DERA (the Defence Evaluation Research Agency), was established by the British government in the 1950s for the development of weaponry at the height of the Cold War, and remains one of the best wind tunnels in Europe. "It's almost too good," said Coughlan.

Secondly the replacement for the team's outgoing aerodynamics guru Egbhal Hamidy, who has joined Jordan, was named as Nicolo Petrucci who joins the team from Ferrari. Petrucci will project lead the Arrows A22's aerodynamic development and worked with Coughlan in their time together under John Barnard.

Said Coughlan: "Egbhal is a very good engineer and we didn't choose for him to leave, but he things it was a good opportunity for him." Despite the setback, however, the team believes that it has found a suitable replacement in Petrucci and Coughlan is upbeat about his renewed partnership with the Italian. "You both lose and gain a little when a new person arrives with new ideas because you have to realign yourself to a new philosophy. We've tried to be clever and come up with ideas that, from testing, we think have worked."

Arrows team principal Tom Walkinshaw stated that he was aiming to get Arrows - which finished seventh in the 2000 constructors' championship - into the top half of the order in 2001. "My target is the top five or six," he said. "If we finish there we'll have done a good job."