Formula 1 20 years ago right this moment: Arrows’ controversial qualifying

Formula 1 has seen lots in its greater than 70-year historical past, however Formula 1 drivers intentionally drive so slowly that they do not qualify, the primary class has by no means seen it on this type. Until July 20, 2002. In qualifying for the French Grand Prix, the 2 Arrows drivers Heinz-Harald Frentzen and Enrique Bernoldi accomplished only one run with a “quick” lap. The consequence: they failed the 107% rule. But why all of the farce?

Formula 1 20 years ago right this moment: Arrows’ monetary woes

As the 2002 season progressed, the Arrows’ monetary scenario, which had been struggling for a while, continued to deteriorate. Cosworth’s engine contributions have solely been to Ford and a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, a shareholder within the British Formula 1 staff, has refused a €100m launch deal linked to the sale of the staff to Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen drives his A23, Photo: Sutton

As a consequence, every little thing at Arrows revolved round politics and cash. Not a scandal in itself, due to course firms within the Formula 1 area have to ensure they generate sufficient capital in all circumstances to at the very least stay viable. How it occurred was one other matter.

Formula 1 20 years ago right this moment: Arrow’s unimaginable qualifying spherical

After the staff had been going through monetary issues for a while, the qualifying farce started on the 2002 French Grand Prix: the British racing staff didn’t compete within the Grand Prix. A easy resolution? Initially, Heinz-Harald Frentzen and his teammate Enrique Bernoldi didn’t attend any of the free apply classes at Magny-Cours. In qualifying they solely accomplished one run out of three laps and clearly slowed down on the ‘quick’ lap within the remaining nook.

Almost nothing happened without Bernie Ecclestone's blessing, photo: Sutton
Almost nothing occurred with out Bernie Ecclestone’s blessing, photograph: Sutton

Reason: The staff was initially given to Bernie Ecclestone. Accordingly, with a intentionally botched qualification, they needed to ensure they did not have to start out the costly race in any respect – and nonetheless accumulate the entry charge. But Heinz-Harald Frentzen didn’t wish to admit this after the choice, or quite, was not allowed. “Unfortunately, we did not qualify. We tried, however it was all we may do,” Frentzen informed the premiere on the time.


(*1*)Formula 1 17 years ago today: Ralf Schumacher suffered a horrific accident
Formula 1 17 years ago right this moment: Ralf Schumacher suffered a horrific accident

From Formula 1 penalties and race bans

But what’s all this for? First, at the moment every staff needed to commit upfront to take part in all of the Grands Prix of the season. Under Frentzen, there was a penalty of $250,000 per automotive when you failed to fulfill that dedication — some huge cash for a financially troubled staff. In addition, Arrows can even make sure that Formula 1 money flows and the corresponding rights aren’t misplaced. After all, if the staff didn’t fulfill its obligations, it may have the identical penalties because it did then.

“The precedence is to get the staff again on their toes and looking out positively into the long run. It’s unhappy, however we’re going dwelling and preparing for Hockenheim,” defined Arrow staff boss Tom Walkinshaw of his “unconventional” method in France.

HHF was not happy during his time at Arrows, photo: LAT Images
HHF was not pleased throughout his time at Arrows, photograph: LAT Images

Of course, the FIA ​​noticed the foul play and acted accordingly. First, there have been rumors within the media that Arrows was going to pay a effective, regardless of his transient look at Magny-Cours. In the top it was not confirmed, however Max Mosley and Co. rapidly considered one thing else. If Walkinshaw repeats his Magny-Cours efficiency on the subsequent German Grand Prix, he will likely be banned for as much as three races, in response to the FIA ​​ruling on the time.

The finish of the Arrows period in Formula 1

Frentzen saw the Arrows coming to an end and left the team early, Photo: LAT Images
Frentzen noticed the Arrows coming to an finish and left the staff early, Photo: LAT Images

At Hockenheim, Frentzen and Bernoldi began from P15 and 18. However, Frentzen retired after 18 laps on account of a hydraulic downside. And after 30 laps, his colleague Bernoldi additionally fell sufferer to a technical downside – engine harm. It was the top of the Arrows’ final race, and the staff that had gained their first Grand Prix in 1978 had lastly made historical past. Heinz-Harald Frentzen clearly noticed it coming. Because simply 5 days after the Hockenheim Grand Prix, he unilaterally ended his dedication to Arrows.

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