Arrows Grand Prix
|Full Name||Arrows Grand Prix International|
|Base|| Poole, United Kingdom |
Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
Leafield, United Kingdom
|Founder(s)|| Franco Ambrosio |
|Team Principal(s)|| Tom Walkinshaw |
|Technical Director||Ross Brawn|
|Noted Former Drivers|
| Gunnar Nilsson
Pedro de la Rosa
Arrows made their Grand Prix debut in the 1978 season after purchasing the assets of the former Penske team, allowing them to operate out of their Poole base for their initial few campaigns. Arrows's first signing would be occasional points scorer and hot prospect Gunnar Nilsson. However, this would prove to be an immediate setback as Nilsson would soon after be diagnosed with a fatal bout of testicular cancer, meaning he was unable to drive for the team.
Arrows' initial campaign would feature the driving talents of former Boro and March driver Gianfranco Brancatelli and Finnish Formula Two star Keke Rosberg - the latter making his F1 World Championship debut with the team. Gabriel Château replaced Brancatelli midway through the season - joining from Centro Asegurador. The biggest highlight of the 1978 season was an emphatic win for Rosberg in the non-championship Tony Brise Memorial Trophy.
In 1979, Arrows took over the Reading-based North Star Racing team which saw the team's name change to Arrows North Star Racing. The partnership saw NSR's Sir Blake Clayton join the ownership team. The team retained Château into their second season while Rosberg made a big jump to Ferrari. Rosberg's place in the team was taken by René Arnoux. In the opening round of the season in Argentina, Château scored his and the team's best finish with a strong seventh place - with Arnoux not far behind in ninth.
By 1987, Arrows had an all-British lineup with Chris Dagnall racing alongside Nigel Mansell. The team, gambling on the unfancied Motori-Moderni engines, were seen as rank outsiders ahead of the season. Arrows first points of the season would be a remarkable second place finish at the Monaco Grand Prix, where a real race of attrition gifted Dagnall the podium behind struggling defending Champion Guillaume Gauthier. Dagnall followed up this result in Monaco with a fifth place in Canada and another second in Germany. Mansell on the other hand had to wait until the Italian Grand Prix for his first points score - taking second place behind Ferrari's Alain Prost.
A new engine supplier called at the Arrows team in 1988, with the British team swapping out their Motori-Moderni for the equally obscure Zakspeed units. The switch would be justified, however, as Dagnall and his new American teammate Brendon Cassidy would manage to take points in the vast majority of races this season. Dagnall's best results would be a pair of third place finishes at the Soviet and Japanese Grands Prix, whereas Cassidy's best came in Italy - where he finished in second behind Gerhard Berger.
Dagnall and Cassidy remained together in 1989, with the team maing yet another engine supplier change - this time running Ford engines. Dagnall scored an early podium with a third in San Marino, but Cassidy and Dagnall would excel themselves further by taking a first ever 1-2 finish for the team in the United States Grand Prix. Both drivers would finish equal on points - taking 24 points each.
At the turn of the decade in 1990, the Benetton family elected to sell their under-performing team in favour of reverting to conventional sponsorship, entering into a title sponsorship deal with Arrows which saw the Arrows cars run in Benetton livery and the official team name changed to "Benetton Arrows Grand Prix International". Benetton chose to sponsor Arrows due to their Ford works engine status, a deal which was renewed for 1990 and saw the Leafield-based team have exclusive rights to the Ford HB engine. With a more cosmopolitan sponsor came a new glamorous driver in the form of 1986 World Champion Guillaume Gauthier, the Frenchman making the move from Lotus after three years at the British manufacturer, with Cassidy moving in the opposite direction. Dagnall got his first race win after four years with the team when he took the flag in the Brazilian Grand Prix, grabbing hold of the championship lead in the process. Dagnall took a second race win at home in the British Grand Prix whilst Gauthier strung together several pole positions - one of which he converted into a win in Germany. This was then followed by another win for Dagnall in Hungary - giving the Briton the championship lead over Ferrari's Gerhard Berger once again.
By 1998, Benetton's hopes were pinned on young Italian driver Giancarlo Fisichella - whom would be embroiled in a battle for the lower points scoring positions with Williams's defending champion Jacques Villeneuve for most of the season - his finest result being a second place in Monaco. Popular Brazilian Rubens Barrichello joined the team midway through the season, replacing underperforming Austrian Alexander Wurz. Barrichello very quickly matched Fisichella's best result, taking a second in the Hungarian Grand Prix.
The following year, Benetton would again fight in the upper midfield. The Monaco Grand Prix would see a brief departure from the midfield, as the team managed manage to score a surprise 1-2 finish, with Spanish rookie Pedro de la Rosa - whom had replaced the departing Fisichella - leading home Rubens Barrichello. This would prove to be the team's final Grand Prix victory.
Both Wurz and Fisichella returned to the team in 2000, with the Austrian driver in much better form than he had been in the past. Wurz took Arrows' only podium in 2000, with a second place in the European Grand Prix. This would be the team's final podium.
It was all change for Arrows in what would be their final year, with Spanish rookie Fernando Alonso teaming with highly rated ex-Williams driver Jenson Button. Despite the promise of the young and hungry lineup, both drivers would only be able to muster solitary points finishes all year. At the end of the 2001 season, it was announced that Benetton Arrows had been purchased by Renault, ending a 23 year stint in Formula One.