Arrows gives up the fight

The OrangeArrows Formula One team has finally gone into liquidation after months of fighting to stay alive. The Leafield squad appointed receivers in December in an attempt to sort out its financial problems but a London High Court has now put Arrows into liquidation. Creditors, believed to include former team drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Jos Verstappen, successfully applied to wind up the team.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.
Frentzen and Verstappen are seeking compensation and while Arrows' assets will be sold off by a liquidator to cover costs, team boss Tom Walkinshaw is under pressure from former engine supplier Cosworth to settle up payments owing from last season.

Verstappen was unceremoniously dumped by Arrows at the beginning of 2002 in favour of Frentzen, only to have Frentzen leave the team late last summer after ongoing financial problems forced Arrows to start missing races.

It was thought Arrows had found a reprieve when a German based investor was in talks with toward the end of last year. However, when the FIA refused Arrows entry to the 2003 Championship, the investor group backed out of the deal as it was dependant on the team being accepted for next season.

Arrows was founded in 1977 and held the dubious record of never winning a race in its 25 years in F1. Tom Walkinshaw took over Arrows in 1996, replacing founder member Jackie Oliver and signed then-champion Damon Hill. The best result the team ever achieved was Hill finishing second at the Hungarian Grand Prix in 1997, which in itself was a disappointment as he had been leading until a technical problem interfered in the last few laps.

Since mid-2002 it was evident that Arrows was struggling to survive -- missing races, constantly under financial stress and fighting to keep its head above water. The team becomes the second to go bankrupt within a year, following the demise of Prost, and sadly it comes as no surprise to anyone. Ironically, the news of the liquidation appears on the day Max Mosley and team bosses meet once again to try and find ways to cut costs in Formula One.