Tag Archives: One

Half A Car – Lotus Ford T 87 #87/R2 & #87/R4

For the 1981 World Championship Lotus had developed the twin chassis Lotus 86 which I looked at last week, no sooner had testing of that car been finished than the ruling body of the sport outlawed the skirts on which the car depended to seal the airflow beneath the body of the car and mandated a minimum ride height.

Lotus Ford 87, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

This led to the development of the Lotus 88 which had twin chassis as did the 86 but no skirts and a 6cm minimum ride height as mandated by the new rules. Unfortunately while the governing the body of the sport accepted the Lotus 88 as legal most of the other teams did not declaring that the second outer aerodynamic chassis was a banned movable aerodynamic aid and not a fully suspended chassis.

Lotus Ford 87, British Grand Prix, Silverstone

Set against a back ground to these semantic arguments between the grandee teams of Ferrari, Renault and Alfa Romeo going up against the garagistes of Brabham, Lotus, McLaren, Williams et al made of high drama and in this instance almost every body building cars turned against Lotus in denouncing the Lotus 88 which meant that it only ever took part in a couple of practice sessions.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

For the first half of the 1981 season Lotus were therefore forced into running the Lotus 81 from the 1980 season. By the time the Formula one circus arrived in Great Britain Lotus made one final attempt to run the Lotus 88 in practice but were again refused by their fellow competitors and so Lotus ran the 88 sans second aeroydynamic chassis and with more conventional aerodynamic side pods and wings as #87/R2 is seen being driven by Nigel Mansell during practice for the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in 1981 and #87/R4 is seen with the later front wings at Hall & Hall and in the Paddock at Silverstone during the classic meeting earlier this year.

Lotus 87, Silverstone Classic

The single chassis version of the Lotus 88 is known as the Lotus Type 87. The highlight of the Lotus 87’s half a seasons competition career was a couple of 4th place finishes, for Elio de Angeles in Italy and Nigel Mansell at Ceasers Palace.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Chassis R2 was used by Elio de Angeles in Monaco, Spain and France scoring a best 5th place finish in Spain, Mansell took the car over for the British Grand Prix and failed to qualify. There after this car was used as a spare for the remainder of the 1981 season and the first race of the 1982 season in South Africa.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

So far as I have been able to determine chassis #87/R4 seen in the more recent photo’s was driven by Nigel Mansell in at least four Grand Prix during the second half of the 1981 season. Note that the use of space age Carbon Fiber and Kevlar was becoming widespread by 1981 the following season the majority of Formula One monocoques were made from the material with the exception of Ferrari.

Lotus 87, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The absence of any bodywork around the rear suspension and exhaust shows what a rush job it was to get the Lotus 87’s to the grid most of the contemporary cars of the period had the rear axle covered in body panels by 1981 including the 1981 British Grand Prix winning McLaren MP4/1 of John Watson.

My thanks to Rick Hall if Hall & Hall for generously allowing me to take the photos of #87/R4, which is for sale, on his premises.

Thanks for joining me on this “Half A Car” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be relating a Scandinavian Tale about an unusual fire engine. Don’t forget to come back now !


Fury’s Experiment – Ferrari 312 B3 #009 Spazzaneve

In the autumn of 1972 I was sitting in my dorm at school thumbing through a copy of Autocar when I came across a 4″ x 2″ photograph of today’s featured car the, there was only ever one, Ferrari 312 B3 nick named the Spazzaneve or snow plough. I reached for a pair of scissors and cut the photo out and stuck it to my bedside table where I could see it from my bed and would day dream of driving this compact vehicle to to dozens of Grand Prix victories.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Being only 13 at the time and some months away from becoming fully mentally engaged with Formula One, I had no idea that it would be 40 years before I got to see this car in the flesh, partly because it was an experimental model and never raced in anger, partly because it’s designer Mauro ‘Fury’ Forghieri was to be moved to another job soon after #009 was built and tested and partly because Enzo Ferrari was ill which allowed FIAT management at helm of the good ship Ferrari and they wanted Franco Rocchi and Giacomo Caliri under the direction of FIAT’s Stefano Colombo to design Ferrari’s 1973 Grand Prix challenger.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The 312 B3 Spazzaneve was a significant departure from Foghieri’s previous model the not entirely unsuccessful Ferrari 312 B2.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Like many designers of the time, including Tyrrells designer Derek Gardner, Mauro was concerned with improving the handling of his cars by packaging all the heavy items, radiators, fuel, oil and water tanks and so forth as close to the centre of the cars gravity as possible.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Interestingly this experimental vehicle did not feature inboard front brakes, as did both contemporary Lotus and Tyrrell designs which would have reduced the unsprung weight of the car to the benefit of the handling and brought these items closer to the cars centre of gravity further reducing the chassis ‘polar moment of inertia’ which has the benefit of reducing chassis stresses and improving handling.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

To improve front end grip radiators were mounted behind the front wheels and are fed fresh air by the large NACA ducts in the nose.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The hot radiator air was then expelled through the ducts behind the mirror.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Thanks to Regazzoni at The Nostalgia Forum I have been told that Mauro Fogheri’s dedication on the side of the car translates as “With this one [the car] I could understand many more things. With sympathy and a bit of envy Mauro Forghieri”

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Thanks to GD66 and domenico also at The Nostalgia Forum these signatures have been identified as those of Jacky Ickx, top, and Chief Mechanic Giulio Borsari bottom.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

I have not seen any photos of Ickx’s team mate Art Mezario driving the car in period, but there is no reason to suppose he didn’t, Art has demonstrated #009 since.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The cockpit for anyone taller than an average horse jockey is incredibly cramped.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Note the front support has three different anchor points, linked here is a photo of Jacky Ickx driving #009 with the wing mounted all the way forward on square shouldered Firestone tyres, and another of #009 with the rear wing mounted further back on round shouldered Goodyear tyres linked here. Jacky and Art can be seen chatting in the back ground in the latter.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Like Derek Gardner’s Tyrrell 006 design the Spazzanave was found to be very nervous to drive, unlike Tyrrell Ferrari ditched the low polar momentum concept and built 3 freshly designed cars which resulted in Ferrari’s worst season to date, while Jackie Stewart drove the Tyrrell OO6 to his third World Drivers Championship in 1973.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Soon after returning to work in 1973 Enzo Ferrari withdrew his team from the 1973 World Championship for a short sabbatical and recalled Mauro Fogierhi to his former position to rework the 1973 cars with his low polar momentum idea’s. The following season the 1974 version of the Ferrari 312 B3 was developed into a championship contender.

Ferrari 312 B3 Spazzaneve, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Thanks to a touch of galvanic corrosion twixt wheel nut and wheel my school boy day dreams were partly realised while visiting Hall & Hall in Bourne when I was asked to apply the brake pedal in an effort to help free the wheel nuts of the car. Christmas certainly came a couple of weeks early this year.

I understand #009 is for sale, unfortunately I do not have the readies to relieve Hall & Hall of the responsibility of looking after Spazzaneve, if you do contact details can be found on this link.

My thanks to Ted Walker of Ferret Fotographics for taking me to visit Hall & Hall and to Rick Hall for permission to take these photographs.

Thanks for joining me on this “Fury’s Experiment” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Christmas Window Shopping – Hall & Hall

Last week I got a phone call from Ted “Ferret Fotographics” Walker asking if I’d like to accompany him on a 300 mile round trip to Bourne, Lincs and back to visit Hall & Hall where he had some cars to inspect. I accepted on the basis that this might be an interesting window shopping trip, and as you shall see below it was close to the ultimate Christmas window shopping trip for petrol heads and race fans.

Mercedes 300SL, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Among the cars I was kindly allowed to photograph was the Donington Collection’s 1952 Gullwing Mercedes 300 SL complete with experimental roof mounted wing that was around 15 years ahead of it’s time, this car was tried in practice, but not raced, for the 1952 Le Mans 24 Hours.

Delhaye 235 Chapron Coupé, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Moving chronologically on this 1953 Delahaye 235 Coupé with a standardised Chapron body at a price when new of FF3,800,000 cost twice as much as the much faster contemporary Jaguar XK120.

Ferrari 250 GT SWB, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Pierre Dumay and Jo Schlesser drove this Ferrari 250 GT SWB, chassis #2127, to a second place finish overall in the 1960 Tour de France, it’s last known in period race was in the 1964 6h Dakar race in which “Cicoira” drove it to a 3rd place finish.

Lotus 48, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Unknown to all but a select few at Ford, Cosworth and Lotus the Lotus 48 was powered by a sign of things to come. The 48 was campaigned successfully in Formula Two and Jackie Oliver drove one to a fifth place finish in the 1967 German Grand Prix against cars with engines nearly twice the size and around a third more horsepower. The Cosworth FVA motor, which dominated Formula 2 from 1966 to 1972, has a four valve head, that was developed as part of Ford’s contract with Cosworth that would give birth to the Ford Cosworth DFV. The DFV in turn dominated the top tier of motor sport from 1969 until 1983 during which time the DFV motors powered 11 Drivers championship winners interrupted on three occasions only by Ferrari. This is one of several cars currently for sale on the Hall & Hall website linked here.

Alfa Romeo T33, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

The 1967 270 hp V8 powered Alfa Romeo T33 ‘Periscope’ was first used in competition by Belgian Teodro Zeccolini in his home country for a hill climb event at Fleron which he promptly won. By 1975 a flat 12 version of the T33 had been developed that won the Sports Car World Championships in 1975 and 1977.

Porsche 911T, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

German born Kenyan Edgar Hermann bought this Porsche 911T early in 1967 in preparation for an attempt on the 1968 East African Safari rally but when the 1968 London to Sydney Marathon was announced he returned it to the factory to be prepared for the longer event in which he finished 15th. Hermann sold the car to Australian Porsche importer Alan Hamilton who converted it to RHD and drove in Australian Rally events until 1970. In 1987 this 911 had a second wind and was driven to a Class C championship win in the Australian Porsche Cup.

Matra Ford MS80, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

From 1969 was one of Jackie Stewarts World Drivers and World Constructors Championship winning Matra MS 80s, powered by a Ford Cosworth DFV as heralded by the Cosworth FVA. Team owner Ken Tyrrell managed to do deals with Matra to use their chassis, and at Stewarts insistence Ford to use the Ford Cosworth DFV for the 1968 and 1969 seasons. These deals were remarkable because Matra were trying to develop their own V12 for Formula One at the time.

BRM P153, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

While I was window shopping two V12 powered cars from 1970 took my fancy the first was this BRM P153 chassis #3 according to the Hall & Hall website, these cars were the first of three race winning designs by Tony Southgate, Pedro Rodriguez drove a car like this to victory at the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix at Spa at an average speed of 149.9 mph. Chassis #03 was driven by George Eaton in 1970 who’s best performance was a 9th place finish in the Canadian Grand Prix, Howden Ganley drove the car in 1971, his seasons best result 4th in the non Championship Spring Trophy at Oulton Park . Sweden’s Reine Wisell and Spains Alex Soler-Roig both qualified the car for a race each in 1972 but neither finished which left Austria’s Dr Helmut Marko to drive for the last time in the 1972 Monaco Grand Prix where he finished 8th.

Matra MS650, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

According to the best sources I have the 1970 V12 Matra MS650 chassis #02 above has been used in just 6 events, unsurprisingly most of those who drove the car are French the three exceptions being Dan Gurney, who shared the it with Francois Cevert to record a 12th place finish in the 1970 Sebring 12 hours, Jack Brabham who shared the car with Cevert and retired from the 1970 Le Mans 24 hours and Algerian Bernard Fiorentino who shared the car with Maurice Grélin when it failed to finish the 1971 Tour de France. Chassis #02 was shared by Henri Pescarolo, Jean-Pierre Jabouille and Johnny Rives for the cars career best 2nd place finish, behind the sister car driven by Jean-Pierre Beltoise, Patrick Depailler and Jean Todt, on the 1970 Tour de France carrying the registration 197WS75 as seen above.

Ligier JS17, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

Finally there were two 1981 cars which grabbed my attention, first this Ligier JS17, powered by a fabulous sounding Matra V12, not sure which of the 5 JS 17’s built this is but Jacques Laffite drove the type to victory in the 1981 Austrian and Canadian Grand Prix which gave Laffite an outside chance of wining the title going into the final race of the season held in the car park at Caesers Palace. A 6th place finish meant Jacques secured his third consecutive career best 4th place in the championship.

Lotus Ford 81, Hall & Hall, Bourne, Lincs

I’ll be publishing a full blog about the Cosworth DFV powered Lotus 87 on 29th of December, the car seen here is chassis #87/R4, also currently offered for sale, was driven in 1981 by Nigel Mansell. Like many cars of this era it is probably more reliable now than it was in period .

I’ll save the best car in the building as a surprise, it was a prototype Friday car and it was a dream come true to see it in person. Don’t forget to tune in this Friday to find out what it was.

My thanks to Ted Walker for inviting me to join him on his trip to Hall & Hall and to Rick Hall for letting me take photographs of some of the vehicles in his care.

Wishing Abba Kogan, whom I believe owns some of the vehicles seen in these photographs, a swift recovery from his injuries, sustained in the Baku City Challenge, Azerbaijan recently.

Thanks for joining me on this “Christmas Window Shopping” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Wanted Gofer – Lola Hart THL1 #85-002

It must have been soon after I had helped my school friend Sven by cleaning the windscreen of his Ford Capri during the 1985 Willhire 24 hour race at Snetterton that I realised a year after leaving college my life did not appear to be going anywhere particularly fast and that I ought to expand my horizons when I saw a vacancy for a gopher for Carl Haas’s FORCE Formula One team being run by Teddy Meyer, in Autosport.

Without hesitation and in possession of the aforementioned experience, along with the requisite van driving experience, a clean driving licence and a B.A. Hons in European Business (2,2) from Trent Polytechnic I applied the same day thinking no one on gods great earth could possibly match my credentials… I was of course completely wrong, I got a nice letter from Mr Meyer informing me I had not been selected for interview and wishing me luck for the future, I can’t say I was not disappointed, but at least I had made one attempt, no matter how ill judged, to run away with the circus.

Lola Hart THL1, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

Late in 1984 Carl Haas secured sponsorship for his Champ Car Team which won the ’84 Championship with Mario Andretti from Beatrice Foods, part of the agreement included a deal to part fund and expansion by Haas into Formula One with Carl Haas’s FORCE being responsible for the design, Ford for the exclusive supply of a new Cosworth turbocharged V6 motor and 1980 World Champion Alan Jones who was to make his second return to Formula One since officially retiring at the end of 1981.

For some reason probably not unconnected with the fact that Haas had been the long time US importer of Lola, Andretti drove the T800 in 84 and T900 in ’85, Lola was nominated as the car’s manufacturer although they had no input to either it’s design or manufacture, ex Williams employee Neil Oatley designed the THL1 which was initially adapted to take the Hart turbocharged 4 cylinder engine while the Cosworth was readied for the 1986 season.

Lola Hart THL1, Goodwood, Festival of Speed

The THL1 appeared at the Italian, European, South African and Australian Grand Prix at the end of 1985 and retired from all but the South African event where Alan Jones qualified a season high 18th but was unwell and did not take the start.

At the start of the 1986 season the Cosworth V6 was still not ready and so Alan was forced to soldier on with the Hart motor in Brazil and Spain, he qualified 17th for the latter, but was involved in a collision with Jonathon Palmers Zakspeed which saw both cars retire on the opening lap.

Alan, 1978 Can Am2 Champion driving a Haas Lola, was joined in 1986 by Patrick Tambay who had also won Can Am2 championhships with Haas in 1977 and 1980. Like Alan he had to make do with a Hart powered THL1 for his first three starts, Patrick out qualified Alan qualifying a promising 11th at San Remo where he retired, as in Brazil, but he brought his THL1 home to a non points paying 8th from 18th on the grid and in so doing became the only driver to bring a THL1, chassis #85-002 seen in these photographs taken at Goodwood, across the finish line of a Championship Grand Prix.

The teams fortunes improved moderately with the arrival of the new turbocharged Cosworth V6 powered THL2, Alan scored a best 4th at Monza where he was followed home by Patrick in 5th, at the following Belgian Grand Prix Alan finished 6th and by the end of the season a change of management and policy at Beatrice saw them terminate their sponsorship leaving Haas with little option but to close his team down, while Alan sold his Ferrari and headed home to Australia.

Thanks for joining me on this “Gopher Wanted” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow when I’ll be looking at the very first Mercedes Benz 300 SLR. Don’t forget to come back now !


Last New 4.5 Litre – OSCA 4500G

Ten years after selling the company bearing their name to Adolfo Orsi in 1937, and remaining for those ten years as employees of the company, the Maserati brothers founded Officine Specializzate Costruzioni Automobili – Fratelli Maserati SpA better known as O.S.C.A in 1947.

Towards the beginning of the 1951 Grand Prix season Prince Bira had one of his three year old Maserati 4CLT/48’s fitted with a new 4.5 litre OSCA 60º V12 motor that produced 330hp to replace the regular 1.5 litre 4 cylinder supercharged motor.

OSCA 4500G,  Stephan Rettenmaier, Silverstone Classic,

The Prince recorded a debut win with the new motor in the Richmond Trophy at Goodwood and raced with it on at least four further occasions scoring a best 4th in the 1951 Bordeaux Grand Prix concluding his season with a retirement from the 1951 World Drivers Championship Spanish Grand Prix after completing just 1 lap with engine failure.

OSCA 4500G,  Stephan Rettenmaier, Silverstone Classic,

A little over a month before the Spanish Grand Prix O.S.C.A turned out with their own Formula One challenger, today’s featured 4500G powered by the same type of alloy block V12 as they had supplied to Bira.

Franco Rol qualified 18th of the 21 starters for the 1951 Italian Grand Prix and completed all but 13 laps of the full distance to be the last classified finisher, in a career high, 9th place.

OSCA 4500G,  Stephan Rettenmaier, Silverstone Classic,

In the absence of sufficient commitment from manufacturers to continue with the 1.5 litre / 91.5 cui / supercharged / 4.5 / 274.5 cui litre normally aspirated Formula One powered cars, the 1952 and ’53 World Drivers Championships were decided by running the series for 2 litre / 122 cui Formula Two cars.

Consequently the last all new type to appear in the 1951 Formula One championship season and the only car built specifically to compete in Formula One races by the Maserati brothers remains the OSCA 4500G seen in these photographs at last years Silverstone Classic being driven by Stephan Rettenmaier.

Thanks for joining me on this “Last New 4.5 Litre” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !


Pole Sitter & Sister – Shadow Cosworth DN5 #DN5/1A #DN5/2A

Things were looking up for reigning Can Am Champions Don Nichols Shadow team in 1975, the Can Am series folded, but the team kept a strong US presence with a Dodge powered DN6 Formula 5000 team which used a similar Tony Southgate designed chassis to today’s featured DN5 design.

Following the dominant trend in F1 design the DN5 was built around a slimmer lower monocoque, than the previous years DN3, but with a longer and wider wheel base and track than many.

Shadow DN5, Silverstone Classic,

Jean Pierre Jarier put the DN5 #DN5/1A, seen here in the first third and sixth photographs at Silverstone Classic 2013, on pole on the cars debut in Argentina, but the car never started having stripped the crown wheel and pinion in the gearbox on the warm up lap.

Jumper was on pole again at the 1975 Brazilian Grand Prix, but retired seven laps short of the finish after the fuel metering unit failed.

Shadow DN5, Donington Park Museum,

The non championship Race of Champions at Brands Hatch saw the DN5’s run with a new TV test card like colour scheme and Tom qualified the sister #DN5/2A, seen in the close ups at Donington Park Museum, on pole and then ran away with the race while Jean Pierre finished 4 laps down from 3rd on the grid classified 8th with a fuel pump issue.

Further highlights of the season came in Spain where JPJ finished a season high 4th from 10th on the grid and at Monaco where still driving the two original chassis Tom and JPJ qualified 2nd and 3rd respectively, but both retired with accident damage which would be the final appearance of JPJ’s #DN5 1A.

At the British Grand Prix run at Silverstone Tom won his only career championship pole but retired after an opening lap accident, by now having scored two 6th place finishes in Belgium and Holland.

Shadow DN5, Silverstone Classic,

In Germany Tom still driving #DN5/2A converted 16th on the grid to a fourth place finish.

Meanwhile keen to find another engine supplier the similar Shadow DN7 with a V12 Matra engine, which I looked at a couple of weeks ago, had been built up for JPJ to drive in Austria and Italy.

Shadow DN5, Donington Park Museum,

While the Matra proved not to be quite the fillip to the team’s fortunes that were anticipated Tom drove #DN5/2A to the teams season high 3rd place finish in Austria from 15th on the grid.

At the non championship Swiss Grand Prix run at Dijon in France JPJ was once again on pole with the Cosworth powered #DN5/4A, Jumper looked like he was going to break his F1 duck, until the 34th lap from 60 when the transmission broke and he retired from the lead.

Shadow DN5, Donington Park Museum,

At the Italian Grand Prix Tom once again drove through the field coming home 6th from 14th on the grid.

#DN5/2A’s final appearance came at the 1975 US Grand Prix where Tom qualified 7th but finished unclassified 7 laps down.

Shadow DN5, Silverstone Classic,

Having failed to convince Matra of their suitability as a partner for the 1976 season Shadow also lost their sponsor UOP meaning Tony Southgates new Shadow DN8 was put on hold while the team continued running the DN5’s in B spec, which I shall look at next year, that was introduced to meet new regulations from the Spanish Grand Prix.

Thanks for joining me on this “Pole Sitter & Sister” edition of “Gettin a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow for Maserati Monday. Don’t forget to come back now !


Promises Promises – Lotus Renault E21

In four short years Toleman Motorsport rose from sponsor of drivers in junior categories to becoming Champion Formula 2 constructors and by the end of 1980 they made an ambitious move into Formula One with turbocharged 4 cylinder Hart motors from their premises in Whitney in Oxfordshire. Over the next five years Toleman struggled to qualify for races for two year and then struggled to finish races for a further two years but high lights including three podium finishes in 1984 with rookie Ayrton Senna driving and Teo Fabi’s pole position at the German Grand Prix in 1985 showed enough promise for 1985 sponsor Benetton to buy the team.

Lotus Renault E21, Raikkönnen, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

Under Benetton ownership the team from from Whitney raced for one season with BMW motors with which Gerhard Berger scored a single win in the Mexican Grand Prix before switching to Ford motors in a partnership which lasted until 1994 when Michael Schumacher won his first of two consecutive championships in 1994 despite two disqualifications and a highly contentious maneuver which eliminated his only championship rival in the season finale. By now the team had moved to premises in Enstone, Oxfordshire.

Lotus Renault E21, Grosjean, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

In 1995 Benetton secured a supply of Renault Motors with which Michael secured his second championship before moving to Ferrari. Benetton slipped from 1995 Constructors Champions into a graceful decline until 2001. A year earlier Renault bought Benetton out but refrained from renaming the team Renault until 2002 when their latest motor was fully competitive.

Lotus Renault E21, Prost, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

Under Renault’s ownership the team from Enstone won two drivers championships with Fernando Alonso in 2005 and 2006 breaking Michael Schumachers five year strangle hold on the championship. Renault also became only the second French constructor after Matra in 1969 to win the Constuctors Championship in 2005 and 2006. Alonso left for an ill feted spell with McLaren in 2007 but returned in 2008 for a two year spell during which the team could not match McLaren or Ferrari for top honors.

Lotus Renault E21, Grosjean, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

After a scandal involving race fixing allegations in 2009 Renault moved swiftly to divest itself of it’s interest in the Enstone team and the Luxembourg group Genii Capital became majority owners of the team which in 2011 was rebranded Lotus Renault GP. In 2012 the somewhat underfunded Lotus Renault GP Team pulled off a coup by bringing Kimi Raikkönen back to Formula one after an enforced sabbatical which had seen his place at Ferrari taken by Alonso in 2010. Raikkönen’s return netted a single win in 2012 for the team now known simply as Lotus F1 at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Lotus Renault E21, Prost, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

Last season promised much for Lotus F1 as Kimi Raikkönen took a comfortable win in the Australian Grand Prix and there was talk of a new backer being brought into the team. Kimi followed his win up with a string six second place finishes and until midway in the season looked to be a genuine contender for the title until the development of tyres decisively went to the advantage of Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull. By the seasons end the promising backer had all but disappeared and it emerged that Lotus F1 were struggling to pay Kimi his promised bonuses to the point where Kimi had a back operation and missed the last two races of the season consequently dropping from 3rd to 5th in the seasons standings secure in the knowledge that for 2014 he would be returning to Ferrari to partner Fernando Alonso the man who usurped him at the end of 2009 !

Lotus Renault E21, Raikkönnen, British Grand Prix P2, Silverstone

Lotus F1 who name their cars with an E for Enstone were among the last to confirm a drive train deal for 2014 and the last to show their 2014 contender will start the season with Kimi’s team mate Romain Grosjean and Venezuelan Williams refugee Pastor Maldonado sharing the driving duties. 4 time champion Alain Prost’s son Nicholas is seen driving the unnamed car in the 3rd and final photographs during the Young Driver Day at Silverstone last year.

You can follow the fortunes of Lotus F1 on their website linked here, on their facebook page linked here and on their twitter feed linked here.

Thanks for joining me on this “Promises, Promises” edition of “Gettin’ a li’l psycho on tyres” I hope you will join me again tomorrow. Don’t forget to come back now !