Simtek (Simulation Technology) was an engineering consultancy firm and Formula One racing team. The Formula One (F1) engineering consultancy arm, Simtek Research, was founded in 1989 by Max Mosley and Nick Wirth. It originally was involved in many areas of Formula One, including wind tunnel construction and chassis building for third parties. Simtek Grand Prix, the racing team, launched in 1993 and competed in the 1994 and 1995 seasons achieving a best result of ninth place. With large debts and a lack of sponsorship money, Simtek went into voluntary liquidation in June 1995.

Simtek gp logo
Full nameMTV Simtek Ford
BaseBanbury, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Founder(s)Max Mosley
Nick Wirth
Noted driversAustralia David Brabham
Austria Roland Ratzenberger
Italy Andrea Montermini
France Jean-Marc Gounon
Italy Domenico Schiattarella
Japan Taki Inoue
Netherlands Jos Verstappen
Formula One World Championship career
First entry1994 Brazilian Grand Prix
Races entered20
Race victories0
Pole positions0
Fastest laps0
Final entry1995 Monaco Grand Prix

Simtek Research

Simtek Research was founded in August 1989 by Nick Wirth and Max Mosley aiming to provide a cost-effective design, research and development service to the highest possible standards.[1] Initially working out of an office in Wirth's home, the company grew quickly and moved to its own facility, including a windtunnel, on the Acres Industrial Estate in Banbury, Oxfordshire. Simtek's clients included the FIA, F1 constructors Ligier and numerous Formula 3000 and Indycar teams.

In 1990 Simtek designed a Formula One car for BMW who were making plans to found a works team. The project was aborted, and BMW instead entered the German Touring Car Championship (Deutsche Tourenwagen Meisterschaft) in 1991, the BMW 3 Series cars being run by Simtek engineers. The BMW F1 car design was revived, updated and sold to Andrea Moda Formula to compete in the 1992 season. In 1992, after becoming president of the FIA, Mosley sold his share in Simtek to Wirth.

In 1993, Simtek were commissioned to design a car for the new Bravo Grand Prix team, but the plans were scrapped after the sudden death of Bravo's project backer, Jean François Mosnier.

Formula One


In August 1993, Nick Wirth took the decision to enter Formula One with his own team for the 1994 season. Triple world champion Jack Brabham became a shareholder in Simtek Grand Prix, and his son David Brabham was signed as a driver before the end of 1993.[2] Andrea de Cesaris and Gil de Ferran, both carrying sponsorship money, were initially considered for the second seat but negotiations broke down. Frenchman Jean-Marc Gounon was also considered, but already had commitments for the start of the season so eventually 33-year-old F1 rookie Roland Ratzenberger took the place. Charlie Moody, a former Leyton House manager, was appointed Simtek's team manager.[3]

Roland Ratzenberger's Simtek at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, prior to his fatal accident.

The company secured customer Ford HB V8 engines from Cosworth, and prior to the season starting, MTV Europe stepped in as title sponsors. Wirth's initial design for the 1994 race car included active suspension, a technology used by Williams to win both the drivers and constructors championships in 1992 and 1993. However, active suspension was banned prior to the start of the 1994 season, and so Simtek were forced to revert to a more conservative design, named the S941. This design was heavy, initially included a fully manual gearbox compared to the semi-automatics being used by the frontrunning teams and the Ford HB engine was less powerful than the engines being used by the front-runners. The company employed 35 people, the least number of any team competing in Formula One during 1994, and only 10% of the number employed by Scuderia Ferrari.[4]

These deficits showed at the first race of the 1994 season. Brabham qualified in 26th and last place while Ratzenberger failed to qualify. Brabham finished the race 12th, but all cars behind him retired. The next race saw both Simteks qualifying but again occupying the back of the grid. Brabham retired early with an electrical failure, and Ratzenberger finished 11th, last of the cars still running.

The next round was the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. During the Saturday qualifying session, Ratzenberger left the track during an out-lap dislodging his front wing. After rejoining the track, Ratzenberger decided the car wasn't damaged, and eager to ensure qualification for the race the next day began a flying lap. At the Villeneuve curva while traveling at 190 mph (310 km/h) the front wing failed, causing Ratzenberger to lose control and the car crashed into a concrete wall. Ratzenberger suffered a basal skull fracture, and was killed instantly. Traditionally, the team would have withdrawn from the event, but David Brabham decided to race on, in tribute to Ratzenberger and in order to raise the morale of a devastated Simtek team. A time posted earlier in the qualifying session by Ratzenberger would have given him the 26th position on the grid. His death, the first at a Grand Prix weekend for 12 years, was overshadowed by the death of three-time world champion Ayrton Senna during the race the following day.

Brabham's decision to continue racing, in part resulted in Simtek making a collective decision to continue racing and "For Roland" was painted on the airbox of the car, to show their reason for continuing.[6] The team only had one chassis to enter at the Monaco Grand Prix, and before the start, a minute's silence was held in memory of Senna and Ratzenberger with the second grid slot painted with the Austrian flag. In Spain, Andrea Montermini drove for the team, but during the practice session crashed heavily. He escaped with only a broken toe and cracked left heel but was unable to race and his Simtek chassis was badly damaged. After another one car entry in Canada, Jean-Marc Gounon became available to the team for the French Grand Prix. He finished the race ninth, the team's best finish of the season, in part down to high attrition but finishing ahead of Mark Blundell's Tyrrell which was still running. Both cars qualified for all the remaining Grands Prix, ahead of the Pacifics, and occasionally also Lotus and Larrousse. Brabham qualified in 21st for the Belgian Grand Prix, ahead of a Lotus, Larrousse, Footwork and Tyrrell car.

Three races before the end of the season, Domenico Schiattarella took over Gounon's race seat finishing 19th. He was replaced for the penultimate round in Japan by another pay driver Taki Inoue, but his race ended after three laps when he crashed into the pit wall. Schiattarella was reinstated for the final round at Adelaide, but both Simteks retired from the race with technical problems.

After a challenging debut season the team finished with no world championship points but, convinced that Simtek could do better, Wirth decided to continue the Grand Prix programme.


MTV Europe's sponsorship commitment was reduced for the 1995 season, but they remained title sponsors to the team. Rather than money, MTV paid Simtek with airtime on their television channel. This airtime was then sold by Simtek to its other sponsors for them to show commercials.[7] Cosworth again supplied engines to the team, with the more up-to-date Ford ED. These were combined with ex-Benetton gearboxes and Wirth designed a new chassis, the S951.

David Brabham was made an offer by BMW to race in the British Touring Car Championship, and accepted. He was replaced by Jos Verstappen, who was seeking more experience after an incident-filled season at Benetton in 1994.[8] The second seat was kept by Domenico Schiattarella for the first half of the season, while Hideki Noda paid a deposit to secure the place for the latter races.

Both cars retired from the opening round, but the second round in Argentina brought much promise. Verstappen qualified 14th for the race and moved up to sixth by the first pitstop. A slow pitstop dropped him down the order and then his gearbox failed the following lap. Schiattarella finished ninth, equaling the team's best finish the previous season. Verstappen's gearbox also failed at the next race in San Marino. Schiattarella retired with suspension failure. Spain brought 12th and 15th-placed finishes for the team, but there were bigger problems behind the scenes. In the 18 months the team had been in existence, they had amassed £6 million worth of debt.[9]

At Monaco, neither driver completed a lap of the race due to another gearbox failure on Verstappen's car, and the marshals failing to recover Schiattarella's car after the first aborted race start. Following the race Wirth wrote, in one of his regular Usenet newsgroup postings, that "a major new backer of the team, with whom I had signed a contract before the season, has finally pulled out and left a large hole in our finances".[10] Wirth frantically tried to convince potential sponsors to come forward, threatening to shut down the team if none did so.[11] In the event a sponsor could be found, existing sponsors MTV, Russell Athletic and Korean Air pledged to increase their own sponsorship commitments. The team did not appear at the Canadian Grand Prix, but were not fined by the sports commercial rights holders, FOM, for their absence. The CEO of FOM, Bernie Ecclestone agreed that the team entered the championship intending to compete in 16 races and as the championship was extended to 17, they were permitted to miss one race.

Negotiations with the potential backers and sponsors failed, and the companies that would pay for Hideki Noda to drive the Simtek were severely affected by the Kobe earthquake. Prior to the next race, Simtek Grand Prix went into voluntary liquidation and the receivers, Touche Ross, were called in.[12] The collapse of the Formula One team also forced Simtek Research to declare itself bankrupt.[13] In total, 48 jobs were lost and with the team unable to be sold as a going concern, Simtek's assets were auctioned off.

Complete Formula One results

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)

Year Chassis Engine Tyres Drivers 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 Points WCC
Australia David Brabham 12 Ret Ret Ret 10 14 Ret 15 Ret 11 Ret Ret Ret Ret 12 Ret
Austria Roland Ratzenberger DNQ 11 DNS
Italy Andrea Montermini DNQ
France Jean-Marc Gounon 9 16 Ret Ret 11 Ret 15
Italy Domenico Schiattarella 19 Ret
Japan Taki Inoue Ret
Italy Domenico Schiattarella Ret 9 Ret 15 DNS
Netherlands Jos Verstappen Ret Ret Ret 12 DNS

In popular culture

A photograph of a Simtek racing car was used on the cover of 1995 Teenage Fanclub album Grand Prix.


  2. ^ Saward, Joe (1 January 1994). "The Formula 1 Silly Season". Inside F1, Inc.
  3. ^ "People: Charlie Moody". Inside F1, Inc.
  4. ^ Haslam, Rick; Stokes, Nick (1995). Grand Prix 2 Manual. MicroProse. p. 137.
  5. ^ David Tremayne; Mark Skewis; Stuart Williams; Paul Fearnley (5 April 1994). "Why Simtek Raced". Motoring News. News Publications Ltd. p. 25.
  6. ^ "Remembering Roland". Formula One Rejects. 2004. Archived from the original on 10 May 2007.
  7. ^ Rushworth, Paul (2 April 1997). "He Who Holds the Purse Strings". AtlasF1. Haymarket Publishing.
  8. ^ "Verstappen signs for Simtek". Inside F1, Inc. 20 February 1995.
  9. ^ "Simtek Full Profile". Formula One Rejects. 13 October 2004. Archived from the original on 25 October 2007.
  10. ^ Simtek News (2 June 1995). "Simtek: views on Monaco". Usenet:
  11. ^ "Simtek in crisis". Inside F1, Inc. 29 May 1995.
  12. ^ "Simtek goes to the wall". Inside F1, Inc. 19 June 1995.
  13. ^ "Simtek up for sale". Inside F1, Inc. 26 June 1995.

All Formula One race and championship results taken from the official Formula One website. Simtek Results 1994-1995.\

External links

1994 Brazilian Grand Prix

The 1994 Brazilian Grand Prix (formally the XXIII Grande Prêmio do Brasil) was a Formula One motor race held on 27 March 1994 at the Autódromo José Carlos Pace, São Paulo. It was the first race of the 1994 Formula One World Championship.

The 71-lap race was won by Michael Schumacher, driving a Benetton-Ford, after starting from second position. Local hero Ayrton Senna took pole position in his Williams-Renault and led before being overtaken by Schumacher at the first round of pit stops, after which he spun off. Senna's teammate Damon Hill finished second, with Jean Alesi third in a Ferrari.

1994 British Grand Prix

The 1994 British Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 10 July 1994 at the Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone. It was the eighth race of the 1994 Formula One season. It marked the halfway stage of the season. Damon Hill won the race, while second-place finisher Michael Schumacher was subsequently disqualified for failing to serve a stop-go penalty in time.

1994 European Grand Prix

The 1994 European Grand Prix (formally the XXXIX Gran Premio de Europa) was a Formula One motor race held on 16 October 1994 at the Circuito Permanente de Jerez, Jerez, Spain. It was the fourteenth race of the 1994 Formula One World Championship.

The 69-lap race was won from pole position by Michael Schumacher, driving a Benetton-Ford. Schumacher, returning from a two-race ban, took his eighth victory of the season by 24.6 seconds from Drivers' Championship rival Damon Hill in the Williams-Renault, with Mika Häkkinen third in a McLaren-Peugeot.

The win put Schumacher five points ahead of Hill with two races remaining, while Benetton regained the lead of the Constructors' Championship from Williams.

1994 Japanese Grand Prix

The 1994 Japanese Grand Prix (formally the XX Fuji Television Japanese Grand Prix) was a Formula One motor race held on 6 November 1994 at the Suzuka Circuit, Suzuka. It was the fifteenth and penultimate race of the 1994 FIA Formula One World Championship.

In wet conditions, the 50-lap race was won by Damon Hill, driving a Williams-Renault, after he started from second position. Hill's Drivers' Championship rival Michael Schumacher finished second in his Benetton-Ford, having started from pole position, with Jean Alesi third in his Ferrari. The win left Hill just one point behind Schumacher in the Drivers' Championship with one race remaining.

1994 Portuguese Grand Prix

The 1994 Portuguese Grand Prix (formally the XXIII Grande Premio de Portugal) was a Formula One motor race held on 25 September 1994 at the Autódromo do Estoril. It was the thirteenth race of the 1994 FIA Formula One World Championship.

The 71-lap race was won by Damon Hill, driving a Williams-Renault. Teammate David Coulthard finished second, achieving his first podium finish, with Mika Häkkinen third in a McLaren-Peugeot. The win, Hill's fifth of the season and third in succession, enabled him to move within one point of Drivers' Championship leader Michael Schumacher, while the 1-2 finish allowed Williams to take over the lead of the Constructors' Championship from Benetton.

1994 Spanish Grand Prix

The 1994 Spanish Grand Prix was a Formula One motor race held on 29 May 1994 at the Circuit de Catalunya, Barcelona. It was the 36th Spanish Grand Prix to be held since the first was held at Guadarrama in 1913. It was the fourth to be held at Circuit de Catalunya. It was the fifth race of the 1994 Formula One season.

The race was won by British driver Damon Hill driving a Williams FW16 taking his first win of the season. It was also Williams first win of the season, and a cathartic win for the team still shocked from the death of Ayrton Senna a few weeks earlier at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix. Hill won by 24 seconds over German driver Michael Schumacher, who for most of the race was stuck in fifth gear in his Benetton B194. Third was British driver Mark Blundell driving a Tyrrell 022. It would be the third and final podium of Blundell's career and would be the season highlight for the Tyrrell team.

The Grand Prix was additionally notable for the season-ending crash of debutant Italian driver Andrea Montermini in his Simtek S941 on the front straight. Montermini, elevated from test driver status after the death of Roland Ratzenberger at the San Marino Grand Prix crashed heavily into the pit wall. It also marked the Formula 1 debut of British Driver David Coulthard, replacing Senna for Williams.

Andrea Moda S921

The Andrea Moda S921 was a Formula One car designed by Simtek and used by the Andrea Moda Formula team in the 1992 Formula One season. It was driven by the experienced Brazilian Roberto Moreno and Englishman Perry McCarthy.

The S921 used the Judd GV V10 engine.

The plans for the car had been purchased from Nick Wirth's Simtek Research, who had originally designed the machine in 1990 for BMW's proposed entry into Formula 1. The design was then revived and updated; two chassis were built for Moreno and McCarthy.

The car was highly unsuccessful and its best result was at the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix; Moreno managed to get through the Friday pre-qualifying session, and then qualified in 26th place for the race. He managed 11 laps, reaching as high as 19th place before retiring with engine failure.

The team was expelled from the championship after team owner Andrea Sassetti was arrested at Spa for financial irregularities. The team did still turn up at Monza for the next Grand Prix but was banned from entering the paddock.

The team finished last in the Constructors' Championship, with no points.

Andrea Montermini

Andrea Montermini (born 30 May 1964) is an Italian racing driver.

David Brabham

David Brabham (born 5 September 1965) is an Australian professional racing driver and one of the most successful and experienced specialists in sports car racing. He has won three international Sports Car series and is one of four Australians to have won the Le Mans 24 Hour sports car race, winning the event in 2009. Brabham won the American Le Mans Series in 2009 and 2010. He also competed in Formula One, racing for the Brabham and Simtek teams in 1990 and 1994 respectively. Brabham is the youngest son of three-time Formula One world champion Sir Jack Brabham, brother to Geoff Brabham and Gary Brabham. He is also brother-in-law to Mike Thackwell, father to Sam Brabham and uncle to Matthew Brabham.

Domenico Schiattarella

Domenico "Mimmo" Schiattarella (born 17 November 1967) is an Italian racing driver. He participated in 7 Formula One Grands Prix for Simtek, debuting on October 16, 1994, and finishing when the team folded the next year. He scored no championship points, with a best finish of 9th in the 1995 Argentine Grand Prix. He has also participated in several CART races, Le Mans Series and American Le Mans Series events.

Footwork FA17

The Footwork FA17 was the car with which the Footwork team competed in the 1996 Formula One season. It was driven by Jos Verstappen, who moved from Simtek, and Ricardo Rosset, who graduated from Formula 3000.

Jean-Marc Gounon

Jean-Marc Gounon (born 1 January 1963) is a French racing driver. He raced in Formula One in 1993 and 1994, participating in a total of 9 Grands Prix and scoring no championship points.

Jos Verstappen

Johannes Franciscus "Jos" Verstappen (born 4 March 1972) is a Dutch former racing driver. After his F1 career Jos Verstappen has won races in A1 Grand Prix and Le Mans Series LMP2 races (winning the 24 hours of Le Mans LMP2 class in 2008). Prior to his F1 debut in 1994, he was also the German Formula Three champion and Masters of Formula Three winner in 1993. Jos was the most successful Dutch F1 racing driver before he retired and started mentoring his son Max in Formula 1.

Nick Wirth

Nicholas John Peter Wirth (born 26 March 1966) is an automotive engineer and the founder and owner of Wirth Research.

He is also the former owner of the Simtek Formula One team, a former aerodynamicist at March and former technical director at the Benetton, and Virgin Racing teams.

Roland Ratzenberger

Roland Ratzenberger (German: [ˈʁoːlant ˈʁatsn̩bɛɐ̯ɡɐ]; 4 July 1960 – 30 April 1994) was an Austrian racing driver who raced in sports prototype, British Formula 3000, Japanese Formula 3000 and Formula One. He died in a crash during qualifying for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix, the same event at which three-time World Champion Ayrton Senna died the following day. As a direct result of his death, the Grand Prix Drivers' Association was reformed.

Simtek Corporation

Simtek Corporation, headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO, was an early leader in the development of SONOS memory technology which it used in its nvSRAM product line which featured a SONOS Flash memory coupled with an SRAM shadow memory to achieve both speed and non-volatility. The company was acquired by Cypress Semiconductor in September 2008.

Simtek was a fabless company that relied on wafer foundry support from Chartered Semiconductor, DongBu HiTek, and Cypress.

Simtek S941

The Simtek S941 is a Formula One car, designed by Nick Wirth and Paul Crooks for the Simtek team, and used during 1994 Formula One season. Although it was the first car to race under the Simtek name the company had previously designed an unbuilt car for BMW - the unbuilt design formed the basis of the Andrea Moda S921. Simtek also produced a design for Jean Mosnier's abortive Bravo S931 project which was to have launched in 1993. There is a strong family resemblance between the 1992 Andrea Moda and the 1994 Simtek.

Simtek S951

The Simtek S951 was a Formula One car for the 1995 season. The number 11 seat was taken by Domenico Schiattarella and the number 12 seat was taken by Jos Verstappen. The team's test driver was Hideki Noda. Noda was set to take the number 11 seat for the second half of the season, but the team folded after round five. The engine was a Ford-Cosworth EDB 3.0l V8. The team's main sponsor was MTV.

Taki Inoue

Takachiho "Taki" Inoue (井上 隆智穂 Inoue Takachiho, born 5 September 1963) is a Japanese racing driver.

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