In Detail: TWR Arrows 1997 Set Up Sheets


Set up sheets have always fascinated me, they are the document used to list the hardware and set up to be used on a racecar, before its dispatched from the factory.  My latest acquisition has been three Arrows set up sheets from 1997, covering three separate tests with three different drivers at two different tracks within the space of four months.  It gives us insight what is included in the set up sheet, the actual set up differences and provides of a story of the team’s year.


We have three set up sheets for the TWR Arrows FA18, the car that Damon Hill drove after his success at Williams.  This was the year the team came closest to winning a race at Hungary, before a suspension seal failed and forced Hill’s retirement from the lead.  I race recall best, as I missed it live and video recorded it.  On getting home ready to watch it my Dad did a classic comment “I won’t tell who won the race, but it wasn’t Hill” forcing me to watch the race knowing something was going to happen, “Grrr..!”.


The blue and white liveried car, was designed by Frank Dernie, powered by a Yamaha engine and shod with the then new to F1 Bridgestone tyres.  A fuller breakdown of the car’s origins and design are well documented on ( ).

In Detail

These sheets tell the set up from three tests, two initial tests at Silverstone with Hill driving the first test in July, then Brundle taking to the wheel for the September test and lastly Salo testing a development car modified for the 1998 narrow track rules in Barcelona.

Damon Hill Silverstone Test


Martin Brundle Silverstone Test


Damon Hill was of course the team’s race driver, partnered with Pedro Diniz and Jorg Mueller as test driver that year, Brundle was brought in to test as Hill was busy and Mueller had broken his leg.  Brundle being free at the time, having driven for Jordan the year before. While Salo was a Tyrrell driver in 1997, but had signed to TWR Arrows for 1998.

Each sheet is largely identical in layout, so we can truthfully compare the set ups.  So I will largely focus on the two Silverstone tests with Hill and Brundle.  Both drivers used the same chassis #02, but different set ups and different Engineers.  Listed at the top of the page Brundle was engineered by ‘VG’, Vincent Gaillardot, an experienced engineer now at eDams Renault Formula E team.

While Brundle had ‘CCD’, Chris Dyer later to become best known for his time at Ferrari.  Salo meanwhile was engineered by ‘Scary’, it transpires this was Nick Chester, the current Renault F1 technical Director.  The odd nickname came from his time at Simtek, he told me he was “much scarier back then!”. Nick Chester also explained that the current F1 car set up is a complex spreadsheet that won’t fit onto an A4 sheet!  Ex Toyota F1 engineer Ossi Oikarinen, also mentioned to me this was his first F1 test.  Salo ran a different chassis #4 which was modified for the 20cm narrower track rules for 1998.

Hill and Brundle ran different fuel loads, Brundle 10Kg less fuel with just 20Kg on board. Also slightly different gearing, but fuel consumption per lap was quoted as 2.5Kg per lap for both tests.  Interesting to note Oil capacity at 9.5l and gearbox oil with as much as 7l, which seems a lot for the latter.

There after we move down the sheet to suspension set up, both near identical aside from some small spring rate differences on the front springs and rear anti roll bar.  These may be accounted for with the different driver weights, listed at the bottom, Brundle being a kilo and a half lighter than Hill’s 78Kg. Salo undercuts both drivers with his weight being a mere 71.5kg.  We can tell the FA18 ran both a heave spring\damper (Mono Damper) and side dampers from the set up sheet.

On suspension geometry Hill was running asymmetric set ups, with the left hand camber settings front and rear with some 0.25 more (actually less as its negative camber) camber.  Perhaps something Hill brought from Williams, as his team mate Villeneuve was famous for his asymmetric settings learnt from Indycar.

Braking is an area where all three cars differ in their caliper choice, something which goes to show how much this was an area for development and how much money was being spent at the time.  Hill ran Brembo 6-pot brakes, weeks later Brundle had AP Racing MMC (most likely 6-pots too) and then for Salo’s test there were Brembo Aluminium-Beryllium calipers.  Latterly brake caliper material was restricted with a stiffness limit of 80GPA and Beryllium being on the banned materials list due to its carcinogenic effect if inhaled when being machined.    Otherwise the carbon brake disc and cooling duct was the same for the Silverstone test.

Aerodynamics differed, as would be expected, for the usual march of in season development.  An aero data file is detailed at the top of the sheet and the specific wing type, hole (flap angle setting), gurney, air deflector (bargeboard) and Radiator sidepod exit listed.

Listed under ‘additional info’ are some interesting details. The tiny windscreen on the cockpit front is the same at a 25mm height.  Tyre pressures are the same at 21 front and 18.5 rear, underlining how teams like to keep settings consistent between runs\tests.  No drinks bottle is fitted, as this was a test and the drivers made frequent pit visits between runs, allowing them time to drink.

Ballast is the last detail, with Hill’s car being fitted with 8 x floor and 7 x foot ballast bocks.  The foot cheese description being the triangular shaped blocks fitted into corresponding spaces in the metal T-Tray splitter, bring the weight up to a total of 603kg, although unfortunately the weight distribution isn’t listed. Salo ran much more ballast for his narrow track Barcelona test, this may be related to the weight distribution change required for the different track wheelbase ratio.


Livery Files

Another document bundled with the purchase of the set up sheets are these Livery sheets.  These are produced by the team to confirm the sponsor decal placement for each race.  Something that tends to change on a frequent basis. We have two years/races represented, The Arrows A20 car for the 1999 San Marino GP and the A21 for the French GP a year later.

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