A SHADOW OF IT­SELF

Car (South Africa) - - SPEED -

Copy­ing in F1 reached the pub­lic do­main in 1978 when London’s High Court ruled the Ar­rows FA1 could have been de­signed only through the use of draw­ings that were the copy­right of ri­val team Shadow. The judge banned the FA1 from com­pet­ing in fur­ther races. The sit­u­a­tion had arisen when Ar­rows was founded in late 1977 by dis­af­fected mem­bers of Shadow, in­clud­ing de­signer Tony South­gate. In or­der to qual­ify as a mem­ber of the For­mula One Con­struc­tors As­so­ci­a­tion and re­ceive the ac­com­pa­ny­ing fi­nan­cial ben­e­fits, the new team could miss only one non-euro­pean Grand Prix. With the first two races of 1979 be­ing South Amer­ica, it meant Ar­rows needed to pro­duce a car within two months if it was to make the grid in Brazil at the end of Jan­uary. South­gate, who had pre­vi­ously worked with dis­tinc­tion for Lola, Ea­gle, BRM and Lo­tus, had com­pleted a new car – the DN9 – be­fore leav­ing Shadow. With ground ef­fect be­ing the lat­est and most strik­ing de­sign phe­nom­e­non, it was in­evitable this rev­o­lu­tion­ary con­cept would be cen­tral to his think­ing. Just as pre­dictable, given the ur­gency, the Shadow and Ar­rows would demon­strate South­gate’s fun­da­men­tal ideas sur­round­ing ground ef­fect. The ef­fort by Ar­rows was re­mark­ably ef­fec­tive and the FA1 was un­veiled be­fore the Shadow DN9. The Ar­rows was also quick; Ric­cia­rdo Pa­trese eas­ily qual­i­fied in Brazil and lead the South African Grand Prix be­fore the engine failed. Half­way through the sea­son, Ar­rows had scored points (awarded to the first six fin­ish­ers) on three oc­ca­sions. This was more than enough to stir the ire of Shad­ows boss, Don Ni­chols. On 31 July, Justice Tem­ple­man ruled that over 70% of the FA1 was iden­ti­cal to the DN9 and that, con­trary to South­gate’s be­lief, the in­tel­lec­tual rights to the Shadow DN9 be­longed to the com­pany and not the de­signer. It was or­dered that all four Ar­rows FA1 should be dis­man­tled and their parts handed over to Shadow. Per­haps sens­ing the out­come, South­gate had been at work on a re­place­ment which was com­pleted in even less time than its con­tro­ver­sial pre­de­ces­sor.

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