There were decades in the Formula One that there were more teams and drivers than places on the grid. Forty entrants for a Grand Prix was no exception, it was the reality in the 1980s and 1990s. While we all known the ill-fated teams as Pacific, Coloni, Osella, EuroBrun, Zakspeed and so on. There is a huge group of forgotten Formula One drivers who tried their luck for a few seasons, or just for a couple races. It’s time to bring these forgotten drivers back to the surface. Do you remember Claudio Langes?
The Italian Claudio Langes born on the 4th of August 1961 in Brescia is one of the Italian drivers that appeared in the 1980s and 1990s in the Formula One. Like many, he started his career in the karts. At the age of 18, he won the Italian Championship 125CC series. It was enough to make the move to the lower formulae series. For 1981, he secured a driver in the Italian Formula Fiat Abarth, similar to current Formula 4. With one win and three more podiums, he finished as 4th in the championship. He was entered for one race in the European Formula 3 championship, the race at Imola the 20th of September 1981. Qualifying himself as 25th. He finished the race as 13th in front of guys like Emanuele Pirro and Philippe Alliot.
For 1982, Langes returned to the European Formula 3 championship with Anson Racing Cars. With the Anson SA3, he managed only to score a handful of points. He drove for the Trivellato Racing Team as well that season. However, 1982 would be a fruitless season with only 10 points out of 13 races and a 9th place overall.
In 1983, Langes returned to the Anson Racing Cars team in the European Formula 3 championship. Again, the season was fruitless with only 11 points out of 13 races he, once again, ended up as ninth overall. Was his start in the karting and later in the Formula Fiat Abarth promising, it seemed his career was stalling in the Formula 3.
However, 1984 seemed to be In favour of Claudio Langes. He would race once again in the European Formula 3 championship. The last year of the championship. He would race now with Eddie Jordan Racing and Barron Racing. He appeared as well at the Macau Grand Prix, which he finished as 23th. In 1984, he finished a couple of times on the podium and even managed to win the Grand Prix held at the Knutstorp ring. A solid 4th place was the result. The future became a bit brighter.
For 1985, he moved to the new International Formula 3000 championship. It seemed a good move, however the results shown different. In 1985, the series allowed Formula One cars to race as well. Langes drove the first two races for the Dutch Barron racing team. They secured the Tyrrell 012, which was powered by the Cosworth engine.
The first race was held at Silverstone where he managed to qualify himself as 15th he failed to finish the race. The next race held at Thruxton he finished the race as 15th and left the series. Eventually he would race one race in the Italian Formula 3 championship. For Eddie Jordan Racing he was presented at the Formula 3000 Curacao Grand Prix. He finished the race on the podium as third.
In 1986, he reappeared in the International Formula 3000 championship. In the six races he would race for BS Automotive, he only managed to score three points. Probably disappointed the way his career went he tried his luck in 1987 again in the International Formula 3000 championship. However, he appeared in the FIA World Touring Car Championship as well for the Brixia Corse team in an Alfa Romeo 75 Turbo. Sadly, in the Formula 3000 championship he raced for First Racing scoring no points at all.
In 1988, he returned once more to the International Formula 3000 championship. This time with GA Motorsports and with Barcelona Motorsport who both raced with the Lola T88/50. At Monza and Pergusa he managed to score several points by finished 5th and 4th. However, he seemed to be stuck in the International Formula 300 championship.
In 1989, he reappeared once more in the International Formula 3000 championship. This time with Forti Corse. For the ten races, he raced for the team he managed to finish second during the Pergusa Grand Prix. The race later at Brands-Hatch he managed another point score. This would be his last. With a total of 7 points, he finished the season as 12th overall. For the De Blasi Racing team he did one race in the IMSA Camel GTP Championship.
Another year in the International Formula 3000 championship? No, it was time to try his luck in the Formula One. At the age of 29, he was able to make his Formula One debut with the EuroBrun Racing team from the german Walter Brun. We all know that the team had no money to develop their cars and only survived on the money from their drivers. His first taste with the EuroBrun team was during the Bologna sprint race held the 3th of December 1989. With a time of 54, 03 he did well. His opponent Enrico Bertaggio however was faster than he was.
It would be a bad season for Claudio Langes. The first two races held at America and Brazil he had to race with the ER189. He failed to even pre-qualify his car. During the Grand Prix at San Marino, the team appeared with their “new” car. It was the EuroBrun ER189B. A slightly upgraded ER189. Sadly the car was aerodynamically bad, the Judd CV 3,5 V8 engine could help the team either.
In all the races, Claudio Langes failed to pre-qualify his car. During the season, it became clear that EuroBrun had financial problems. They even became so big that the team was not to race Claudio in Canada. However, he was allowed to enter the free practice. So the team would not be fined for a no show. The last two races in Japan and Australia the team didn’t even appear. After the Spanish Grand Prix, the team disappeared. As did Claudio Langes Formula One career.
How good was he in the Formula One? It is known he raced with EuroBrun for his Italian Lira’s. Roberto Moreno was his teammate in 1990. During the first race in the USA, he even finished as 13th. The race at San Marino he retired. However, Claudio Langes was sometimes 15 seconds slower than his teammate. He has the sad record of the most DNPQ. From the 14 Grand Prix’s he was in the entry list he didn’t manage to Pre-qualify any of them. However, it wasn’t as bad as the results say.
His Formula One story goes even worse, during the season Walter Brun, the team owner of EuroBrun Racing wanted to replace Claudio Langes. Brun claimed that Langes was underperforming. However, you have to consider that the team couldn’t even run one car properly. How would they manage two cars? Well they could not. It was rumoured that Enrico Bertaggia could replace him. Even in Mexico Brun wanted Langes out. With the reason, he ran out of money. While Marco Greco was named. There was on money issue at all.
After his disappointing season in the Formula One he continued his career in the Italian Touring Car Championship in 1991. He would race for the Conrero Squadra corse team who raced with the Opel kadett GSi. He managed to score 8 points that season and finished as 25th overall. In 1991, he was to race as well at Suzuka in the Sportscar World Championship. Team Davey listed two drivers Beppe Gabbiani and Claudio Langes as their drivers for the race. The team entered the Porsche 962C. However, they never arrived.
How hard I tried my best to dive into his race carreer after 1991. I only could find some leads in the Italian Touring cars in 1992 and 1993. However, I was unable to uncover any more racing after 1991. On oldracingcars.com there is a profile of Claudio Langes. Summarising he became a businessman based in Italy and England. As well, he was involved in several family businesses. It seems he was the chairman of a company named Global Natural Resources Holding Ltd. According to Bloomberg the company went in liquidation in 2012. As well confirmed by moneyhouse.ch. The whereabouts anno 2021 are unknown for me.