I dare to say that if you visit UnracedF1 you are familiar with the Italian Forti Corse. Founded by Guido Forti and former driver Paolo Guerci in the late 1970s. Forti became very successful in the late 1980s and early 1990s when they won several times the Italian Formula Three championship and were competitive in the International Formula 3000. Their good results and the hunger for more meant to appear on the grid in the Formula One. The first steps were taking in late 1991 and in 1992, the team was convinced they would debut, though not in 1995 as they did. Originally the plan was 1994.
The decision to look for a debut in 1994 came mostly due to their financial situation. Despite many think about Forti as one of the teams that lacked the proper financial backing, in the early days, the team did not have the problem at all. From the beginning of their project Guido’s philosophy was that, the team had to have a solid financial base before the journey could start.
In late 1992, that problem was solved; Pedro Diniz was signed as one of their drivers for 1993 and to be taken on their journey towards the Formula One. Pedro’s father was the owner of a large distribution consortium as well the supermarket chain Pão de Açúcar that helped Pedro’s career and was the go for Forti.
In 1993, Paolo Guerci sold his stakes in Forti Corse to businessman Carlo Gancia who would become heavily involved in Forti’s adventure. In the meantime, the team kept on racing in the International Formula 3000 series with Pedro Diniz as their driver to stay it seemed the team was close to debut. It’s June 1993 when Guido Forti said that it was 50-50 for Forti to appear on the grid in 1994. It did depend on the ban on electronic systems. This is where the story gets an interesting twist. If you look different at it.
Scuderia Italia ditched Dallara as their chassis builder after 1992 in favour of Lola. Probably the biggest mistake made by Giuseppe Lucchini. Dallara on their term already worked on a new chassis for the team before they were sacked. At that time, Forti and Dallara had warm connections with each other. Having Dallara keen to return in the Formula One and Forti keen to debut in the Formula One, you could say a team is born isn’t it?
It became more interesting as at trio Scalabroni, Nardon and Fiorio were rumoured to join the team. The three worked previously in 1989 and 1990 with each other at Scuderia Ferrari. A technical strong team could make the difference.
However, everything went different in the summer of 1993. Enrique Scalabroni and Maurizio Nardon never signed a contract with the team. Eventually Giorgio Fiorio did. The team was unable to gain the financial stability they were keen on. The promising deal that could be struck with Dallara sadly happened. Instead, the team worked on their own chassis the Forti FG01 that appeared on the grid in 1995, looked bulky and out-dated. Interesting is that the FG01 looks very similar to the Fondmetal GR02. A design that dated back to 1992!
Why they did not choose for the Dallara option? I have no clue. I believe that if they would have done it, as Dallara proved their ability already they would have done much better. While Diniz managed to score several top 10 finishes, a 7th place in Adelaide as best result, the team would go down the drain after Diniz left. Diniz leaving meant that he also left a big financial gap. The FG02 never appeared only an improved FG01B with a high nose appeared in 1996. Later on, the FG03 made it’s debut with a shady sponsor Shannon, who basically destroyed the teams’ future f1 plans.