Before the F1 became a super professional category and with only a dozen teams, it was common for a racing-loving businessman to emerge from time to time with enough money to create his own team. That was the case with Ernest Vita and his team, the Life Racing Engines.
This Italian decided to enter the F-1 in 1990 and for this he founded the Life Racing Engines, considered by many to be the worst team in the history of the category. In fact, He appeared in 14 Grands Prix and never managed to start.
The origin of Life Racing Engines is in a project that did not come to fruition either: that of the First Racing, a structure that stood out in the F3000. With the aim of making the leap to Formula 1, the former Italian driver Lamberto Leone, hired the chasista Ricardo Divila for him to design his own F-1.
El First F189 He was started by Divila, although he soon left his job with Leone to move on to Ligier. For that reason the car was finished by a Milanese design studio. When it was fully built it was noted that it had serious structural failures and despite being registered for the 1989 season, it did not race because it did not pass the crash test.
Fortunately for Leone, his compatriot Vita bought him the chassis to create his F.1 team. Vita's plans were more than ambitious as it also set out to build its own engine with an atypical configuration for the category. Instead of using a 12-cylinder V, he developed an impeller with a W configuration, meaning it had three rows of four cylinders.
The car was strengthened and passed crash tests. Australian was hired Gary Brabham, son of Jack Brabham, with the aim of attracting sponsors with their surname. However, the Life Racing Engines was not intended to race in Formula 1.
The car, baptized as L190It was too heavy, it had an unreliable suspension diagram, it was very difficult to drive and it had a 450 horsepower engine when the rest had 700. To make matters worse at that time there were about thirty participants, something that required a pre-qualification .
The first commitment was the United States Grand Prix in Detroit, a race that is remembered for the duel between the Brazilian Ayrton Senna (McLaren) and the French Jean Alesi (Tyrrell). Brabham was 38 seconds behind the Austrian's pole Gerhard berger (McLaren) and thus disappeared the dream of being one of the 26 drivers authorized to start.
The adventures of Life continued in the following competitions, although without Brabham who left the team in his second presentation when the engine of his car broke because the mechanics had forgotten to put oil on it.
Vita replaced the Australian with his compatriot Bruno Giacomelli, who at age 38 decided to return to the slopes after a seven-season hiatus. Giacomelli did not pass any qualifying and the closest he came to pass it was when he was 13 seconds behind in qualifying for the Monaco GP. In his attempt to start a race, Vita put down his engine after twelve frustrations and bought a Judd V8, but nothing changed.
After the Spanish GP, its 14th attempt, and with the category running its last two dates in Japan and Australia, Life Racing Engines decided not to appear in Suzuka and Adelaide in order not to spend more money. Although he also did not participate in Formula 1 again and was left with the bitter taste of not even completing a lap in a Grand Prix.