Larrousse

Larrousse Formula One was a motorsports racing team founded in 1987 by Didier Calmels and former racer Gérard Larrousse, originally under the name Larrousse & Calmels. It was based in Antony, in the southern suburbs of Paris. It was renamed Larrousse after the departure of Calmels following his murder of his wife. The team competed in Formula One from 1987 to 1994 before succumbing to financial problems, scoring a best finish of third at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix during this time.

Formula One

Lola chassis (1987–1991)

Larrousse & Calmels commissioned a car from Lola and the result was the LC87 (internal Lola designation: T87/30), a car designed by Eric Broadley and Ralph Bellamy. The chassis was powered by a Cosworth DFZ V8 engine, and was entered in the undersubscribed normally aspirated class.

The team started out in 1987 with just one car for Philippe Alliot, with Yannick Dalmas joining the team in a second car the end of the year. By that time they had agreed to a three-year deal with Lola and Chris Murphy was recruited from Zakspeed to help Bellamy. The team then did a deal to run Lamborghini V12 engines in 1989.

In September 1988 the team hired former Renault and Lotus designer/engineer Gérard Ducarouge but in the spring of 1989, Calmels had to quit the team due to his imprisonment for the murder of his wife.[1] As a result, the team became known simply as Larrousse.

For the 1989 season Alliot stayed on but Dalmas, who had been ill with Legionnaires' disease, was dropped after Canada and replaced by rookie French driver Éric Bernard and later by Michele Alboreto, who had recently left Tyrrell. At the end of the year, Larrousse sold 50% of his shares to the Japanese Espo Corporation, and Aguri Suzuki was hired to partner Bernard for the 1990 season. At the same time the team moved from Antony to new premises at Signes in the south of France near the Paul Ricard Circuit.

Aguri Suzuki demonstrating Lola LC90 2012 Japan
Aguri Suzuki took the Larrousse team's best result with third place at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. Here he demonstrates the car at the same venue 22 years later.

The 1990 season was Larrousse's best in Formula One. Although the team was forced to pre-qualify for year, Suzuki managed to score the team's first podium in front of his home fans at Suzuka in the Japanese Grand Prix, and the team finished sixth in the Constructors' Championship. Then things began to unravel when Lamborghini announced it was switching to Ligier. Of greater concern was the FIA considering taking away Larrousse's points because of an alleged "false declaration" about the design of the chassis. It transpired the team had made an honest mistake by registering the car as manufactured by themselves, when in fact it was designed and built by Lola in England. Although the team officially lost their points from 1990, the team kept the travel benefits and prize money associated with their championship finish and did not have to take part in pre-qualifying.[2]

Larrousse signed an engine deal with Brian Hart for 1991 but early in the year Espo withdrew and the team struggled financially. Although difficult to set up, the car proved relatively quick and was usually a solid midfield runner before succumbing to the inevitable breakdown or driver error. Suzuki finished sixth in the first race of the season at Phoenix, and thereafter never made the chequered flag again. Bernard's season was similarly fraught, with the Frenchman earning a single point for 6th at the Mexican Grand Prix. A nightmare season was capped off for him when he crashed heavily in qualifying in Japan at Suzuka's hairpin, badly breaking his leg, and putting him out of the F1 limelight until he returned with Ligier in 1994. Belgian Bertrand Gachot returned for the final race in Australia (after being released from jail for assault on a London taxi driver), but failed to make an impression either.

Thing were equally worse behind the scenes. As the funds began to run dry, the team sought protection from creditors with a French court in July. Japanese company Central Park bought into the team but soon afterwards Ducarouge left. Merger talks with AGS failed and the relationships with Lola and Hart were both ended without payment being made by Larrousse.[3]

Venturi Larrousse Lamborghini LC 92 (1992)
The 1992 Venturi-Larrousse LC92, currently on display in AutoWorld in Brussels

Venturi chassis (1992)

In the autumn of 1991 Gérard Larrousse signed up Robin Herd from Fondmetal for the construction of an F1 chassis and 65% of the team was sold to the Venturi car company. A new Lamborghini engine deal was agreed and Bertrand Gachot was kept on alongside Ukyo Katayama. In a season dominated by the Williams team, Gachot scored Larrousse's only point of the season at the Monaco Grand Prix. Gachot and Katayama collided twice in the season, in Canada and then Japan.

In September 1992 Venturi sold its shareholding to a group called Comstock, headed by German Rainer Walldorf. Walldorf, real name Klaus Walz, turned out to be wanted by the police of several European countries in connection with four murders. After escaping from a raid on his house in France through judicious use of a hand grenade, he was killed during a nine-hour gun battle with police in a German hotel.[1]

Larrousse chassis (1993–1994)

The team had another disappointing season in 1993 when Gérard Larrousse funded drivers Philippe Alliot and Érik Comas, and the drivers could only manage two finishes in the points.

In 1994 Larrousse reorganized the team again. Having failed to agree a deal to use Peugeot engines he reverted to customer Ford HB engines, which were a substantially lesser predecessor to the Ford Zetec-R used by the works Benetton team. New partners were brought in, in the form of Swiss-based Fast Group SA, an organization headed by Ferrari dealer Michel Golay and former F1 racer Patrick Tambay. Sponsorship was found from the vast Danone group, giving the cars two separate liveries: the cars ran in the colors of alcohol-free beer Tourtel where advertising for alcohol products was banned, and in the red and white colors of Kronenbourg elsewhere. At the wheel, Olivier Beretta replaced Alliot while Comas remained. Reliability was generally very poor throughout the season. Comas scored two 6th placings in the Pacific and German GPs – the latter race had only 8 finishers after a huge start-line accident. Beretta's best result was 7th at the German GP as well.

Despite these occasional flashes of speed, Comas and Beretta were very much consigned to the lower-midfield in what proved to be a tricky car powered by an aging engine.

As the money ran short, however, pay-drivers replaced them, including former Larrousse veterans Alliot and Dalmas, as well as rookies Hideki Noda and Jean-Denis Délétraz.

Collapse

A new F1 car for 1995 was designed by Robin Herd, but was not built due to lack of funds. The team appeared on the entry list for the 1995 season with Érik Comas returning as one of its drivers,[4] but needed to merge with an organisation with an available F1 chassis to survive. The two options were Lola, which was unrealistic as the British manufacturer had never been paid by Larrousse for the chassis it had produced for the 1990 and 1991 seasons; and French International Formula 3000 team DAMS, which was in possession of a Reynard-designed F1 chassis with which it hoped to enter the sport in the future. However, Gérard Larrousse and DAMS owner Jean-Paul Driot failed to come to an agreement over the winter of 1994–1995.[5] Driot subsequently announced that DAMS would not enter F1 in 1995.[6] Larrousse consequently ordered the previous year's chassis, the LH94, to be upgraded to the new technical regulations as a temporary solution, whilst he waited to see if the French government would give the team financial support, as way of compensation for the fact that the so-called "Evin's Law" had banned possible revenue from tobacco and alcohol sponsorship.[7][8] In the meantime he sold the majority stake in the Larrousse outfit to compatriots Laurent Barlesi and Jean Messaoudi, who had attempted but failed to enter their own planned Junior F1 Team for the coming season and had the budget necessary to save Larrousse from imminent collapse.[9] During this period, the team's potential driver line-up was in flux, with Comas, Emmanuel Collard, Elton Julian, Éric Hélary, Christophe Bouchut and Éric Bernard all in the frame.[8]

It was then announced within two weeks of the season-opening Brazilian Grand Prix that Larrousse would not receive any government money.[10] The team elected to miss the first two long-haul races of the season, reasoning that it was better to focus on building a new car than upgrading the old one (a solution that would be very uncompetitive), and hoping that the sport's governing body, Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA) would waive the standard fines levied against teams that missed Grands Prix in the interest of keeping the team in F1.[11] However, the team's situation remained extremely difficult: Ford refused to supply the team engines without payment; Gérard Larrousse's former partners, Patrick Tambay and Michel Golay, took legal action against him in France; and a planned sponsorship deal with Petronas was dependent on the team taking part in a Grand Prix.[12] Prior to the San Marino Grand Prix, Larrousse announced his team's withdrawal from F1, blaming others for failing to produce promised funding. Despite announcing that he intended to return to the sport for 1996, his involvement in several lawsuits as a result of the team's collapse made this impossible. The failure of Larrousse was a blow to French motorsport, which in addition to the problems caused by the government's ban on tobacco and alcohol sponsorship (the Loi Evin), had recently lost the AGS team in 1991 and seen the takeover of the Ligier team by foreigners Flavio Briatore and Tom Walkinshaw in 1994.[13]

Racing record

Complete Formula One results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)

Year Chassis Engine(s) Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Points WCC
Lola
1987 LC87 Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5 V8 G BRA SMR BEL MON DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR ESP MEX JPN AUS 3 9th
France Yannick Dalmas 9 14 5*
France Philippe Alliot 10 8 Ret Ret Ret Ret 6 Ret 12 Ret Ret 6 6 Ret Ret
1988 LC88 Ford Cosworth DFZ 3.5 V8 G BRA SMR MON MEX CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
France Yannick Dalmas Ret 12 7 9 DNQ 7 13 13 19 9 Ret Ret Ret 11
Japan Aguri Suzuki 16
France Pierre-Henri Raphanel DNQ
France Philippe Alliot Ret 17 Ret Ret 10 Ret Ret 14 Ret 12 9 Ret Ret 14 9 10
1989 LC88B
LC89
Lamborghini 3512 3.5 V12 G BRA SMR MON MEX USA CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 1 15th
France Yannick Dalmas DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
France Éric Bernard 11 Ret
Italy Michele Alboreto Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 DNPQ DNQ DNPQ
France Philippe Alliot 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret DNPQ 16 Ret 9 6 Ret Ret
1990 LC89B
LC90
Lamborghini 3512 3.5 V12 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 11 6th
France Éric Bernard 8 Ret 13 6 9 Ret 8 4 Ret 6 9 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret
Japan Aguri Suzuki Ret Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret 7 6 Ret Ret Ret Ret 14 6 3 Ret
1991 LC91 Ford Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 2 11th
France Éric Bernard Ret Ret Ret 9 Ret 6 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret DNQ
Belgium Bertrand Gachot DNQ
Japan Aguri Suzuki 6 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ Ret DNQ
Venturi
1992 LC92 Lamborghini 3512 3.5 V12 G RSA MEX BRA ESP SMR MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR JPN AUS 1 11th
France Bertrand Gachot Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret 6 DSQ Ret Ret 14 Ret 18 Ret Ret Ret Ret
Japan Ukyo Katayama 12 12 9 DNQ Ret DNPQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 17 9 Ret 11 Ret
Larrousse
1993 LH93 Lamborghini 3512 3.5 V12 G RSA BRA EUR SMR ESP MON CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR JPN AUS 3 10th
France Philippe Alliot Ret 7 Ret 5 Ret 12 Ret 9 11 12 8 12 9 10
Japan Toshio Suzuki 12 14
France Érik Comas Ret 10 9 Ret 9 Ret 8 16 Ret Ret Ret Ret 6 11 Ret 12
1994 LH94 Ford HBF7/8 3.5 V8 G BRA PAC SMR MON ESP CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR EUR JPN AUS 2 11th
Monaco  Olivier Beretta Ret Ret Ret 8 DNS Ret Ret 14 7 9
France Philippe Alliot Ret
France Yannick Dalmas Ret 14
Japan Hideki Noda Ret Ret Ret
France Érik Comas 9 6 Ret 10 Ret Ret 11 Ret 6 8 Ret 8 Ret Ret 9
Switzerland   Jean-Denis Délétraz Ret

* Ineligible for points.

References

Footnotes
  1. ^ a b Saward, Joe (1999-08-01). "Formula 1 and crime". grandprix.com. Archived from the original on 2007-01-06. Retrieved 2018-10-05.
  2. ^ Henry (ed.) (1991), p. 101.
  3. ^ Saward, Joe (1995-02-01). "The future of Gerard Larrousse as a team owner". grandprix.com. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  4. ^ "Who goes where in 1995". grandprix.com. 1995-02-06. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  5. ^ "Larrousse: a deal with DAMS?". grandprix.com. 1995-01-30. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  6. ^ "Larrousse-DAMS – on or off?". grandprix.com. 1995-02-13. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  7. ^ "Larrousse still talking". grandprix.com. 1995-02-20. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  8. ^ a b "Larrousse politics". grandprix.com. 1995-03-06. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  9. ^ "Larrousse sells". grandprix.com. 1995-02-27. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  10. ^ "No tax money for Larrousse". grandprix.com. 1995-03-13. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  11. ^ "Larrousse to miss opening GPs". grandprix.com. 1995-03-20. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  12. ^ "Hope fades for Larrousse". grandprix.com. 1995-04-17. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
  13. ^ "Larrousse goes to the wall". grandprix.com. 1995-04-24. Retrieved 2009-01-04.
Books
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.

Aguri Suzuki

Aguri Suzuki (鈴木 亜久里, Suzuki Aguri, born 8 September 1960) is a Japanese former racing driver. He participated in 88 Formula One Grands Prix, and his most notable achievement in racing was 3rd place at the 1990 Japanese Grand Prix. Suzuki then became involved in team ownership, with interests firstly in the Japanese Formula Nippon Championship and the IRL in partnership with Mexican racer Adrian Fernandez. Most notably however, he was the owner of the Super Aguri F1 team, which participated in Formula One from 2006 to 2008. He then went on to form Team Aguri, which raced in Formula E from 2014 to 2016.

Bertrand Gachot

Bertrand Gachot (born 23 December 1962) is a French former racing driver.

Gérard Larrousse

Gérard Larrousse (born 23 May 1940) is a former sports car racing, rallying and Formula One driver from France. After the end of his career as racing car driver, he continued to be involved in Formula One as a team manager for Renault. He later founded and ran his own Formula One team, Larrousse, from 1987 to 1994.

James Allison (motorsport)

James Allison (born 22 February 1968) is an English motorsport designer and engineer, best known for his accomplishments in Formula 1, where he is the current technical director of Mercedes-AMG.

Jean-Denis Délétraz

Jean-Denis Delétraz (born 1 October 1963) is a Swiss racing driver. He participated in three Formula One Grands Prix, debuting in the 1994 Australian Grand Prix, and his short F1 career was two retirements and a 15th.

Before reaching Formula One, he scored two third places in the 1988 Formula 3000 season, but principally earned his three Formula One drives as a pay driver.After Formula One, he competed in sports car racing, with two class wins at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Larrousse LH93

The Larrousse LH93 was the car with which the Larrousse team competed in the 1993 Formula One season. The LH93 was Larrousse's first in-house chassis, following six seasons with Lola and Venturi chassis. Driven by Philippe Alliot, Érik Comas and Toshio Suzuki, the LH93 scored three points, giving the team tenth in the Constructors' Championship.

Larrousse LH94

The Larrousse LH94 was the Formula One car built and raced by the Larrousse team for the 1994 Formula One season. It was the second car to be fully constructed by Larrousse, which had previously contracted specialist chassis-builders to build its cars: Lola from 1987 to 1991 and Fomet in 1992. The LH94 was also the final car to be built and raced by Larrousse, as the team did not survive into 1995 owing to financial problems.

Lola LC89

The Lola LC89 is a Formula One car designed by Lola founder Eric Broadley and used in the 1989 Formula One season by the Larrousse team. It was powered by the 3.5-litre Lamborghini 3512 V12 engine designed by former Ferrari designer Mauro Forghieri. Drivers of the car included Philippe Alliot, Éric Bernard, Aguri Suzuki and Michele Alboreto.

The car made its debut in round two of the season, at the 1989 San Marino Grand Prix. While the aerodynamics were good and the chassis was on the pace, the Lamborghini V12 engine proved to be generally unreliable, despite its reported 600 bhp (447 kW; 608 PS). The car and engine combination would only score one point in its racing life with Alliot finishing in sixth place at the 1989 Spanish Grand Prix. Five time Grand Prix winner Alboreto failed to pre-qualify the car twice (Spain and Australia) and failed to qualify once (Japan), in his eight drives for the team in 1989. Alboreto also suffered a broken rib driving the car when he ran over a high curb during the Hungarian Grand Prix.

The chassis was updated into the LC89B for the first two races of 1990. It was replaced by the Lola LC90 from the 1990 San Marino Grand Prix.

Michele Alboreto

Michele Alboreto (23 December 1956 – 25 April 2001) was an Italian racing driver. He was runner up to Alain Prost in the 1985 Formula One World Championship, as well as winning the 1997 24 Hours of Le Mans and 2001 12 Hours of Sebring sports car races. Alboreto competed in Formula One from 1981 until 1994, racing for a number of teams, including five seasons (1984–88) for Ferrari.

The Italian's career in motorsport began in 1976, racing a car he and a number of his friends had built in the Formula Monza series. The car, however, achieved very little success and two years later Alboreto moved up to Formula Three. Wins in the Italian Formula Three championship and a European Formula Three Championship crown in 1980 paved the way for the Italian's entrance into Formula One with the Tyrrell team.

Two wins, the first in the final round of the 1982 season in Las Vegas, and the second a year later in Detroit, earned him a place with the Ferrari team. Alboreto took three wins for the Italian team and challenged Alain Prost for the 1985 Championship, eventually losing out by 20 points. The following three seasons were less successful, however, and at the end of the 1988 campaign, the Italian left Ferrari and re-signed with his former employers Tyrrell, where he stayed until joining Larrousse midway through 1989.

Further seasons with Footwork, Scuderia Italia and Minardi followed during the tail end of his F1 career. In 1995, Alboreto moved on to sportscars and a year later the American IndyCar series. He took his final major victories, the 1997 Le Mans 24 Hours and 2001 Sebring 12 Hours, with German manufacturers Porsche and Audi respectively. In 2001, a month after his Sebring victory, he was killed testing an Audi R8 at the Lausitzring in Germany.

Olivier Beretta

Olivier Beretta (born 23 November 1969) is a professional racing driver from Monaco who raced in Formula One in 1994 for the Larrousse team, partnering Érik Comas. He participated in 10 Grands Prix, debuting on 27 March 1994. He scored no championship points, and was replaced when his sponsorship money ran out. During 2003 and 2004, he tested for the Williams team.

Philippe Alliot

Philippe Alliot (born 27 July 1954) is a former racing driver who participated in Formula One from 1984 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1994. He raced for RAM, Ligier, Larrousse and McLaren.

Pierre-Henri Raphanel

Pierre-Henri Raphanel (born 27 May 1961 in Algiers, Algeria) is a former French racing driver.

He participated in 17 Formula One Grands Prix for Larrousse, Coloni and Rial, debuting on 13 November 1988. He only qualified for one race, the 1989 Monaco Grand Prix, making him the only driver in F1 history whose only race was in the principality.Following his F1 career, he became a factory driver for Toyota, competing in Japan for series such as JTCC and JGTC, for the latter until 2000. After 2006 Raphanel worked as the lead test driver and product specialist for Bugatti and is usually seen demonstrating the Veyron.

Pierre-Henri Raphanel is also the uncle of the French-Algerian driver Julien Gerbi and of the young go-kart driver Arthur Raphanel.

He drove the Bugatti Veyron Super Sport to its maximum speed (431.072 km/h) in Ehra-Lessien in July 2010.

Toshio Suzuki (racing driver)

Toshio Suzuki (鈴木 利男, Suzuki Toshio, born March 10, 1955) is a former racing driver from Saitama Prefecture, Japan.

Ukyo Katayama

Ukyo Katayama (片山 右京, Katayama Ukyō, born 29 May 1963) is a Japanese former racing driver and team manager, most notable for competing for six years in Formula One. He participated in 97 Grands Prix, debuting on 1 March 1992. He scored a total of five championship points, all of them for the Tyrrell team in 1994. He also competed in the 1999 24 Hours of Le Mans, finishing 2nd overall and 1st in the GTP class. He currently serves as the team manager for Goodsmile Racing in Super GT's GT300 class.

Born in Tokyo, Katayama first raced in Europe in 1986 in France before returning home to win the Japanese F3000 series in 1991.

Venturi LC92

The Venturi LC92 (also known as the Venturi Larrousse LC92 or the Larrousse LC92) was a Formula One racing car designed by Robin Herd, Michel Tétu and Tino Belli for the 1992 Formula One season. Built to replace the Lola LC91 used in the previous season, after Larrousse had ended their agreement with Lola, the LC92 used a 3.5-litre Lamborghini 3512 V12 engine. It was the first car that Larrousse had built since Venturi had bought a controlling stake in the team, with Bertrand Gachot and Ukyo Katayama being selected to drive the car. Although the LC92 finished more races than its predecessor, it was no quicker, and Gachot scored the team's only point of the season at the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix. After Venturi sold their stake in Larrousse at the end of the season, the LC92 was replaced by the Larrousse LH93, which was marginally more successful.

Yannick Dalmas

Yannick Dalmas (born 28 July 1961 in Le Beausset, Var) is a former racing driver from France. He participated in 49 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 18 October 1987, but qualified for only 24 of them. His best result in F1 was a 5th place at the 1987 Australian Grand Prix, but he was not eligible for World Championship points at that race. His F1 career was blighted by his health issues, towards the end of 1988, Dalmas was diagnosed with Legionellosis which caused him to miss the final two races. He recovered before the start of 1989 but his illness had clearly affected him.

After the 1990 Formula One Season, Dalmas left the series and began racing in Le Mans Prototypes. There he found much more success, winning the 24 Hours of Le Mans four times (in 1992, 1994, 1995 and 1999), each with different teams.

In 1994, Dalmas made a brief return to Formula One with cash-strapped Larrousse, but only entered two races. He crashed in Italy, and finished two laps off the lead in Portugal.

Dalmas was French Formula Three champion in 1986.

Éric Bernard

Éric Bernard (born 24 August 1964) is a retired French Formula One racing driver, who drove in Formula One from 1989 to 1994 for the Ligier, Larrousse and Lotus teams. His best finish in Formula One was third place at the German Grand Prix in 1994. After his Formula One career ended, he raced sportscars.

Érik Comas

Érik Comas (born 28 September 1963) is a French former Formula One driver. He was French Formula 3 champion in 1988, and then Formula 3000 champion in 1990, after scoring the same number of points as Jean Alesi in 1989 but losing on a count-back of positions. He participated in 63 Grands Prix, debuting on 10 March 1991. He scored a total of 7 championship points. His last point, in the 1994 German Grand Prix, was also the last one for the Larrousse team.

France Larrousse Formula One cars
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