It’s time to make a special for the did you know articles. A special dedicated to the small Simtek team that was active in the Formula One in 1994 and 1995. Probably you link the team with the dead of Roland Ratzenberger during the Grand Prix on Imola. Or perhaps Jos Verstappen that showed the real potential of the Simtek S951. However, there are a lot of facts and stories you probably forgot about. I did my research and hopefully you can appreciate this article!
Did you know: That Nick Wirth made his first F1 design in 1991? He was asked by BMW to design a Formula one car as a proposed BMW entry. Sadly BMW decided it would not enter the Formula One as a team. The design would eventually be sold to a well known Italian Andrea Sassetti.
Did you know: That Andrea Sassetti purchased the assets of the folded Coloni team? Though, he was not able to enter the Formula One with the Coloni cars. To avoid the problems Sassetti purchased the S192 designs from Nick Wirth. Eventually the Andrea Moda S921 would be the first “Simtek” that appeared on the grid. The car had protentional, though the team did not!
Did you know: That in mid-1992 a new team announced it plans to enter the Formula One in 1993? Escuderia Bravo F1 España, short Bravo F1, a Spanish based team that had Jordi Gene under contract already. The team used the previous design of the Andrea Moda the S921. The team appeared with a mock-up of the Bravo S931. Sadly, the team did not make it on the grid as Jean-Pierre Mosnier passed away.
Did you know: That while the Bravo team disappeared, Nick Wirth announced in the summer of 1993 that he was working on his own F1 team. There even appeared a mock-up version of the Simtek S941 which was far from the Simtek S941 that would eventually appear on the grid. This version had a high wing, as well there was a completely different suspension.
Did you know: That Hideki Noda was to replace Schiatarella after the Monaco Grand Prix? He even signed the contract to race for the team from the Canadian Grand Prix on. Sadly for Noda, it never materialised. As the Simtek team folded.
Did you know: That there were strong rumours about some wealthy Dutch Businessman that was looking to take over the shares from Barbara Behlau and Conrad Schmidt? This meant that this person would own 40% of the team. The weirdest part about this story is, is that nobody has uncovered the person behind this attempt. Perhaps it was just a rumour to attract more sponsors at that time to save the team from bankruptcy.
Did you know: That Vincenzo Sospiri tested for the Simtek team in 1994 with the S941 at Estoril? At that time the team was interested in Sospiri as one of their drivers. Due to the lack of the needed financing Sospiri was not able to debut for the team.
Did you know: That after Ratzenberger had passed away after his horrific accident during qualification on the Imola Circuit the team had several drivers on their mind as replacement. Gounon was contracted however he wasn’t able to debut earlier then the French Grand Prix. German ace Marco Werner and Michael Bartels were rumoured to race for the team in Spain. Eventually Montermini would race and have another massive accident.
Did you know: That a story appeared a few years ago about a secret test of the Simtek S951 fitted with the new Mugen-Honda in the back? It was said that Verstappen had tested with the car and that the Simtek would re-appear on the track. It was nothing more then a fan fantasy. Though a really good one!
Did you know: That David Sears, who was together with Super Nova in the race to take over the Arrows team in 1996, was offered the Simtek team in 1994? He turned the offer down.
Did you know: That Barbara Behlau, who had a management company, and helped Ratzenberger to a seat within the Simtek team stayed on as a sponsor in 1995. She did this as the team kept the spirit of Ratzenberger alive. She more or less became the saviour of the team in Monaco 1995. Then She personally went to the supermarket to get food and drinks for all the team members. As the team had no more funds left! Im currently working on a article about her.
Did you know: That Andrea de Cesaris was in serious talks with the Simtek team to race for the in 1994? Eventually he returned to Jordan to leave the team after a few races, to race for the Swiss Sauber team.