Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

So, before we begin I want to say something. I am a huge fan of Lamborghini, it was actually a small Lamborghini Murcielago toy car what got me into liking cars. The story of the Italian manufacturer and Formula 1 was my very first article on CT. A bunch of copy-paste with some pictures here and there that somehow managed to get over 100 upvotes. I am writing this article motivated by 2 reasons. First, nostalgia and the fact that I want to write a proper article to make the story justice, and second, there was a rumor recently about Lamborghini attending as VW’s representative to the next F1 engine meeting in Paris. It is just a rumor, and very unlikely to come true, but if there is any chance of my favorite car manufacturer participating in my favorite motorsport event, I have to write about it on any way I can. So without further ado, here is the story of Lamborghini and F1.

It was April 1987 and American giant Chrysler had just bought Lamborghini, and almost inmediately started a 50 million dollar investment into the Italian brand. The main objective of it was to introduce Lamborghini to motorsport and thus created a special division called Lamborghini Engineering. Their job was to create engines to supply the F1 teams. It took them a couple extra millions of bucks, but finally in 1989, the screams of their 3.5L V12 engine could be heard on the F1 tracks powering the cars of team Larousse.

The Larousse LC89 managed to get a best race result of 6th on Lamborghini's first year as an engine supplier

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

Lamborghini had called attention after their debut in 1989 and in 1990 they had multiple teams wanting to sign a deal with the Italian manufacturer, however only one managed to get it. Lotus
The Lotus-Lamborghini partnership wouldn’t last long, just one year. The best result the British-Italian alliance managed to get was a 5th place at the Hungarian GP. Meanwhile the far less experienced Larousse team, also using Lamborghini power, was making progress and by the penultimate race of the season in Japan, their driver Aguri Suzuki managed to get a 3rd place podium for the team. Becoming the first Japanese to finish on a podium in his home race.

Aguri Suzuki won the first podium for the team, allowing them to finish 6th on the world championship

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

In 1991, Larousse left Lamborghini and decided to use Ford-Cosworth engines, so Lamborghini started providing team Ligier instead. At the same time, they decided they would enter their very own team, GLAS F1. However, just before the season started, their main investor abandoned them. Lamborghini had to do the only thing they had left. They had already built their very own chasis and engine, so the Italian team had to use their own money to finance the team. They wanted to call the team Modena F1, however although that was their official name, the Lamborghini engine and chasis ment they would appear in the FIA list as Team Lambo. Their cars, the Lambo 291s were nice looking cars. They equiped designs that would be adopted years later such as the slightly tilted radiator and top air intake. Their best result was 7th and came in the first race of the season, however the cars would fail to qualify to many of the following races. With Lamborghini refusing to spend a single penny on the team, Modena/Lambo F1 disapeared before the 1993 season started.

The Lambo 291 was the only F1 car designed entirely by Lamborghini. It will race only 6 times with a best result of 7th.

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

By 1992, Lamborghini wanted to leave F1 and never look back. However, an engine contract with Minardi and Larousse ment they were going nowhere. The Lamborghini engine gave both Minardi and Larousse their only points in the 1992 season, with a best result of 6th each.

In 1992, Lamborghini withdrew as a team, but stayed to supply engines to Minardi (above) and Larousse

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

Before the 1993 season, Minardi announced it was switching to Ford engines. An advanced, lighter, and specially designed Lamborghini engine was then tested in McLaren by Ayrton Senna who was amazed with the engine. He was a second quicker than with the Ford engines McLaren was using the year earlier and personally told Ron Dennis to use it. However, the man said no and McLaren went for Peugeot engines. Which resulted to be a really bad choice.

Ayrton Senna tested the engine for McLaren, and although he liked the performance, McLaren went to Peugeot for engines. Senna would always say that was Ron Dennis' greatest mistake

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

Larousse remained the only team to use the engine in 1993 and achieved a total of 3 points with a best result of 5th place.
In 1994, Larousse switched to Ford engines. Meaning Lamborghini was free to leave Formula 1. So they packed up their stuff and left as quickly as possible. The Italian manufacturer hasn’t been involved in F1 ever since.

The Lamborghini powered F1 cars are now at the Lamborghini museum at Sant' Agata, Italy (Larousse)

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

Minardi

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

Lambo

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

And of course, the engine. Which you can listen to in the video below

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

Although many fans want it to happen, a Lamborghini return to F1 seems distant

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

So guys, that was the story of Lamborghini in Formula 1. What did you think of it? Do you like it? Do you think they should return? I certainly do. Leave your feedback in the comments. I hope I finally made this story justice.

Lamborghini - Close Encounter - The story of Lamborghini and Formula 1 - Formula 1

So guys, that was it for this article. If you have read until this point then thank you very very much, I really appreciate it and I hope you’ve liked reading it. I try to post at least one article every week, however last week I didn’t get anything ready partly because I was honestly stuffed with school work, and partly because it was F1 weekend. I did write a review of the race which you can check out right here.
Anyway guys that was it, hope you’ve enjoyed.

F1Trooper out.

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