Fondmetal

Fondmetal S.p.A. is an Italian manufacturer of alloy wheels, founded in 1972 by Gabriele Rumi.

A Formula One constructor of the same name, also owned by Rumi, competed in the 1991 and 1992 seasons, scoring no championship points. The company also sponsored, and supplied wheels to, numerous other constructors from the mid-1980s to the early 2000s.

In 2014 the Fondmetal brand expanded to the United States and became known as Fondmetal USA. All wheels continue to be made in Italy and are TUV approved.

Fondmetal
Fondmetal
Full nameFondmetal
BaseBergamo, Italy
Founder(s)Gabriele Rumi
Noted staffTino Belli
Sergio Rinland
Noted driversFrance Olivier Grouillard
Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Switzerland Andrea Chiesa
Belgium Eric van de Poele
Previous nameOsella Squadra Corse
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1991 United States Grand Prix
Races entered29 (19 starts)
EnginesFord
Constructors'
Championships
0
Drivers'
Championships
0
Race victories0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
Final entry1992 Italian Grand Prix

Early years

In 1961, Gabriele Rumi took over the iron foundry business that had been established by his grandfather in Brescia.[1] A motor racing enthusiast, the business allowed him to compete in hillclimbs and in the Formula Monza category during the 1960s.

Rumi had a passion for cars and racing and saw a demand for the manufacturing of parts for the automobile industry. In Palosco they made induction manifolds, water conduits, clutch bellhousing, oil pumps, cylinder heads and engine blocks for clients such as Maserti Biturbo, Fiat, Iveco, OM and Magneti Marelli.

For Rumi this was not enough. He found himself too reliant on his customers in a sensitive time period following the oil crisis. This led him to the courageous decision of launching his own product line in 1972.

The choice of product was alloy wheels due to this involvement and passion for the automobile industry. From there the Fondmetal brand grew and was established as a leader in forged and cost wheel design, engineering and manufacturing in Italy.

Fondmetal first appeared in Formula One in 1983 as a sponsor for Italian driver Piercarlo Ghinzani. In the mid-1980s, the company supplied wheels to Williams, Tyrrell and Ligier, while continuing to sponsor Ghinzani and, later, the Osella team. In 1989, Fondmetal became Osella's major sponsor, and by 1990 Rumi had become the team's majority shareholder.[2] At the end of that year, he decided to take over the whole operation.

Team Fondmetal

Rumi transferred the team from Volpiano near Torino to his headquarters in Bergamo and ran it for one and a half years on his own. He initially persevered with Osella's driver, Olivier Grouillard, until he tired of the Frenchman's reckless side and attitude problem, replacing him with Gabriele Tarquini. The new team was no more successful than in the Osella days, sometimes the results being even worse than those of its fellow back row contenders Coloni or AGS.

1991

For the 1991 Formula One season, Osella Squadra Corse was gone; the team re-appeared as Fondmetal Corse. Initially, Fondmetal entered the FA1M-E car which was a mere carry-over from the previous year (and, in fact, from 1989 as Osella had not been able to construct a new car in 1990). Driven by Olivier Grouillard, the blue and grey coloured machine was uncompetitive by any means. In the first two races of the season, Grouillard was slower than everyone else. Although Fondmetal was able to use Cosworth engines prepared by Brian Hart from previous years' Tyrrell's engines, even Pedro Chaves in his Coloni was ahead of the Fondmetal car. In that hostile atmosphere, pre-qualification turned out to be impossible. But Rumi had high hopes for the European season. By the San Marino Grand Prix, a new car appeared, called the Fomet-1. It was conceived by a newly founded think-tank in the UK called Fomet. The Bicester-based design office was headed by Tino Belli and founded by Rumi who thought that British input was necessary for gaining success. The Fomet-1 featured new aerodynamics, a new suspension and some other improvements, but apart from this, the new car obviously preserved its Osella roots. Finally, things improved a little, but not significantly. With the new car, Grouillard managed to be faster than the Coloni machine, but that does not mean that Fondmetal was able to pass pre-qualifying regularly. Only a handful of race participations were possible, but results were poor, although he qualified 10th for the 1991 Mexican Grand Prix, ahead of Andrea de Cesaris in the Jordan, who finished 4th. In the end, Grouillard was replaced by former AGS man Gabriele Tarquini who finished twice (from three attempts), although he also failed to pre-qualify once; but no points were scored in the end.

1992

1992 Andrea Chiesa Fondmetal
Andrea Chiesa driving the GR01 during the Thursday practice session for the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix.

At the end of 1991, due to some financial troubles, the British Fomet subsidiary where the designers had been working on a new Formula One car since the previous summer found its way into independence. Tino Belli sold the layout of the new car to the French Larrousse Formula One team which left Fondmetal without a new car for the next season. Instead, Gabriele Rumi commissioned Sergio Rinland from Astauto to design a new machine late in December 1991. Naturally, it was not ready for the season opening so for the first few races, last year's car had to be used again. Now dubbed GR01, it had seen few modifications; the major change was the installation of a Ford HB V8 engine (a carry-over from last year's Benetton machine) that came instead of the Lamborghini V12 or the Judd V10 that Rumi had preferred. The engine and the chassis did not go together well. There were some cooling troubles, and reliability was poor. The team appeared with two drivers, one being Tarquini, the other one being the Swiss debutant Andrea Chiesa. Tarquini showed speed, but the car was fragile.

Things got better in late spring when the new chassis found its way on the circuits. The GR02 had nothing in common with former years' Osellas and Fondmetals. The roots of its design dated back to late 1991 when Sergio Rinland was working for the Brabham team on the new Brabham BT61 that never saw the light of day. Instead, the basic structures of this design were carried over to the 1992 Fondmetal. Hence, the GR02 had some qualities and indeed was well regarded by its drivers. However, results turned out to be disappointing, with minor problems often stopping the cars after they qualified well. The team had little funds so tests were few and development slow. Finishes were rare. Tarquini often qualified this car surprisingly high up the order, and at the Belgian Grand Prix put in Fondmetal's best qualifying performance of the season to qualify 11th. Chiesa never got going, however, usually failing to qualify, and was replaced by Eric van de Poele for the Hungarian Grand Prix. While Eric proved competitive, he also collided with Tarquini in Hungary, losing the Italian team's last chance of a points finish. Two races later, in September 1992, the team withdrew from the championship, feeling the pinch of the worldwide recession and of not scoring better than a pair of 10th places, although Tarquini managed to qualify for all the thirteen races in which the team participated in 1992 and Chiesa (in ten attempts) and van de Poele (in only three) qualified three times each.

Later relations with other teams

Forti Corse

During 1992 Sergio Rinland and his Astauto team started to work on a 1993 F1 car in the hope that Fondmetal would carry on. That was not the case, since the contract was cancelled by Fondmetal in September 1992, well before the end of the season due to lack of funds. The design of that car was finished in early 1993. A year later, Rinland sold that design to Guido Forti who started running a Formula One team called Forti by 1995. The team's FG01 chassis still had several similarities to the, by then very old, 1992 Fondmetal GR02.

Tyrrell and Minardi

Ukyo Katayama 1995 Britain 2
Fondmetal sponsored the Tyrrell team in 1995.

Rumi would return to Formula One in a more modest capacity in 1994, with Fondmetal sponsoring Tyrrell, and for 1996 would switch his support to Minardi. Fondmetal also owned a wind tunnel in Northern Italy that was leased to Tyrrell, Minardi and other teams. Rumi would gradually increase his interest in the Faenza outfit, becoming co-owner and chairman. However, Rumi was diagnosed with cancer, and was forced to withdraw his backing in 2000 when the team was sold to Paul Stoddart. Rumi eventually died in May 2001. Fondmetal is still in operation as a wheel manufacturer.

Complete Formula One results

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Points WCC
1991 Fondmetal FA1M-E90
Fondmetal F1
Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
France Olivier Grouillard DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNQ 10 Ret DNPQ
Italy Gabriele Tarquini 12 11 DNPQ
1992 Fondmetal GR01
Fondmetal GR02
Ford HBA5 3.5 V8 G RSA MEX BRA ESP SMR MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR JPN AUS 0 NC
Italy Gabriele Tarquini Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 14 Ret Ret Ret Ret
Switzerland Andrea Chiesa DNQ Ret DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ
Belgium Eric van de Poele Ret 10 Ret

As engine supplier

Year Entrant Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Points WCC
2000 Telefónica Minardi Fondmetal Minardi M02 Fondmetal RV10 3.0 V10 B AUS BRA SMR GBR ESP EUR MON CAN FRA AUT GER HUN BEL ITA USA JPN MAL 0 NC
Spain Marc Gené 8 Ret Ret 14 14 Ret Ret 16 15 8 Ret 15 14 9 12 Ret Ret
Argentina Gastón Mazzacane Ret 10 13 15 15 8 Ret 12 Ret 12 11 Ret 17 10 Ret 15 13

External links

References

  1. ^ "People: Gabriele Rumi". Grandprix.com. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
  2. ^ "Fondmetal - Profile". Formula One Rejects. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2013.
1992 Brazilian Grand Prix

The 1992 Brazilian Grand Prix (formally the XXI Grande Prêmio do Brasil) was a Formula One motor race held at Interlagos on 5 April 1992. It was the third round of the 1992 Formula One season. The 71-lap race was won by Williams driver Nigel Mansell after he started from pole position. His teammate Riccardo Patrese finished second and Michael Schumacher took third for the Benetton team.

1992 British Grand Prix

The 1992 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 12 July 1992 at Silverstone, Northamptonshire. It was the ninth round of the 1992 Formula One season. The 59-lap race was won by Nigel Mansell for the Williams-Renault team, the Englishman also starting from pole position, leading every lap and setting the fastest lap of the race. Riccardo Patrese finished second in the other Williams car, with Martin Brundle third in a Benetton-Ford.

After Mansell won his home Grand Prix, the British spectators invaded the race track to congratulate their hero. Mansell's car was blocked by the crowd, preventing him from driving back to the pits. Eventually Mansell was returned to the pits by track marshals to attend the podium ceremony. The win was the 28th of Mansell's career, thus making him the most successful British Formula One driver of all time in terms of wins (surpassing Jackie Stewart's 27).

Future World Champion Damon Hill made his first start, for the Brabham team. Two further future champions, Michael Schumacher and Mika Häkkinen, scored points.

1992 Canadian Grand Prix

The 1992 Canadian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on 14 June 1992. It was the seventh race of the 1992 Formula One World Championship.

The 69-lap race was won by Gerhard Berger, driving a McLaren-Honda, after he started from fourth position. Teammate Ayrton Senna took pole position and led until he suffered an electrical failure on lap 38, while Drivers' Championship leader Nigel Mansell spun off on lap 15 attempting to overtake Senna. Michael Schumacher finished second in a Benetton-Ford, with Jean Alesi third in a Ferrari.

1992 German Grand Prix

The 1992 German Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at the Hockenheimring in Hockenheim, Germany on 26 July 1992. The 45-lap race was the tenth round of the 1992 Formula One season and was won by Williams driver (and polesitter) Nigel Mansell. Ayrton Senna finished the race in second place for the McLaren team whilst Michael Schumacher took the final podium spot in his Benetton.

1992 Hungarian Grand Prix

The 1992 Hungarian Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Hungaroring on 16 August 1992. It was the eleventh round of the 1992 Formula One season. Nigel Mansell clinched the Drivers' Championship by finishing the race in second position, behind McLaren's Ayrton Senna.

1992 Italian Grand Prix

The 1992 Italian Grand Prix (formally the Pioneer 63o Gran Premio d'Italia) was a Formula One motor race held at Monza on 13 September 1992. It was the thirteenth race of the 1992 Formula One World Championship.

The 53-lap race was won by Ayrton Senna, driving a McLaren-Honda, after he started from second position. It was Senna's third victory of the season. Martin Brundle finished second in a Benetton-Ford, with teammate Michael Schumacher third.

1992 Mexican Grand Prix

The 1992 Mexican Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez in Mexico City on 22 March 1992. It was the second race of the 1992 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The 69-lap race was won from pole position by British driver Nigel Mansell, driving a Williams-Renault. Italian teammate Riccardo Patrese finished second, with Michael Schumacher third in a Benetton-Ford, the first of an eventual 155 podiums for the German driver. This was the final Formula One race in Mexico until 2015, when the Grand Prix was revived on a revised Hermanos Rodríguez circuit.

1992 San Marino Grand Prix

The 1992 San Marino Grand Prix (formally the XII Gran Premio Iceberg di San Marino) was a Formula One motor race held at Imola on 17 May 1992. The 60-lap race was the fifth round of the 1992 Formula One season and was won by Nigel Mansell driving a Williams-Renault.

1992 Spanish Grand Prix

The 1992 Spanish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 3 May 1992 at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. The 65-lap race was the fourth round of the 1992 Formula One season and was won by Nigel Mansell driving a Williams-Renault and scoring the third Grand Chelem of his career.

Andrea Chiesa

Andrea Chiesa (born in Milan, Italy on 6 May 1964) is a former Formula One driver from Switzerland. He participated in 10 Grands Prix, debuting on 1 March 1992.

Eric van de Poele

Eric van de Poele (born 30 September 1961 in Verviers) is a Belgian racing driver and former Formula One driver. He participated in 29 Grands Prix, debuting on 10 March 1991. He scored no championship points and failed to make the grid 24 times.

After a difficult 1984 season in French Formula Three, van de Poele then won the Belgian and Benelux Formula Ford titles, also racing in the Belgian Touring Car Championship. He subsequently raced in German Touring Cars Championships, winning the 1987 championship despite not winning a race all season. He also won the 1987 Spa 24 Hours, sharing a car with Didier Theys and Jean-Michel Martin. He also dabbled in British Formula 3. For 1989, he moved up to Formula 3000, finishing fourth, and then runner-up in 1990.

After this, he signed for the Modena Formula One team for 1991, driving their Lamborghini cars thanks to backing from long-time sponsors Lease Plan. He was unsuccessful in the first two races, failing to pre-qualify, but made it onto the grid for the 1991 San Marino Grand Prix. There he impressed in the rain, running fifth in the last lap before the car ran out of fuel, dropping him to ninth. The team, in financial difficulties, failed to build on this success, and van de Poele would not race again that year.

He then signed for Brabham in 1992, but the team were low on money. The Belgian qualified for the opening South African Grand Prix, finishing 13th, but then failed to qualify the outdated car again. He frequently matched team-mate Damon Hill in the other Brabham, however. For the Hungarian Grand Prix he switched to the promising Fondmetal team. He qualified the car at the first attempt, only to spin out. He then started an excellent 15th for the Belgian Grand Prix, finishing 10th, and qualified again for the Italian Grand Prix, only for the clutch to break. After this, Fondmetal also hit money troubles and withdrew, leaving van de Poele without a drive.

Aside from a largely unused capacity as test driver for Tyrrell in 1993, van de Poele has since found considerable success in Touring Cars and sports cars, winning the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1995 and 1996 and the Petit Le Mans in 1998. He has also added to his 1987 win in the Spa 24 Hours with four more wins in 1998, 2005, 2006 and 2008, giving him the record of five wins in the event.In 2008, van de Poele competed in the Rolex Sports Car Series.

Fondmetal GR01

The Fondmetal GR01 was a Formula One car designed by Robin Herd, Tim Holloway and Tino Belli for the Fondmetal F1 SpA team. It was used in the first part of 1992 season.

The car was based on the Fomet F1 and was also equipped with a Ford engine, not the DFR fitted to the Fomet F1, but the HB, which had 100hp more power than the DFR. Fondmetal fielded two cars, for Andrea Chiesa and Gabriele Tarquini.

The GR01 recorded poor results; the model never saw the finish line.

Then one of GR01s was bought by Ranieri Randaccio, who remade the car (e.g. enlarged the airbox and added unsightly wheel covers over the wheels). He raced this car in Interserie from 1994 to 1997 and took second places at Most (1994, 1997) and Brands Hatch (1996).

Fondmetal GR02

The Fondmetal GR02 was a Formula One racing car designed by Sergio Rinland and his Astauto studio for the 1992 Formula One season. Built to replace the Fondmetal GR01, as Fondmetal's team boss Gabriele Rumi had never been impressed by that car or its predecessor, the Fomet-1, the GR02 used the same 3.5-litre Ford HB V8 engine as its predecessor. Gabriele Tarquini gave the GR02 its début at the 1992 Canadian Grand Prix, whilst team mate Andrea Chiesa first drove it in the following 1992 French Grand Prix. Although the GR02 showed promise, and drew praise from the media, Fondmetal's financial difficulties meant that they withdrew from Formula One after the 1992 Belgian Grand Prix.

Gabriele Rumi

Gabriele Rumi (4 September 1939 – 21 May 2001) was a Formula One team owner. He was born in Palazzolo sull'Oglio.

Gabriele Tarquini

Gabriele Tarquini (born 2 March 1962) is an Italian racing driver. He participated in 78 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on May 3, 1987. He scored 1 championship point, and holds the record for the most failed attempts to qualify. He has subsequently raced successfully in Touring Cars, winning the BTCC in 1994, the ETCC in 2003 the WTCC in 2009 and the WTCR in 2018.

On 22 November 2009 he won the 2009 FIA World Touring Car Championship title at the age of 47 years and 266 days. This made him the oldest ever world champion in an FIA series, breaking Juan Manuel Fangio's record of being FIA Formula One World Drivers' Champion at the age of 46 years and 41 days in 1957. Tarquini backed up this record by winning the 2018 FIA World Touring Car Cup at the age of 56 years and 259 days.

Minardi

Minardi was an Italian automobile racing team and constructor founded in Faenza in 1979 by Giancarlo Minardi. It competed in the Formula One World Championship from 1985 until 2005 with little success, nevertheless acquiring a loyal following of fans. In 2001, to save the team from folding, Minardi sold it to Australian businessman Paul Stoddart, who ran the team for five years before selling it on to Red Bull GmbH in 2005 who renamed it Scuderia Toro Rosso. From 2001, all of Minardi chassis are called "PS" then a number, the PS being the initials of team owner, Paul Stoddart.

During its time in F1, the team scored a total of 38 championship points; 16 of these were earned by the team's first driver, Pierluigi Martini. Martini also recorded the team's only front row start, qualifying 2nd at the 1990 United States Grand Prix, and he led a lap during the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix, the only time a Minardi led a lap. The team never achieved a podium finish, only managing three 4th-place finishes: Martini twice in 1991 and Christian Fittipaldi in 1993.

In the 21 seasons, Minardi entered 37 drivers. Thirteen had Italian nationality, the others came with 13 different nationalities (discounting Doornbos racing under a Monaco license in 2005). Martini started in 103 Grands Prix for the team, while Morbidelli and Gené started 33 times.

Before Minardi's demise, the team was a particularly well-liked team within Formula One circles for its friendliness, accessibility, and lack of corporate culture. On the track, their cars were regarded by many as well-designed for their tiny budget, their low position recognised as a result of a lack of funds (and engine power) rather than a poor car. They also resisted employing pay-drivers more than most other financially strapped teams. Former Minardi drivers include double World Champion Fernando Alonso, Grands Prix winners Alessandro Nannini, Giancarlo Fisichella, Jarno Trulli and Mark Webber; CART IndyCar World Series double champion Alex Zanardi and race winners Justin Wilson and Christian Fittipaldi; and 24 Hours of Le Mans overall winners Michele Alboreto and Marc Gené.

Minardi M02

The Minardi M02 was the car with which the Minardi Formula One team competed in the 2000 Formula One season. It was driven by the young Spaniard Marc Gené, in his second year with the team, and the Argentine rookie pay-driver Gastón Mazzacane.

As ever, the car was a neat and tidy design, but hampered by a lack of power and testing mileage. The new fluorescent yellow colour scheme turned heads, but did little to improve the team's fortunes, as they eventually finished a de facto tenth in the Constructors' Championship, with no points but ahead of Prost due to a better finishing record. The team therefore qualified for some of the sport's television revenues in 2001.

At the end of the year, Telefonica pulled out of sponsoring the team, while Fondmetal boss Gabriele Rumi was forced to sell the team due to ill health, leaving team founder Giancarlo Minardi with the task of finding the budget for 2001. The team was eventually bought by the Australian entrepreneur, Paul Stoddart.In 2014 British F1 engineering company TDF rebuilt chassis 1 and 2 for demonstration use. Chassis 2 was displayed and ran at speed on circuit at Zandvoort 'Festival Italia' driven by Jan Lammers. This was the first time an M02 chassis had run in public since 2001.

Olivier Grouillard

Olivier Grouillard (born 2 September 1958 in Fenouillet) is a racing driver from France. He started racing go-karts from the age of fourteen competing in events such as the Volant Elf. He progressed to Formula Renault winning the title before Grouillard competed in F3000 from 1985 to 1988 taking two wins. He also participated in the Birmingham Superprix but did not start the race.

In 1989, Grouillard joined the Ligier Formula One team before joining the Osella team for 1990 and 1991 when the team was renamed Fondmetal. His last season came in 1992, when Grouillard drove for Tyrrell. He left the sport following the year without receiving offers for a drive in 1993. After leaving Formula One, Grouillard raced in the CART PPG World Series, competing in the Indianapolis 500 for which he did not qualify but showed consistency. Grouillard became well known for driving in Sports Cars between 1994 and 2001 having success. During his time in Sports Cars, he raced in the BPR Global GT Series, the FIA GT Championship, the Daytona 24 Hours, the Le Mans 24 Hours and the American Le Mans Series. He retired from motorsport at the end of 2001.

Osella

Osella is an Italian racing car manufacturer and former Formula One team. They participated in 132 Grands Prix between 1980 and 1990. They achieved two points finishes and scored 5 championship points.

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