The place for respectful and reverent discussion of Reject drivers and teams, whether profiled or not as yet
by MikeH 16 Jan 2010, 23:19
I'll start by apologising if this ends up being a rehash of info already available here but I've been at a loose end today and wanted to share the results of some sleuthing I've been up to via the medium of Google.

As a huge fan of Forti Corse (Pacific, Simtek and so on) back in the day, the details behind the collapse of the team in '96 just after they were taken over by Shannon Racing has always intrigued me, most of all because the takeover should have provided the funds the team needed to get the full potential out of the very promising (and very sexy) FG03 and my favourite driver of the day Mr "I'll be screwed over by them forever but will always remain faithful to Ferrari" Badoer.

When the Shannon Group stepped in and took over that should have signalled a new start for the team - they already had a decent car and drivers, they just needed some money to kickstart the development process. However, things went wrong immediately - Shannon provided no funds within the six-day period after taking a 51% stake in the team as was stipulated in the deal and it seems as though next to no funding was ever put into the squad. Relations grew strained, what little funding the team had dried up, the mileage on the Cosworth engines ran out and the team parked early in France, didn't even attempt qualification properly in Britain, didn't leave the paddock in Germany and then vanished altogether. While this was happening Guido Forti was attempting to wrest back control of the team from the Shannon group but by the time a court judged against him and the legal side was settled, their was precious little left of the team anyway as Shannon Racing itself had disintegrated.

So what really happened? Looking at F1 news sites and magazines has never provided much more than "Forti signed a deal with a sponsor/partner called Shannon which was an Irish registered company, part of the FinFirst group. Forti signed the team over to Shannon, no money came of it, the team shut down, end of story." There seems to be a bit more to it, at least, as to why no money was forthcoming and why Shannon vanished so quickly.

Say hello to Mr Hermann "Ben" Gartz. A German with some Italian background, he was a fraudster of staggering proportions with more arrests than you can shake a stick at. To give you a little background into his story, have a look at the paragraph entitled "21.00 Phantom of the mafia Germany's most successful fraudsters" here: http://translate.google.co.uk/translate ... %2Fphoenix As you can see, he's involved in all sorts of staggering criminal activities and to have personal contact with none other than professional fraudulent politician Silvio Berlesconi tells you exactly what kind of person we're dealing with here.

Part of his dodgy dealing was to set up FinFirst in Milan in 1994 (not sure what this is in reference to, but it's a business email originating from himself at FinFirst, somewhat incredibly dated March 2006, but there's no mention of FinFirst still being a going concern anywhere else on the web - http://www.lists.ufl.edu/cgi-bin/wa?A2= ... &S=&P=7418 ) and taking control of Sokol Helicopters (which you may recall from the Forti rear-wing) but his path was a long and winding one and he ended up setting up a chain of fraudulent activities in Ireland of all places. Indeed, he set them up in Shannon, hence the Shannon Group. At this point, the Russian Mafia and all sorts of weird things start to enter into the story, but I'll let you read about his Irish escapades (including murder most foul) here: http://www.independent.ie/national-news ... 14666.html

So it would appear that Guido Forti and his team fell into the clutches of a prolific conman with a very large portfolio of companies he'd taken control of through ill gotten funds but didn't have the backing or capacity he claimed leaving a string of broken promises and unfulfilled projects. Motorsport through F3 and F3000 initially (though the way he pulled the plug on the lower formula teams instantly when he decided to go for F1 should have been a warning of what was to come) then via F1 was his way of trying to gain more exposure for his rotten companies but as with most fraudsters he couldn't stay still for long and abandoned the project quickly, making the fact that he had gained the 51% control the death-knell for the Forti team.

So now all fans of reject teams know who to blame for one of the last independant privateers F1 ever saw coming to a shuddering end - Mr Hermann Gartz!

by Pieman 17 Jan 2010, 00:44
Great to see a fellow Forti fan on the forums - and some top detective work too. I remember at the time that no-one seemed to know who or what the Shannon Group really were (Autosport describing them as "mystery money men") and they disappeared as soon as they arrived with their attractive red, white and green livery seen no more.

The reason I liked Forti so much is because they kept trying their hardest despite the odds and finances being stacked against them - until this debacle.

Forza Forti
by midgrid 17 Jan 2010, 14:44
Another Forti fan here! This sounds extremely interesting, as I did some work on the Wikipedia Forti article a while back and found it very difficult to get hold of any information on Shannon and Finfirst beyond the basics. Hermann Gartz reminds me of Rainer Walldorf, Gérard Larrousse's business partner whose real identity was Klaus Walz, a fugitive wanted for murder. Like the other man in the Irish news article, he was also killed in a gun battle, except with the police instead of the mafia.

"One day Bruno told me that he had heard the engine momentarily making a strange sound; his suspicion was that all the cylinders had been operating."
--Nigel Roebuck
by ibsey 18 Jan 2010, 17:28
Waris wrote:Wouldn't be the first time a shady consortium or criminal/fraudster/mafioso tries to buy into F1, nor the last (QADBAK).


Maybe we should start a new thread on this? But I would be very interested to here about any other examples of shady consortium or criminal/fraudster/mafioso (in other words reject team owners) buying into F1?

A couple of examples I am aware of is the bloke who brought Brabham in 1989. I'll quote Martin Brundle's account;

"I went to see Bernie Ecclestone about driving for Brabham, and he was sitting in his office with a man in a suit. Bernie said, 'Brundle, this is Mr Luhti, He's just brought Brabham, and he wants you to drive for him. He's in the top end of finance and he wants to keep a low profile, so don't talk about him to anyone'. Joachim Luhti turned up for the 1st race at Rio with a Knotted handkerchief on his head and a couple of girls on each arm. I said to myself 'so this is the man we mustn't talk about? Low profile right? He ended up in prison not long afterwards."

Also Martin later goes on to say Cyril de Rouvre who owned Ligier circa 1993 also ended up in prison.

Does anyone know any more about their shady activities?

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Release date TBC.

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by MikeH 18 Jan 2010, 20:40
De Rouvre wasn't a major criminal by any means, though it seems he he was too determined to run at the highest level of motorsport and paid the price: http://www.grandprix.com/gpe/cref-dercyr.html

One of the best was probably celebrated nutter and self proclaimed "anarchist" Jean-Pierre Van Rossem - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jean-Pierre_Van_Rossem

by SuperAguri 19 Jan 2010, 04:40
It's easier when the Serious Fraud Office put up details of a crime on their website, so read up on how Middlebridge got the money to buy Brabham and then go bust... it's not complete as it fails to mention what happened to the main shareholder the Japanese businessman Kouji Nakauchi, although he was arrested for fraud.

It's interesting to note that all three Japanese back teams in the early 90s (Leyton House and Footwork being the other two) had major shareholders that were all arrested...

http://www.sfo.gov.uk/about-us/annual-r ... udies.aspx

I miss Forti as they really were the last of the true F3000 to F1 teams...

<@Ataxia> these people are making a mess of their crepe suzettes
by Phoenix 07 Feb 2010, 00:32
MikeH wrote:The Brabham situation towards the end was an interesting one - though the most bizarre thing about it was easily the hideous colour-scheme. Any ideas why they went with this?

Image

Maybe to draw off the attention about how ugly the body was, or how bad the plain performance was.

ALL HAIL THE POWER OF THE SOVIET PEOPLE MARCHING UNITED TOWARD FREEDOM
by eytl 07 Feb 2010, 11:05
I haven't had the chance to read this thread in full until now ...

Nice research MikeH, we should probably use that info to update our Forti profile ... sometime in the next decade at our current speed!

Joachim Luhti was imprisoned for fraud, as far as I am aware.

Mention of Cyril de Rouvre's ownership of Ligier in 1993 reminds me of how that season was easily their strongest since the early 1980s, until 1997 by which stage the team had been bought by Alain Prost. The combination of good chassis, Renault engine, and the "Brundell" brothers at the wheel made for an excellent package - they qualified on the second row at Magny Cours behind the Williams in a Renault 1-2-3-4 on the grid. I remember I was a bit saddened that de Rouvre turned out to be a bad egg because under his ownership Ligier made notable strides.

That is a sensational picture of Eric van de Poele in the Brabham! According to our interview with EvdP, he said the garish colours were due to the last change in ownership of the team. I personally loved those colours. Confession time: I used to play a NASCAR game on my PC in which you could design your own cars, and I gave mine a pink, light blue and dark blue job inspired by the Brabham. Last year in Melbourne for the AGP I was delighted to pick up a second-hand hot pink team t-shirt - and was amazed that they had time to produce merchandise based on this short-lived colour scheme!

One final note: I'm amazed that no-one has mentioned Andrea Sassetti in this thread as yet ...

by karsten 08 Feb 2010, 11:50
Valrys wrote:
eytl wrote:One final note: I'm amazed that no-one has mentioned Andrea Sassetti in this thread as yet ...


Speaking of good ol' Andrea, anybody who speaks Italian fancy translating this?
http://www.autosprint.it/upload/articoliArchivio/AK_13_034-sassetti.swf


I will if i'll get lots of free time... just everybody know that the article is full of epic win :D

Missing the good old Minardi! T_T
by Whis 09 Feb 2010, 10:42
karsten wrote:
Valrys wrote:
eytl wrote:One final note: I'm amazed that no-one has mentioned Andrea Sassetti in this thread as yet ...


Speaking of good ol' Andrea, anybody who speaks Italian fancy translating this?
http://www.autosprint.it/upload/articoliArchivio/AK_13_034-sassetti.swf


I will if i'll get lots of free time... just everybody know that the article is full of epic win :D


secondo me quell'articolo è pieno di stronzate e gli fa fare bella figura...
by MikeH 10 Feb 2010, 12:32
eytl wrote:Nice research MikeH, we should probably use that info to update our Forti profile ... sometime in the next decade at our current speed!


heh, cool. Was at a loose end for an afternoon and after a serious amount of link hopping and searching managed to find what's there - which isn't much! I've always been surprised that more hasn't been made of what brought about the end of Forti.

by Faustus 11 Feb 2010, 19:33
I remember that at one point in 1996, the Shannon Group was 'sponsoring' cars in the German, Italian and French Formula 3 championships. The odd thing is, that according to the driver of one of the cars in the German championship (Manuel Giao, a decent Portuguese driver, now racing in the Open GT), they actually paid up.
Last edited by Faustus on 12 Feb 2010, 19:50, edited 2 times in total.

Following Formula 1 since 1984.
Avid collector of Formula 1 season guides and reviews.
Collector of reject merchandise and 1/43rd scale reject model cars.
by midgrid 11 Feb 2010, 23:05
Aha! So they accidentally gave their money intended for Forti to a Portuguese F3 driver. Happens all the time. :P

"One day Bruno told me that he had heard the engine momentarily making a strange sound; his suspicion was that all the cylinders had been operating."
--Nigel Roebuck
by MikeH 12 Feb 2010, 18:51
Faustus wrote:I remember that at one point in 1996, the Shannon Group was 'sponsoring' cars in the German, Italian and French Formula 3 championships. The odd thing is, that according to the driver of one of the cars in the German championship (Manuel Giao, a decent Portuguese driver, now racing in the Open GT), they actaully paid up.


As an aside, that's something I've been trying to find pictures of myself - the Shannon "side projects" in F3 and F3000. Best I've been able to come up with so far is Luca Rangoni in the single F3000 start he made with the team:

Image

by Faustus 12 Feb 2010, 19:41
MikeH wrote:
Faustus wrote:I remember that at one point in 1996, the Shannon Group was 'sponsoring' cars in the German, Italian and French Formula 3 championships. The odd thing is, that according to the driver of one of the cars in the German championship (Manuel Giao, a decent Portuguese driver, now racing in the Open GT), they actaully paid up.


As an aside, that's something I've been trying to find pictures of myself - the Shannon "side projects" in F3 and F3000. Best I've been able to come up with so far is Luca Rangoni in the single F3000 start he made with the team:

Image


That rings a bell. Rangoni, along with Tom Kristensen were entered as a second team by Edenbridge, Peter Briggs' team. The team's livery was the Shannon green and white, as can be seen in MikeH's photo. Sometime later in the season the team dropped the Shannon logos but kept the colours. I remember reading an interview of Kristensen in Autosport, at the German Grand Prix support race, where he talked about how skint the team was and how Briggs was running him for the cost of the tyres and fuel.

MikeH, that photo is a great find and your research is superb. Yours is certainly one of the best posts I've read in this forum. I wish I could contribute with some photos, because I'm sure I've got some in the many motorsport magazines that I have from that time. Unfortunately, they're all in Portugal and I'm in the UK, and I won't be going to Portugal before April. I'll happily have a look for them then.

Following Formula 1 since 1984.
Avid collector of Formula 1 season guides and reviews.
Collector of reject merchandise and 1/43rd scale reject model cars.
by MikeH 21 Feb 2010, 13:40
Faustus wrote:MikeH, that photo is a great find and your research is superb. Yours is certainly one of the best posts I've read in this forum. I wish I could contribute with some photos, because I'm sure I've got some in the many motorsport magazines that I have from that time. Unfortunately, they're all in Portugal and I'm in the UK, and I won't be going to Portugal before April. I'll happily have a look for them then.


That would be great, my friend. I've got a handful of Autosports and so on from that time but not many pics.

by MikeH 23 Apr 2012, 06:25
Can't believe I wrote this stuff over 2 years ago! I've moved half way round the world and got married since then, lol.

Anyway, a wander around the image searching properties of teh interwubz has brought up a couple of interesting pics to add to this thread. F3000 pics are still impossible to come by but F3 searches have delivered some morsels. First, check out this flickr gallery for many of the herd of Shannon "sponsored" F3 cars at the F1 supporting Monaco race - http://www.flickr.com/photos/smtfhw/set ... /94096428/

And here's Andrea Boldrini, who interestingly still managed to win the Italian F3 Championship despite the financial hardship Shannon's disappearance mid-season caused him.

Image

by Sunshine_Baby_[IT] 23 Apr 2012, 10:43
Valrys wrote:
eytl wrote:One final note: I'm amazed that no-one has mentioned Andrea Sassetti in this thread as yet ...


Speaking of good ol' Andrea, anybody who speaks Italian fancy translating this?
http://www.autosprint.it/upload/articoliArchivio/AK_13_034-sassetti.swf

This is great! :o
I will try to translate it!

I'm Perry McCarthy and Taki Inoue's fan number 1 and I always will be.

My twitter: @Miluuu_Sunshine
by dinizintheoven 23 Apr 2012, 11:54
And this gives me an idea for another alternative championship, if I get the time to run it or if anyone else does... Formula Fraud!

Entry procedures are simple - at least one convicted fraudster or extremely shady businessman must have been involved with the team at some stage. Hence, Shannon-era Forti, Jean-Pierre van Rossem-era Onyx, any team involving Prince Malik, Andrea Moda, Leyton House, the aborted Qadbak-Sauber team...

James Allen, on his favourite F1 engine of all time:
"...the Life W12, I can't describe the noise to you, but imagine filling your dustbin with nuts and bolts, and then throwing it down the stairs, it was something akin to that!"
by Sunshine_Baby_[IT] 23 Apr 2012, 13:39
Sunshine_Baby_[IT] wrote:
Valrys wrote:
eytl wrote:One final note: I'm amazed that no-one has mentioned Andrea Sassetti in this thread as yet ...


Speaking of good ol' Andrea, anybody who speaks Italian fancy translating this?
http://www.autosprint.it/upload/articoliArchivio/AK_13_034-sassetti.swf

This is great! :o
I will try to translate it!

I've started a new thread about this article on Andrea Moda (where I started to translate it) here:
viewtopic.php?f=9&t=4918

I'm Perry McCarthy and Taki Inoue's fan number 1 and I always will be.

My twitter: @Miluuu_Sunshine
by AdrianSutil 24 Apr 2012, 01:43
dinizintheoven wrote:And this gives me an idea for another alternative championship, if I get the time to run it or if anyone else does... Formula Fraud!

Entry procedures are simple - at least one convicted fraudster or extremely shady businessman must have been involved with the team at some stage. Hence, Shannon-era Forti, Jean-Pierre van Rossem-era Onyx, any team involving Prince Malik, Andrea Moda, Leyton House, the aborted Qadbak-Sauber team...

You can add Super Aguri and Minardi too if you like. S&S Unied failed to pay Suoer Aguri which led to their collapse and Wilix pulled out of Minardi, one reason why the team ha to be sold to Red Bull.

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by Faustus 25 Apr 2012, 05:40
The similarities between the Shannon Group and Group Lotus are uncanny, arent they?

Following Formula 1 since 1984.
Avid collector of Formula 1 season guides and reviews.
Collector of reject merchandise and 1/43rd scale reject model cars.
by DemocalypseNow 25 Apr 2012, 08:19
Faustus wrote:The similarities between the Shannon Group and Group Lotus are uncanny, arent they?

All we need now is Dany Bahahahahar dressed as a leprechaun.

Novitopoli wrote:Everytime someone orders at Pizza Hut, an Italian dies.
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Image Image
by Faustus 25 Apr 2012, 12:07
MikeH wrote:Can't believe I wrote this stuff over 2 years ago! I've moved half way round the world and got married since then, lol.

Anyway, a wander around the image searching properties of teh interwubz has brought up a couple of interesting pics to add to this thread. F3000 pics are still impossible to come by but F3 searches have delivered some morsels. First, check out this flickr gallery for many of the herd of Shannon "sponsored" F3 cars at the F1 supporting Monaco race - http://www.flickr.com/photos/smtfhw/set ... /94096428/

And here's Andrea Boldrini, who interestingly still managed to win the Italian F3 Championship despite the financial hardship Shannon's disappearance mid-season caused him.

Image


Nice find!

Following Formula 1 since 1984.
Avid collector of Formula 1 season guides and reviews.
Collector of reject merchandise and 1/43rd scale reject model cars.
by MikeH 01 May 2012, 17:56
Faustus wrote:The similarities between the Shannon Group and Group Lotus are uncanny, arent they?


Pretty similar, yeah. Biggest difference I'd say is that Group Lotus just didn't have as much funding as they said they did whereas Shannon said they had lots of funding and actually had none at all, lol.

by TheViking 13 Feb 2018, 15:01
hi all,
just found this thread and think it is really interesting and a good piece of research which provides good knowledge regarding the case of Shannon Racing Team.

What do you reckon would a collector pay for an original Shannon Racing Team racing suit? Just interested to find out what value such rare available items could have.

Look forward to hear your thoughts, thanks.
by Myrvold 24 May 2018, 12:21
My idea would be a bit, while not very much, all depending on what "Shannon Racing Team".

Something from lower formulas, only for very niche group of people. From F1, it will still be niche, but you have som people here who would be interested, and the F1 collectors. Then again, if it is F1 and an actual Luca Badoer piece, you are looking at a slightly bigger pool of potential buyers as well.

Then it depends a bit on it's condition etc. E.g I would never buy a used race suit to keep it safe. I am a person who likes to use them when doing racing myself.
by Dexter249 25 May 2018, 18:44
The fact that you're bumping an 8 year old thread, makes absolutely no sense.

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Dexter249 wrote:"Just close your eyes.....It's time to let it go"
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by dr-baker 25 May 2018, 20:31
Dexter249 wrote:The fact that you're bumping an 8 year old thread, makes absolutely no sense.

Depending which one of the two previous posts you're referring to, you mean either 6 years or three months... Either way, I still kinda get your point. But some threads can slow burners, particularly the history-based threads, like the thread on the 1994 season: https://www.gprejects.com/forum/viewtop ... f=2&t=4612

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