The place for respectful and reverent discussion of Reject drivers and teams, whether profiled or not as yet
by bigears 09 Apr 2013, 10:14
I have been a lurker in this forum for a little while and I thought I would share some interesting scans about the Life Racing team...

I will make some more threads about different backmarkers if there is any interest.

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Autosport 11th August 1988.

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Autosport 25th August 1988.

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Motoring News 5th January 1989.

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Autosport 29th June 1989.

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It was reported that Gary Brabham will attempt to prequalify Life Racing's F1 contender throughout 1990, after cementing a deal to drive for Ernesto Vita's fledging team in the F1 championship.


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Motoring News 24th January 1990.

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Motoring News 21st February 1990.

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(from Autosprint 19/1990, page 63)

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Motoring News 28th February 1990.

Prequalifying at Phoenix wrote:Image
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(from Autosprint 11/1990, page 21)
His fastest lap was 2m 07.147s


Prequalifying at Interlagos wrote:David Brabham sat patiently all through Thursday waiting for Vita's car to come to Life. When finally do so in afternoon managed a few sorely lap in L190. Didn't repeat that feat in prequalifying, Life expiring after only a quarter of a lap with a broken con-rod.
Motoring News 26th March 1990.

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Did not run (at all!)


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Motoring News 4th April 1990.

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Motoring News 11th April 1990.

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Motoring News 25th April 1990.

Seriously, this is becoming a joke and Motoring News even reprinted last week's article for the 2nd May 1990 edition!

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Motoring News 2nd May 1990.

Rob Wilson? Who is he?!

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Motoring News 10th May 1990.

With Gary Brabham going back to F3000, Life immediately offered Bruno Giacomelli to come out of retirement and drive for them.

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Prequalifying at Imola wrote:Image
His fastest lap was 7m 16.212s.


They want to put in a Barber Saab Pro Series driver in the Life car?!

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Motoring News 23rd May 1990.

Prequalifying at Monaco wrote:Bruno Giacomelli struggled as ever with the Life, which surprised many by appearing at all and then surprised them even more by completing 10 smoky laps before expiring. It was within two seconds ofr the Coloni and 14 of Bernard's Lola, and iot was evident that when the white markers on its fresh Goodyears wore away, the evil creation was still going no faster. Bruno had the right idea when a Japanese photographer spotted him bolting on the rear wing on Thursday and asked cheerfully "You wanna buy it?" The photographer was smart enough to decline.
Motoring News 31st May 1990.

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(from Autosprint 22/1990, page 53)
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His fastest lap was 1m 47.187s


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Motoring News 6th June 1990.

Prequalifying at Montreal wrote:Image
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His fastest lap was 1m 50.253s


Life team manager Sergio Barbasio confirmed in Mexico that he team has succeeded in purchasing Lotus' old Judd CV V8s and that the L189B will be equipped with them from Hockenheim onwards. "At the moment our design people are working on adapting the chassis to take the engine, which is 10mm higher than our W12," he said.


Prequalifying at Mexico City wrote:Bruno Giacomelli did but a lap in the Life before stopping with...an engine problem. His fastest lap was 4m 04.475s

Motoring News 27th June 1990.

Motoring News to review on the F1 teams' form:

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Prequalifying at Paul Ricard wrote:...and the Life didn't even manage to get out due to yet another engine problem.
Motoring News 11th July 1990.

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Did not run (at all!)


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Prequalifying at Silverstone wrote:At the back, as usual, the cheerful Bruno Giacomelli burped the Life round for sporadic laps before rolling to a halt on the circuit when the electronics packed up. Poor man is now sentenced to continue with the W12 as the team won't be switching to Judds after all.
Motoring News 18th July 1990.

Apparantly, they didn't have their own pit facilities. They worked on the grass with very few tools but Giacomelli was still smiling though!

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His fastest lap is 1m 25.947s


Prequalifying at Hockenheim wrote:Finally, Bruno Giacomelli did his usual rearguard job in the Life. "The engine was perfect, but it doesn't yet have reliability we need," he said. "The real thing was that the team wanted to change the dampers, and we ran out of time. The trouble is, we don't have the material or the time to test; we have one car and few engines. The engine is reasonable, given its lack of development. It may sound strange, but it's true."
"Why the damper change? "I don't really know," he admitted.
Motoring News 1st August 1990.

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His fastest lap is 2m 10.786s


Prequalifying at Hungaroring wrote:Nothing to report!
Motoring News 15th August 1990

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His fastest lap is 1m 41.431s


Prequalifying at Spa wrote:As usual Bruno Giacomelli brought up the rear in the Life, which refused to start until the closing stages becauses its compressed air bottle is somehow frozen! "We did our usual five laps. Nothing impressive!" smiled Bruno, who had walked home, after a wire vibrated loose, and stopped the engine on his slowing down lap.
Motoring News 30th August 1990.

With long laps and no testing possible at Spa everyone was scrabbing a bit, none more so than Life which spent 50 minutes trying to get an air bottle linked to the starter to turn the engine over. WHen finally the car fired up it lapped with absurd lassitude. Surely it would be cheaper to stay home and burn money.

Bruno Giacomelli: Ran for only 10 minutes at the end of pre-qualifying. Nowhere near the pace.

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His fastest lap was 2m 19.445s
Autosport 30th August 1990.


Life's deal to re-equip its L189B chassis with Judd engines is on the go again. The team is hoping to have a moncoque to accept a CV V8 ready in time for the Portuguese GP. "It will be very hard work, but I am hopeful," said Bruno Giacomelli in Monza.


Prequalifying at Monza wrote:The Life, as usual, managed few laps (two on this occasion). "And only one of them is timed! grinned Giacomelli. "Then we broke the engine, and this time it was a good bang!" His fastest lap is 1m 55.244s

Motoring News 12th September 1990.

Prequalifying at Estoril wrote:Even that was better than the Life though (it was referring to the Coloni car) The team had duly plugged in a Judd CV in place of Franco Rocchi's under developed W12 powerplant, but electrical problems prevented Bruno Giacomelli even from leaving the pit lane...
Motoring News 26th September 1990.

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Autosprint.

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Did not run.


Prequalifying at Jerez wrote:...while this time the Judd-engined Life made two laps before grinding to its routine halt.
His fastest lap was 1m 42 699s

Motoring News 3rd October 1990.

Gary Brabham, the middle of Sir Jack's three boys, did what any other struggling driver would have done at the beginning of the year and accepted with some alacrity Ernesto Vita's offer of the drive in his unique Life L190. Of course we all know now that it was a disaster of unmitigated proportion, but at the time nobody was to know just how bad it would be. THat didn't take long, however, by Imola Gary had vacanted the cockpit, thoroughly disillusioned by the total inability of the Italian to run a worthwhile effort


Bruno Giacomelli was drafted in to replace Gary B at Life, and while that might have seemed a curious decision on the chubby Italian's part, his rumoured $30,000 a race put it into better perspective. A case of take the money and walk. He cheerfully accepted that his weekend's work would always be over at nine o'clock on Friday mornings. His record of 12 successive non prequalifications was bettered only by Claudio Langes who starred with the perfect tally of 14 (out of 14 entered) by the Eurobrun camp.


Last, and certainly least, comes Life, a misnomer if ever there was one. Ernesto Vita took over the F1 assets of First Racing abortive attempt to graduate from F3000, adding his own W12 engine designed by former Ferrari engineer Franco Rocchi.
Things never turned got off the ground, and turned from awful to unmentionable when Gianno Marilli quit early in ther year. The L190 was abysmally unreliable, rarely completed more than five laps per meeting (its record was eight!) and never looked remotely like prequalifying. THe engine was troublesome and lacked mileage, the project lacked money, and the whole thing became pathetic. In Phoenix Life didn't even have a tyre pressure gauge! By Silverstone Vita was scheduled to replace with W12 with Judd CVs, but we were told there wouild be a delay when the team penned an installation.
But surelym as a First, the car had been purchased with Judds? The truth that there was no money to buy the British power units, and even when there was, by Estoril, an electrical problem prevented the car firing up!
Vita continued to make optimistic noises and has even talked of a return in 1991, but like the Life itself, few take such boast seriously. F1's creditability can do well without such circuis acts.


To sign off this thread of the struggling Life team. Here is a nice scan of Bruno Giacomelli in the Life.

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Motoring News 19th December 1990.

Roughly about five years ago, Bruno Giacomelli admitted that the Life L190 car was the worst car he ever driven. It gave out 360bhp, compared to the 800bhp from the McLaren Hondas! The car's top speed was about 100km/h slower than McLaren. He had never been so frightened in a car like this!

Also Life Racing Engines still owes him a lot of money. "Maybe I should have taken an engine or perhaps the entire car with me when the team went bankrupt."
Last edited by bigears on 14 Jun 2013, 13:55, edited 1 time in total.
by pi314159 09 Apr 2013, 12:30
Thank you for sharing this! I keep laughing about Life being "a team with a big future" according to Gary Brabham.

pasta_maldonado wrote:The stewards have recommended that Alan Jones learns to drive.
by DanielPT 09 Apr 2013, 15:41
Great reading bigears. Sure you did arrive with a bang! :)

Colin Kolles on F111, 2011 HRT challenger: The car doesn't look too bad; it looks like a modern F1 car.
by Nuppiz 09 Apr 2013, 16:11
This is brilliant, so much information that I didn't know of before! Also nice to see that at least Giacomelli knew that the team was a joke and had a good sense of humour throughout the project. :lol:
Last edited by Nuppiz on 09 Apr 2013, 16:13, edited 1 time in total.

Eurosport broadcast for the 1990 Mexican GP prequalifying:
"The Life, it looked very lifeless yet again... in fact Bruno did one, slow lap"
by midgrid 09 Apr 2013, 23:11
This is amazing, thank you! :D

"One day Bruno told me that he had heard the engine momentarily making a strange sound; his suspicion was that all the cylinders had been operating."
--Nigel Roebuck
by SeedStriker 09 Apr 2013, 23:43
Magnificent read indeed. As I know, Vita's original idea was to sell the W12 to any team for use in 1990. Since no one wanted the unit (for obvious reasons), he brought the failing First chassis and gave birth to his underfunded joke of a team.
You just need to imagine if the whole Life operation instead of just jump into the shark tank, would've took the path of development for both the engine and the chassis and have the right backing. Hell, Gary Brabham saw somthing when he signed.
by Yannick 30 Apr 2013, 11:36
eytl wrote:My word, this is awesome. :shock: :o :D

I'm almost tempted to update the Life profile on the site ...


I agree. The Rob Wilson episode was new to this reader.

"I don't think we should be used to finance (the manufacturers') R&D because they will produce that engine anyway" said Monisha Kaltenborn.
"You will never see a Mercedes using a Ferrari engine or the other way round."
by Mischa 20 Sep 2014, 15:13
I just took a closer look at that last pic from Estoril and it looks as if they actually tried to attach the airbox to the engine cover with tape! No wonder it flew off, although to Bruno's credit, I guess it also meant he managed to squeeze some speed out of the car.
by Faustus 06 Oct 2014, 09:18
Mischa wrote:I just took a closer look at that last pic from Estoril and it looks as if they actually tried to attach the airbox to the engine cover with tape! No wonder it flew off, although to Bruno's credit, I guess it also meant he managed to squeeze some speed out of the car.


I was there for the pre-qualifying. There must have been no more than 50 people in the stands opposite the pits, it was embarassing. I remember that Giacomelli did a very slow out and in lap with the airbox flapping around, went to the pits and the engine cover was removed. I seem to remember another couple of laps, maximum. The engine sounded awful.

Following Formula 1 since 1984.
Avid collector of Formula 1 season guides and reviews.
Collector of reject merchandise and 1/43rd scale reject model cars.
by watka 06 Oct 2014, 23:28
Faustus wrote:
Mischa wrote:I just took a closer look at that last pic from Estoril and it looks as if they actually tried to attach the airbox to the engine cover with tape! No wonder it flew off, although to Bruno's credit, I guess it also meant he managed to squeeze some speed out of the car.


I was there for the pre-qualifying. There must have been no more than 50 people in the stands opposite the pits, it was embarassing. I remember that Giacomelli did a very slow out and in lap with the airbox flapping around, went to the pits and the engine cover was removed. I seem to remember another couple of laps, maximum. The engine sounded awful.


You and the 49 other people are very, very lucky.

Watka - you know, the swimming horses guy
by Conventi 30 Oct 2014, 13:29
Pepsibottle1 wrote:Still can't decide which was more pathetic: Life or Andrea Moda.

Great read


I would go for Life. Andrea Moda was pathetic too, but at least they got the car on the grid once. Life was so painfully slow they would have trouble to keep up with a F3 car.
by DemocalypseNow 30 Oct 2014, 14:03
Conventi wrote:
Pepsibottle1 wrote:Still can't decide which was more pathetic: Life or Andrea Moda.

Great read


I would go for Life. Andrea Moda was pathetic too, but at least they got the car on the grid once. Life was so painfully slow they would have trouble to keep up with a F3 car.

Andrea Moda at least had the pretense of being a racing team, rather than just an opportunistic "businessman" trying to make a quick buck. Both were woefully underfunded, but Andrea Sassetti at least had the right idea at certain points.

Buying a pre-made chassis from Simtek that was originally destined to be a BMW works car, and then coupling it with a proven engine that had scored 8 points the previous season was, theoretically, at least somewhat sensible. Buying a stillborn F1 car its designer disowned for being far too dangerous to race, and then shoving a hopelessly underpowered engine with no racing pedigree in the back, is simply madness.

Andrea Moda were a team with at least a basic idea of how to go racing, but not even close to the money or resources committed to the project to have a hope of running to a normal F1 standard. Life deliberately started out with utter garbage and also commited nowhere near the funds required to run their garbage properly. Life wasn't a racing team, it was some bloke trying to flog a pile of junk he'd been able to pick up the rights to for next to nothing! He didn't seem to understand there was a reason it was worth next to nothing... :roll:

Novitopoli wrote:Everytime someone orders at Pizza Hut, an Italian dies.
Novitopoli wrote:Juve's Triplete: Calciopoli, doping & Mafia connections.

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by Butterfox 30 Oct 2014, 16:22
Biscione wrote:
Conventi wrote:
Pepsibottle1 wrote:Still can't decide which was more pathetic: Life or Andrea Moda.

Great read


I would go for Life. Andrea Moda was pathetic too, but at least they got the car on the grid once. Life was so painfully slow they would have trouble to keep up with a F3 car.

Andrea Moda at least had the pretense of being a racing team, rather than just an opportunistic "businessman" trying to make a quick buck. Both were woefully underfunded, but Andrea Sassetti at least had the right idea at certain points.

Buying a pre-made chassis from Simtek that was originally destined to be a BMW works car, and then coupling it with a proven engine that had scored 8 points the previous season was, theoretically, at least somewhat sensible. Buying a stillborn F1 car its designer disowned for being far too dangerous to race, and then shoving a hopelessly underpowered engine with no racing pedigree in the back, is simply madness.

Andrea Moda were a team with at least a basic idea of how to go racing, but not even close to the money or resources committed to the project to have a hope of running to a normal F1 standard. Life deliberately started out with utter garbage and also commited nowhere near the funds required to run their garbage properly. Life wasn't a racing team, it was some bloke trying to flog a pile of junk he'd been able to pick up the rights to for next to nothing! He didn't seem to understand there was a reason it was worth next to nothing... :roll:

you are forgetting that originally Andrea Moda was planning to take over Coloni. Coloni had at that point not qualified a race in 2 and a half seasons and had very few staff members and not a lot of material either. Also he forgot to buy Coloni's entry rights. Whilst it was a smart trick by Enzo Coloni to recover some money, it was insanely stupid from Andrea Sassetti.

I don't know what i want and i want it now!
by Wallio 31 Oct 2014, 15:52
Considering Andrea Moda did more laps in one weekend than Life did all year.....

Honestly, if Andrea Moda had been a one car team, they would not be viewed as this awful farce. Take away all the stupidity with the second car, and what "incidents" do you have? The entry mix-up (teams have been questioned on that before) and the French Lorry driver blockade, which honestly is no different than Ferrari skipping races due to labor strikes. Sure the way it all ended at Spa was bad, but if the team had only one car, up until Spa, no one would be making fun of them.

Professional Historian/Retired Drag Racer/Hot Rod Builder/Whiskey & Cigar Enthusiast

"I've done the upside-down bit in one of these cars enough in my day!" - Martin Brundle Me too, Martin......me too.
by FullMetalJack 01 Nov 2014, 14:20
$30k per race for Giacomelli? Not a bad deal, getting paid to drive such a car.

You'd think they'd have hired a pay driver, not that anyone would pay to drive for them.

I like the way Snrub thinks!
by Frogfoot9013 01 Nov 2014, 22:28
FullMetalJack wrote:$30k per race for Giacomelli? Not a bad deal, getting paid to drive such a car.

You'd think they'd have hired a pay driver, not that anyone would pay to drive for them.


I'm surprised Life were even able to pay Giacomelli that much money.

James Hunt, commentating on the 1991 German Grand Prix wrote:The Benettons looking very smart together on the track, mostly because they're both going so slowly.
by KASCII 18 Apr 2016, 05:36
I'm not sure where I'd gotten this image from but I believe it suggests that a bench test was done on Life Racing's W12 on January 16, 1991, and if I'm reading the report correctly it indicates the engine was capable of only about 478 hp at 10,500 rpm... If anyone understands this report I'd appreciate an interpretation of the curves. Thx.

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by tommykl 18 Apr 2016, 15:23
That is indeed what the report means. The lower curve represents the torque, which, as far as I'm aware, is typical for any naturally aspirated engine, if not a bit higher.

kevinbotz wrote:Cantonese is a completely nonsensical f*cking alien language masquerading as some grossly bastardised form of Chinese

Gonzo wrote:Wasn't there some sort of communisim in the East part of Germany?
by KASCII 21 Apr 2016, 20:03
Thanks tommykl. That's what I was thinking but wasn't sure.

Just on a side note, one thing I noticed about the newer restored chassis that ran at Goodwood is that it almost looks like a C spec chassis (F35C if you will). This newer restored chassis looks a lot like the same chassis that was run at Estoril and Jerez in 1990 but with tapered airboxes and larger air intakes on either side of the driver's headrest.

I'm thinking the chassis history kind of goes like: in 1989, L189 w/Judd V8 ---> 1990, F35 (L190) w/Life W12 ---> 1990, F35B (L190B) w/Judd V8 ---> Restored, F35C (L190C) w/Life W12

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by EuroBrun 16 Aug 2016, 19:23
According to the newspaper "La Stampa", Life was to be taken over by a Soviet company from Leningrad named Pic (or Pik). The first contacts between the two entities happened before the San Marino GP, when Pic agreed to sponsor the F1 team (at least according to the article). The company wanted to built their own car, using innovative materials from the Soviet aerospace agency and needed a base in Europe and some technicians that would be provided by Life.
After Monaco no other news were given on this deal.
by Bobby Doorknobs 16 Aug 2016, 19:58
EuroBrun wrote:According to the newspaper "La Stampa", Life was to be taken over by a Soviet company from Leningrad named Pic (or Pik). The first contacts between the two entities happened before the San Marino GP, when Pic agreed to sponsor the F1 team (at least according to the article). The company wanted to built their own car, using innovative materials from the Soviet aerospace agency and needed a base in Europe and some technicians that would be provided by Life.
After Monaco no other news were given on this deal.

The Pic deal definitely seems to have happened - you can see their logo in the last image in the post before yours. If you look more closely, you'll even see the Soviet flag underneath the Pic logo :D
by Ciaran 06 Sep 2016, 23:44
Imagine if it actually happened, and Pic ended up on the grid. Things would be even more awkward for Charles Pic. :pantano:

Manager of Calsonic Team Impul in Formula E, K-Apex in PES & Eurasian F3 and Mitsuoka in Alt-F1 '76.
My career mode thread - 1988: AGS (19pts, 9th) // 1989: Arrows (25pts, 8th, 1 win!)
You'll never DNF if you always DNPQ. #RollSafe
by dr-baker 10 Jan 2019, 18:30
A1GP cars to return in new African series
The 4.5-litre normally-aspirated Ferrari V8s will run Life Racing engine management systems in place of the original Magneti Marelli units, which did not come with the purchase of the cars.

Any connection? How potentially rejectful could this be?

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA
by Bobby Doorknobs 10 Jan 2019, 18:52
dr-baker wrote:A1GP cars to return in new African series
The 4.5-litre normally-aspirated Ferrari V8s will run Life Racing engine management systems in place of the original Magneti Marelli units, which did not come with the purchase of the cars.

Any connection? How potentially rejectful could this be?

Isn't there a UK-based operation using the Life name that has no connection with Ernesto Vita? I'd swear it's come up here before...
by dr-baker 11 Jan 2019, 12:37
Simtek wrote:
dr-baker wrote:A1GP cars to return in new African series
The 4.5-litre normally-aspirated Ferrari V8s will run Life Racing engine management systems in place of the original Magneti Marelli units, which did not come with the purchase of the cars.

Any connection? How potentially rejectful could this be?

Isn't there a UK-based operation using the Life name that has no connection with Ernesto Vita? I'd swear it's come up here before...

watka wrote:I find it amusing that whilst you're one of the more openly Christian guys here, you are still first and foremost associated with an eye for the ladies!
dinizintheoven wrote:GOOD CHRISTIANS do not go to jail. EVERYONE ON FORMULA ONE REJECTS should be in jail.
MCard LOLA

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