Frentzen heads queue of creditors seeking to wind up Arrows team

Ian Gordon

A court in Leeds adjourned a winding up petition brought against Arrows Grand Prix International by Champion Recruitment Limited for 28 days after the latter were paid.

“Arrows is delighted that its creditors and the court have given the company a chance to secure the best possible future and the company remains committed to achieving this,” Arrows said in a statement issued after the adjournment.

“The process of selling the team is ongoing and that is where all efforts will continue to be concentrated at this time.” However, John Alderton, a partner at law firm Hammond Suddards Edge representing Champion, said the petition remained alive and had been transferred to London with Frentzen now replacing his client as petitioning creditor.

Frentzen joined Arrows from the now defunct Prost team at the start of the season after being dismissed by Jordan in July last year. He parted from Arrows in August and is joining Sauber for 2003.

The driver’s manager Monty Field confirmed the legal situation but could not confirm that the amount sought was in the region of $115,000.

Other supporting creditors, including Ford owned Cosworth racing who supply Arrows with engines, were also listed in court.

A source at the company said Cosworth were claiming in the region of $2.7 million for unpaid engines and Dutch driver Jos Verstappen, dropped by Arrows before the start of the season, is also seeking compensation.

Arrows have not raced in three of the last four grands prix as they try to secure their survival.

The team, who missed last month’s Hungarian grand prix entirely and made only a token attempt to qualify in France in July, have argued “force majeure” or unavoidable circumstances in their defence.

A statement issued at Spa said that legal teams were “still working through the detailed documentation that supports the sale of Arrows” but had been unable to complete the process in time.

“Consequently, the team has been advised to do nothing that could jeopardise the successful completion of the transaction,” it said. The media circus surrounding Arrows has dominated recent races and Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, who controls the business side of the sport, suggested in Belgium that patience was running out.

“Enough was enough maybe a few races ago,” he said then.

“So we’ll see what happens now.

“They are saying they are not here because it’s force majeure, it’s out of their control, and if they can prove that (then) maybe they’ve got chances to hang on.

“But if they can’t, they probably won’t go to Monza.”

The team sent a truck and a bus to Monza, venue of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, direct from Belgium but a spokeswoman confirmed that the cars remained in Britain at the Arrows factory on Tuesday.

The Arrows statement issued yesterday made no mention of whether the team would be racing at Monza.

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