Italian driver Arturo Merzario established his own F1 racing team in 1977. He initially campaigned a March 761B during 1977, and in 1978 partnered with Swiss Formula One entrant Guglielmo Bellasi to run his own car. The A1 appeared in 1978 and was a basically conventional car based largely on his March 761B. It used the common combination of the Cosworth DFV engine and Hewland gearbox and was initially painted in Italian red color. The livery changed from red to black before the 1978 Monaco Grand Prix. Arturo struggled all season in qualifying, breaking the barrier in only half of the races. But out of 8 starts, the car retired 7 times, and once it was not classified.
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