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Were small teams like Forti Corse really that bad?

2005 was the last year that privateers, the small teams, appeared on the grid. Minardi was the last team of an era were many tried their luck in the Formula One. Due the coming ban on turbo engines in 1989 and the restrictions, it was financially attractive for teams to try their luck. Most of them failed to even complete two season, some only did a few races before they knew there was no room for them on the grid. However, how bad were those small teams? Remember Williams in 2019 they scored just one point with a lot of luck!

This is the reason I looked up at the results of the past of the small teams in the Formula One. To my surprise many teams who failed to score points in the 1980s and 1990s would have scored a lot of points with the point system we use today in the Formula One. As it turns out AGS, Lambo (Glas F1), Coloni and Osella would have scored points. Perhaps they would remain longer on the grid if it was the case?

Of course, there are still teams that would fail in scoring points even with the point system we use today. There is of course Andrea Moda and the Life team, which failed to qualify for most of the races. Eurobrun is another team that failed to score points. Enjoy the read of the trip down what if!?

Spirit Racing 1983 – 1985
One of those small teams that would score a decent amount of points was Spirit Racing. The team debuted in 1983 with the Spirit – Honda 201. It was their Formula two car that they used as base for the Honda V6 test hack. After Honda ditched the team as their playground, the team came with the Spirit 101 powered by the Hart 415T and later with the Ford Cosworth DFV V8 engine. Especially in 1984, the team would have scored some great amount of points.  After three races with the Spirit 101D in 1985 the team disappeared from the grid. While rumours stated that Spirit would return in 1986.

 1983 Season1984 Season1985 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best 7th place)0 (best 4 x 8th place)0 (best DNQ)
Point system 2019 – recent6 Points18 Points0 Points

Ram Racing 1983 – 1985
Who doesn’t remember the Skoal Bandit sponsorship the team had on their car? John MacDonald was the team owner and the team debuted in 1976 to disappear from the grid at the end of the 1977 season. In 1980, the team returned to leave the grid once more at the end of the season. In 1983, the team made another comeback only this time with their own car. The RAM 01 powered by the atmospheric Ford Cosworth DFV and DFY. While the team already made the preparations to work on the RAM 04 for 1986, the team disappeared from the grid at the end of the 1985 season.

 1983 Season1984 Season1985 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best 12th place)0 (best 8th place)0 (best 9th place)
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points18 Points2 Points

Osella Squadra Corse 1980 – 1990
Osella is one of the small teams that survived the longest after Minardi in the Formula One. Enzo Osella brought his team in the Formula One in 1980, the same time the Turbo engines were knocking on the door.  Especially in the early years, the team showed some good progression though due the Turbo engine era and the lack of finance the team’s results were poor. As well, the team kept on developing the same car in basis. 1990 was the last year for the Osella team before Gabriele Rumi purchased the team.

 1980 Season1981 Season1982 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (Best 12th place)0 (best 2 x 8th place)3 (best 4th place)
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points11 Points12 Points
 1983 Season1984 Season1985 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900  (best 10th place)2 (best 5th place)0 (best 7th place)
Point system 2019 – recent1 Point24 Points10 Points
 1986 Season1987 Season1988 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best place 11th )0 (best 12th place)0 (best 9th place)
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points0 Points2 Points
 1989 Season1990 Season 
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best 12th Place)0 (best place 13th) 
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points0 Points 

Zakspeed Racing 1985 – 1989
Zakspeed Racing made its debut in 1985. In 1984, Erich Zakowski decided to take the step to Formula One after the team was active in the Group C with the Ford C100 and other race series. Well known for preparing the Ford capri’s. The Zakspeed 184 was already old when it appeared on the grid in 1985 and far from competitive. Besides the Zakspeed had a great team of workers they never made an impression in the Formula One. The best results was a fifth place in 1987. At the end of 1989, the team disappeared from the grid. However, they still tested the 891B powered by Yamaha In January 1990. In 1998 and later in 2002 the rumours spread of a return of the team in the Formula one. It never materialised.

 1985 Season1986 Season1987 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best 11th place)0 (best 2x 8th place)2 (best 5th place)
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points14 Points38 Points
 1988 Season1989 Season 
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best 12th place)0 (best DNF) 
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points0 Points 

AGS 1986 – 1991
The small team of AGS from Henri Julien made its debut in 1986, with a very small team AGS managed to show some decent results on the track. In 1988 the French team was sold. At the end of 1991 the team closed it’s door. The team even has some unraced cars like the AGS JH27 and the AGS JH25B.

 1986 Season1987 Season1988 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best Retired)1 (best 6th place)0 (best 8th place)
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points13 Points8 Points
 1989 Season1990 Season 
Point system 1981 – 19901 (best 6th place)0 (best 9th place) 
Point system 2019 – recent18 Points2 Points 
 1991 Season  
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best 8th place)  
Point system 2019 – recent4 Points  

Rial Racing 1988 – 1989
Rial Racing is one of the team that tried their luck in the Formula One in the late 1980s. As the Turbo engines were banned it was financially easier to survive in the Formula 1. The owner of Rial Racing was not new in the paddock. Günther Schmid purchased the Rial Company earlier. Like ATS, Rial known for its alloy rims.  Rial left the Formula One at the end of 1989. However, the team already start working on the ARC3 for 1990.

 1988 Season1989 Season
Point system 1981 – 19903 (best place 4th)3 (best place 4th)
Point system 2019 – recent19 Points16 Points

Scuderia Coloni 1987 – 1991
Scuderia Coloni was one of those small teams originating in Italy. They gain a lot of sympathy for the way they managed their way through the Formula One. At the last year, the team appeared only with six people at the paddock. Enzo Coloni was the owner of the team, he was a Formula two driver himself in the early 80s before he moved on as team manager.  In 1983, he had his own team in the Formula 3000.

 1987 Season1988 Season1989 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best retired)0 (best 8th place)0 (best retired)
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points4 Points0 Points
 1990 Season  
Point system 1981 – 19900 (Best DNQ)  
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points  
 1991 Season  
Point system 1991 – 20020 (Best DNPQ)  
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points  

Onyx Grand Prix 1989 – 1990
Onyx Grand Prix is another example of a small team that tried their luck in the Formula One after the turbo engines were banned. The team showed some decent results they even scored a podium in their first year in the Formula One. However, their sponsor Moneytron was obscure to say at least.  Besides the good results, Onyx was troubled with qualifying.

 1989 Season1990 Season
Point system 1981 – 19906 (best 3th place)0 (best 7th place)
Point system 2019 – recent24 Points6 Points

Modena Lambo / Glas F1 1991
In 1990 a Mexican team was to make its debut in 1991. Glas F1 was the name of the team and stood for Gonzalez Luna Associates. During 1990 Gonzalez Luna left the company with all the money, 30 years later he still hasn’t been found. While it seemed the project was doomed to fail, Lamborghini decided to keep the cars, as they were to supply them with engines, and keep on developing them. In 1991, they would join the grid as Modena Lambo. The car showed some great progression sadly due finance struggles the team left the Formula One already after one season.

 1991 Season
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best 7th place)
Point system 2019 – recent8 Points

Fondmetal 1991 – 1992
In late 1990 when Enzo Osella was ready to sell his team, Gabriele Rumi purchased the assets from Osella. In 1991, Fondmetal made its debut. Fondmetal similar to ATS and Rial was establish in 1972 specialized in alloy rims.  The results were not that great two 10th places were the best results for the team. At the ends of 1992, Gabriele Rumi sold his team and left the Formula One as team owner. He would return a few years later as sponsor.

 1991 Season1992 Season
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best 10th place)0 (best 10th place)
Point system 2019 – recent1 Point1 Point

Team Lotus 1990 – 1994
One of the teams, that can’t be missed in this list is Team Lotus. While it was once, a championship winning team in its last year’s Team Lotus was nothing more than field filling.  In 1990, the destruction of Team Lotus became visible. I won’t go in details about the owners and so on. The results spoke for themselves. Only 1993 was a good season for the team. Monza 1994 would have been the race Team Lotus could return. Sadly, Johnny Herbert was crashed out at the first corner. At that time, the Lotus was fitted with the newest Mugen-Honda engine. Herbert could have score a podium. Herbert had to take place in the T-car during the restart though could not do anything with that car. Would Team Lotus survived if the Formula 1 used the point system they use today?

 1990 Season 1991 Season
Point system 1981 – 19903 (best 5th place)Point system 1991 – 20023 (best 5th place)
Point system 2019 – recent43 PointsPoint system 2019 – recent30 Points
    
 1992 Season1993 Season1994 Season
Point system 1991 – 200213 (best 2 x 4th place)12 (best 3 x 4th place)0 (best 3 x 7th place)
Point system 2019 – recent99 Points70 Points31 Points

Leyton House Racing  / March F1 Team 1991 – 1992
Leyton House Racing became the sponsor of the March team in the 1980s and soon would become the owner of the team and rebrand it to Leyton House Racing in 1989. During the first year, the team showed some decent results. However, as with Onyx Grand Prix the owner of Leyton House Akira Akagi was arrested for fraud in 1991.  Henny Vollenberg would purchase the team later. March F1 would reappear on the grid in 1992. Showing some decent results, the team eventually would disappear from the grid. While arriving in South Africa the first race of 1993 the team would not race.

 1991 Season1992 Season
Point system 1991 – 20021 (best result 6th place)3 (best 4th place)
Point system 2019 – recent34 Points19 Points

Simtek 1994 – 1995
Speaking about small teams in the Formula One Simtek is one of them. Already in 1991, Nick Wirth was asked by BMW to make a f1 study model of an f1 car. At that time, BMW was lurking to enter the Formula 1 with their own team. That same design would stand for the base of their first car the S941. The team showed their progression though as most of the small teams at that time it lacked of financial backing. After the Grand Prix of Monaco in 1995, the team disappeared from the grid.

 1994 Season1995 Season
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best 9th place)0 (best 9th place)
Point system 2019 – recent3 Points3 Points

Pacific Grand Prix / Pacific Team Lotus 1994 – 1995
Pacific Grand Prix and later Pacific Team Lotus founds its origin in the lower formulae series. The team was successful in the Formula Ford, Formula 3 and Formula 3000 by winning championships and races.wOriginally the team was to enter the Formula one in 1993 with Michael Bartels as one of their driver. Due to a financial lacking the team made it’s debut in 1994.  Their first season was a disaster they failed to finish one single race. With the PR02, the team showed some decent progression. At the end of the season, Pacific left the grid. What many didn’t know, Pacific Grand Prix already penned their car for 1996 the PR03.

 1994 Season1995 Season
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best retired)0 (best 2x 8th place)
Point system 2019 – recent0 Points10 Points

Forti Corse 1995 – 1996
Forti Corse was one of the small teams that entered the Formula One in mid 1990s Guido Forti was the team owner. The team was active in the Formula 3000 from 1987 until 1994 with some decent success. The team made its debut in 1995 and showed some good results. 1996 didn’t look so bright for the team and it wouldn’t be at all. The team was in desperate need of financial backing. Like a gift of god, Shannon arrived at Forti.  The yellow Forti’s were now Green-white in the colours of their new sponsor. What many expected, not a single penny was ever paid. After the Grand Prix of Great Britain, the team disappeared. The team owner Guido Forti was a few weeks later quoted that the team would return. It never materialised.

 1995 Season1996 Season
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best 7th place)0 (best 10th place)
Point system 2019 – recent10 Points2 Points

Minardi F1 Team 1985 – 2005
If one team has to be on the list it is the Minardi team. The team managed to stay in the Formula One for 20 years. After some struggling years Minardi was sold to Red Bull in 2005. In 2006, Toro Rosso would serve as their B-Team. GianCarlo Minardi was already active as a team manager in 1976 with a hired Ferrrari 312T2 for Scuderia Everest. In 1984, Caliri designed the first Minardi F1 car. It was the M184 a prototype only some testing happened with the car. Minardi’s hay days were in the early 1990s. While Minardi always designed impressive and simple chassis but lacked the finance to develop the cars.

 1985 Season1986 Season1987 Season
Point system 1981 – 19900 (best 8th place)0 (best 8th place)0 (best 11th place)
Point system 2019 – recent4 Points4 points0 Points
 1988 Season1989 Season1990 Season
Point system 1981 – 19901 (best 6th place)6 (best 2 x 5th place)0 (best 7th place)
Point system 2019 – recent19 Points50 points14 Points
 1991 Season1992 Season1993 Season
Point system 1991 – 20026 (best 2 x 4th place)1 (best 6th place)7 (best 4th place)
Point system 2019 – recent50 Points23 Points71 Points
 1994 Season1995 Season1996 Season
Point system 1991 – 20025 (best 2x 5th place)1 (best 6th place)0 (best 8th place)
Point system 2019 – recent49 Points36 Points9 Points
 1997 Season1998 Season1999 Season
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best 2 x 9th place)0 best 7th place)1 (best 6th place)
Point system 2019 – recent7 Points20 Points27 Points
 2000 Season2001 Season2002 Season
Point system 1991 – 20020 (best 3 x 8th place)0 (best 2x 9th place)2 (best 5th place)
Point system 2019 – recent16 Points5 Points22 Points
 2003 Season2004 Season2005 Season
Point system 2003 – 20090 (best 9th place)1 (best 8th place)7 (Best 5th place)
Point system 2019 – recent3 Points7 Points18 Points

The conclusion. The small teams in the Formula One that were active in the 1980s and the 1990s would have done a great job if back then the Formula One used todays point system. Teams as Minardi and Simtek and Team Lotus would have existed longer in the Formula One or even existed today. Keep in mind Williams only scored one lucky point by Kubica in 2019. With only 20 cars on the grid, while in the heydays over 26 cars appeared sometimes on the starting grid. Be honnest Williams does not belong to the small teams.