The OrangeArrows 2002 contender, the A23, completed its first day of testing in Valencia today. In it& ...
The OrangeArrows 2002 contender, the A23, completed its first day of testing in Valencia today. In it’s distinctive Orange and black interim livery, the car ran at the Valencia track with the newly-signed Heinz-Harald Frentzen at the wheel.“ It’s certainly good to be back in the cockpit again after such a long break”, commented Heinz-Harald.“ I’m getting used to my new team and they are getting used to me. The car feels good so far and the engine feels strong. Of course, we have had the usual problems faced with running a new car, but nothing major, and I can feel there is a strong foundation there to work with. I’m really looking forward to the new season now as I am optimistic about this car.”
The A23 was designed at Leafield by a team of 20 design engineers, led by Technical Director, Mike Coughlan. He commented,“ There were not many regulation changes this year but we decided to produce a brand new car in order to eliminate the problems we had last year and of course make performance improvements. The design process has been very much concentrated on downforce levels, ride height sensitivity and the overall aero map. The biggest change visible to the untrained eye is the height of the nose. The A22 performed well at the high-speed circuits, the chassis reliability was remarkable and it was an easy car to set-up so we have worked hard to carry those strengths through to the A23. We have had another engine change to deal with but we are used to that! I would estimate that it adds another month to the design process but we were forewarned of the change and have struck up a great working relationship with Cosworth so the transition has run smoothly.”
The OrangeArrows team has been working hard during the winter months to design, test and manufacture an all-new car for 2002.“ The entire factory has put in a lot of hours in the last few months”, commented Team Principal, Tom Walkinshaw.“ With the test ban in December we had to concentrate our efforts on off-track testing, the bulk of which was done in our wind tunnel in Bedford. We decided against running an interim car in January as we wanted to concentrate fully on the new chassis and I think this will pay off in the long run. I’ve seen the A23 running and talked to the drivers, the designers and the engineers and so far the signs are good but we won’t know for sure until we get to Melbourne. Our hope is that we can continue where we left off in 2000 and put the 2001 season behind us. We’re very pleased with our new relationship with Cosworth and delighted to be carrying on with Bridgestone as we have always had a very good relationship.”
The first man to drive the A23 was Enrique Bernoldi who took the wheel for a shakedown in the UK on February 3rd. He commented,“ I have only done a small amount of running but I can certainly feel the increase in power over last year’s car. The car is much more stable with the extra downforce we can run now. I am really looking forward to the racing this season as I learned a lot during my rookie year and now it’s time to put everything I have learnt into practice.”
The OrangeArrows team will continue running in Valencia until Saturday evening, before moving on to Barcelona. Test times will be issued daily on www.orangearrows.com.
The team’s 2002 livery will be unveiled in Melbourne.