Andrea Moda Formula
In September 1991, Sassetti bought the Coloni F1 team after it had failed to pre-qualify a car for every single race that year. Coloni's four-year history resulted in 14 starts in 82 attempts. The team had not qualified or pre-qualified for a race since Roberto Moreno started 15th at the 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix, while its best finish was an 8th place for Gabriele Tarquini in the 1988 Canadian Grand Prix.
The team hired a number of ex-Coloni staff and a deal was sought with Simtek to run a car which had been designed in 1990 for BMW. Now named the Andrea Moda S921 the chassis was fitted with Judd V10 engines but the cars were not ready for the start of the season.
Instead in South Africa Sassetti arrived with modified Coloni C4B chassis for drivers Alex Caffi and Enrico Bertaggia. The team was excluded from the event for not having paid the $100,000 deposit for new teams in the World Championship, Sassetti arguing that it was not a new team as he had simply taken over the Coloni team and not formed a new one but the FIA were unmoved. Caffi performed a few reconnaissance laps in the Thursday familiarisation session (arranged as the revised Kyalami circuit was new to all the teams) but took no part in any of the official free practise or qualifying sessions. In Mexico the team arrived with all its equipment but the cars were still being built and neither ran.
Following this both Caffi and Bertaggia were dropped for criticising the team's preparation, Andrea Moda arriving at the Brazilian Grand Prix, with the experienced Roberto Moreno and Perry McCarthy (who had previously tested for Williams and would later gain fame as The Stig on the top rating BBC motoring show Top Gear) nominated as the drivers. While Moreno gave the S921 its first competitive run (failing to prequalify), McCarthy was refused a Super Licence and did not run. McCarthy finally received his Super Licence for the following round in Spain, but the car only made it a short distance down the pitlane before expiring. Moreno was again unable to prequalify. Around this time Bertaggia approached the team again, having found $1m in sponsorship funds. Sasseti wanted him to return in place of McCarthy but the FIA blocked any further driver changes after the team's earlier shenanigans. Bitter at the loss of funding, Sasseti began to ignore McCarthy's entry and concentrated the team's resources on Moreno.
The Brazilian then managed to get through both prequalifying and then qualifying to start the Monaco Grand Prix from 26th on the grid, retiring after 11 laps with an engine failure. After this progress the team suffered a run of problems which some thought were bad luck and others down to basic disorganisation. In Canada the team was without engines because Sassetti had failed to pay Judd. A motor was borrowed from Brabham allowing Moreno to perform a few laps but he failed to prequalify while McCarthy was once again unable to run. Many people had left the team by this stage and the operation missed the French Grand Prix entirely because its truck was stuck in one of the blockades by French truck drivers; every other team had successfully negotiated the blockades. At this point the few sponsors the team had withdrew, leaving Sassetti reluctantly funding the outfit entirely from his own pocket. By now the second car nominally being used by McCarthy was now effectively a spare for Moreno and the Englishman was receiving ever poorer treatment from the team - at his home race he was sent out on wet weather tyres on a dry track and at the Hungaroring he was only allowed out of the pitlane 45 seconds from the end of the prequalifying session making it impossible for him to set a lap time.
The team was warned to run McCarthy or the team would be out of F1. For the Belgian Grand Prix both cars would be allowed into the official qualifying sessions as Brabham had withdrawn, reducing the entry to 30 cars. Neither car qualified and Sassetti was arrested in the paddock for allegedly forging invoices. When the team showed up at Monza for the Italian Grand Prix in September it was refused entry into the paddock, the FIA having banned the team from the series for bringing the sport into disrepute. The Andrea Moda name would later then move to CART, sponsoring Euromotorsport in 1993.
Complete Formula One results
(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)
|1992||Andrea Moda C4B
Andrea Moda S921
|Judd GV V10||G||RSA||MEX||BRA||ESP||SMR||MON||CAN||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||POR||JPN||AUS||0||NC|