The last twenty Five years of Team Lotus Part 1

The last twenty five years, of Team Lotus’ relationship with Formula One has been turbulent, with lots of gossip and lots of rumours. They left F1, came quickly back, left again, almost came back, and then finally returned with two teams, only to leave once more at the end of 2015. Will it be forever, or will they return? Time will tell. For now enjoy this amazing roller coaster ride of the last twenty five years of Team Lotus in Formula One.

In 1991 Team Lotus was looking for new fresh input to lift the team.  Just like in the present, in the 1990s the best way to stay in Formula One was to be backed by a big engine manufacturer.
Lotus tried to bring back Honda power for their cars, the last time the team drove with Honda engines was in 1987. On this occasion sadly Honda had no interest in supplying the team with engines for 1992.
What many didn’t know was that Isuzu was secretly developing a V12 F1 engine, after they designed a supercar V8 engine. Only four employees had the task of designing the engine.  During the season team manager Peter Collins came into contact with Isuzu and they mentioned that they were working on a F1 V12 engine. For Team Lotus, this could have been the support they needed.
Isuzu quickly produced the first results from the test bench. The engine, named the ‘P799WE’ produced 637HP. After more tests and more tweaks the engineers managed to give the engine 755HP, an impressive figure for the time. Isuzu made the decision in July to send one engine to Silverstone to have it fitted in a Lotus 102, and have it tested. The test took place on the 2nd August 1991. Hakkinen was the lucky one to test the Isuzu engine. 
The fitting didn’t go well. The Lotus 102 was designed for a Lamborghini V12 engine, which was heavier, and the team had to create a new engine cover and place larger radiators and better cooling. 
Team Lotus also had a problem with the alternator which resulted in the driver having to turn off several electrical systems, and thus could only run a limited numbers of laps at a time. After the engine was fitted the car was named the Lotus-Isuzu 102C.  The 102C managed a best lap time of 1:30, well down on Ayrton Senna’s time of 1:24.7 in the McLaren-Honda on the same day. The slow time can be partially explained because the engine wasn’t filled with racing fuel, and was on different tyres then the others had that day. In addition the car was 80Kg heavier, due to the extra batteries that were needed. Nevertheless the potential was there with the engine.
But the Lotus-Isuzu seemed to be only an illusion, while it was tested. The management behind Isuzu didn’t want to continue with their F1 project and Team Manager Peter Collins later would say it would be a leap into the unknown, having a brand new barely tested V12 in the back. The climate would be dramatically changed in the years to come.  Thank God we still have the footage of that single test day in August 1991. You can check it out here.

Team Lotus

In 1992 Team Lotus produced the experimental X10 package. The team was discussing its future in Formula One, and had set itself some ambitious goals to aim for. Of particular interest was that the team was looking to beat Williams who at the time were dominating F1. Team Lotus’ ambition was to beat Williams with the X10 package which they believed could be many seconds faster than previous Lotus designs. It was mainly focused on technological improvements so the team could create concepts for future designs. Lotus’ goal was to start understanding the results in September 1993, so they could decide what programme they would use to design the car for the 1994 season.
What they intended to achieve with the 10X package would have been some kind of miracle. But the documents about this meeting can be found here
Team Lotus
During the 1993 season Lotus kept up competitiveness with the Lotus 107B, they managed to score 12 points and the future seemed to be bright for the team. However the 1994 season was to be a hard one. Chris Murphey designed the Lotus 109, mostly based on the successfully Lotus 107 but the car didn’t make its debut until before the Spanish Grand Prix. The car seemed good in principle, but due to a lack of funds the team wasn’t able to develop the car. At the end of the season Lotus announced that they had a shortage of funds and were afraid they could not complete the F1 season.
They were on the verge of being declared bankrupt. Chris Murphy was already designing the new Lotus car for the 1995 Season. The Lotus 112 had a similar silhouette to Murphy’s previous designs, but also had a new distinctive arrow nose and an unusual pushrod arrangement on the front suspension.  At the end of 1994 David Hunt, the younger brother of James Hunt, bought Team Lotus. However he was forced to shut down the team on the 17th of January 1995, because there was a lack of sponsorship for the forthcoming season.

Arno Moderni, the first AGS car

Arno was active in the 1980s as a small team in Italian F3 and in the middle of 1985, they made the decision to enter Formula One in 1986. The chassis would have been built by the French AGS team, while the engine would have come from Carlo Chiti’s Motori Moderni organisation. The team was financially backed by Jolly Club who came to the team with driver Mario Hytten.  It would soon become clear the team would eventually be AGS.

Note 1: Most of the story is based on information provided by Mario Hytten, who had already signed a contract to be the first driver.  The rest of the details came from the following issues of Autosport magazine: 2nd January 1986 and 6th February 1986.

The Arno International team were active in Italian F3 and were controlled by the Italian Piero Mancini, who had already sponsored Alessandro Nannini’s Formula One career. Mancini owned a large Fiat dealership in Florence, a co-owner of Motori Moderni, and was widely known in the motorsport business.  While initially it appeared that the new team would be Italian and take the Arno name, in late 1985 it became clear that Arno would complete in the International F3000 championship and it would be AGS themselves entering Formula One. However this is not the end of the story.  Mancini and Mario Hytten signed a contract just a couple of weeks after  Mario finished 2nd at the last F3000 race of the season at Donington.
Mario Hytten while signs his contract in late 1985. In front Piero Mancini, Mario Hytten, standing Carlo Giorgio.

The contract said he would drive for Arno International in F3000 in 1986, do the testing of the Motori Moderni engine, and debute the AGS JH21C in September at Monza. Hytten was already qualified for a Superlicence required to drive in Formula One by virtue of racing a full season in the British F3 Championship in 1983, and having signed the contract Hytten visited both Carlo Chiti (Motori Moderni) and Henri Jullien (AGS) to check on the development of the car. However the team ended up with sponsorship from the Italian jeans designer El Charro, and it meant that instead of Hytten, it would be Ivan Capelli who would test and debut the JH21C, which was basically a scrapped Renault RE30. With the benefit of hindsight, having lost the chance to drive in F1, Hytten is pragmatic, stating;

“As it turns out, it does not look like I missed too much, because the AGS was a dog. Ivan did much better when he moved on to better teams.”

We all know how AGS struggled in Formula One. Hytten continued to drive in F3000 and moved to the United States and competed in IMSA where he drove the URD-BMW and the Porsche 962 before he retired in 1992.

For pictures of the Arno Moderni  and copies of articles check this link.

De Vos Monoposto, the Dutch Auto Union

The De Vos Monoposto also known as the De Vos Speciale was one of the first Dutch-built cars to attempt to join the Grand Prix circus. De Vos was the creation of A.J. de Vos from Strijensas, a Dutch motorsport enthusiast.

Note 1: Most of the info about the De Vos project came from the book Autodesign in Nederland by Jan Lammerse (ISBN: 9066303727).
Note 2: Many thanks to Jan Steutel.  He provided the information that the car had last been seen in the early 60’s and not in 1953 as suggested before.
Note 3: I’m not 100% convinced that the dates between the redesign of the Hotchkin and the Grand Prix car are correct. The car was completed in 1937 (as far as known) and was planned to make its debut during the first race at Zandvoort.

The first contact with motorsport for de Vos came in 1930 when he bought a Hotchkiss which he redesigned into a low profile sports car, powered by a Ford V8 engine.  Five years later he started designing the De Vos Monoposto. He was inspired by the, at that time dominating, Auto Unions and the Auto Union would be used as a base for his own Grand Prix car. After the design of his own car was completed de Vos gave Uitman in Rotterdam the job of creating the chassis.  Like his sports car, the Grand Prix car would be powered by the Ford V8 engine, which was placed directly behind the driver.
de vos

The De Vos would make its debut during the first car races at Zandvoort which were held in July 1939. Though there is speculation he didn’t enter these first official races due to the weight of the car. The weight was 1017Kg – much heavier than the average Grand Prix car back then. During the war the car would be heavily damaged but de Vos was able to make repairs and have it put on the entry list for the XV Grand Prix des Frontières on the 8th of June 1946. However he didn’t appear at the circuit. A couple of years later the car appeared in Amsterdam –Oost where it was for sale for fl 1000,-. A number of people drove the car and but their opinions were negative, calling it terrible, with a lack of grip. It would take at least another eight years before the car would re-appear again. This time it would appear in the 1960s in a school party from the IVA in Driebergen.  The car now had external cooling tubes and was driven by a Dutch musician. There are photos of the occasion but these haven’t been uncovered as yet.

For picture’s of the De Vos Monoposto  and copies of articles check this link.

Drebbel F1: “The impossible Dutch dream”

In 1961 a group of Dutch race enthusiasts came up with the idea of creating an all-Dutch Grand Prix team with the foundation of the “NederlandseRacewagen” after the rules governing engine capacity in F1 were changed from 2.5 litresto 1.5 litres in an attempt to attract more teams.

Sadly not much info is available on the Drebbel F1 attempt.  The only information I found about the project came from the book Autodesign in Nederland by Jan Lammerse(ISBN: 9066303727). The book doesn’t mention the people behind the project or other names such as designers who were related to it, only that they were a group of “Dutch race enthusiasts”.

What is mentioned is that Vredestein would have supplied the tyres for the newly-formed team. The shock absorbers would, ofcourse, be delivered by Koni who had already been established in F1 since the 1950s. Philips would produce some special electronic ignition for the cars whilst Stork or Werkspoor (Werkspoor produced trains back then) were named to produce the chassis. As for the engine, they planned touse a four cylinder water cooled boxer engine, but no companies were mentioned who would build them.

In 1961 the “Autopers” showed some drawings of the Drebbel F1 car and you can see one of them below.  The drawings of the Drebbel would be the last sign of the team though. It became clear to the enthusiasts that the lack of infrastructure and support that was enjoyed by English-based teams would be a major problem for any Dutch F1 team, and the project was abandoned.

For picture’s of the Drebbel and copies of articles check this link.
Drebbel F1

How Zakspeed tried to re-enter the Formula One

Erich Zakowski left Formula One at the end of January 1990 when his Zakspeed team tested their Zakspeed–Yamaha 891B for the final time at Estoril and then Paul Ricard. The F1 project had become too expensive and after a disastrous 1989 season the team’s main sponsors ended their support of Zakspeed. However, as with many other former F1 team bosses, Erich’s son Peter Zakowski wanted to return Zakspeed to Formula One.

You could ask yourself how realistic it is to re-join Formula One after having stopped a few years previously. It’s a question I don’t dare to ask. I only understand that the Formula One dream will always return, and if there is a chance to rekindle that dream, then why not? This is what Peter Zakowski thought in 1998. In the summer of that year the first rumours emerged that Arrows team boss Tom Walkinshaw was searching for new investors, and even considering the possibility of selling the Arrows team.

The 1998 attempt to re-enter Formula One
In late November reports suggested that Zakspeed had carried out an audit of the Arrows team. Zakowski together with a delegation of German businessmen had a series of meetings with Arrows and an offer of $44 million was made to buy the team. Zakspeed itself had $14-18 million and the rest was guaranteed by the government of North-Rhine Westphalia.
However there was one big issue. Tom Walkinshaw was only interested in selling the team’s “franchise”, or in other words he would only sell the team’s place in the Concorde Agreement, their entry – no equipment, cars or premises. To make it even more complicated, once Zakspeed had bought Walkinshaw’s 51% of the team’s shares, they would still have to make a deal with Jackie Oliver who held the remaining 49% of the shares. Walkinshaw could pay off his debts and move to another F1 team. The rumour back then was that he would re-enter Formula One with Jaguar.
But as we know there was no deal with Zakspeed after all in 1999. Who remembers Prince Malik Ado Ibrahim, the so-called Prince who had millions and would help the Arrows team in 1999? Walkinshaw believed the prince’s lies and never saw a penny from him, while Malik left Formula One via the back door.

The 2000/2001 attempt to re-enter Formula One
It is not 100% clear how serious Zakspeed’s attempt was to enter Formula One in 2001, but there were strong rumours that the team, again, had contact with Arrows. Back in 2001 Orange Arrows were once again in financial difficulty which would ultimately result in an exit from F1 in 2002. The team were looking for sponsorship and financial partners. Zakspeed got in contact with Walkinshaw about taking over the team but aside from this, not much is known about this attempt.

The Durango Formula one dream

The Durango team, led by Ivone Pinton and Enrico Magro, had one unfulfilled dream: to enter Formula One! Over the years the team announced on a number of occasions that they were ready to enter F1, and yet somehow they never actually managed it. This is the story of a small team with big dreams!

The small Durango team entered F3000 in the early 1990s failing to win a single race in the series. During this period Pinton and Magro already had the idea to enter Formula One and in December 1995 announced they were on course to enter F1 in 1997. At first no one took the announcement seriously and dismissed it as a publicity stunt to gain sponsors for their F3000 team. After a couple of months of silence, on the 15th April 1996 Pinton announced that the Durango team was ready to enter Formula One in 1997. Now armed with drawings of a concept car named the Durango P01, the project appeared more credible, and people began to take notice. The P01 car was designed by Enrique Scalabroni and the chassis would be built by French composite specialists SNPE, who also built the Simtek S941 chassis. Pinton added that the car would be ready in June, to allow the team to intensively test its new design. Rumours stated that Christian Pescatori would be Durango’s test driver, and would also occupy one of the two race seats upon their entry into F1 in 1997. During May 1996 more rumours circulated, this time suggesting the team would sign a contract with the famous engine constructor Hart. Despite all this, throughout the summer Durango revealed neither a chassis nor any updates of their plans. Then in August the team told the media that they had difficulties in completing the deal with Hart, and that the development of the chassis was on-hold. A few weeks later Pinton announced that their Formula One project had stalled, and instead Durango would remain focused on the F3000 series.
The Durango team remained in F3000 and entered other series such as GP2 and Le Mans and many years passed by. That is, until 2009 when the FIA opened the tender process to enter Formula One in 2010. This prompted Durango to attempt to enter F1 for a second time themselves. Ultimately however, Virgin Racing, Lotus, Campos and USF1 were chosen as the new F1 entrants for 2010, and Durango missed out. USF1 failed very quickly in their attempt to enter the sport and wouldn’t even contest a single race, leaving a slot available on the expanded 26-car grid. As a result, the FIA announced another round of bids to enter Formula One, this time for 2011. Durango decided to enter the contest once again, but this time they were backed by 1997 champion Jacques Villeneuve which brought the entry a lot of publicity. Villeneuve and Durango had a plan to enter Formula One with their own team and Villeneuve would be the number one driver. It is likely that Durango would have asked Dallara or Lola to manufacture an F1 chassis for them, or there may have been the possibility of using Toyota’s unraced TF110 chassis. It is known that Durango at least had meetings with Toyota about using their car which had been designed for the 2010 season before Toyota pulled out of F1. Rumours speculated that the team would have asked Ferrari or Ford to provide them with engines. Since Durango is an Italian team based in Veneto it may have transpired that Durango would be turned into a Ferrari B team, in a similar vein to Red Bull and Toro Rosso.


Ultimately, the FIA approved none of the prospective entrants for 2011, and the grid remained at 24 cars. Despite being unsuccessful, rumours linked Durango with an attempt to buy the HRT team during the 2011 season, or partner with the team and rename it for 2012.

Neither of these happened though, the dream remained unfulfilled, and the team never entered Formula One.

For picture’s of the Durango  and copies of articles check this link.

The story of the BMW S192 and the Bravo S931

It’s difficult to tell the story of the BMW S192 without describing what happened after the car was penned by Nick Wirth back in 1991. Four years later the car was still in use by Simtek, and it was still being developed. Jos Verstappen showed the Formula One world back then that the Simtek S951 was a fast car by qualifying in 14th place for the Argentinean GP. In the race itself he even drove as high as P6, which if you finished in that position earned you one point back then! But on that occasion gearbox failure ended Jos’ hopes.

Note 1: It’s hard to find information about the S192 because it seems no-one is willing to co-operate and share information. Neither BMW, nor Nick Wirth, or anyone else involved in the project. It’s not even clear if the BMW S192 was designed in 1990 or in 1991. Based on the information I have about the BMW S192, I concluded that the car has to have been designed in late 1990/early 1991. Why BMW cancelled its Formula One program and how far the BMW S192 was during this stage is unknown.

Note 2: What is still not clear is how and from whom Andrea Sassetti bought the blue prints of the S192. Or did he buy complete cars? The only thing I know is that he bought the Coloni F1 team and renamed it Andrea Moda. The first few races he entered with the C4B what was basically the Coloni C4. After a couple of races he entered with the Andrea Moda S921. I’m still looking to get in contact with Sassetti and hopefully this will be soon.

Note 3: For Spanish readers, I have a document about the launch of the Bravo F1 team. I did have the translation, but due to a hard disk crash I lost it. If you would like it to translate it to English you can find the document on my dropbox.

As early as February 1990 the first rumours emerged in the paddock that BMW was planning to enter F1 in the 1991 or 1992 season, though it was hard to have these rumours confirmed at the time. One thing that was certain was that in 1990 BMW had plans to enter Formula One with its own team. Nick Wirth was the designer of the BMW S192 but this wasn’t the first Formula One car that Wirth had worked on – in the 80’s he worked together with Adrian Newey on the March 881. A year later he would design the March-Nissan Le Mans car. For unknown reasons BMW pulled the plug on its Formula One plans during the 1991 season and instead gave Wirth the job of helping to design the BMW M3 E30.

At the end of the 1991 season Enzo Coloni left Formula One after another disastrous season for his team as they failed to qualify for a single Grand Prix. Italian businessman Andrea Sassetti bought the complete Coloni team at the end of 1991 and he started the 1992 season with the C4B, a car that had been slightly updated from the previous year’s Coloni C4. In the meantime Sassetti bought the blueprints to the BMW S192 probably from BMW or Nick Wirth. Later on in 1992 he replaced the C4B cars with the Andrea Moda S921. The new car however was unimpressive and slow. With the unpredictable Sassetti as team manager the situation only got worse, incident after incident hampered the team. During the Italian Grand Prix at Monza, Andrea Moda were refused entry to the paddock and were handed a lifetime ban for bringing the sport into disrepute. He was even arrested during the Belgian Grand Prix for allegedly forging invoices. Unsurprisingly shortly afterwards the team folded. Later on Sassetti was involved in a shoot out at one of his restaurants. Some say it was an attempt to kill the Italian.
BMW S192
Not long after Andrea Moda were banned from Formula One, the BMW S192 design would return to the sport. A Spanish team under the lead of Jean-Pierre Mosnier and Adrian Campos, but registered under the British flag, announced that they had plans to enter F1 in 1993. The official team name was Escuderia Bravo F1 España, shortened to Bravo F1. The design of the Bravo S931 started in October/November 1992. It’s hard to comprehend how Jean-Pierre Mosnier and Adrian Campos managed what they did. The team had a budget of US$3,000,000. As an example Andrea Moda had a budget of US$6,000,000. The Bravo team were sponsored mostly by an enthusiastic Spanish businessman, a company named Elmondo and also received backing from the Spanish government. Due to the budget issue the team only had 5 or 6 engineers working on the base for the Bravo S931 which was the previous year’s Andrea Moda S921. It was soon clear the team would use Judd V8 engines, though the team briefly flirted with using other suppliers including Mugen-Honda, Lamborghini and Hart. In a major setback for the young team, in November 1992 they had to deal with a huge loss. Owner and founder of the Bravo F1 team, Jean-Pierre Mosnier died from cancer at the age of 46. The death of Mosnier affected the design of the Bravo S931 and the solid base the team had was gone. Nonetheless the team kept continuing to design and produce the cars and they were also working on the driver line-up. It was clear the team would only have one car for the 1993 season and there were many candidates for the seat including Nicola Larini, Ivan Arias, Jordi Gené and Luca Badoer. Damon Hill was also named as a potential candidate for the drive because of his family name, with Bravo looking to gain sponsors on the back of it.

The team presented itself in February 1993 with Jordi Gené announced as driver and a scale model of the Bravo S931 was revealed. The colour scheme of the car would have been a light blue with red lines on it and purple wings. The team also announced during the presentation that it would continue developing the Bravo-Judd S931, and that Gené would test the car later on in 1993 intensively so the team could enter the 1994 season. But the Bravo team was already registered by the FIA as an official entrant for the 1993 season. In the end, during 1993 the team folded due to a simple lack of money and a lack of facilities. An unconfirmed source has said that the FIA had already told the team in December 1992 that the S931, at that time still under development, was a disaster and would be banned by the FIA if it was entered for the 1993 season. They also said the car would never pass the official FIA crash test.
BMW S192
If you were to think that the three year old BMW S192 design was outdated then you’d have been wrong. In mid-1993 Nick Wirth announced that he would be entering the 1994 Formula One season with his own team Simtek. During the announcement of the Simtek team, Wirth presented a scale model of the S941 which was in fact a heavily redesigned Bravo S931. Comparing the scale model of the S941 and the actual design the team entered the season with, the scale model was much more futuristic and innovative – in particular the front suspension was different. In 1995 Simtek continued with the original BMW S192 model and even that year the Simtek S951 showed potential. Jos Verstappen almost scored points with the car, and was on some circuits impressively quick with the S951. Sadly, in the face of mounting debts and the loss of sponsors, after the Monaco Grand Prix the Simtek team was shut down.

For photo’s of the Bravo S931 see this link.
For photo’s of the improved Simtek S931 see this link.


AGS JH26 and the Larrousse connection

The AGS JH26 was supposed to be the AGS team’s new Formula one car for the 1991 season. However at the end of 1990 all was not well with the small French team. Rumours suggested that AGS was bankrupt and wouldn’t enter the 1991 season at all. But the team managed to scrape together enough money to enter for 1991, a season full of rumours, gossip and a desperate team boss asking the French courts for protection against creditors.

At the end of 1990 it seemed that AGS was a team that would no longer be gracing the F1 grid. There was no money left to even pay outstanding cheques. But the small team was working on a new car, the AGS JH26, penned by Michel Costa. The design of the car began during the 1990 season, and initially looked promising. The wind tunnel model that was tested several times showed great improvements and had a high nose, like Tyrrell had introduced earlier on their 019 chassis. At one point during its development the car bore a resemblance to the Benetton B192, which itself was designed a year later. Coincidence?
The stillborn AGS JH26 could have been the solution for the team to gain more attention, secure new sponsors and possibly score points. But this is only speculation. Only the monocoque would be made for the JH26.

During this turbulent period team owner Cyril de Rouvre had been negotiating with Gerard Larrousse to merge the AGS and Larrousse teams. The idea was that both teams were having a hard time in Formula One finding financial partners and sponsors, and combining the two teams would give them a better chance at this. However, AGS team manager Henri Cochin was working independently to find money for the AGS team so that they could at least start the 1991 season.

The team were able to enter the first two races and at that time Gabriele Tarquini and veteran Stefan Johansson were the drivers for AGS. Impressively, Tarquini was able to qualify the old JH25 for both races at Phoenix and Interlagos. Shortly after the Brazilian Grand Prix though, the team collapsed. Immediately Cyril de Rouvre asked the courts in France to have his team placed under financial control (receivership).
But against this it appeared AGS was once again saved. The Italians Gabriele Rafanelli and Patricio Cantu, both active in F3000, took over the AGS team. The new owners decided that the JH26 would be scrapped and that Michel Costa would be replaced with Christian Vanderpleyn. Vanderpleyn, who had worked for AGS from its earliest days until the takeover by de Rouvre, concentrated on the development of the old JH25, which became the JH25B. But as well as this, the new JH27 was at the point of being designed and created. The design work started in May and the JH27 would make its debut during pre-qualifying at Monza. During this period the new Italian management of the AGS team came up with a long-term financial plan that would take up to seven years to restore stability and health to the team. Due to this plan the team were able free themselves from the French courts’ financial control.
The team worked non-stop on building up the JH27 for Monza and were shocked when Tarquini did not return from his first lap with the new car. His engine had cut out.

After the Spanish Grand Prix there was one more attempt to merge the AGS team with Larrousse, but at that point Larrousse were in a much better position and the talks came to nothing. AGS missed the last two rounds of the year and left Formula One for good.

For picture’s of the stillborn JH26 check this link.

AGS JH25B and AGS JH27

AGS was a small French team which entered Formula One in 1986 with their JH21C car. This car tells the history of the AGS team and their Formula One aspirations. The JH21C was based on an AGS F3000 car and used some parts from the Renault team which had left F1 at the end of 1985. Originally the car was planned for the Arno F1 project but AGS took on the plans and entered the championship themselves. In the early days of AGS there were no more than seven people working for the team – comparable with the Coloni team who joined F1 in 1987. The difference between AGS and Coloni however was that AGS were more successful and managed to score points on two occasions.

In 1991 AGS started the season with the AGS JH25, which failed to qualify for many of the races it entered. It performed well at the United States Grand Prix however, as Gabriele Tarquini managed to finish 8th overall. At both the Grands Prix of Brazil and Monaco the Italian qualified for the race but would retire from them both. During the French Grand Prix of 1991, the small team introduced the upgraded JH25B which included some aerodynamic updates for the car. The JH25B participated at the Grands Prix of France, Britain, Germany, Hungary and Belgium. But despite the upgrades, neither Gabriele Tarquini nor Fabrizio Barbazza could qualify the JH25B, and after the German Grand Prix neither could even escape the Friday pre-qualifying sessions. Due to budget problems there was no financial room to upgrade the car further, and thus the car only got slower as spare parts were almost used up.

On the weekend of the Italian Grand Prix the team arrived with a brand new car, the AGS JH27. However it was not brand new at all, the car looked familiar to the JH25B and was at some points even slower than its predecessor. The team, in the meantime sold to an Italian consortium, entered the Grands Prix in Italy, Portugal and Spain with the JH27. Neither Tarquini nor Barbazza managed to pre-qualify the car in Italy or Portugal, and Tarquini was eventually replaced by Olivier Grouillard for the Spanish Grand Prix. Spain would prove to be the final race for the team, and again they failed to pre-qualify. Fabrizio Barbazza still hoped to enter the Japanese Grand Prix with the JH27, but his hopes were dashed as AGS folded and was closed down.

For photos of the JH25B check this link.
For photos of the JH27 check this link.

Zakspeed-Yamaha 891B

The Zakspeed-Yamaha 891B was the last Zakspeed car to be driven on a circuit. After the team’s biggest sponsor left they had no other option but to stop their Formula One activities. The Zakspeed 891B was slightly updated compared to the 891 they entered the 1989 season with. In January the 891B was tested twice during Formula One winter test sessions.

The “new” Zakspeed seemed to be pretty good judging by their initial test results.
During the test session held at Estoril from 11th – 14th of January 1990, Bernd Schneider managed to place the Zakspeed at the end of the session in a solid third place. It looked promising. However, it’s important to note only the Pirelli teams tested during this session.

  1. Pierluigi Martini (Minardi) 1’14″65
  2. Andrea De Cesaris (BMS Dallara) 1’15″63
  3. Bernd Schneider (Zakspeed) 1’15″80
  4. Paolo Barilla (Minardi) 1’15″98
  5. Olivier Grouillard (Osella) 1’16″80
  6. Roberto Moreno (EuroBrun) 1’17″12
  7. Emanuele Pirro (BMS Dallara) 1’18″70

The results looked promising, but the future of the team was at that time one big mystery. Rumours suggested that Zakspeed would not enter the 1990 season with the car. During the last winter test in January at Le Castellet, the Zakspeed-Yamaha 891B would make its last appearance. The test started on 26th January but Zakspeed arrived two days later on the 28th.  Below are the testing results which show that the 891B was much slower then the rest. An Autosprint magazine article at the time suggested that this was the last F1 test for the Zakspeed team.

  1. Eric Bernard (Larrousse) 1’08″86 – 86 laps
  2. Philippe Alliot (Ligier) 1’09″10
  3. Aguri Suzuki (Larrousse) 1’09″77 – 125 laps
  4. Stefano Modena (Brabham) 1’10″30
  5. Bernd Schneider (Zakspeed) 1’14″40 – 20 laps

A week after the test session Zakspeed released an official statement explaining why the team had only tested for two days. At that time they had already missed the FIA entry deadline of 31st January. The statement spoke of technical problems with the Yamaha engine. Motorsport Aktuell mentioned that the problem was caused by an defective fuel pump.