Arrows to run this week

THE new Arrows-Cosworth A23 is expected to be run for the first time this week. The car, which has been designed by a team led by Mike Coughlan, is expected to be launched in Cannes, France, later in February with a big presentation being planned by the team's title sponsor Orange, the French-owned mobile telephone company.

The team's full package of sponsors is yet to be officially released but Red Bull will certainly be a major backer. It remains to be seen what will happen with Chello and Lost Boys while it can be safely assumed that there will be no sign of Eurobet as the team is in legal action with the betting company (which is owned by Arrows shareholder Deutsche Bank).

The team has already announced that Jos Verstappen and Enrique Bernoldi will be its drivers this season although the Verstappen announcement last June that the Dutchman would stay with the team for another year may not have been the truth as it looks likely that team boss Tom Walkinshaw will take on Heinz-Harald Frentzen instead. This would leave Verstappen out of work as there are no other drives left in F1 this year.

This is the last year of Orange's sponsorship deal with Arrows and it is thus an important season for the team as Orange is well aware of the competition from Vodafone (which has signed a big sponsorship deal with Ferrari). If Arrows is not very competitive it will not reflect well on Orange although it is fair to say that no other team is really in a position to offer the company a predominantly orange car - which is a big bonus. The theory, therefore, may be to continue to back Arrows in the hope that the team will improve.

Money remains an issue, however, as was seen last year when the team stopped testing towards the end of the year and faded badly in the final races. In theory at least with the Cosworth V10 engine the team should move forward on the grid, particularly as several rival teams appear to be struggling at the moment.

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