Life, a Formula One constructor from Modena, Italy, is considered as one of the worst F1 entrants ever tried to start Grand Prix race. Life cars never escaped the pre-qualifying, usually finishing last in the sessions with the huge gap to the second slowest car. The company was named for its founder, Ernesto Vita (“Vita” is Italian for “Life”), who partnered with the Soviet PiC company from Leningrad – that’s why the red flag of the Soviet Union were displayed on the nose of the car along with the Italian tricolor. Mikhail Pichkovsky, controversial businessman, amateur rally driver and chairman of Petersburg Industrial Company (PiC) cooperative promised Life financial support in the amount of $ 20 million and technological assistance from the Soviet defense industry. But Vita’s team did not receive any help from PiC. Another interesting feature of the Life F1 project was W12, or “broad arrow”, engine which had been designed by the former Ferrari engineer Franco Rocchi, who had been responsible for, among others, Ferrari’s 3-litre V8 for the 1970s 308 GTB and GTS. As Life was not able to build a car on its own, the team purchased the still-born Formula One chassis from First Racing that had been designed by Ricardo Divila for Lamberto Leoni´s abortive Formula One team the year before. In late 1989, the chassis was fitted with his W12 engine. The major engineering work had been done by Gianni Marelli, another former Ferrari man. Initially Gary Brabham son of Sir Jack Brabham, was signed to drive with Franco Scapini hired as test driver. When Brabham failed to pre-qualify in first two rounds (being almost 30 seconds slower than closest rival in pre-qualifying for the USA Grand Prix and setting no time in Brazil) he left the team for good, and was replaced by the Italian veteran Bruno Giacomelli, who last raced in F1 in 1983. Bruno also was slowest in the pre-qualifying. For the Portuguese Grand Prix, the team replaced their own engine with the more conventional Judd CV V8, but then found that the engine cover did not fit; it flew off the car on its first lap of Estoril. With money in short supply and few hopes of improving their desperately noncompetitive package the team folded before the final two races of the season.
|Gary Brabham||39||Life Racing Engines|