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Why have Arrows never won a GP?


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#1 Maldwyn

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 14:43

The team started with great promise in 1978 (Patrese leading their second race) but there have been few highlights since (pole at Long Beach in '81, 2nd in Hungary '97) and it is suprising that they have remained in F1 with such a record although they deserve credit for their longevity.



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#2 david_martin

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 20:34

That is an interesting question, and one I have pondered from time to time and it probably leads to the wider question: "what makes a team win?"

Arrows have probably had the key elements at different times, but probably never enough of them simulataneously to grab that elusive win. While their driver roster has been ,particularly in the 90's, peppered with pay drivers (who could forget Taki Inuoe), there has been some talent with the capacity to win - Patrese in his prodigeous enfant terrible period, Derek Warwick in his prime, Theirry Boutsen, and Damon Hill with the number 1 painted on the side of the car... There have been works engines, albiet not necessarily great ones. They have had team principals whom knew what was required to win (Jackie Oliver and Tom Walkinshaw). And there has been talent in the design office at different times (Jenkins, Barnard, Southgate to name but a few). Maybe what has been lacking was money (cigarettes in particular), as I don't think they have ever got amongst the winning teams of each era in terms of budget. They have been heartbreakingly close on two occasions, but the gods have never quite smiled on them enough.

And I think that winning needs to be put into some perspective. You could argue that in the 90's there were only two "surprise" manufacturers that grabbed a win - the Ligier win at Monaco in 1996 and the Jordan win at Spa in 1998. Apart from those two, the teams you might expect to win basically did for the entire decade (Ferrari, Maclaren, Williams, Benetton). Thats two from more than 150 races. And in that group Ferrari and Maclaren both had long droughts and Williams and Benetton have not won a race since 1997. So winning is not necessarily as easy as it might seem. There are well funded, well run teams with sound pedigrees in other formulas (ie. Sauber, the Reynard/BAR effort) who have not even gone close to breaking their duck.

It makes me even more admiring of the commitment of the likes of Minardi, Arrows, and Tyrrell (RIP) that they keep/kept turning up and making the grid and the paddock that much more interesting than it would otherwise be...

#3 Ray Bell

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Posted 17 October 2000 - 23:05

Let's agree on one point... Damon Hill's second place at Hungary was one of modern GP Racing's great tragedies...

#4 Maldwyn

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 11:53

Damon in Hungary was cruel, as was Patrese in South Africa but I guess F1 is littered with many such nearly stories.

You're probably right david that the answer rests with the combination of designer/driver/engine/sponsor. Arrows have never quite got all the elements together at one time apart from, perhaps, their debut season. Porsche was their great hope but, as discussed elsewhere, the dream of manufacturer support soon fell apart.

A comparison with Williams is interesting: Patrese/Jones, Southgate/Head, Cosworth/Cosworth, Warsteiner/Saudi Airlines. On the surface not much to choose between them but Williams sustained their momentum and Arrows stayed mid-field.

#5 david_martin

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 19:58

The Williams and Arrows comparison is interesting.

I would still content that Williams had access to much deeper pockets in 1978 and 1979 than Arrows did. Apart from the Saudi Airlines, Mansoor Ojeh, who owns Tag watches and held a big stake in Maclaren until very recently when he sold down his holdings to Daimler-Chrysler, was also putting in a lot of money to the team. In 1979 Williams were able to afford to pay Cosworth to develop a uniquely repackaged DFV designed especially to fit in the FW07 to facilate improved aerodynamics around the cars rear. It was that iteration of the FW07, which debuted at the 1979 British GP, that really set Williams on their way, when Alan Jones annilated the lap record in qualifying and Clay Reggazoni went on to give Williams their first win.

Incidently, it was one of those repackaged water pumps that broke on Jone's car in that race and resulted in him retiring from a commanding lead. Luckily for Williams, Jones had a quick teammate who was there to sweep up the pieces are carry off the win. With all the respect in the world to the late Rolf Stomellen, when Riccardo Patrese retired in South Africa in 1978 his team mate was already down a lap and the spoils were left to Ronnie Petersen and Patric Depallier to argue over. Perhaps that is another thing to add to the list reasons why teams win.

I doubt that Arrows had access to those kinds of resources, even though they had a big name sponsor like Warsteiner. I read where 7-up and Fuji payed roughly the combined sum of $20 to Eddie Jordan for the prime real estate on the '91 Jordan - appearances are not always everything.

Veering off on a tangent, I seem to recall it was some of Mansoor Ojeh's money that helped put Maclaren back on the map at the beginning of the Turbo era. While cigarettes had mainly funded John Barnard's work for Ron Dennis on the Project 4 all carbon fibre monocoque that became the MP/4 after the forced merger of Project 4 and Maclaren, Ojeh bought into the team by agreeing to fund the Porsche customer turbo engine programme. I think he was also involved in buying out Teddy Mayer's stake in the team, lahtough that came a bit later. At any rate he parted company with Frank Williams after Frank politely declined Ojeh's offer to buy into Williams, resulting with the link-up with Ron Dennis and Maclaren.

Perhaps Jackie Oliver should have started playing golf with Mansoor Ojeh in 1977 - you never no how different the Formula one landscape might be today!!

#6 Ray Bell

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 21:39

Another 'issue' with Arrows was the challenge over their design.
Shadows claimed they had stolen their design, so Arrows soon had to regroup and came out with a totally different car. Cannot have been much of a help...

#7 RedFever

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Posted 18 October 2000 - 22:22

Ray, not any more than Riccardo's DNF in Kyalamy or Gilles with no fuel in Zolder 78 or Mansell with no fuel in Canada or Senna in Monza meeting with Schlesser or Martini running 3rd with a Minardi. And pretty much any other race Alesi drove for Ferrari. There is an infinite amount of these situations.

#8 jmcgavin

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Posted 19 October 2000 - 11:36

The main reason I guess is as has been said before they've never had a complete package together at the same time, not enough continuity, several times when they're been in a position to go to the next level they've then had a bad period either with a poor new car design, poor engine,which has killed the momentum they've built and meant they've had to spend time with paying drivers and little money.

#9 Maldwyn

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Posted 19 October 2000 - 13:35

Originally posted by Ray Bell
Another 'issue' with Arrows was the challenge over their design.

They did have a traumatic first year. The FA1 was launched in the snow at Silverstone, they led their second GP, 2nd to the "fan car" in Sweden, losing a court case, then Monza and Patrese's ban.
I have a question over Southgate's Shadow/Arrows design - if they were the same car (as the courts decided) why was the Shadow so bad? :confused:
David, it's a worrying thought that the destiny of a F1 team could be decided by who you play golf with. :lol: Certainly Arrows have never had long-term major backing. Footwork were the closest they got and that turned sour with the Porsche project

#10 david_martin

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Posted 19 October 2000 - 14:19

On the subject of the Arrows FA1 versus the Shadow DN9.

They look pretty similar, for sure, although the Arrows nose looks longer to me. I think Tony Southgate was one of the first people, along perhaps with Gordon Murray (Fan car anyone?), to twig as to what Lotus were trying to achieve with the Lotus 78 during the 1977 season. As a result I think the FA1 (and the DN9) was a semi-ground effect design along the lines of the Lotus 78 and it was one of the chassis of the season in 1978, in my opinion.

I don't think we can blame the Shadow drivers, Hans Stuck and Clay Regazzoni were hardly the worst going round that year. Perhaps the residual technical people at Shadow did not understand how the chassis worked from an aerodynamic standpoint and could not make it work as a result? There is certainly a profound difference between what two teams were able to achieve with the same design.

#11 Maldwyn

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Posted 19 October 2000 - 14:34

I suppose the loss of Southgate & Wass was a big blow to Shadow, never mind Rees, Oliver and Patrese, so that must explain the performance gap.
Tony Soughtgate had been at Lotus as ground effect was being developed and the Shadow/Arrows was one of the first cars to respond to Chapman. The FA1 was clearly competitive but, as Ray says, having to design and build a new car mid-season hurt Arrows.
The A2 doodlebug was a gound effect step too far though:lol: