Although he never officially raced in the F1, it is inevitable to highlight the only car "Made in Argentina”That was conceived for the Maximum. How could it be otherwise, the project was in charge of Oreste Berta, perhaps the most ingenious and prolific coach of Argentine motorsport.
Beyond the work carried out in indigenous categories, Berta's first great approach to an international category was in 1969 through the Berta LR, a prototype sport that had an outstanding performance in that year's edition of the 1.000 Kilometers of Buenos Aires us Ruben Luis Di Palma y Carlos Marincovich and that also ran in the 1.000 Kilometers by Nürburgring. Although he left both times, it was the demonstration that in Argentina vehicles could be built to race anywhere in the world.
That SP car was equipped with a motor Ford-Cosworth of three liters, which allowed the Mago to gain experience in creating his own V8 engine for the SP and Formula 1.
On July 11, 1971, the V8 of Berta was tested on the test bench of Stronghold for 17 hours straight. This is how the first part of a challenge that Berta had, who had picked up the glove thrown by the then President of the Nation, General Juan Carlos Onganía, who had told him that it was impossible for an F-1 to be built in our country. Berta's ingenuity and tenacity was joined by the financial support of Patricio Peralta Ramos, owner of the newspaper The Razón and that he had already financed other projects such as the Berta LR.
"I am very satisfied. We shot up to 11.000 rpm and nothing broke. We only had problems with some injection pumps, which we will modify. Comparing it with the Ford-Cosworth at intermediate speeds, the balance shows favorable results for our engine, around 70 hp more, then it is paired around 9.000 laps to end up with a maximum speed favorable to the Cosworth ”, Oreste said after that initial test, which in some way also served to verify the reliability of the different national elements that had been used to assemble it.
The V8 engine, cast in aluminum, had a displacement of 2.983 cm3 divided into 8 cylinders in a V at 90 degrees. Equipped with 4 valves per cylinder (87,38 mm diameter x 62,2 mm stroke), the supply was provided by a Lucas low pressure indirect injection system. The compression ratio reached 11: 1 and the valve command worked with hydraulic lifters and spur gear train with 4 camshafts at the top. The ignition was transistorized with one spark plug per cylinder. The engine coupling reached 30 kgm at 8.500 rpm while the maximum power reached the 420 hp at 11.500 rpm. The total weight was 146 kg.
The second part of the project was completed years later. In 1974, he built a car for the F5.000 of the United States with the sponsorship of Francisco Mir, Argentine engineer residing in the northern country. The Berta BA3As it was named, it was equipped with a Chevrolet engine and participated in two competitions: in Mosport (Canada), García Veiga finished sixth; while in Laguna Seca (United States) he could not finish, although with Loco Di Palma as pilot.
The lack of financial support made the Yankee adventure end, although that served to return to the fore on the idea of racing in the F. with a XNUMX percent Argentine car. For that BA3 was fitted with that V8 engine.
Berta's car was entered to run the Argentine and Brazilian Grand Prix, the first two dates of the tournament. 1975, with García Veiga. But he never made his debut due to an engine problem, which could not be solved due to the financial problems that the Magician had.
“In the F.1 project, the military supported me as long as it suited them, which was a very short time. Then everything came to nothing. When this was amateurish, there was no problem making an F.1 car. What's more, we could have done it and even won. We had made the engine and, except for very minor problems, it worked. We had made the chassis and it worked too. We were very close. It was only necessary for the government, which had helped so many people to go running outside, to give us a hand "Berta recalled a while ago.
“But accepting almost cost me the company because we started, we invested a significant amount and they never paid me. So I threw everything to the devil. I never got to blame because it didn't serve me or anyone else. Today I think it happened because the Argentine coffers were already beginning to empty; and thus the sponsorship of brokers by state companies was ending. A year or two later I finished the car, tested it, and scored it at the Buenos Aires race. In the first tests, a month before, we broke the engine. I had no more money and there I decided that I had reached the top of what I could do. Unfortunately, a week before the race, a businessman from Buenos Aires called me who had found out that I was not going to run and asked me how much money I needed. But it was too late and there I left, I had debts everywhere ", admitted the Magician, who never tried a project of this kind again.