|← Life Racing Engines|
Life's 1990 season was the only season in which Life Racing Engines competed. The team competed in 14 of the 16 races that comprised the 1990 Formula One Season. Gary Brabham and Bruno Giacomelli failed to get anywhere near to successfully pre-qualifying and the season was a complete failure.
|Engines|| Life F35 3.5 W12 (Rounds 1–12) |
Judd CV 3.5 V8 (Rounds 13–14)
|Brakes|| Brembo |
|Race drivers|| Gary Brabham (Rounds 1–2) |
Bruno Giacomelli (Rounds 3–14)
|Test driver||Franco Scapini|
For the first race of the season, the Life turned up, and along with eight other runners, entered pre-qualifying on Friday morning. While Roberto Moreno managed to set a time of 1:32.292, Gary Brabham was only able to procure a time of 2:07.147 from the four laps he drove before an engine misfire. This was 35 seconds down on the EuroBrun driver, and nearly forty seconds slower than Gerhard Berger's pole time set on Friday afternoon. However, Brabham was not last; Bertrand Gachot posting a time of five and a quarter minutes in the sole Coloni.
For the second race in Brazil, it was much worse. The mechanics went on strike and refused to put oil in the car. As a result, Brabham only managed 400 metres before the car broke down, and with the car not fixed afterwards, no time was set. At this point, Brabham decided to leave the team, not wanting to completely ruin his career.
Bruno Giacomelli, 37 years old, out of F1 since 1983 and currently serving as the Leyton House test driver, was drafted in to replace Brabham. While the weekend was better than the previous one, it was barely so; Giacomelli completed a single lap. With this lap being the in lap and the out lap, it meant that Giacomelli set a ridiculous time of 7:16.212, but thanks to the withdrawal of Pierluigi Martini and that AGS' Gabriele Tarquini failed to set a time, Giacomelli was classified seventh in the session. Giacomelli stated during the race weekend that he was scared that he might get hit from behind, considering his slow pace.
Monaco was a relative success for the Life team. While pre-qualification was still some way off, Giacomelli completed a total of eight laps. Giacomelli's time was less than two seconds slower than Gachot's Coloni, and thirteen seconds off pre-qualifying, the closest the team would get. The time was also the best in respect to the pole time – 124.4% of pole.
Only seven slow laps could be coaxed out of the Life at Montreal as Giacomelli again finished well off the pace, twenty seconds down on Éric Bernard's Lola. Once again though, Giacomelli was not the only slow runner – Gachot was six seconds up, and perennial non-pre-qualifier Claudio Langes was only three seconds faster in his EuroBrun.
Spark plugs, as well as fortunes, were changed as Giacomelli managed a sole four-minute-plus lap (double the next-worst time) around the damp Mexico City track in a Life that was not particularly lively.
The French GP bought out a worse performance from the Life. Giacomelli was unable to even set a lap time as the car stopped out on track on his out lap.
An improvement was seen at Silverstone, as Giacomelli pulled out some laps from his machine, getting within fourteen seconds of pre-qualification at the fast circuit, and within seven seconds of Gachot's Coloni. However, all was not well as the car stopped out on track once again.
Giacomelli managed a few laps around the Hockenheimring on Friday morning – but the Life's lack of pace was evident as the Italian could only muster a time 25 seconds off Philippe Alliot's best pre-qualifying time, and over 20 seconds from pre-qualifying. Giacomelli was 40 mph slower than any car in the speed trap.
Hungary offered no respite to the Life team. A few laps were completed as the lack of downforce meant that Giacomelli's best time was 18 seconds off the pace. It was now ten pre-qualifying failures from ten attempts.
With Onyx/Monteverdi withdrawing from the World Championship, there were only seven drivers attempting to pre-qualify – but the reduced field did not improve Life's chances, especially as the engine was not firing up. On another fast circuit, the Life struggled. While the four pre-qualifiers managed times under two minutes, Giacomelli's best effort was a 2:19.445, twenty seconds too slow.
Finally Life reached their home race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The car pulled off its worse serious attempt of the season – a 1:55.244, 20 seconds slower than Langes (1:35.061), 27 seconds off pre-qualifying for qualifying (Yannick Dalmas in a 1:28.132) and nearly 33 seconds behind Ayrton Senna's pole time of 1:22.533.
Fed up with their own engine, a Judd V8 engine was purchased and fitted into the back of the car. The mechanics worked overnight to fit in the new engine; however it was to no avail and the Life somehow managed to go fast enough for the engine cover (which was designed for the W12 engine) to fly off on Giacomelli's first lap, and any potential chance of pre-qualification was quashed.
With the engine cover issues sorted, Giacomelli was finally able to show what the Life chassis could do. Not much, as it turned out, as he was still eighteen seconds off pre-qualifying pace, and 26 off Senna's pole.
Like pre-qualification rivals EuroBrun, Life chose to not make the trip east to complete the final two races of the season, effectively ending their season in Spain.
|1||United States||Life||Life L190||Life F35 3.5 W12||Gary Brabham||8th||DNPQ|
|3||San Marino||Bruno Giacomelli||7th||DNPQ|
|13||Portugal||Life-Judd||Judd CV 3.5 V8||7th||DNPQ|
|15||Japan||Did not compete|
|Front Row Starts||0|
|Distance Raced||0 km|
|Distance Led||0 km|
|V T E||Life Racing Engines|
| Seasons |
| Drivers |
Gary Brabham · Bruno Giacomelli · Franco Scapini (test driver)
| Personnel |
Ernesto Vita · Gianni Marelli · Oliver Piazzi
| Car |
| Engine |
| Related |
Franco Rocchi · Richard Divila · FIRST Racing
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