Onyx Grand Prix was a short-lived Formula 1 constructor, participated in 1989 and 1990 seasons. The team started as Onyx Race Engineering in late 1978 as a partnership between old colleagues Mike Earle and Greg Field, entering their own chassis and semi-works Marches in Formula 2 and Formula 3000. In 1988 the majority shares of the team were purchased by Paul Shakespeare, who decided to step up to Formula 1. Sponsorship from Marlboro and Moneytron, a company owned by notorius Belgian Jean-Pierre Van Rossem, provided needed financial injection, and the team, now rebranded as Onyx Grand Prix, entered the highest level of open-wheels racing. The first Onyx car, ORE-1 was designed by Alan Jenkins, who had previously worked for McLaren, and was powered by Ford Cosworth DFR V8. The drivers, experienced Stefan Johansson and Belgian rookie Bertrand Gachot, had to struggle in pre-qualifying in the beginning of the season. Finally Johansson would make it out of pre-qualifying in Mexico, setting the 6th fastest time in Saturday free practice before qualifying 21st for the race. In the French Grand Prix at Paul Ricard circuit both had an impressive qualifying, with Gachot ending up 11th on the grid and Johansson 13th. Gachot ran with Alesi, who finished 4th, before a battery problem put him down to 13th, while Johansson scored the team’s first points with a fine 5th place. The greatest moment for the Onyx Grand Prix was in Portugal when Johansson decided not to change tyres during the race and after everybody else had made their pit-stops and following Mansell and Senna’s collision, he was running an incredible 3rd before his tyres started to go off. He was rapidly caught and passed by both Williams but they soon retired and Johansson was left with a clear run home in 3rd, crossing the line with no fuel left.
|Stefan Johansson||36||Moneytron Onyx Formula One|