S3902

11. Arrows FA1, FA01

S3900 Arrows FA1 No.36, Brazil GP 1978 – Riccardo Patrese
S3901 Arrows FA01 No.36, South African GP 1978 – Rolf Stommelen
S3902 Arrows FA1 No.35, 2nd Swedish GP 1978 – Riccardo Patrese

The history of Arrows began in September 1977, when the former GP-pilot Jackie Oliver left the Team Shadow (in dispute) and founded his own racing team. The workers he needed, the today 72 year old guy enticed away nearly all from Shadow. Including Tony Southgate. The British guy was responsible for the development of the DN9 which had its debut in 1978. And he took all the construction plans with him, when he left Shadow. In less than 60 days Southgate and his team realized the Arrows FA1. But the first test in Silverstone fell through because of snow. And that’s why the newly built team was leaving to the first GP-race in Brazil without enough experience. As a driver the Italian guy Riccardo Patrese was hired. He was supported by Arrows-financier Franco Ambrosio, but was only second choice. Because normally Arrows was meant to start with Gunnar Nilsson. But the Swedish guy got the diagnosis cancer in autumn 1977 and died just one year after in October 1978. As a sponsor Arrows could convince Varig, the national airline of Brazil, for the first race and therefore the color was completely white. Patrese finished 10th for the first GP and was driving the fifth fastest lap of the race. For the second race in Kyalami Arrows was running two cars and could present one new main sponsor: The German guy Rolf Stommelen brought the Bierbrauerei Warsteiner with him. The reason why the white colored car turned into a white-gold colored car. Patrese was leading 37 laps. An engine breakdown prevented the sensation. After this the car was completely painted in gold. And at the third race, the USA West GP, Patrese could win the first world championship points on finishing 6th place. But behind the scenes there was already a fierce quarrel going on for the FA1. Shadow boss Don Nicholas sued Oliver & Co and he succeeded because demonstrably there was more than 40 percent of the parts of the Arrows exactly the same than the parts of the Shadow construction plans. Arrows had to build a new car. And they set up the A1 in the record time of only 52 days. This car had its debut at the Austrian GP. By the way, the best result of the succeeded Shadow-copy FA1 was Patrese’s second place in Sweden.

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