Rightly Forgotten History: Andrea Moda Formula

It’s easy to name some of the greatest teams to have graced the Formula 1 world, chances are if you think of Formula 1 you think of McLaren, Ferrari, Lotus and of course the recent times we have Mercedes-AMG and Red Bull. Sadly not every team have had the glory of the top teams, due to many factors including budget and resources. We begin this mini-series at quite possibly rock bottom of the crevice of the worst teams to go as far as disgrace the name of Formula 1, Andrea Moda Formula.

The humble beginnings of Andera Moda Formula starts with the purchase of the Coloni team, a Ford partnered team which competed between 1987 and 1991 with an unexpected Subaru partnership for 1990. In 1991 Coloni-Ford didn’t just fail to finish a single race in the season, but it failed to pre-qualify every race. That’s right, they failed to qualify FOR qualification. At the end of the 1991 season the assets of the team were bought out by an Italian shoe designer and owner of the fashion company Andrea Moda, Andrea Sassetti. He chose the Judd V10 power unit as the heart of his cars as well as 2 Italian drivers being Alex Caffi and Enrico Bertaggia, the drivers and the car showed some promise, but at the first round of the 1992 season things rapidly became apparent that the journey for Andrea Moda would be extremely shameful.

Round 1 in South Africa resulted in an exclusion from the event as the $100,000 entry fee for new teams was never paid, even worse Sassetti argued against the FIA claiming his team is not new but instead just a rebranded Coloni team. Round 2 never went ahead for them either as the cars were still being built despite the entire team arriving to Mexico with all the equipment.

The two drivers voiced their disgust over how the team was organized, or rather lack of it. Sassetti didn’t like this and they were dropped for the remainder of the season and replaced by a familiar driver called Roberto Moreno and a not so familiar Perry McCarthy (who later went on to be the original ‘Black Stig’ on BBC’s Top Gear). Further issues would ensue as Moreno failed to pre-qualify but McCarthy was refused his super license, meaning Sassetti hired a driver who was not actually allowed to race in Formula 1 at the time of employment, however he then went on to get his super license for round 4 in Spain, to which they would fail to pre-qualify again.

It was becoming very obvious that Andrea Moda was flopping, their pace would make Williams of today look like a championship contender. Monaco would shine a very thin light onto the team however, McCarthy failed to pre-qualify but Moreno qualified 26th, only to retire on lap 11 due to engine failure. This would be the teams’ only competitive entry in their short history. The rest of the season would consist of failing to qualify, pre-qualify, attend and even exclusions, but it all came to a head at the 12th round at Spa. With Brabham withdrawing from the event there was no need to pre-qualify as there would then become 30 cars to enter, but this would become pointless as Moreno qualified 113% slower than pole and McCarthy 122% slower (as a result of the 107% qualifying rule), but this wouldn’t be the story that Andrea Moda would be remembered for that weekend. In the paddock Andrea Sassetti was arrested for the alleged crime of forging invoices for auto parts. The arrest would see the team suspended for the rest of the season one week later, this didn’t stop the team from attended the Italian Grand Prix, only for them to be denied entry.

With a clueless owner and a car barely fast enough to get a speeding ticket let alone a race win, the team has faded into the shadows to be forgotten, however even today Andrea Sassetti has the 2 original F1 cars sat in his home, presumably because no automotive museum would want to house a display for such a colossal failure as Andrea Moda Formula.