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.

Osella
Osella emblem
Full nameOsella Squadra Corse
BaseVerolengo, Italy[1]
Founder(s)Enzo Osella
Noted staffAntonio Tommaini
Noted driversUnited States Eddie Cheever
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani
France Jean-Pierre Jarier
Austria Jo Gartner
Netherlands Huub Rothengatter
Italy Nicola Larini
Next nameFondmetal
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1980 Argentine Grand Prix
Races entered172 (132 starts)
EnginesFord-Cosworth, Alfa Romeo, Osella
Constructors'
Championships
0 (best finish: 12th, 1984)
Drivers'
Championships
0 (best finish: 19th, Piercarlo Ghinzani, 1984)
Race victories0 (best finish: 4th, 1982 San Marino Grand Prix)
Pole positions0 (best grid position: 8th, 1990 United States Grand Prix)
Fastest laps0
Final entry1990 Australian Grand Prix

Early days

Osella PA5 BMW
Osella placed second in the 1977 World Championship for Sports Cars with the Osella PA5 BMW.

Named after its founder Vincenzo "Enzo" Osella, the team began life by racing Abarth sports cars in local and national races in Italy in the mid-1960s. Though relatively successful (Osella eventually took over the factory Abarth sports car program), Osella expanded into single-seater racing in 1974 to further develop his business. In 1975, the team entered the European Formula Two Championship for the first time, achieving some success with its own car, the BMW-powered Osella FA2.

Osella continued in Formula Two in 1976, but financial problems meant that the team was not competitive and withdrew from the championship before the end of the season. In the following years, the FA2s were occasionally entered by privateers, one of them being the Swiss Charly Kiser.

The late 1970s

Enzo Osella tried to make some money by selling a self-penned Formula Three car, the Osella FA3, with little success. Only a few privateers were optimistic enough to buy the simple, untested machine, which with Toyota or Lancia engines competed in the 1976 German and Italian F3 championships without making any great impression. After this, the team concentrated on running in local sports car events during 1977 and 1978.

Osella returned to the European Formula Two Championship in 1979, with American driver Eddie Cheever racing the well-used FA2, again powered by a BMW engine. The car was good enough to win three races and take Cheever to fourth in the championship. This was enough for Enzo Osella to take the plunge into the cut-and-thrust world of Formula One.

Formula One

Early years

While the FA2 was entered on one occasion in 1980 by the Italian privateer Marco Rocca, Osella Squadra Corse appeared in the world of Grand Prix racing with its first Formula One machine, the FA1. The car was designed by Giorgio Stirano. Powered by Ford Cosworth DFV, it was overweight and aerodynamically inefficient. The car was presented in a blue and white livery with large Denim branding on the sidepods. Many components were manufactured in-house which meant that they were cheap to produce but not always state-of-the-art. The driver was again Eddie Cheever who was able to finish just one race in whole season. Frequently, he had to suffer from the massive unreliability of his car. In the following seasons, the basic design was changed several times.

In the early years, most of the work was done by interim designers like Giorgio Valentini or Tony Southgate, but frequently Enzo Osella himself also worked on the cars. Most of these attempts brought no improvement as high-tech solutions could not be financed. Jean-Pierre Jarier finished fourth at Imola in 1982 (where only 14 cars started) and scored the first Championship points for the young team in a car that was by now dubbed Osella FA1C.

Despite this result, neither the financial nor the technical situation improved. Few sponsors were attracted by the tiny Italian team. Denim only stayed for the first two seasons, Kelemata was no more reliable, and others like Landis & Gyr vanished as quickly as they had come. Most of the other sponsors were small or mid-size companies from Turin or the region of Piemont.

Driver changes

Osella FA1D Bournemouth WHEELS Festival 2006
The Osella FA1D at Bournemouth in 2016.

The lack of funding led to frequent driver changes as the team demanded that their drivers bring significant sponsorship to keep the team afloat. Some drivers started their F1 careers at Osella, such as Alex Caffi and Gabriele Tarquini, while Piercarlo Ghinzani had four stints with the team. Others disappeared as quickly as they had come, such as Allen Berg and Franco Forini. Enzo Osella gave the young Austrian Jo Gartner his one and only chance to drive a Formula One car in 1984. Riccardo Paletti also had high hopes, but was killed in a start-line accident at the 1982 Canadian Grand Prix.

None of these drivers were able to push the team forward. Finally, Osella continued to live hand-to-mouth each year, with little or no improvement in competitiveness.

Alfa Romeo

Ghinzani Osella FA1F 1984 Dallas F1
Alfa-Romeo derived FA1F at the 1984 Dallas Grand Prix, where Ghinzani achieved Osella's second and last points finish.

In the mid-1980s, Osella was the beneficiary of factory Alfa Romeo engines, both in naturally-aspirated (1983–84) and turbo (1984–88) forms. On one hand, the Alfa engine program helped the team to survive the increasingly professional turbo era; on the other hand, the heavy, unreliable and thirsty machines contributed to the team's lack of competitiveness. At least at first, Alfa offered some technical input to the team; the 1984 Osella FA1F was based on the 1983 works Alfa Romeo 183T, which had been loaned to the team for "design assistance" purposes. All the following Osella models up to the FA1L in 1988 had their origins in the initial Alfa design.

The Alfa turbo engine, the 890T, was not reliable. Chargers blew off regularly and power output had to be reduced down to the level of the non-turbo cars just to achieve the necessary reliability. On more than one occasion, Osella tried to replace the 890T with more up-to-date Motori Moderni turbos (which Minardi did not support) or with Cosworth engines. In the end, both were too expensive, so Osella had to stick with the increasingly outdated but cheap 890T.

For 1988 – the last year before turbos were banned – the team re-branded the 890T as the "Osella V8". This came about after Alfa's parent company, Fiat, grew tired of the negative publicity the team had given the 890T and, while allowing them to continue using the engine, refused to allow the Alfa Romeo name to be used.

After driver Nicola Larini managed some impressive times in pre-season testing at Monza, the team were quietly confident of a decent showing through 1988, as many teams had switched to naturally-aspirated engines in preparation for 1989. However, the reality was that the FA1L, with its outdated turbo, was not up to the challenge: Larini often failed to qualify or even pre-qualify, and was also excluded from the San Marino Grand Prix before practice after failing to get through scrutineering due to illegal changes made to the chassis. At the end of the season, Enzo Osella was more than happy to be finally rid of the old Alfa engine.

Cosworth power and Fondmetal

The 1989 season saw much improvement. The all-new, Cosworth DFR-powered Osella FA1M was a big step ahead, and ultra-sticky qualifying tyres from Pirelli brought some success, at least in the qualifying sessions (most notably in the Japanese Grand Prix, where Larini qualified 10th). The fine qualifying performance brought no results in the races; the Osella cars almost never saw the finish line due to several technical failures. The most tragic race was the Canadian Grand Prix in which Larini was third before the FA1M's electrics failed due to water ingress. Piercarlo Ghinzani re-joined the team for 1989 with limited success, often failing to qualify. He announced his retirement at the season ending Australian Grand Prix. While Larini failed to start the very wet race when his electrics were water-logged on the grid, Ghinzani's race and career came to a violent end when a high-speed collision with the Lotus of Nelson Piquet left Ghinzani with an injured ankle.

In 1990, after ten years in Formula One and still without any meaningful sponsorship, Enzo Osella sold shares in his team to metalwork magnate Gabriele Rumi, as part of a sponsorship deal with Rumi's Fondmetal company. During 1990, the team entered a single car for French driver Olivier Grouillard, who gained a reputation in F1 for being a "blocker", holding up faster cars and ignoring his mirrors. At the end of 1990, Rumi took over the remainder of the team and renamed it Fondmetal.

Sportscars

Osella PA 20 S BMW
BMW-powered Osella PA20

The involvement of Gabriele Rumi meant the end of Enzo Osella's activities in Formula One. Instead he concentrated on the thing he knew best: sports car racing. During his Formula One years, he never gave up building sports cars; in fact this was one of the few projects that regularly brought work and money to Volpiano, especially in hillclimb races, with Maurpo Nesti many times winner of European and Italian Championship, and many other drivers, with PA9 and PA9/90 models.

A few of those sports cars even found their way to the Can Am series, although without much success. The most prestigious result was during the 1984 Can Am season with a third place in the championship for the 2-litre class; the car was the Osella PA10 driven by Armando Trentini, and was the only two-seater in the championship; the rest of the 2-litre class field comprised single-seater F2 cars with covered wheels.

In the 1990s, Osella moved to Atella in the south of Italy where he built a new ultra-modern facility to produce some very competitive sports cars. Many of them were sold to privateers, while others were entered in several classes by the Osella works team. The works team was particularly successful in hillclimb races. In 1995 for instance works team driver Pasquale Irlando won all 9 races of the European hillclimb championship using the Osella PA18. He won the title in 1997, 1998 and 1999 consecutively. His successor Fabio Danti died in one of Osella's cars when he was competing in the 2000 Championship. Hillclimb stars like Franz Tschager and Martin Krisam continue to use Osella cars.

Nowadays, the factory was transferred back near Turin, in Verolengo and continue activity building sport cars for hill climbing and minor sport race championship.

Racing record

Complete Formula Two results

(key)

Year Chassis Engine Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14
1974 Osella PA2 BMW BAR HOC PAU SAL HOC MUG KAR PER HOC VAL
Italy Arturo Merzario Ret
1975 Osella FA2
March 742
BMW EST THR HOC NÜR PAU HOC SAL ROU MUG PER SIL ZOL NOG VAL
Italy Giorgio Francia 4 10 5 6 Ret 5 5 DNS 4 9 5 Ret Ret
Italy Diulio Truffo 5 6 8 Ret 6 6 Ret 5 5 Ret
Italy Roberto Filannino 15 Ret DNQ
Italy Arturo Merzario Ret Ret
1976 Osella FA2 BMW HOC THR VAL SAL PAU HOC ROU MUG PER EST NOG HOC
Italy Giorgio Francia DNQ Ret 11
Italy Gianfranco Trombetti Ret Ret DNQ
Italy Arturo Merzario DNQ
1979 Osella FA2/79 BMW SIL HOC THR NÜR VAL MUG PAU HOC ZAN PER MIS DON
United States Eddie Cheever 1 5 Ret 8 Ret Ret 1 Ret 1 5 6 7

Complete Formula One results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)

Year Chassis Engines Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 WCC Points
1980 FA1 Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 G ARG BRA RSA USW BEL MON FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN USA NC 0
United States Eddie Cheever DNQ DNQ Ret Ret DNQ DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret Ret
1981 FA1B
FA1C
Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M USW BRA ARG SMR BEL MON ESP FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA CAN CPL NC 0
Argentina Miguel Ángel Guerra DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani 13 DNQ
Italy Giorgio Francia DNQ
France Jean-Pierre Jarier 8 8 10 Ret 9 Ret Ret
Italy Beppe Gabbiani Ret DNQ DNQ Ret Ret DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
1982 FA1C
Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 P RSA BRA USW SMR BEL MON DET CAN NED GBR FRA GER AUT SUI ITA CPL 12th 3
France Jean-Pierre Jarier Ret 9 Ret 4 Ret DNQ Ret Ret 14 Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret DNS
Italy Riccardo Paletti DNQ DNPQ DNQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNS Ret
1983 FA1D Cosworth DFV 3.0 V8 M BRA USW FRA SMR MON BEL DET CAN GBR GER AUT NED ITA EUR RSA NC 0
Italy Corrado Fabi Ret DNQ Ret Ret DNQ Ret DNQ Ret
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani DNQ DNQ DNQ
FA1E Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 Italy Corrado Fabi DNQ DNQ 10 11 Ret DNQ Ret
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani DNQ DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ Ret Ret 11 DNQ Ret Ret Ret
1984 FA1F Alfa Romeo 890T 1.5 V8t P BRA RSA BEL SMR FRA MON CAN DET DAL GBR GER AUT NED ITA EUR POR 12th 2
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Ret DNS Ret DNQ 12 7 Ret Ret 5 9 Ret Ret Ret 7 Ret Ret
Austria Jo Gartner Ret Ret Ret 12 5 Ret 16
FA1E Alfa Romeo 1260 3.0 V12 Austria Jo Gartner Ret
1985 FA1F
FA1G
Alfa Romeo 890T 1.5 V8t P BRA POR SMR MON CAN DET FRA GBR GER AUT NED ITA BEL EUR RSA AUS NC 0
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani 12 9 NC DNQ Ret Ret 15 Ret
Netherlands Huub Rothengatter Ret 9 NC Ret NC DNQ Ret 7
1986 FA1G
FA1F
FA1H
Alfa Romeo 890T 1.5 V8t P BRA ESP SMR MON BEL CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR MEX AUS NC 0
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret Ret
Germany Christian Danner Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret
Canada Allen Berg Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret Ret 13 16 NC
Italy Alex Caffi NC
1987 FA1I Alfa Romeo 890T 1.5 V8t G BRA SMR BEL MON DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR ESP MEX JPN AUS NC 0
Italy Alex Caffi Ret 12 Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret Ret DNQ Ret Ret DNQ
Italy Gabriele Tarquini Ret
Switzerland Franco Forini Ret Ret DNQ
1988 FA1I
FA1L
Osella 890T 1.5 V8t G BRA SMR MON MEX CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS NC 0
Italy Nicola Larini DNQ EX 9 DNQ DNQ Ret Ret 19 Ret DNPQ Ret Ret 12 Ret Ret DNPQ
1989 FA1M Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8 P BRA SMR MON MEX USA CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS NC 0
Italy Nicola Larini DSQ 12 DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret DNPQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret DNPQ Ret Ret Ret
Italy Piercarlo Ghinzani DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ Ret DNPQ Ret
1990 FA1M-E Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8 P USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS NC 0
France Olivier Grouillard Ret Ret Ret DNQ 13 19 DNPQ DNQ DNQ DNPQ 16 Ret DNQ Ret DNQ 13

Not eligible for points.

Notes

  1. ^ originally (70s-80's) in Volpiano, Italy. After, until 2009 Atella, Italy

References

1981 Monaco Grand Prix

The 1981 Monaco Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held at Monaco on May 31, 1981.

Alex Caffi

Alessandro "Alex" Caffi (born 18 March 1964) is an Italian racing driver, former Formula One driver, and team owner. He participated in 75 Grands Prix, debuting on 7 September 1986. In 2006 he raced in the inaugural season of the Grand Prix Masters formula for retired Formula One drivers. He currently serves as the team owner of NASCAR Whelen Euro Series team Alex Caffi Motorsport, occasionally doing owner-driver duties as well.

Alfa Romeo Grand Prix results

The table below details the European Championship results of Alfa Romeo. The other tables show the results of Alfa Romeo in Formula One.

Beppe Gabbiani

Giuseppe "Beppe" Gabbiani (born 2 January 1957) is an Italian racing driver. He participated in 17 World Championship Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 1 October 1978, and scored no championship points. He also participated in one non-Championship Formula One race.

He then passes in F3, 1977 with success without however winning the title, because it is Piercarlo Ghinzani who takes the title against good opponents because it is of Derek Daly, Nelson Piquet, Jan Lammers, Luciano Arnold, Elio de Angelis, Stefan Johansson, Jean-Louis Schlesser, James King or Derek Warwick and many others .....

In Formula 2, he won the 1983 Eifelrennen.

In sports car racing, he finished third in the 2003 1000km Spa.

Corrado Fabi

Corrado Fabi (born 12 April 1961 in Milan) is a former racing driver from Italy. He participated in 18 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 13 March 1983, scoring no championship points. He was the 1982 European Formula Two Champion driving a March-BMW.

He is the younger brother of Teo Fabi, also a racing driver. In 1984 they shared a Brabham Formula One drive, with Corrado deputising for Teo when Teo's commitments to CART racing in the USA took precedence. After his opportunities in Formula One dried up, Corrado Fabi raced briefly in Champcars before effectively retiring to look after the family business interests.

Diego Mario Francisco Osella

Diego Mario Francisco Osella (born July 19, 1970 in Acebal, Santa Fe), known as Diego Osella, is a former Argentine footballer and manager who played for clubs of Argentina and Mexico and managed in clubs of Argentina and Chile.

Diego Osella

Diego Marcelo Osella (born September 4, 1969) is a retired Argentine professional basketball player.

Eddie Cheever

Edward McKay Cheever Jr. (born January 10, 1958) is an American former racing driver who raced for almost 30 years in Formula One, sports cars, CART, and the Indy Racing League. Cheever participated in 143 Formula One World Championship races and started 132, more than any other American, driving for nine different teams from 1978 through 1989. In 1997, he formed his own IRL team and won the 1998 Indianapolis 500 as both owner and driver. The team now competes in sports cars.

European Hill Climb Championship

The European Hill Climb Championship is an FIA-run motorsport competition held across Europe on closed public road courses.Unlike circuit racing, each driver competes alone, starting from a point at the base of a mountain and reaching a finish point near the summit. The European Championship allows single-seater cars, open-cockpit sports prototypes, and touring cars with varying degrees of technical preparation.

Giorgio Francia

Giorgio Francia (born November 8, 1947 in Bologna) is a former racing driver from Italy. He was the Polifac Formel 3 Trophy champion in 1974.Francia unsuccessfully entered two Formula One Grands Prix. The first was in a works Brabham BT45B, in Martini Racing colours, at the 1977 Italian Grand Prix. He was withdrawn during practice. His second attempt was with Osella at the 1981 Spanish Grand Prix, where he was the slowest in practice and failed to qualify.

He raced in many categories and competed in sports car racing and touring cars until the late 1990s, driving a works Osella sports prototype in endurance racing in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and also taking part in the factory Alfa Romeo team in the CIVT (Italian Superturismo) and the DTM.

Giorgio Stirano

Giorgio Stirano (born 23 February 1950 in Turin) is an Italian racing car engineer, who worked for Forti and Osella in Formula One.

Golden Osella

The Golden Osella is the name of several awards given at the Venice Film Festival. They are awarded irregularly and in various categories such as directing, screenwriting, cinematography, and technical contributions.

Huub Rothengatter

Hubertus (Huub) Rothengatter (born 8 October 1954) is a former racing driver from the Netherlands. He participated in 30 Formula One (F1) Grands Prix, debuting on 17 June 1984. He scored no championship points. He drove for Spirit, Osella and Zakspeed, and his drives all either started or became available midseason. He tried to get Dutch sponsors in various ways, such as by putting a one-page advertisement in De Telegraaf newspaper. Reputedly, when Niki Lauda was asked about him, he referred to him as "rattengott" – literally "God of the rats".

Rothengatter, unlike a lot of fringe drivers who waited for phone calls from F1 teams that never came, was highly successful in attracting personal sponsorship which allowed him to 'buy' his place in the low budget teams, bringing in much needed money to them and allowing him to drive F1 when he otherwise would most likely have missed out.

Rothengatter later entered into Formula One management, as a manager for Dutch driver Jos Verstappen.

Jean-Pierre Jarier

Jean-Pierre Jacques Jarier (born 10 July 1946) is a French former Grand Prix racing driver. He drove for several notable Formula One teams including Shadow, Team Lotus, Ligier and Tyrrell Racing. His best finish was third (three times) and he also took three pole positions.

Jo Gartner

Josef Gartner (24 January 1954 – 1 June 1986) was a Formula One and sports car endurance driver from Austria. After a successful lower formula career, including a win in the Formula Two Pau Grand Prix, he participated in eight Formula One Grands Prix for Osella during the 1984 season, scoring no points. He was killed in an accident at the 1986 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Nicola Larini

Nicola Larini (born 19 March 1964) is an Italian racing driver. He participated in 75 Formula One Grands Prix, debuting on 6 September 1987. He finished second in the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix on a substitute outing for Ferrari, but only scored points once more in his career. He enjoyed greater success in touring car racing, primarily for Alfa Romeo.

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.

Piercarlo Ghinzani

Piercarlo Ghinzani (born 16 January 1952 in Riviera d'Adda, Lombardy) is a former racing driver from Italy. He currently manages his own racing team, Team Ghinzani, which was created in 1992 and is currently involved in several Formula Three championships.

Riccardo Paletti

Riccardo Paletti (15 June 1958 – 13 June 1982) was an Italian motor racing driver. Paletti was killed when he crashed on the start grid in his second Formula One start.

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