Perhaps almost nobody remembers these equipment of F1. We considered that they deserve a recognition by the great human and technical effort who realized, with the unique dream of sometimes being the best ones of the world. He was worth the attempt.
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In the rich history of Formula 1 there have been numerous failures, but without doubts the fleeting history of escudería Mastercard Lola F1 Team surely occupies a place in podio of the projects of smaller seriousness undertaken sometimes in the maximum category of the world, coverall considering that this project was developed by the end of 1996, that is to say, in the era of the F1 nonamateur, where the professionalism and the preparation count to the maximum.

Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset put next to the flaming model in the presentation of escudería in Melbourne
It is difficult to include to Lola in this section, since escudería participated in 148 competitions and had presence in the F1 from year 1962, when John Surtees and Roy Salvadori made debut in the Great Prize of Europe with a Lola/Climax. By the way Surtees towards making debut to the Lola stranger with one pole position. But in this case we are going away to occupy on the last attempt of incursion of escudería commanded by Eric Broadley in 1997.

Definitively nobody can deny the capacity of the British constructor, but the lack of seriousness of its last project was something never before seen in the category. Everything began by the end of 1996 when Broadley secured the sponsorship of Mastercard, a multinational company of credit cards, that granted nothing less to him than $ 35 million dollars to start up the project Formula 1 1998, since in one first instance that was the idea, to develop vehicle throughout 1997 to return to the maximum category in 1998, nevertheless Broadley was believed able to construct and to make debut in 1997 with as soon as a pair of months ahead…

First meters of the T97/30 in the track of Melbourne. Sospiri quickly was disappointed, however Rosset requested patience
The flaming model Lola T97/30 would be equipped with the motor Ford Zetec-R V8, an impeller that took to the Sauber equipment, and coverall to its pilot Heinz-Harald Frentzen, has to obtain very good results in 1995. Although it was a somewhat heavy motor and with two years of antiquity, their power and trustworthiness were guaranteed.

The T97/30 was constructed and finished quickly in the base of Lola in Huntington. In spite of the sarcastic commentaries of the world of the F1, Broadley he was faithful about the success of Lola in his return to the category. “We have the experience, the capacity and desire to be successful in F1. Our engineers have done a great work in the wind tunnel who we have done in Cranfield. We have worked basically in the components of the lightening of a F1 with respect to a IndyCar. We have taken the best ideas from specialists in the wind tunnel, the aerodynamics, dynamic of the vehicle and other questions to produce the best possible car.”

The equipment had financial capital and could far better have made the things. Also it had the economic support of Pennzoil
But Broadley was still more far, and foretold that it could defeat to the other newcomer equipment of the F1 that season, Stewart Ford. “With our experience and endorsement to surpass to the Stewart equipment it does not have to be any problem.” In addition, in response to suggestions that their cars would fight to surpass the rule of the 107%, he said: “The rule of the 107% counts on a great margin. If we cannot solve this, we would not have to be in the F1…”. Hill to think as a so famous constructor and with as much knowledge of the elite motoring as Eric Broadley could sin of as much pride…

Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset were the selected pilots to drive the cars. Both had been teammates in championship 1995 of Formula 3000.

Rosset gave the maximum thing to be able to classify itself, but its time was to years light of the realized one by Jacques Villeneuve
The T97/30 model was sent the 20 of February, and as soon as there was sufficient time for brief shakedown and no test before the cars were sent to Australia for the first round of championship 1997. Although shakedown was very brief, quickly their pilots realized that the car was a complete disaster. Even so they would do to him against the situation.

The first session of practices of the Great Prize of Australia saw both Lola cars face and of direct way its rivals for the first time. Ricardo Rosset only completed 8 returns to the drawn up one street, establishing a registry 8.670c slower than the Ferrari de Michael Schumacher. To Sospiri he was still worse to him, it crossed 10 turns and its better second registry was 10 slower than the dominator of the session.

The most serious problem of the T97/30 was the lack of takes hold to asphalt. The aerodynamics of the vehicle presented/displayed serious falencias and it could not generate downforce necessary. To such point the problem was serious that the tires did not take the temperature necessary and to make matters worse the car crawled in the straight lines jeopardizing severely the end speed. In short, the car did not serve. It had been constructed and designed the worried ones, as if a “small car of rulemán” one was.

Lola T97/30 sprinted and both ready to start off of Australia. They would never more return to step on the asphalt of an automobile race track
In the second session of practices the rest of the competitors stepped on the accelerator and Vincenzo Sospiri and Ricardo Rosset established registries between the 12 and 15 second slowest ones than the dominator, the Williams/Renault de Jacques Villeneuve. In the qualifying session nothing changed, Jacques Villeneuve marked pole with a time of 1 ' 29.369. Vincenzo Sospiri used 11 returns and registered a time of 1 ' 40,972, 11,603 slower than Villeneuve. Ricardo Rosset used 3 returns less than its companion and was to 12,717 of the Canadian. In theory a car Lola de own F3000 could be equal or faster than the Lola de F1…

The dreams of Broadley collapsed. The first house of Mastercard included/understood that the project lacked total seriousness and that briefly they had been swindled in his will. Without wasting time they retired all the economic support to him to escudería. Everything had finished.

Even so Sospiri and Rosset found out that its equipment was finished through a newspaper in the heat of travels to Brazil, to dispute in theory the second Great Prize of the season. Another complete lack of seriousness to finish placing the india berry to him to the dessert. In only a pair of Lola months there were accumulated 6 million pounds in debts. To the F1 it would never return more.


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