Enzo Coloni Racing Car Systems

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Coloni
Coloni.png
Coloni emblem.jpg
Full name Italy Enzo Coloni Racing Systems
Base Italy Perugia, Italy
Founder(s) Italy Enzo Coloni
Noted drivers Italy Gabriele Tarquini
Brazil Roberto Moreno
Subsequent name Andrea Moda Formula
Formula One World Championship career
Engines Ford, Subaru
Debut 1987 Italian Grand Prix
Races competed 14 (82 qualification attempts)
Race victories 0 (best finish: 8th, 1988 Canadian Grand Prix)
Pole positions 0 (best grid position: 15th, 1989 Portuguese Grand Prix)
Fastest laps 0
Final race 1991 Australian Grand Prix

Enzo Coloni Racing Car Systems, commonly referred to simply as Coloni, is an Italian motor racing team and former Formula One racing car constructor. While it has been successful in Formula Three and Formula 3000, the team was one of the least successful in Formula One history. The tiny team never had appropriate human, financial or technical resources, sometimes consisting of as few as five members.

Coloni was the 'works' team for Subaru during 1990. From 1987 to 1991, the Coloni team made 82 attempts to take part in a Formula One race but only qualified 14 times. On the four occasions when a Coloni car finished a race, no points were scored. Coloni Motorsport continue to compete today in the GP2 Series.

Origins of the team[edit]

The team was founded in 1983 by Enzo Coloni, a racing driver from Perugia, Italy. Coloni competed during the 1970s and after participating in the Italian Formula 3 series for several years, he won the drivers' title in 1982 when he was 36 years old. Before that, Coloni, who was also called "the wolf" (a nickname that would later be reflected in his company's logo), had also taken part in two Formula Two races, one in 1980 with the San Remo team and another one in 1982 with the Minardi team. At the end of 1982, he gave up active racing and started managing his own team, initially in Italian Formula Three.

Formula Three and Formula 3000 (1983 - 1986)[edit]

Success came almost immediately: the team won the 1984 Italian Formula 3 championship with Ivan Capelli. In 1986, Coloni Motorsport appeared in Formula 3000, entering an out-dated March 85B with drivers like Nicola Larini and Gabriele Tarquini. The Formula 3000 attempt was unsuccessful. Nonetheless the team progressed to Formula One the next year.

Formula One (1987 - 1991)[edit]

Coloni-Ford (1987–1989)[edit]

The FIA's announcement that turbos would be banned from Formula One from 1989 - making the sport more affordable - was the trigger for Enzo Coloni to enter the category. Enzo Coloni Racing Car Systems made its first appearance in Formula One at the 1987 Italian Grand Prix in September 1987. The yellow painted FC187, powered by a Novamotor-prepared Cosworth DFZ, was a simple machine designed by former Dallara apprentice Roberto Ori. Coloni himself had carried out the shake-down drive but Nicola Larini was the race driver. The car was obviously not ready and Larini did not qualify. The Italian recorded Coloni’s first Formula One race start at the next race, the 1987 Portuguese Grand Prix, although mechanical problems meant that he did not finish. The team did not fly to the end of year overseas races that year, so Larini’s retirement from the Spanish Grand Prix that year ended their first season. They were, of course, 16th and last in the Constructors Championship, because they were the only team without a finish.

The 1988 season was the team's first full season and started well. Although the "new" FC188 was almost identical with its predecessor, Coloni's new driver Gabriele Tarquini qualified regularly and finished 8th at the Canadian Grand Prix. This turned out to be Coloni's best result in Formula One. Due to a shortage of funds very little development work was done during the year. The team’s performance suffered as a result and qualification or even prequalification were no longer certain. The team scored no points this year, finishing again 15th, ahead of Osella, the new EuroBrun and the suffering Zakspeed Teams.

The 1989 Monaco Grand Prix was the only race in which two Colonis qualified. Raphanel leads Piquet through the tunnel.
The 1989 Coloni FC188B being demonstrated in 2008.

Although money was tight for 1989, Coloni entered two cars for Roberto Moreno and French newcomer Pierre-Henri Raphanel. The FC188Bs were another update of the 1987 car, but were hard to handle, and about 20 km/h slower than the rest of the grid. Nevertheless, both drivers were able to qualify for the Monaco Grand Prix. This was the only race participation of a Coloni in the first part of the season. In Canada, Coloni presented a new car (the Coloni C3) which was penned by former AGS man Christian Vanderpleyn. The C3 was a basically good design but the team suffered again from a complete lack of testing. This meant that the team often failed to find the right set up for the races. The team failed to qualify for most of the rest of the season - only in three cases, the debut of the Coloni C3, the 1989 Canadian Grand Prix, the 1989 British Grand Prix and at the Portuguese Grand Prix did Moreno qualify, in 26th, 23rd and 15th place respectively, after a developmental front wing was fitted for Estoril. Unfortunately for the team, he then collided with Eddie Cheever in the warm-up [1] and had to use the spare car. He did not finish the race as the engine blew up after a handful of laps. As results failed to arrive, the team was cut back throughout the year. After Vanderpleyn had left the team in September, Enzo Coloni took over the engineer's job himself but unsurprisingly this brought no improvement. Neither did the new driver Enrico Bertaggia who replaced Raphanel for the last races. The team finished equal 18th and last with Zakspeed, because the EuroBrun team never qualified that year. The Portuguese Grand Prix proved to be the last qualification for a Coloni car.

Coloni-Subaru (1990)[edit]

An unexpected contract with Subaru, the automobile branch of Fuji Heavy Industries, brought substantial financial backing and additionally an exclusive "works" engine for free. The Japanese took over 51% of Coloni formula, paid the debts and supported the new alliance with a brand new, unique engine. It was a flat-12 engine which in fact was penned by Carlo Chiti. Chiti's Motori Moderni company at Novara had supplied V6 turbo engines for the Minardi team from 1985 to 1987, and in 1988 Chiti had penned a normally aspirated V12 engine that attracted Subaru. In late 1988, the Japanese commissioned Chiti to design a new Formula One engine with a "flat" layout - as used in their road cars - that was ready in the summer of 1989. The engine, now with a Subaru badge, was tested in a Minardi M188 chassis but due to a severe lack of power Minardi very soon lost interest. After a few months of searching, Subaru found the Coloni team. Eventually, the "Subaru Coloni" Team was founded with Enzo Coloni staying on board as the man for operational business.

By the beginning of 1990, the "Subaru" flat engine was not producing more than 500 bhp, so the Coloni Subaru was one of the least competitive machines regularly competing in Formula One in 1990 (eclipsed only by the even slower Life car). Subaru and Chiti agreed to build a new V12 engine for the summer of 1990 together with a completely new chassis, but in the meantime the flat engine was to be used by the "Coloni Subaru" Team in a carry-over chassis. Early in 1990, a handful of Enzo Coloni's mechanics worked on a single C3 and tried to put the Subaru engine in it. The work was not done until the day the FIA started shipping the Formula One material to Phoenix. In the pits at Phoenix, the car was assembled for the very first time, and a short private "practice" took place on a parking area of an American supermarket. On prequalification day of Phoenix the Formula One world saw Coloni's "new" model C3B which wore a white, red and green livery, but without an airbox and with wide, long sidepods. It did not follow common design practices for the time, was overweight by 300 pounds and ill-handling. Neither at Phoenix nor at any other race did Bertrand Gachot, Coloni's new driver, manage to prequalify the car. As the season went on, improvements were few and results stayed nowhere. Meanwhile, no success could be seen at Coloni's plant in Perugia where obviously nobody worked seriously on a new car. In May, Enzo Coloni was sacked by Subaru, but no improvement came. In June, the Japanese company withdrew completely and sold the team back to Enzo Coloni, debt free, but with no sponsors and no engines. By the German Grand Prix Coloni had arranged a supply of Ford-Cosworth engines, prepared by Langford & Peck. An improved car also appeared in Germany. The "new" Coloni C3C was simply a 1989 C3 with minor changes in aerodynamics. The car was quicker, but not enough to achieve any serious results. Gachot was usually able to prequalify his car, but the "main" qualification was still out of reach. At the end of the season, Coloni had not taken part in a single Grand Prix.

Coloni-Ford (1991)[edit]

For the 1991 season the team consisted of only six people. The car was another version of the C3 from 1989 which had seen some detail work from students of the University of Perugia and which was now called a C4. Enzo Coloni had hoped for Andrea de Cesaris as his first driver, with his sponsorship from Marlboro. The Roman eventually took his experience and his money to Jordan Grand Prix. Coloni handed his single car to newcomer Pedro Chaves from Portugal who had just won the British Formula 3000 series in 1990. The car was out of date, fragile and hard to handle, and Chaves did not know most of the tracks. As a result, Chaves never escaped prequalification. At Chaves' home Grand Prix, Coloni had only one engine that blew up before the prequalifying session had even started so Chaves did not participate at all. Finally he quit the team. For the following race, Coloni was unable to find a new driver, but for the last two races of the season, he employed Naoki Hattori: a Japanese driver with a very decent record in other formulae but with no experience in Formula One. The results did not improve.

By that time, Coloni had sold his team to Andrea Sassetti, who renamed it Andrea Moda Formula for 1992; the team would not be around at the end of the season after it was banned from Formula One.

Complete Formula One results[edit]

(key) (results in bold indicate pole position)

Year Chassis Engine(s) Tyres Driver(s) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 Points WCC
1987 Coloni FC187 Ford DFZ V8 G BRA SMR BEL MON DET FRA GBR GER HUN AUT ITA POR ESP MEX JPN AUS 0 NC
Italy Nicola Larini DNQ Ret
1988 Coloni FC188
Coloni FC188B
Ford DFZ V8 G BRA SMR MON MEX CAN DET FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
Italy Gabriele Tarquini Ret Ret Ret 14 8 DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ 13 Ret DNQ 11 DNPQ DNPQ DNQ
1989 Coloni FC188B
Coloni C3
Ford DFR V8 P BRA SMR MON MEX USA CAN FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
Brazil Roberto Moreno DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ DNQ Ret DNQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DSQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
France Pierre-Henri Raphanel DNPQ DNPQ Ret DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
Italy Enrico Bertaggia DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
1990 Coloni C3B Subaru 1235 F12 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
Belgium Bertrand Gachot DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
Coloni C3C Ford DFR V8 DNPQ DNPQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ DNQ
1991 Coloni C4 Ford DFR V8 G USA BRA SMR MON CAN MEX FRA GBR GER HUN BEL ITA POR ESP JPN AUS 0 NC
Portugal Pedro Chaves DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ DNPQ
Japan Naoki Hattori DNPQ DNPQ

Formula Three, Formula 3000 and GP2 (1992 - present)[edit]

Enzo Coloni continued participating in motorsport. After handing over his team to his son Paolo, he was the operative director of many motorsport activities of Coloni Motorsport. The team made another start in Formula 3 before stepping ahead to Formula 3000. In 2002, the team's first victory was scored by Giorgio Pantano, and from 2003 on, Coloni Motorsport was one of the most professional teams in Formula 3000, temporarily running also a "junior" team after taking over Minardi's Formula 3000 team. Coloni Motorsport also took part in the new GP2 Series which saw the light of day in 2005. Between 2006 and 2009, Coloni merged his GP2 activities with Fisichella Motor Sport, a team run by F1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella that previously competed in the F3000 Euro Series and took the opportunity to upgrade; however the GP2 team was shut down in 2012, with Coloni forfeiting all the points they scored that year.

External links[edit]