I’m translating the Italian article linked by Valrys in the Forti Shannon Finfirst topic:http://www.autosprint.it/upload/articol ... ssetti.swf
I’ve not finished yet, but I will translate the ending part soon. Enjoy it!
“Cuore da corsa” goes looking for the only Constructor struck off in F1 history. He has been silent since 1992. But now he has decided to tell his incredible history.
In Montecarlo he humiliated Damon Hill tank to S921. Andrea Moda’s boss changed his life and the one of the driver Perry McCarthy. He was the last human F1 team principal. Yeah, in good and in bad...
THE FIRST CLONE WAS CALLED ANDREA – the case from Kyalami 1992 remembers a lot the present argument of the paddock.
1992 Championship’s Eve: 32 cars are entered, but the Concord Agreement says that not more than thirty can drive during the qualifying session. So every Friday morning before the GP it’s necessary to do a prequalifying in order to eliminate two. A nightmare, a cut who involves all the angry backmarker teams. Anyway, there would be a remedy. Cut off wings to that Andrea Sassetti, a guy from the region of Marche, owner of a footwear factory, who bought the team of a tired Enzo Coloni, renaming it Andrea Moda. It’s enough to find a excuse to eliminate him and in the paddock everyone will be more relaxed. Anyway a little time before the South African grand prix it starts trouble for the team from Macerata. It’s excluded, with the drivers Caffi and Bertaggia, because it has not paid deposit for entering the championship, at the time just 100’000 dollars, not the 48 millions that would have been in the future. True. But just because Sassetti thinks that entering will be implicit, having bought a Circus team. And instead they say no. And there’s another little problem. For the first time in Formula 1 history it starts to think about intellectual property. So the same subject which sets against each other some more important team at the beginning of 2007 season. In a few words Sassetti bought the Coloni team and from it the Constructor licence number 89626H, legitimately released from CSAI to Andrea on 11th September 1991. But federals argued that Sassetti, so, has not the intellectual property of the project of the cars he would line up. They are two former Colonis with the back from 1991 Dallara. So clones. If Andrea Moda would race, it has to construct a F1 car from zero. In 21 days. The incredible is that Andrea Sassetti from San Rustico accepts the challenge. It takes one month, but he’s able to do it. In Brasil he lines up two new flaming F1 cars, all his. It’s logic. The footwear factory man’s place could be stolen by no one.
SPRING 1992. Perry McCarthy, Londoner with unimportant racing past, comes to a turning point. He as an objective: racing in F1. And a march table: if he went on so, in April he will have his bank credit off, in May his phone like will be disconnected and in mid-June his home will be distained.
But he’s a real warrior. He stays in dining-room wearing a dressing gown, with wide open eyes staring at the phone. Which starts ringing. He put on the receiver and thinks “God, five me a chance, once, at least in a mono-brand with regional importance.” “Hello. Fred Rogers from Jordan. Perry?” “It’s me.” “Compliments, you’re going to became a F1 driver.” “I’m arriving” McCarthy answers. Destination: Banbury, Simtek headquarter where the blind meeting will take place.
In the factory there’s the man who’s searching for him: Andrea Sassetti. It seems he went to the technician Nick Wirth saying: “I want two new F1 cars.” Wirth think he’s mad, but Sassetti isn’t. He has a plastic folder and knocks it over his desk, forming a banknotes-pyramid. “But I want it in twenty days” it’s the ending. Wirth starts quickly. He has pieces from a former BMW project. It’s irrational trying it, but it will be idiot to give up to those rustling coins. “I’ve got the engines yet”, Sassetti says, showing him a contract for 12 Judd units costing 800’000 dollars and deposit paid. Wirth starts swear. He won’t stop for four weeks. To let the coin pyramid become his, he starts a human chain with Egypt inspiration, formed by shifters from Benetton, Lotus, McLaren and Williams after-hours from 150 pounds.
“Andrea Moda wants me? Ehm, really? I’m not so beautiful. I’m just dreaming to become a Formula 1 driver”- Perry McCarthy.
AN APOCRYPHAL RETRACT – Okay, but who’s this Sassetti? Impossible to say it. It’s only possible trying to guess what he seems. He gives out a magnetism which could be charming, like a protagonist of a documentary about the return of dance music. Invariably black-dressed, black hair ful of gel, enigmatic, silent. He’s tall, with large shoulders, and he smells like evening catwalk on coast, like mad nights on Adriatica, like sensational entries at Angels Bay while music-speakers playing at loud Gazebo and Gloria Gaynor. Like Picasso he has cubist-style successes, he has also the aplomb who makes the hairdressers dreaming. Different from others, better too. His looks is always hidden from enormous sunglasses. A life maybe full of mystery, but with eye-catching belts. He moves his boys with determined and monosyllabic orders. He’s introverted, doesn’t allow interviews. At least at now, it’s all.
MIRACLE IN BANBURY – Wirth succeeded. In one month two Andrea Moda S921 are ready. It’s the team of Sassetti, owner of a footwear factory with the same name, with headquarter in Morrovalle near Macerata, and his line made him magically rich. But not stupid. He proposed to Perry McCarthy – coming from a huge anteroom: “You will be my driver, but I won’t pay you. You have to pay your travels.” The deal has been done. Tuesday 31st March McCarthy receives his superlicence. And he asks his cousin to give him 800 pounds to pay his Varig traven from Brasil, in economic class. Then he drain two red wine bottles.
Sao Paulo, Friday 3rd April; Moreno’s Andrea Moda drives two lap, 14 second behind the second-slowest. It’s worst for his team mate McCarthy: Superlicence suspended. Perry breaks into tears in front of the world and Ecclestone, that sometimes he’s good. And he goes home with two certainties: he has not requirements to have the Superlicence, but he will have it back. Because Bernie went in front of one of the Formula One Commission members saying: “I introduce you Mr. McCarthy. Mr. McCarthy has a problem: you have to solve it.” Perry receives the authorization from fax.
NIGHTMARE AT SPANISH GRAND PRIX – “I watch the clock and I risk a stroke: I’m wearing my pyjama an I should wear my driving suit...” - Perry McCarthy.
Thursday 30th April at midnight McCarthy enters his hotel room, with five beds more than I thought. Okay, he will sleep with mechanics. He has a strange woke up: he’s alone and the clock says 7,25. He’s an hour far from the track and the session will start ad eight. He’s a lost man. Mechanics spent their night at the nightclub, going from dance to circuit, leaving him alone. Perry meets Sassetti’s brother. “Take me to the paddock”, he says. “At all costs.”
Sassetti’s brother drives in Barcelona 160 km per hour and leaves an afraid McCarthy in the garage, with a two minutes advance. Here we are. But the Andrea Moda doesn’t start. So they spray “quick start” in the airbox, who sets in fire, and with it the helmet too. Turned the fire off, the Judd starts. McCarthy sees the track and accelerates. Twenty meters and the car is stopped. He went over the pitlane line, so external assistance is forbidden. This is the shortest qualifying attempt of F1 history. Moreno – good luck – went on for three laps.
15th May, Imola. McCarthy goes for seven happy laps, before stopping because of a broken differential, the same for Moreno.
Montecarlo, 28th May. Perry goes for three laps, but he’s called from garage. Why? Who knows. He get off the car, he searches for Moreno, but doesn’t find him because he’s still on track and he’s driving like a damned soul. Afternoon of Saturday 16th May: the ending time let “Pupo” to qualify. He was faster than the future World Champion on the once-glorious Brabham. Andrea Moda’s garage explodes in a merited celebration from Macerata: “We did it, we will be on the track!” Sassetti’s dream becomes truth: it will be for eternity the one who had a his own car at the start of a grand prix. During the race, Moreno is out during the 12th lap, but the important thing has been done. Luckily, because in Canada McCarthy who travels doing the speaker for a tour operator which paid him with plane tickets, find the cars but not engines, because of late payments. So Sassetti hires a Judd from the dying Brabham and try to let Moreno drive. Out.
In France the lorry doesn’t arrive because – it seems – blocked by a local lorry drivers strike. So McCarthy try to do something that no one has never hazarded: talking with Sassetti. Perry’s phone-call to Andrea Moda is one of the most amazing moments of F1 history. Enjoy it!
“Hello, Andrea Moda Formula.”
“Hello. I’m Perry.”
“Perry... Perry who?”
“Yeah, but for which firm are you calling?”
“Well... I’d be your driver...”
“Oh, right. Well, Andrea is not here.”
Perry sees Sassetti at British Grand Prix. Their clarification lasts four seconds: Andrea gives him a hit and says: “well, don’t be worried”. In fact Andrea Moda win a never seen record, letting him drive with heavy rain tires under a sunny sky. Two laps, clutch broken. Not better for Moreno. The same things happens at Hockenheim: but there are slick tires and the distance driven is a half. The same in Hungary. McCarthy goes out 45 seconds before the session ending: let’s let it go. In Spa he breaks the steering-gear and risks his life brushing the barriers. In the garage he knows that Sassetti has been arrested for presumed fraud. The Andrea Moda adventure is going to an end. But watching the news Perry discover he has become a star: the authoritative Times defines him as the “most unlucky driver on Earth”, Daily Telegraph describes him as “cult hero from nowadays”, Sunday Express praises him as “comic actor chained to a driver suit”. Perry McCarthy from that day becomes a character. He will have decent signings, he will race for names as Panoz and Audi, he will write a successful book, he will have a his own home and a happy wife.
“Sassetti gave me as a present a pair of boots from his factory. But they were uncomfortable. From this I should have understood my destiny” – Perry McCarthy.
This is the part about the team. I will post the ending part about Sassetti as soon as possible.