Formula 1 has seen rather a lot 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 kind. 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 consequence: they failed the 107% rule. But why all of the farce?
Formula 1 20 years ago right this moment: 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 has refused engine contributions at instances to Ford and a €100 million deal that included the sale of the group to Red Bull boss Dietrich Mateschitz, a subsidiary of Deutsche Bank, which is a shareholder within the British Formula 1 group.
As a consequence, the whole lot at Arrows revolved round politics and cash. Not a scandal in itself, due to course firms within the Formula 1 area have to ensure they generate sufficient capital in all circumstances to a minimum of stay viable. How it occurred, nonetheless, was one other matter.
Formula 1 20 years ago right this moment: Arrow’s unbelievable qualifying spherical
After the group had been dealing with monetary issues for a while, the qualifying farce started on the 2002 French Grand Prix: the British racing group 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 closing nook.
Reason: The group was initially given to Bernie Ecclestone. Accordingly, with a intentionally botched qualification, they needed to ensure they did not have to begin the costly race in any respect – and nonetheless acquire the entry charge. But Heinz-Harald Frentzen didn’t wish to admit this after the choice, or reasonably, was not allowed. “Unfortunately, we did not qualify. We tried, but it surely was all we might do,” Frentzen advised the premiere on the time.
From Formula 1 penalties and race bans
But what’s all this for? First, at the moment every group needed to commit upfront to take part in all of the Grands Prix of the season. Under Frentzen, there was a penalty of $250,000 per automotive when you failed to fulfill that dedication — some huge cash for a financially troubled group. In addition to this, Arrows may also be certain that Formula 1 cash flows and the corresponding rights should not misplaced. After all, if the group didn’t fulfill its obligations, it might have the identical penalties because it did then.
“The precedence is to get the group again on their toes and looking out positively into the long run. It’s unhappy, however we’re going house and preparing for Hockenheim,” defined Arrow group boss Tom Walkinshaw of his “unconventional” method in France.
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 high-quality, regardless of his temporary look at Magny-Cours. In the top it was not confirmed, however Max Mosley and Co. rapidly considered one thing else. If Walkinshaw repeats his Magny-Cours efficiency on the subsequent German Grand Prix, he can be banned for as much as three races, in accordance with the FIA ruling on the time.
The finish of the Arrows period in Formula 1
At Hockenheim, Frentzen and Bernoldi began from P15 and 18. However, Frentzen retired after 18 laps resulting from a hydraulic drawback. And after 30 laps, his colleague Bernoldi additionally fell sufferer to a technical drawback – engine injury. It was the top of the Arrows’ final race, and the group 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.