Jones Racing ARWS Team
|Full Name||Jones Unipart TAG|
|Base||Banbury, Oxfordshire, England|
|Founder(s)|| Sammy Jones|
|Team Principal(s)||Sammy Jones|
|Technical Director||Tom Taylor|
|Current Drivers|| #7 - Nathanael Cameron|
#8 - Gary Pacer
|Other Noted Drivers|| Sammy Jones|
Diego Álvarez Torrente
|Debut||2011 Bavarian Grand Prix|
|Races||125 (252 entries)|
The Jones Racing ARWS Team, known as Jones Unipart TAG for the 2019 ARWS season due to sponsorship arrangements, is the primary racing operation run by the Jones Racing Group which is overseen by Sammy Jones. The team is based in Banbury, England and was one of the first driver-run teams to be established in the F1RWRS (now ARWS) at the end of 2010. The team were Constructors' Championship winners in 2017, and have finished runner-up on three further occasions, in 2012, 2015, and 2016. In addition, Jones took Rhys Davies to the 2016 Drivers' Championship. For the 2019 season, the team's drivers are Nathanael Cameron and Gary Pacer.
- 1 The 2011 Season - A Difficult Birth
- 2 The 2012 Season - Oh So Close
- 3 The 2013 Season - A Mixed Bag
- 4 The 2014 Season - More of the Same
- 5 The 2015 Season - The Changing of the Guard
- 6 The 2016 Season - Just Short of Perfection
- 7 The 2017 Season - By the Skin of Their Teeth
- 8 The 2018 Season - Engine Woes and Race Bans
- 9 The 2019 Season
- 10 Complete F1RWRS & ARWS results
The 2011 Season - A Difficult Birth
Having been formed in the latter months of 2010, preparations for the upcoming 2011 season went well for Jones. A car was quickly designed under the guide of Technical Director Tom Taylor in the new factory whilst an engine deal was sourced from Renault, with the French manufacturer agreeing to supply the team exclusively with V6 turbo units. Supply deals with Goodyear and Brembo for tyres and brakes respectively were also arranged. As other teams also went about their preparations, RubberTex-Jones Racing were able to shock the whole F1RWRS paddock by securing the signature of 1991 F1 World Champion Chris Dagnall who would be making his full time F1RWRS debut after filling in for Daniel Melrose who had missed the final 3 races of the 2010 season through injury. With two experienced F1 drivers together with a promising chassis and engine combination, many tipped the team to be a major contender for both championships in 2011.
The reality however was that the season was far less successful for the team than had been anticipated. At the first race weekend, the Bavarian Grand Prix, neither car could even clear pre-qualifying, setting the second and third slowest times. Over the year the new pre-qualifying format proved to significantly hamper the team's potential, particularly Sammy who racked up 9 of the team's 10 DNPQs. Dagnall took the team's first pole position and points though in the third race of the year at Oschersleben and at the next race at the Nurburgring, he took an emotional first win for the team. Double retirements in Belgium and the Surfers SuperPrix were separated by numerous points finishes for both drivers, though Chris took the lion's share including pole and 4th place at the Tasman GP whilst Sammy got used to running his own team. In the final race of the year at Laguna Seca, Dagnall took the team's second podium with 3rd place, a great way to end what had been a bit of an up and down year. Reliability had proven to be an issue which Renault vowed to resolve for 2012, and for Sammy, with a total of just 4 points over the year, it actually proved to be a worse season than his previous one at West Cliff. As a new team though, 7th place in the Constructors' Championship was a positive result to built on.
The 2012 Season - Oh So Close
Whilst it could be argued that 2011 was just a learning curve for the RubberTex-Jones Racing team, the 2012 F1RWRS season brought with it a far greater level of expectation. There was continuity in both sponsorship and driver line-up, whilst Dan Greenlaw was given a test driver role following the collapse of the IRDU Rejects Cup series. With both Sammy Jones and Chris Dagnall in good form, and with a year's experience with the team behind them, they really got into their stride. Dagnall took two podiums at the Nurburgring and Spa, in the first half of the season before the team's two wins that year, one each for Chris and Sammy, came at the British GP and Tasman GP respectively. These two victories book-ended a two race ban handed to Sammy following a highly controversial and very public spat between Jones, Barii Mori, and his team boss and driver himself, Phoenix McAllister, which became known as 'The Mori/Jones Saga'.
The issue began at Spa, where Jones suffered a sickening crash having hit Mori in the run through Eau Rouge after the Japanese driver had slowed due to a mistake. Whilst initially there were no bad words exchanged, Mori's repeated refusal to apologise for the incident which also involved Rhys Davies, led to a war of words between the two drivers over the next two races, with the climax coming at the British Grand Prix, where a first lap incident saw Mori run into the back of Jones, with Davies then driving into Mori. Afterwards with all three drivers out of the race, McAllister broke Jones' nose in an exchange that saw the Spaniard arrested and Jones temporarily hospitalised. Following these events, the F1RWRS Commission gave both Davies and Jones two race bans for erratic driving that endangered others and McAllister a three race ban and a fine of £100,000, along with a £50,000 fine for his Team Phoenix operation, for whom Mori drove for. Mori himself only received a suspended one race ban and £50,000 fine. The fallout for Jones' team however was huge, when Tex Pearson made the announcement that he would be selling his 50% share in the team to Sammy. The bad publicity generated from the unfounded claims of attempted murder that were made by Phoenix McAllister after the British GP were too much for his RubberTex company to simply ignore, and as a result the partnership ended at the close of the 2012 season. Mori briefly declared his interest in purchasing Pearson's shares in the team, but Sammy blocked repeated attempts from the Japanese, who was acting on behalf of Nissan, and he ended up orchestrating Nissan's purchase of Australian Minardi which subsequently became Sunshine Infiniti instead.
Despite running just a single car at Brands Hatch and Snetterton, both Sammy and Chris were able to consistently score points over the remainder of the year, including a second place for Dagnall at the Surfers SuperPrix and at the conclusion of the season Chris almost walked away with the drivers' title whilst the RubberTex-Jones team were just pipped to the constructors' title by Anglo-Manx Racing. It was a highly successful year for the team, finishing with almost three times as many points as they'd had in 2011, but it was also tainted with the loss of RubberTex and the dispute with Mori and McAllister. Jones faced an uncertain future, and following RubberTex's withdrawal, admitted that there was only a 75% chance of the team being on the grid for 2013.
A Transition of Turmoil
With their title sponsor lost for the upcoming 2013 season, and without his business partner with whom he'd founded the team, Sammy Jones faced a restructuring of his race team, right at the time when he needed continuity and calm. Instead of being able to build on the success of the 2012 season, he now faced a race against time to secure new sponsors and new funding. Fortunately Jones secured both with a title sponsorship arrangement with cigarette manufacturer Phillip Morris' Marlboro brand. Ever the pioneer, Jones was the first team boss to bring tobacco sponsorship into the F1RWRS, and the deal would see a name change for the team, becoming Marlboro Jones Racing, whilst the livery was also completely overhauled. In addition to the Marlboro money, Sammy was also able to attract the interest of electronics company Dell who joined in a smaller deal. Despite all this change, there was still continuity on the engine front, with Renault continuing to supply the team with an exclusive V6 turbo unit, and the team's Goodyear tyres remained. Chris Dagnall was set to remain for a third consecutive season and together, the all-new 102 was expected to hit the ground running right from the off and maintain the level of success the team enjoyed during 2012.
But not long after the new sponsor announcement came the news from the F1RWRS Council about the major changes that would be brought about to the series. Everyone knew the changes were coming, but none knew what they were and to what extent they would impact the series. It was the largest, most comprehensive alteration since the inception of the championship and it would prove to have profound effects on the way the series was run, and the fortunes for teams in it. For Sammy, his Renault engine deal was void, and what would have been the 102 chassis was forced to be scrapped. Disgusted at what seemed like a betrayal to the teams which had stuck by the series, Sammy protested the changes, but was ultimately forced to pull the plug on the Jones Racing operation, with Chris Dagnall going on to establish his own Dagnall Engineering team for the 2013 season. The Marlboro sponsorship deal was torn up, and much of the team's equipment was sold off to the Dagnall Engineering team, although Jones retained the team's base in Banbury and most of his staff, expecting to move into other fields of motorsport. Declaring himself to have no interest whatsoever in the new regulations, along with other drivers such as Jeroen Krautmeir and Luca Pacchiarini, Sammy and his team left the series completely.
The 2013 Season - A Mixed Bag
The 2013 season started without hindrance, but minus the Jones Racing team. But even by the second race, Sammy Jones was getting interested about getting involved once more. He had failed to move his operation into other series, and with the collapse of the IRDU Rejects Cup in 2012, Jones Racing wasn't running a team at all and wouldn't remain afloat for much longer. The F1RWRS Council, under its new leadership following the rules change, was maintaining the fine standard of the series and feeling that he got his assessment wrong about how the series would fare, Sammy began exploring ways in which he could re-enter the championship. He'd lost the advantage of finishing second in the constructors' championship in the previous season as he hadn't entered at the start of the year. The team would be officially classed as a 'new entrant' and would thus have to face the lottery of pre-qualifying, and the cars would run with numbers 40 and 41, rather than 3 and 4. But despite all this Sammy was able to convince Castrol, which had been sponsoring the Jones Racing team in the F1RLFS Cup in 2011, to move across and agree to sponsor Jones' re-born F1RWRS team. The agreement led to another name change, to Castrol Jones Racing. Dell were also convinced to return to the team, and further sponsorship came from Nabisco's Oreo Biscuits brand. The redesigned car for the new rules was completely different to the previous 102, not a single part was the same, and the new car was named the 102B. Ford came in as the team's new engine supplier with HBD VI engines. They certainly weren't the best on the grid, but with the season already underway and the best deals already taken, Sammy had to make do with whatever he could from whoever would supply him. With the car and funding in place, all he now needed was a second driver.
At the Kamaha team, driver Kay Lon had become dissatisfied with the poor performance in the first few races of the year, having experienced much better fortunes at the same team in previous seasons. It was one of many examples of the changing order in the F1RWRS, and having criticised the team publicly, Lon was promptly sacked by owner Barii Mori. Sammy's disputes with Mori went back to the previous season, and this was an ideal chance to get one over his foe. Lon faced having to drive another uncompetitive car as all the top drives were secure, but Sammy threw him a lifeline, and with nothing to lose, Kay Lon became Castrol Jones Racing's second driver, just in time for the third round in Mexico. Having finished third in the drivers' standings in 2012, behind Chris Dagnall, there was no doubt that Kay Lon was a talented driver, and he was the ideal replacement for Dagnall at the team.
The team showed everyone they'd lost none of their skill as on their return to the series in Mexico Lon took a superb win. This was followed by a podium for each driver at the next two races in the USA and Monaco. At this point, Mori revisited his previous disagreements with Jones, only this time accusing the team of copying Kamaha's 2013 car. Threatening to sue Lon for sharing confidential information about the KM-4L car with Jones' team, Mori's claims were never actually proven, and scrutineers at the Monaco race confirmed that the two cars were indeed different. Nonetheless, nervous about further negative publicity, Nabisco announced they would terminate their two year contract with the team a year early. A double DNPQ at Pau then provided the low point of the year, and this was followed with two straight double retirements before Jones got the team back to winning ways at the Dutch GP and back into contention for 2nd place in the Constructors' Championship. A second place followed immediately after for the Brit in Belgium whilst Lon collected a number of lower points finishes. A slight lean period followed before scandal erupted around Jones and his team once again.
Scandal, False Allegation and A Parting of Ways
In the run up to the Chinese Grand Prix, reports from various news agencies including Autosport had linked Kay Lon with allegations of sexual assault, amongst other offences, with young female Asian drivers. Initially the reports were brushed off, considered merely wild speculation, and both Lon and Jones went into the race weekend fully focused on closing the gap to second place in the Constructors' Championship. Both drivers qualified inside the top 10, with Lon 7th and Jones 9th, but following the session, Lon was arrested by Chinese police for an alleged sexual assault on a young Chinese kart driver, and faced a court hearing on the Monday after the race. Not that it affected him as whilst Sammy went out following a crash, Lon brought his car home to score another podium following some late race attrition. It was just what the team needed as they battled to try and secure a second straight second place finish in the Championship with only Ashley Watkinson scoring for HRT in 6th place and with neither of Gillet's drivers scoring at all. The gap between the three teams was down to just six points with only two races remaining. In the aftermath of the race however Jones made a statement about Lon's situation, declaring that his place at the team was under threat should the case drag on. He feared it would tarnish his team even further just as the previous allegations during the Monaco GP about the car's legality had done.
The court hearing never went ahead, but Kay Lon was arrested once more as he boarded his plane at Shanghai Airport, accused not only of sexual assault, but also of bribery, with his Chinese laywer reportedly handing over $31,000 to police at the station Lon was questioned in. With the news quickly spreading around the world, Embassy Tobacco immediately terminated a contract with the team which at that point in time was a secret, and would have come into force in 2014. Fearing further backers would pull out too, Jones took action and promptly sacked Kay Lon from the team, his issues away from the racetrack simply too invasive on the team's activities. It was a regrettable move for Sammy who wanted to keep the talented German on board, but his focus now turned to finding a replacement driver, initially for just the final two races of the year. In a cruel twist of fate, it later emerged that the most serious allegations against Kay Lon were in fact proved false, and the German was only found guilty of lewd behaviour, being fined $150 and ordered to pay $3900 in compensation.
There were an array of drivers available for Sammy to sign for the final two races of the year, it was well known that Daniel Melrose wanted out from ArrowTech whilst paydriver Saeed Al Faisal had offered his services to the team. Jack Christopherson was also rumoured to be interested in making his F1RWRS debut. Sammy made it clear right from the beginning that his favourite to sign would be Melrose, and in the end the Australian agreed, buying out his contract with ArrowTech, and signing for the final two races in Japan and Brazil with Castrol Jones Racing.
In his first race for the team at Autopolis, Melrose finished in 8th whilst Jones came home to finish in a solid 4th place. With HRT failing to score the gap to third was down to a single point although Gillet had scored well and opened up the gap to second, meaning that it was highly unlikely that Jones' team would walk away as runners up of the championship for two years running. With neither Jones nor Melrose finishing the final race of the year at Brazil, the team didn't even take 3rd, ending up in 4th place overall, with that single point tantalisingly between them and third placed HRT. Aside from the announcement that Melrose would be driving for the team for 2014 on a one year contract, it was an unhappy end to what had been a very up and down year.
The focus then swiftly moved onto the 2nd Bud 500, the only non-championship race for the 2013 season. For Castrol Jones Racing, Sammy Jones lined up alongside Jack Christopherson, who had been signed in a one-off deal for the race, and Alberto Cara, a friend and understudy of former Jones driver Kay Lon. The line-up had been finalised before Lon's firing from the team, and consequently there was no place for newly signed-for-2014 driver Daniel Melrose. Despite Jones qualifying 5th, it was Christopherson who came through and took the victory, clinching the Dan Wheldon Cup and impressing Jones and his team greatly, ultimately leading to Christopherson signing for Sammy's team as a test driver for 2014, although he raced full-time for Foxdale as well. The good result somewhat made up for the lacklustre end to the season, with the team looking ahead for a smoother, more successful run next year.
The 2014 Season - More of the Same
With Jones continuing into his fifth consecutive season of the F1RWRS, and Melrose, similarly experienced alongside him, Castrol Jones Racing entered 2014 with yet another experienced line-up. Another all-new car, the 103, was partnered with the same Ford engine from 2013. Despite initially seeking to switch the powerplant in the off-season for something more powerful, in the end Jones was satisfied that improvements to the chassis, and the way it would be able to deliver the power from the engine better, was a better use of his team's development resources. The new chassis was also hoped to bring about some much needed reliability - the 102B had retired from nearly 50% of the races it started.
Alongside the developments for the new car, new sponsorship was secured to fill the void of the Embassy walk-out, despite Loctite committing itself to the team for 2014. Having toured local businesses around the Jones Racing factory in Banbury, both British Bakels and Powerline Electric Motors were signed on one year deals each, as well as a larger deal with Beta Tools which saw the Italian-based company's logos both on the engine cover and rear wing of the 103. Included in this latter deal was an option for Beta to increase it's involvement with the team from 2015 onwards.
The season started brightly for the Castrol Jones Racing team, with Melrose collecting two 3rd places in the first two races. It was clear however, that the car lacked the ultimate pace of the frontrunning MRTs, ensuring that pole positions were almost certainly out of the question. However the car demonstrated much improved reliability, exactly as Jones had hoped, despite a double retirement at Mexico. Jones took the team's first win of the year, and their sixth in total, as Castrol Jones Racing reached 100 entries in the sport, in a very wet Monaco race dominated by the high number of retirements. At the next race in France, the team's 50th start, Melrose brought home another podium finish to leave the team just three points away from the top of the constructors' championship as the season approached half distance.
Two poor performances at Britain and Germany saw the squad slip out of contention for the constructors' title lead, although another 3rd place finish for Melrose at the Belgian race consolidated the team's hold on 4th place overall. This result came on the back of a major update to CJR's Ford engine, and following an initial courting of the revived Triumph marque as an engine supplier for it's future F2RWRS operation which ultimately failed to materialise, speculation began to circulate that Castrol Jones Racing were lining up a deal with Ford who would commit greater resources to the team in the future. A string of minor points finishes towards the latter half of the year kept CJR in contention in the constructors' championship in the fierce battle between themselves, Gillet, Kamaha and Sunshine, and whilst there were two double points finishes in a row in Italy and at Akrotiri Bay, with both cars failing to finish at Macau the team lost some of their momentum and slipped behind the better-performing Gillet and Sunshine cars.
In the run up to the final race of the year, the Japanese Grand Prix at Fuji, Melrose announced his intention to establish a consultancy firm to give advice and support to new teams entering the F1RWRS. Unhappy at the prospect of having sensitive information potentially leaked to rival teams, the proposal didn't sit well with Jones, who made it clear to Melrose that should he remain at the team for 2015, he needed to drop his plans. After a public exchange of words between the two, the matter was resolved on the eve of the Japanese race, with Melrose walking away from the team, and his seat for 2015. In his place, Jones had already lined up Italian Rosco Vantini who had enjoyed a successful F2RWRS campaign and looked set to clinch second place in the championship. Unsure about Melrose's future at the team, Jones had gone behind his back to agree terms with Vantini for 2015 in the event that Melrose left, and once the Australian made the announcement, Jones simultaneously formally declared Rosco a Jones Racing driver for the 2015 season. Despite all this, Melrose still drove a strong race, finishing 5th, and with it ensuring that the team held onto fifth place overall in the championship. It wasn't as successful a year as 2013, and certainly not as much as 2012, but it was still respectable, and Jones looked to build on this for 2015 as the turbo ban came into effect.
With the regular season over, two non-championship races filled the winter months, with Jones' team participating in both. In the F1RWRS' third visit to Indianapolis, for 2014 named the Bud Light World 800, Jones like many of the top teams ran four cars in total, for himself and Melrose, test driver Christopherson as well as Jones' protege, Terry Hawkin. All four ran well over the two races, and with the aggregate results combined, Christopherson led a CJR 1-2-3 sweep of the podium, joined by Melrose and Hawkin with Jones having suffered in an incident with Jesus Plaza in the second race for which he made his feelings clear afterwards. It was the second consecutive time Christopherson had clinched the Dan Wheldon Memorial Trophy, and was an overall brilliant result for the team. The second of the two races occurred at the Nurburgring as an endurance event, and brought about the return of the Luxembourg Grand Prix name to the F1RWRS. Each team entered two cars, with two drivers for each. For Castrol Jones Racing, Melrose was partnered with Kay Lon, in a one-off return to the team as the German had left the Sunshine team and had yet to officially start work with Prospec who would be his new employers for 2015. In the other car, Jones paired up with Hawkin in a blend of youth and experience. For the latter pair the race was a disaster, with Jones retiring with transmission failure after only a handful of laps, but Melrose and Lon had a very strong race, though a late puncture for Lon put them out of contention for the win, but a second place was still a great result, and for Daniel and Sammy, a fitting way to end their partnership at the team together. After the somewhat anti-climatic end to the main season, these good results were the perfect platform for Jones to prepare his team for 2015.
The 2015 Season - The Changing of the Guard
With a line-up of himself and Vantini already secure, Jones went into 2015 feeling confident about his team's chances. He had reason to be optimistic, having signed a partnership with Ford to become their nominated factory team in the F1RWRS, the first time the team had been in this position since their deal with Renault in 2011-12. Confident in a well developed engine, the Zetec XR8A, and happy with the chassis which had performed much better in 2014, Jones ordered only minor upgrades to the former 103, which became the 105 for 2015. During the off-season however, it became obvious that other teams had made significant efforts to remain competitive, most notably MRT, and it was difficult to determine who exactly would have the upper hand once the season got underway.
Right from the first race it became apparent that the new Ford engine had given the team an added measure in performance, and Vantini quickly became recognised as one to watch. His exuberant and sometimes controversial manner won him both fans and critics, but on the track he quickly had the measure of the ageing Jones who by mid-season was actively considering his retirement from driving. In the first nine races the Jones team racked up seven podium finishes, including an excellent second and third place finish at the first race at Adelaide. Five of those podiums fell to Vantini and whilst Mark Dagnall quickly established a lead at the head of the championship, the fight behind was fierce, with Vantini, Rhys Davies and Pippa Mann duelling for best of the rest.
At the Italian GP, the team enjoyed its most successful race weekend in its history, as Vantini stormed to an emphatic first race victory, with Jones following him home in second, thus securing the team's first ever 1-2 finish. The result was a massive boost to all at the team, and ensured Jones Racing was perfectly placed heading into the final four races to secure second place in the championship.
In a swift turn of events however, the result also proved to be a fitting send-off for Jones, as from the next race his seat was taken by Rhys Davies, who had finally grown tired of the poor reliability and management at MRT despite having only joined the team at the start of the year. The move triggered further changes across the grid, as championship leader and eventual winner Mark Dagnall moved across from his father's team to MRT, in the knowledge that DGNgineering would be leaving F1RWRS at the end of the season to pursue a project in Formula 1. Jones was more than happy to step aside for Davies - he'd already decided to retire at the end of the year to focus on the team management, and this just brought forward the decision by four races. Having Davies in the car would also aid the team in holding onto second place in the constructors' championship.
Despite a double retirement at the next race at Zandvoort, Davies was able to demonstrate his ability in the Jones car at the following race at Macau where a superb performance saw him complete his and the team's first ever Grand Chelem - pole, fastest lap and victory. It also marked the first time Jones Racing had won two races in a season since 2013. The win took Davies above Vantini and into second place in the championship, a position he wouldn't relinquish for the remainder of the year, scoring a further three points in the final two races whilst Vantini suffered a poor end to the season, failing to score at all after his win in Italy.
The two drivers' combined points tally was enough however to ensure Jones matched their best ever result in the F1RWRS with second place overall. Whilst ultimate success continued to elude the team and its drivers, the performance of 2015 was a welcome return to better, more consistent form and with two world-class drivers, Jones himself felt that the team was in the best position it had ever been in as preparations began for 2016.
The 2016 Season - Just Short of Perfection
In his first off-season outside the cockpit, Jones knew he had to capitalise as much as possible on what was the finest line-up his team had ever enjoyed, a factory deal with Ford, and an impressive sponsorship portfolio, which for 2016 saw Marlboro return to the team after their deal for the 2013 season had been torn up when Jones walked away from the series. Reckitt Benckiser switched their presence on the car from Calgon to Lemsip, the cough and flu medicine.
Jones' long standing tyre deal with Goodyear expired at the end of the 2015 season, and for 2016 Sammy switched to Dunlop rubber, impressed by the manufacturer's claimed performance figures which had already wooed MRT into a three year deal. Jones signed for two.
The first third of the season was mixed for Jones and his team. The car carried through its competitiveness from 2015, but the new Ford engine lacked some top-end speed compared to rival powerplants, but what Jones lost in terms of horsepower, they made up for in reliability. With the departure of DGNgineering and some modifications to the rulebook, the form guide had been turned upside down, with the ArrowTech team leading the way in the early stages. Through sheer consistency and some skillful driving Davies almost on his own kept Jones at the sharp end of the championship, scoring five consecutive points finishes, including three podiums.
Vantini on the other hand had continued his lacklustre form from the tail end of 2015 into 2016 and could only manage a single points finish in the first five races. His fifth place in Italy was a far cry from his superb victory at the same track in 2015. He had been vocal in his complaints about the Ford engine, but after the Austrian GP Jones' patience had worn through. In the race Davies had challenged for victory and eventually finished second having been held up by backmarkers whilst Vantini struggled around to a lapped tenth place. As far as the team boss was concerned, if Davies could manage consistent good performances, why couldn't Vantini after his good form in his debut year? The answer for Jones was to give Vantini an ultimatum. He had the following three races which made up the North American leg of the championship to improve in form, or face being replaced for the German Grand Prix.
Ultimately though, following a poor race in Canada for the team where Davies retired and Vantini could only manage a distant seventh, Jones decided to act. A secret test was held at Silverstone with three drivers lined up in a trial for Vantini's seat. All were pay drivers - Fredo Mestolio, Danny van Rijkens and Connor O'Heagan. Terry Hawkin was also present but was giving feedback on the car in his role as official tester and not in contention for the drive. Mestolio came out the clear fastest in the test, and as such, Jones handed him the drive immediately. Fredo abandoned his Prospec team after landing in the US and linked up with the Jones team in time for the Southern US GP where despite an error early on he drove to an excellent third place with Davies behind in fourth. After Jones had been questioned in his choice of Mestolio by outsiders, many of whom felt the Italian wasn't good enough for a top team, this result had vindicated him.
The 2017 Season - By the Skin of Their Teeth
It would be a tough act to match and improve on the team's most successful season in F1RWRS for 2017 but Jones and his employees intended to do just that. With Davies now in the twilight of his career and off to race sportscars, and Mestolio shown the door at the end of his temporary contract, an all-new driver line-up was finalised for the new season. It was widely expected by most within the paddock that Mark Dagnall would leave struggling MRT in search of a return to success, and the three-time champion duly signed with Jones to be the lead driver for 2017, and thus followed in his father's footsteps. His teammate would prove to be another hotshot rookie - two years after Jones had signed Rosco Vantini to make his debut in the series he signed Diego Álvarez Torrente, 2016 F2RWRS champion and only the second Spanish driver to drive in F1RWRS, after Jones' bitter rival Phoenix McAllister.
Unbeknown to Jones at the time of his signing, Torrente brought with him sizeable financial support from telecoms giant Telefonica, and this injection of cash allowed the team to make significant strides with an all-new chassis design as well as major updates to the Ford engine, into it's third iteration. The package was once again one of reliability and strength, but also coupled with performance and the team looked set to be the favourites with Dagnall at the wheel.
As well as the new car, Jones' team sported a bold new look for 2017. After four years of the green, white and red of Castrol, the Jones cars lined up in the blue of National Petroleum, at primary sponsor BP's request. The change was a result of BP's altered domestic branding in the UK following the PR damage created from the oil spills and subsequent lawsuits in the United States. With trust in BP at an all-time low, the decision was taken to revive the National brand, and utilise it to market the majority of BP's retail forecourt business in Britain. The sponsorship was seen as a significant driver to ensure a successful re-brand, and the partnership was extended to many of Jones' other motorsport operations, including their young driver programme which became National's "Champions of the Future" scheme.
The livery divided opinions, but the on-track performance certainly didn't. In pre-season testing the Jones cars lagged some way behind the pace-setting Aeroracing and Voeckler cars but with the Ford engine upgrade installed in time for the first race of the year, Dagnall and Torrente were back at the sharp end as the season got underway.
In a season of highs and lows, both Torrente in his debut year, and Dagnall enjoyed trips to the top step of the podium, setting a team record of seven victories in a single season. Costly errors, mechanical failures and crashes robbed Dagnall of an opportunity to seal his fourth title, his season summed up in the final race at Macau where he, alongside a number of other cars, ran out of fuel on the final lap. Thomas De Bock did enough to clinch the Drivers' Championship, but the points scored by both Dagnall and Torrente were enough to tie with De Bock's Voeckler team on 101 points. Jones were handed the Constructors' Championship by virtue of having won more races.
Overall the car was fast, but more fragile than previous years, the bulletproof reliability somewhat replaced by greater speed. Dagnall was able to set eight fastest laps over the course of the season, but retired from half of the races he started, eight of sixteen. Whilst the reasons were varied, the bottom line was that inconsistency prevented the team from retaining the drivers' title, whilst the constructors' crown was won by the narrowest of margins. In his seventh year of trying though, Jones had done it, his cars and team had emerged top of the pile in 2017.
The 2018 Season - Engine Woes and Race Bans
After three years at the peak of the sport, 2018 was a bitter pill for Sammy Jones to swallow. His team's fortunes for the year were summed up by the under-powered Ford engine which left the Jones cars at a distinct disadvantage to the front runners. Star drivers Mark Dagnall and Diego Álvarez Torrente renewed their partnership, but by the end of the year both were disillusioned and unhappy. Torrente jumped ship to Formula 1, while Dagnall switched to the Kjellerup team. The cause of this malcontent was in part due to the competitiveness, or lack of, of the car, but driver error and bizarre decisions served to ensure both drivers ended the season low on confidence. Dagnall was banned on two separate occasions early in the season for dangerous driving, the first instance prompting a surprise return to the cockpit for Sammy Jones, as no suitable replacements were available. For the second ban, Quentin Reatherson was drafted in from the Kingfisher team and remained the team's reserve driver for the rest of the year.
Despite these negatives, there were some good results to draw inspiration from. Dagnall won in somewhat controversial circumstances in Morocco, with his driving during the race earning him his second race ban, and despite protests from rival teams, he was allowed to keep the result. Both drivers made trips to the podium over the rest of the season, but neither would win again, ensuring that 2018 was the first year since 2014 that the Jones team won just a single race all year. The team failed to get a single car to the finish in six of the eighteen races, including the final two rounds. Despite the slow engine, the team couldn't rely on the car's reliability as in previous years, and results suffered.
Nevertheless, Jones still managed fourth overall in the constructors' championship, while Dagnall and Torrente ended the season in fifth and eighth respectively in the drivers' standings. While Jones were still mixing it up at the sharp end, there would have to be significant improvements for 2019 in order to stay there.
The 2019 Season
With both drivers heading for the exit after a disappointing 2018 campaign, Jones brought in a fresh, young new line-up into his team for 2019. Two hotshots recruited from the upper echelons of the AutoReject 3.5 series would fill the Jones seats, those being Brit Nathanael Cameron and Canadian Gary Pacer. National Petroleum reduced their involvement with the team and switched focus, instead investing heavily in Jones' domestic Anglo-Irish Formula 4 team and its "Champions of the Future" programme.
Complete F1RWRS & ARWS results
|2011||Jones 100||Renault RS9000T-11||BAV||GER||SAX||LUX||BEL||GBR||ENG||KEN||NED||TAS||AUS||NSW||SUR||CHN||USA||40||7th|
|2012||Jones 101||Renault RS9000T-12||BAV||SAX||GER||LUX||BEL||NED||GBR||KEN||ENG||TAS||SUR||NSW||AUS||CHN||USA||500||115||2nd|
|2013||Jones 102B||Ford HBD VI||TAS||AUS||MEX||USA||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||NED||BEL||POR||MED||MAC||CHN||JPN||BRA||48||4th|
|2014||Jones 103|| Ford HBD VI
Ford HBD VI-2
|2015||Jones 105||Ford Zetec XR8A||TAS||AUS||MED||MON||MEX||USA||CAN||GBR||GER||BEL||AUT||ITA||NED||CHN||JPN||BRA||75||2nd|
|2016||Jones 107||Ford Zetec XR8B||AUS||NSW||GBR||ITA||AUT||CAN||USS||USN||GER||NED||MON||BEL||MEX||ARG||CHN||JPN||96||2nd|
|2017||Jones 109||Ford Zetec XR8C||AUS||NSW||GBR||ITA||AUT||CAN||USS||USN||GER||NED||BEL||MON||MAR||ARG||JPN||CHN||101||1st|
|4||Diego Álvarez Torrente||Ret||1||Ret||4||1||5||7||4||Ret||4||3||Ret||4||Ret||3||5|
|2018||Jones 114||Ford Zetec XR8D||AUS||NSW||ITA||MAR||CAL||USA||CAN||GBR||AUT||GER||SCA||BEL||MON||RSA||BRA||ARG||JPN||CHN||62||4th|
|4||Diego Álvarez Torrente||8||Ret||Ret||Ret||Ret||5||2||Ret||9||Ret||5||Ret||6||5||2||4||Ret||Ret|
|2019||Jones 117||Ford Zetec XR8E||AUS||NSW||KIN||ITA||MAR||CAN||500||GBR||AUT||GER||SCA||BEL||MON||RSA||BRA||ARG||JPN||CHN||0*||N/A*|
- * Season in progress
- † Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.
|2012||Jones 101||Renault RS9000T-12||MOT||SUZ|
|2013||Jones 102B||Ford HBD VI||500|
|2014||Jones 103||Ford HBD VI-2||800||LUX|
|18||Sammy Jones / Terry Hawkin||Ret|
|19||Daniel Melrose / Kay Lon||2|
|2015||Jones 105||Ford Zetec XR8A||800||BAL|
|2019 Season ARWS Constructors|
|Former ARWS Constructors|
| Acuri - AMR - ARC - ArrowTech - Autodynamics - Bangelia - Boxtel - Calinetic - CR - DGNgineering - Dofasco - FAT - Flying Fish - Foxdale - Gauthier - Hemogoblin - HRT - Horizon |
IBR - JLD - Kingfisher - KQ - Lotus - MAN - Minardi - Mitie - Pacchia - Phoenix - Prospec - Revolution - Rosenforth - SOTL - Sunshine - Tassie - Tropico - Trueba - Virgin - West Cliff - ZimSport