Thursday February 15th, 2001
Johnny Herbert will make a shock return to Formula One this season as development and testing driver for Arrows.
Herbert, who left the Jaguar Racing team at the end of last season, will provide support for Arrows drivers Jos Verstappen and Enrique Bernoldi. The news was announced at Arrows' launch of their new car at their Leafield base today.
Herbert left Formula One after 12 seasons to pursue a career in the American-based Champ car series. He was reported to have turned down a testing deal with BMW-Williams last November, but after failing to secure a Champ Car drive he has made a u-turn and joined Arrows.
Commenting on the announcement, Arrows Team Principal, Tom Walkinshaw, said: "It's great to have Johnny on board. We have good continuity with Jos (Verstappen), fresh talent with Enrique (Bernoldi) and with the experience of Johnny we have a complete driver line-up."
Herbert too sounded words of delight. "I see OrangeArrows as a team of people who are very serious about their racing performance but also like to enjoy life and that suits my philosophy down to the ground. This is a new challenge for me, I know I can make a valid contribution and I am very much looking forward to getting down to business."
Herbert will make his debut for the team in a test at the Silverstone circuit on March 7, three days after the season-opening Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.
The Briton said earlier this week that he hoped to compete in the prestigious Indianapolis 500 and Le Mans-24 Hour races, and it is believed that his testing duties with Arrows will not interfere with this aim.