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Arrows A1 car-by-car histories

Jochen Mass in the Arrows A1B at the 1979 Belgian Grand Prix. Copyright Martin Lee  2017. Used with permission.

Jochen Mass in the Arrows A1B at the 1979 Belgian Grand Prix. Copyright Martin Lee 2017. Used with permission.

Designed and built in just 60 days after the FA1 was banned, the Arrows A1 kept Arrows going, but did not match the results of the earlier car. In 1979 and 1980, Rupert Keegan and Guy Edwards won rounds of the British F1 series in Charles Clowes' A1s.

After such a rush to ensure that Arrows could continue racing after the FA1 was banned, the team had no time to test the A1 before the Austrian GP, and results were disappointing. For 1979, a tidied and strengthened version of the A1 was produced to bide the team over until the A2 was introduced. Although the other teams had cars copying Lotus venturi ground effect, Riccardo Patrese was still able to qualify the "wing-car" A1 tenth at Long Beach, and new teammate Jochen Mass was eighth on the grid at Monaco. When the Arrows A2 was ready, three A1s were sold to Charles Clowes' team for the Aurora AFX British F1 Championship, where there were hardly any ground-effect cars available. Lead driver Rupert Keegan generally either won or crashed, and narrowly won the championship. Ricardo Zunino also won one race in Clowes' second car, and Guy Edwards won two British F1 races when he took over Keegan's car for 1980. Six car were built, all of which survive today.

Car
Total
Race
Starts
Grand
Prix
Starts
Grand
Prix
Wins
First Race
Present Location
2
2
Austrian Grand Prix
(13 Aug 1978)
Warsteiner Welt Museum (Germany) 2016
25
1
United States Grand Prix
(1 Oct 1978)
United States 2017
12
4
Italian Grand Prix
(10 Sep 1978)
Undisclosed 2018
19
1
Brazilian Grand Prix
(4 Feb 1979)
Undisclosed 2018
7
6
South African Grand Prix
(3 Mar 1979)
Undisclosed 2018
6
5
South African Grand Prix
(3 Mar 1979)
Undisclosed 2018

The histories of the A1s are very confused, mainly because the team used three chassis plates, '78 1A', '78 2A' and '78 3A' which were swapped between the cars as required to match customs carnets.  For that reason, it is proving necessary to examine rivet patterns on all six cars to establish the exact racing record of each. 

Changes to these histories as a result of ongoing research

  1. At the Brazilian GP in 1979, Patrese drove a car described as A1/05 rebuilt on the monocoque from A1/04. That car was shown on a previous version of this page as being A1/05, but as A1/05 was rebuilt on its original monocoque for the next race, it is more consistent to follow the monocoque, and regard the Brazilian GP car as A1/04.
  2. Jochen Mass's car at the 1979 Race of Champions was reported to be A1/05, his usual car. However, photographs show that it had a taller rollhoop, the same as the team's regular spare car, A1/04. Using the spare car at a non-championship race makes a lot of sense, so this has been changed.

At the time of writing, the exact histories of two of the Charles Clowes team's car remains unresolved. The car used by Zunino in 1979 is believed to have been the car used by Viv Candy in 1980, but photographs suggest Candy was in the car used by Neil Bettridge in 1979. Research is ongoing.

Please contact Allen Brown (allen@oldracingcars.com) if you can add anything to our understanding of these cars.

These histories last updated on .