1982 Arrows A4 Formula 1

1982 Arrows A4 Formula 1

Arrows Grand Prix International was formed in 1977 when a number of key figures from Shadow left and joined forces with Italian businessman Franco Ambrosio. The Arrows name was formed as an acronym for the surnames of those forming the outfit: Franco Ambrosio, Allan Rees, Jackie Oliver, Dave Wass and Tony Southgate. 

After effectively copying Shadow’s DN9 for their first car, named the FA1 after backer Franco Ambrosio, Arrows found themselves being sued by Shadow for copyright infringement. The courts ruled that it was a direct copy and a ‘new’, revised car, the A1, was designed by Wass and Southgate. Meanwhile, Ambrosio had been jailed in Italy for financial irregularities. 

Despite the challenging start, Arrows had gained the backing of Warsteiner beer, and the A1 showed flashes of promise. After a few DNFs, Riccardo Patrese scored a 4th place finish in Canada, 1978, a 5th in Belgium in 1979, and Jochen Mass also scored a 6th place finish at Monaco, in the last race for the A1.The A2 was introduced mid-season in 1979, and was a more radical ground effect concept that the A1 which went before. Focussed on exploiting the ground effect as much as possible, the engine and gearbox were mounted at a four degree incline, to maximise Venturi size. The wing shape of the underbody extended to the front of the car, effectively making the whole car a wing. A rear wing was used for trim, and no front wing used at all. 

Combined with sliding side skirts, the A2 produced a huge amount of downforce, but was not greatly successful and apparently quite difficult to drive. A pair of 6th places were the A2’s career highlight, and soon after it’s introduction, work begun on the A3.

After the lessons of the radical A2, the A3 was very much of more conventional design. Still using an underbody for ground effect, the A3 used front wings and a more substantial rear wing to balance the car, yet was well packaged and fast in a straight line. Used for the 1980 and 1981 seasons, the A3 bore more success in the form of three podiums – two seconds and a third – with Patrese over the two seasons. For 1981, Arrows’ title sponsorship changed from Warsteiner to Ragno and Beta, with the cars sporting a white and orange livery. 

The A4 of 1982 was a further improved design, this time with Dave Wass in charge, using honeycomb aluminium composite material in the monocoque and taking cues from Williams’ successful FW07. Arrows also introduced the use of carbon fibre in the bodywork, helping to save weight while keeping strength, a sign of things to come.

It is understood that Arrows ran had three complete cars through the 1982 season, with A4/1 and A4/3 surviving the duration. In pre-race testing in South Africa in January, Marc Surer crashed A4/2 when part of the suspension failed and broke his ankles in the accident. The car was subsequently rebuilt with chassis A4/4, but the A4/2 chassis plate was used. As was common practice during that time, teams would require customs Carnets for the cars, which required a bond to be placed. As few carnets were used as possible, resulting in the cars having to show an identity which matched the particular carnet that was being used.

Following Mauro Baldi’s crash in Detroit, the A4/4 chassis was then replaced with chassis A4/5, thought to be this car, in the week between Detroit and Montreal, which was noted in Grand Prix International as being a rebuilt monocoque. Once more, the chassis plate A4/2 is understood to have been used on A4/5, and the car finished the 1982 season with Mauro Baldi. Cross referencing the known-to-be-reputable magazine reports confirms this understanding that both A4/2 and A4/4 or A4/5 were recorded depending on whether the reporter looked at the chassis plate on the car or asked the team. 

Carrying chassis plate A4/2, the car we offer today is thought to be A4/5 which was used in the second half of the 1982 season by Mauro Baldi with the results listed below. This car is known by historian Allen Brown of OldRacingCars.com as one of the three complete A4s which came from Arrows itself in the years following their contemporary career. Allen said about the car: “It has a continuous history to the mid/late 1980s when it it was sold from the factory as a complete car. So I am very confident that it is one of the cars used by the team in 1982. Although the A4/2 chassis plate implies it is A4/5, we do not yet have enough evidence to be certain which one it is.” 

Further confirmation of the understanding of the A4’s 1982 results can be found in period paddock photographs of the A4s without bodywork at Brands Hatch and Dijon, which show this monocoque to be visually identical in construction and detail to that used by Baldi and reported as A4/5, where others vary.

Date          Venue                   Driver              Q.       R.

13/06/82   Montreal               Mauro Baldi     17th    8th

03/07/82   Zandvoort             Mauro Baldi     16th    6th

18/07/82   Brands Hatch        Mauro Baldi     26th   9th

25/07/82   Paul Ricard           Mauro Baldi     25th   DNF

08/08/82   Hockenheim          Mauro Baldi     23rd   DNF – Missfire

15/08/82   Osterreichring       Mauro Baldi     23rd   6th

29/08/82   Dijon                     Mauro Baldi     DNQ   –

25/09/82   Las Vegas              Mauro Baldi     23rd   11th

After it’s contemporary career with Arrows Grand Prix in 1982, this A4 was sold by Frank Charles of Arrows to Ron Murphy to Ted Williams in 1989, who went on to campaign the A4 in historic racing. After two seasons racing the A4, Williams sold it to a Frenchman, thought to be Fabrice Lebee, who in turn sold it to Jerome Lausseure at auction in 1991.

Lausseure, believed to be ex-chief mechanic at Ligier, then kept it in his collection for some 20 years until it was bought by Laurent Fort in 2011.

Fort did not race the A4 while in his ownership, and a new set of FIA HTPs were issued for the A4 in June 2012. In 2014 was bought by the current family owners. The A4 was then subsequently raced at Barcelona in 2014, Barcelona and Monza in 2015 and at Magny Cours in 2017. 

The A4 is accompanied by its 1981 dated ATL fuel cell, along with a second set of wheels with slick tyres, set of wheels with wet front tyres, and external starter motor.

The A4 has remained remarkably intact having had limited use on track since it left Arrows, and benefits further from a clear chain of ownership from Arrows as a complete car. 

Today, the A4 makes an excellent choice to compete in both the FIA Historic Formula 1 Championship and Masters F1 in the USA, with a relatively affordable buy-in level balanced with good performance capabilities, as has been demonstrated by other Arrows in recent years. 

This A4 benefits from having had limited use since period, with it waiting to be run once again!