Modena (racing team)

Team Modena was the name of a Formula 1 team from Modena in Italy, which was operated by Lamborghini engineering and used in the 1991 season in the Formula 1 World Championship.

The backgrounds

The GLASS project

Lamborghini Engineering, a charge of Formula 1 activities daughter of the Italian sports car manufacturer Lamborghini, had in 1988 a naturally aspirated engine with twelve cylinders developed, which was from 1989, delivered to various customer teams in Formula 1, including Larrousse and Team Lotus. During the year 1989, the Mexican businessman Fernando Garcia Luna had given at Lamborghini Engineering the development of a Formula 1 chassis in order, which he used in a Mexican team under the name of GLASS (Gonzalez Luna & Associados ) from 1991 in Formula 1 wanted. Lamborghini Engineering developed a chassis called Lambo 290, which was presented to the public in 1990 at the Grand Prix of Mexico. Before it could lead to further work, Gonzales Luna withdrew without prior payment of work done. Lamborghini Engineering was left with a well-developed chassis.

The structure of the Modena Team

In the summer of 1990, Lamborghini engineering and its parent company Chrysler Corporation decided to continue the chassis project on their own account. It was not intended to make the chassis a (possibly existing ) foreign team, like for instance in the way it did Lola Cars with the team Larrousse; rather Lamborghini Engineering wanted to build their own Formula 1 team and perform the race itself.

Manager of the racing team was the Italian entrepreneur Carlo Patrucco (according to other sources - incorrectly - Paolo Patrucco ), who had been president of the sportswear manufacturer Fila in the 1980s and at that time was vice president of the Italian industry association. Patrucco invested substantial amounts of money into the project and did a little organizational help. However, the issues associated with the racing decided already at this early stage largely Mauro Forghieri, technical director of Lamborghini Engineering. Team managers were in the preparation phase, workers employed in Engineering Lamborghini engineers Marco Great Tino Augusto Bovati. For the year 1991, this task was, however, transferred Jaime Manca Graziadei, who was previously Head of Race Operations at Minardi. Matching statements of parties, however, show that Mauro Forghieri met the essential decisions and the role Graziadeis been largely limited.

The racing team took in August 1990 on its operation. The name of the team gave rise to irritation. Surprisingly, they had not chosen the prestigious name of Lamborghini, but the team called Team Modena. This was due to uncertainty about the sporting success of the team. Low or absent successes might have damaged the reputation of the name Lamborghini, resulting first in a neutral name was preferred. According to Carlo Patrucco later renamed the team was scheduled using the name of Lamborghini in the event of success. The media picked this step, however, before many times. In several reports, the team was back in 1991, incorrectly as " Lambo Formula" or as a "Lamborghini " means. However, the Modena team contributed to this by officially as " Lambo 291 " referred to the race car to be used.

The Lambo 291

For the World Cup 1991, the Modena team reported a race car with the name " Lambo 291 ". It was a slightly more advanced version of the vehicle, which was presented in June 1990 for GLASS. The development work had done Forghieri Mauro and Marco Great Tino. The latter had in 1984 and 1985 designed the last Formula 1 cars for Alfa Romeo Motorsport and had worked at EuroBrun 1988-1989. The Lambo 291 was a sleek car whose most striking features were low, semi-circular boxes, carrying numerous rounded and partially exposed surfaces cooler. The trend set by Tyrrell a high front end with hanging from the front wing Mauro Forghieri was not followed; instead had the Lambo 291 conventional, steep nose. This became apparent that the basic concept of the car still came from the late 1989 and had since been no more extensively modified. The powerplant of the twelve cylinder Lamborghini Engineering was installed, with the addition this season, the French team Ligier Équipe began.

The prototype was completed in the summer of 1990 and was later tested at Imola by the Italian racing driver Mauro Baldi, who had his last Formula 1 application in 1985 for the team spirit. Further testing took Marco Apicella who was primarily active at First Racing in Formula 3000 in 1990.

The season 1991

The Modena team announced for the 1991 season Nicola Larini and Eric van de Poele as a driver. Larini joined after two years at Osella with the change, the hope of a more competitive team; for the Belgians van de Poele, however, who brought a number of national sponsors, it was the possibility of finding an entry into Formula 1 in touring car racing and Formula 3000 after many years. Both drivers were subject to pre-qualification, where they competed with Coloni, Fondmetal, Jordan Grand Prix and Dallara / BMS Scuderia Italia. The expectations for the new team were high; because on the one hand, the Lamborghini engine was one of the strongest engines in the field, on the other hand had the French team Larrousse, which at that time began a Lamborghini engine, 1990 to complete the past season in sixth place in the constructors' championship and it can achieve its podium by Aguri Suzuki.

At the opening race of the 1991 season in Phoenix Larini abolished the pre-qualifying and reached the 17th starting position, which he clearly had both Ligier, which were equipped with the same engine behind. Larini was able to finish the first race and came in seventh place, albeit with five laps behind the winner Ayrton Senna. Van de Poele could not pre-qualify themselves. He was with a gap of 15 seconds Last of pre-qualification, with him three seconds behind second-bottom ( Olivier Grouillard in Fondmetal ) were missing.

Larinis seventh place in the opening race was also to be the best result, which reached the Modena team in the season. In the other seven races up to and including the Grand Prix of England, Larini six could not pre-qualify; this amounted its arrears to the later pole time between six and nine seconds. That was enough usually made only to let Pedro Matos Chaves Coloni behind. At the Grand Prix of Mexico Larini drove out for a time, with whom he had passed the pre-qualification ( but not the actual qualification); However, he was expelled from the race due to technical irregularities on the car.

Eric van de Poele seven could not pre-qualify in the first half of the season. An exception was the Grand Prix of San Marino, where he started from the 21th Place. The race went largely gratifying for the team, but ended fatally. In the last round van de Poele was in fifth place, which would have his team brings valuable championship points. Just before the finish line, however, turned out the fuel pump, so that the Lambo lay within sight of the finish line. The following cars passed before van de Poele; The Belgian was considered a ninth.

The results of the first half of the season - a seventh and a ninth place - were sufficient to liberate the Modena team for the second half of the season from the pre-qualification. The used Eric van de Poele nothing; in none of the remaining eight runs, he managed to qualify. Larini achieved this four times, namely the Grand Prix of Germany, during the Hungarian Grand Prix, the Grand Prix of Italy, as well as the Grand Prix of Australia. However, the results were not sustainable. In Germany he went into the race in 24th place, but resigned after only five laps due to a spin out. At the Hungaroring, he ran from the same place on the grid in 16th with three laps to the finish. At Monza he reached the 23th place start and was in turn 16, this time with five laps behind. It was the last finish of a car of the Modena team. In Adelaide finally managed Larini still the 18th starting position, but crashed in the rain early with Jean Alesi and Michael Schumacher, after all three failed.

As a result, the season for the Modena team was disappointing. Nicola Larini was some years later in an interview with Auto Motor und Sport, the Lambo 291 was a nearly unfahrbares car. Weight distribution, directional stability and vibration susceptibility would have made the handling very difficult. In addition, the lightweight of the car have shown a significant security risk. Larini was glad not to have to climb into this car after the last race in 1991.

The team manager Jaime Manca Graziadei blamed a severe lack of organization for the unsuccessful course of the season. The season was chaotically run: "There was not much organization, except for what Mauro Forghieri opined. He was hardly anyone else a chance to influence the development of the team. "

Planning for the 1992 season

Apart from organizational shortcomings the team suffered since the summer of 1991 considerable financial deficiency. Nevertheless, there were plans for the 1992 season. Considerations stipulated that the Modena team should make largely independent of Lamborghini Engineering. Accordingly, considerations went there, not to allow developed by Lamborghini Engineering and Mauro Forghieri a possible new chassis. Rather Carlo Patrucco adopted in October 1991 to contact the independent designer Sergio Rinland which a design office with the name Astauto entertained in the UK and there was the car for 1992 design. It was even in the conversation, to use an engine from Judd for 1992, instead of the Lamborghini engine. When, in late summer, the financial resources were more scarce, was finally even a merger with the team of Enzo Coloni in conversation.

To all this, did not come; the Modena team was with a mountain of debt closed and liquidated in late 1991.