Former F1 team boss Guido Forti, whose cars were synonymous with the tail-end of the grid during the mid 1990s, has died at the age of 72.
A racer in his own right during the Sixties and Seventies, Forti took his first steps in ownership in the Italian national Formula Ford series, before moving up to make a name for himself by guiding several drivers – including future F1 participants Teo Fabi, Franco Forini and Gianni Morbidelli - to success in F3, both in Italy and Europe.
Expanding into F3000 in 1987, the Forti team took a year or so to find its feet, before guiding Morbidelli, Claudio Langes and Emmanuele Naspetti and Fabrizio Giovanardi to the front of the field. A year after Naspetti finished third in the 1991 championship, Andrea Montermini went one better by finishing as runner-up in 1992, but it was an unheralded Brazilian that helped the squad to finally make it F1, as Forti capitalised on the signing of Pedro Diniz to bankroll the step up.
Diniz partnered Olivier Beretta in the 1993 F3000 season, but became part of Forti's first F1 line-up a couple of years later, driving alongside veteran Roberto Moreno. Sadly, with Diniz moving on to Ligier the following season, Forti's dream began to crumble, and the Italian team lasted only until midway through 1996, where Montermini and Luca Badoer proved uncompetitive and financial problems led to a fraught deal with Shannon Racing before the team was withdrawn altogether.
The exit also marked Guido Forti's last involvement with top level motorsport, although he briefly took charge of another F3000 team in 2003 before retiring for good.
His F1 record echoes those of other aspring teams that failed to make a mark, with 28 races contested and a best finish of seventh, from the 1995 Australian GP. Sadly, that was in the times before the scoring positions expanded beyond sixth spot....