Arrows Unlikely to Get Back on Track in 2002

Arrows are to miss the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix and probably the season-ending race in Japan as well, amid continuing uncertainty about their survival.

Arrows Unlikely to Get Back on Track in 2002

Arrows are to miss the U.S. Formula One Grand Prix and probably the season-ending race in Japan as well, amid continuing uncertainty about their survival.

The troubled team have missed four of the last five Grands Prix, last racing in Germany at the end of July, and a team insider suggested on Monday that they were unlikely to get back on track again this season.

"Indy is a no-no," the source, who did not want to be identified, said. "I don't think Japan is a proposition either."

A spokeswoman was not available for comment and calls to Arrows went unanswered. The source said the Leafield headquarters was closed and most employees at home.

Brendan Connor, chief executive of engine suppliers Cosworth, told Reuters that technicians who usually work with Arrows at races had been stood down after the team had indicated it would not be in America.

"As things stand at the moment, we are not expecting to go to support Arrows," he said. "By tomorrow it becomes a logistical impossibility anyway."

Ford-owned Cosworth, who have sent between eight and 12 staff to assist Arrows with their customer engines at races this season, are owed around $2.7 million by the team and have joined legal action with other creditors. Team sources said Arrows cars and freight were not on the scheduled Formula One cargo flight that left Britain for Indianapolis on Saturday.

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Indianapolis and the Japanese Grand Prix at Suzuka on October 13 are the last two races of the year and much of the freight is flown straight on to the Far East from the United States.

Even if the Arrows cars are not at "The Brickyard", their tyres will be. Bridgestone confirmed that enough for all their five teams, including Arrows, had been sent from Japan to Indianapolis.

Arrows' troubles became public knowledge in July when Cosworth demanded payment before releasing engines for the race at Silverstone. Team principal Tom Walkinshaw dipped into his own funds to pay the bill but Arrows did not race in France, Hungary, Belgium or at the last Grand Prix in Italy and face a winding up petition in a London court next month.

That petition is led by their former driver Heinz-Harald Frentzen, who left in August and will be at Indianapolis as a replacement for Brazilian Felipe Massa at Sauber. Walkinshaw has said since July that the team have been prevented from running by force majeure, or unavoidable circumstances, on legal advice pending a possible sale of the team to an American investor.

The last statement issued by Arrows was on September 10, days before the Italian Grand Prix, announcing that "the process of selling the team is ongoing and that is where all efforts will continue to be concentrated."

The governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) was unaware of any formal communication from Arrows.

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