A SHADOW OF ITSELF
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.