Formula 1: Founder of Minnow Forti Team Passes Away

Antony Herbert@LeeUwishWritingAnalyst IIIJanuary 14, 2013

As a young boy, when Formula racing comes onto your radar, you marvel at the speed and tenacity of those behind the wheel. 

Very rarely at such a tender age do you understand the long hours and commitment required from the masses of talent behind the scenes. You have little knowledge that those people are the stars who create the spectacle. 

When you are finding your feet at this point, when you are looking for a hero to cheer on, you tend to focus on the action at the front. You look to the drivers and teams who eliminate any competition with high performance and natural ability. 

They are the stars of the sport in your eyes. 

You recognise the drivers at the back as being the weaker counterparts. Maybe they do not put the same amount of work in as the big boys at the front. 

This week came the sad news that Guido Forti—founder of the Formula 1 team baring his surname—has passed away. 

At the time when his Forti team competed in their short lived Formula 1 career I was a young lad, just reaching double figures in age. I saw this yellow car at the back of the field, with a name that translated as "strong" and wondered why they were always nowhere near the Williams and Benneton's at the front. 

To try and compensate for this, whenever I played a Formula 1 computer game I would race as Luca Badoer or Roberto Moreno, instead of the likes of Michael Schumacher and Damon Hill, to prove that this "slow" car had what it took to finish anywhere other than last. 

As I grew older and I saw the stunning efforts of teams like Jordan and Stewart Racing, I began to realise just how much work and effort a team like Forti had put in just to make the grid. 

As a "privateer" they had made it into the sport—no matter how briefly—without the backing of a major car manufacturer. They had no commercial appeal, but their team was in it for the desire to create history.  

When you look at some of the qualifying sessions, where Forti drivers failed to qualify—due to being almost 10 seconds off the pace—you can't help but feel sorry for a minnow team who had a dream but could not make it work. 

They were an Italian team who could not compare to their countrymen in the Ferrari garage. 

Forti's modern equivalent are the likes of Caterham and Marussia—under their many guises—and the now defunct HRT team. 

Whilst Red Bull, McLaren and Ferrari control the front with their financial and commercial backing, the three at the back have slugged it out in the hope that one day they can actually score a point. 

Race after race, these teams know they cannot win, but they put in the maximum effort, in the hope that they will eventually make that elusive breakthrough and earn some long lasting respect.

Back in 1995-96—during Forti's 27 Grands Prix—they did manage to claim top-10 finishes on a few occasions.These were mainly born out of the heavy unreliability shown by other teams and drivers, where only a handful would finish the race.

Yet, had this occurred during the current scoring system, then Forti would have exited Formula 1 with some points on the table.

You could say that they were just in the wrong place at the wrong time. 

Sadly, their fate was sealed midway through their second season, when the funds ran out and the team disappeared from the grid. 

And so ended the journey of a team who had actually begun life in the Italian Formula Ford 2000 Championship in 1977. 

Back then, the businessman Forti partnered with engineer Paolo Guerci, brought into fruition a team who would go on to win many races in the mainly Italian and then international lower ranked series. 

Their emergence into Formula 1 was the icing on the cake and allowed fans to witness one of the last introductions into the sport of a private owner who was in it for the passion more than anything else.