Posted by: ahw3ll | 15/11/2009

Lola’s 1997 Season… in brief

Amongst the list of potential new teams for 2010 was the Lola team. The last time they were seen in F1 was back in 1997, at the first race of the season. The Mastercard Lola team had originally planned to enter F1 in 1998, but pressure from their major sponsor accelerated their plans, so the unprepared team joined a year early.

Lola97

Vincenzo Sospiri at Melbourne, © F1i.com

The car was completely untested (and oddly enough, wasn’t symmetrical!) and it showed out on the track. In first practise, they were 8.6 seconds off the fastest time. Second practise saw them slip to 12.8 seconds off the leading pace. However, qualifying was what mattered. Lead driver Vincenzo Sospiri managed his best time of the weekend (1m 40.972s) which was 11.6 seconds off of Jacques Villeneuves’ pole position time in the Williams, with team-mate Ricardo Rosset another 1.1 seconds behind.

Of course, this was back when the 107% qualifying rule was in force, meaning that in order to start the race on Sunday, a driver had to be within 107% of the pole position time. In this case, the time to beat was 1m 35.625s. 22 drivers managed it, two didn’t.

By the time that the F1 circus arrived in Brazil, Mastercard withdrew their funding and the team was unable to run.

There is a chance that Lola can get a space on the grid for 2011 – the extra year of preparation they didn’t have last time round..?

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  1. […] are the smaller teams that came and went during those years. A few only lasted a couple of years, one only lasted a single race, but they brought new faces and extra stories to the grid. Here is a run-down of some of the […]


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