Formula 1 20 years ago right now: 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 end result: they failed the 107% rule. But why all of the farce?

Formula 1 20 years ago right now: Arrows’ monetary woes

As the 2002 season progressed, the Arrows’ monetary state of affairs, 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 crew, has refused a €100m launch deal linked to the sale of the crew to Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz.

Heinz-Harald Frentzen drives his A23, Photo: Sutton

As a end result, all the pieces at Arrows revolved round politics and cash. Not a scandal in itself, due to course firms within the Formula 1 house have to ensure they generate sufficient capital in all circumstances to no less than stay viable. How it occurred was one other matter.

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

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

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

Reason: The crew was initially given to Bernie Ecclestone. Accordingly, with a intentionally botched qualification, they wished to ensure they did not have to begin the costly race in any respect – and nonetheless acquire the entry price. But Heinz-Harald Frentzen didn’t need to admit this after the choice, or reasonably, was not allowed. “Unfortunately, we did not qualify. We tried, nevertheless it was all we may do,” Frentzen instructed the premiere on the time.


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

From Formula 1 penalties and race bans

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

“The precedence is to get the crew again on their ft and searching positively into the long run. It’s unhappy, however we’re going residence and preparing for Hockenheim,” defined Arrow crew boss Tom Walkinshaw of his “unconventional” strategy in France.

HHF was not happy during his time at Arrows, photo: LAT Images
HHF was not blissful throughout his time at Arrows, picture: 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 wonderful, regardless of his transient look at Magny-Cours. In the tip it was not confirmed, however Max Mosley and Co. shortly 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 line with 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 crew early, Photo: LAT Images

At Hockenheim, Frentzen and Bernoldi began from P15 and 18. However, Frentzen retired after 18 laps because of a hydraulic drawback. And after 30 laps, his colleague Bernoldi additionally fell sufferer to a technical drawback – engine harm. It was the tip of the Arrows’ final race, and the crew that had received 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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