Impreza WRX Online Catalog

Subaru in Formula 1

The "Subaru" engine powered the Coloni chassis during the 1990 season. Like most F1 engines the project was a badged project, the design and manufacture being done by Motori-Moderni and the end result blessed by Subaru who funded the project. For 1990 the Coloni team itself was 51% owned by Subaru and 49% by its founder Enzo Coloni. They fielded only 1 car and it was driven by Belgian Bertrand Gachot.

Some facts about the car.......

Subaru Coloni C3B
Sponsor - Subaru
Designer - Paul Burgis
Team Manager - Enzo Coloni
Engine con fig - flat 12
Bore x stroke - 84mm x 52.6mm
Capacity - 3498cc
Compression ratio - 11.5:1
Estimated power - 600bhp @ 12,500rpm (compare this to the Honda V10 in the McLaren which is quoted as 690bhp)
Max rpm - 13,000
Engine weight - 159kg
Fuel - Agip
Spark plugs - Champion
Transmission - Subaru 6 speed
Clutch - AP
Suspension - double wishbone, push rod, Kone dampers
Tykes - Goodyear
Brakes - Brembo
Total chassis weight - 500kg

The car is described in the 1990/1 Autocourse as "Coloni- Revised C3B chassis powered by a flat-12 Motori Moderni-designed Subaru engine, with transverse gearbox from the same company. An over weight and extremely ungainly makeshift machine."

Steves P1
Subaru Flat 12 with its creator Carlo Chiti

A trip into nostalgia with teams forgotten, and those now no longer competing with a wild variety of engine configurations and manufacturers.

AGS Ford Cosworth V8
Brabham Judd V8
Coloni Subaru flat 12
Dallara Ford Cosworth V8
Euro Brun Judd V8
Larrousse Lola Lamborghini V12
Leyton House Judd V8
Life started with their imaginative W12 but then Judd V8
Lotus Lamborghini V12
Onyx Ford Cosworth V8
and Ossella Ford Cosworth V8.

Teams who are (or where there in 1998) competing:-
Arrows Ford Cosworth V8
Benetton Ford HB V8
Ferrari V12
McLaren Honda V10
Minardi Ford Cosworth V8
Tyrrell Honda V10
and Williams Renault V10.

There were 39 drivers in all trying to qualify for the 26 grid positions. This brought about the need for pre-qualifying. The lower teams started their weekend early Friday morning, and only the top four going onto qualifying and the other 9 packing up after only an hour of action (or in some cases less than a lap).

Being a small team with no points from the previous season, Subaru Coloni were forced into pre-qualifying with the likes of Euro Brun, AGS, Life, and Larrousse.

Summary of the season, the positions given are for the pre qualifying times.....they did not get through very often.

United States GP - Phoenix
As Gachot accelerated out of the pits for pre-qualifying the gear linkage on the car broke and pre-qualifying ended for the team before a lap had been run.

Brazil - Interlagos
Clutch trouble. 7th in pre-qualifying with a time of 1min 34.046s. Pole time was 1min 17.277s.

San Marino - Imola
Car went on a diet and lost 21kg over the Brazil car! Unfortunately a vapour lock problem caused time to be lossed, shortening running time. Just missed the cut with 5th in pre-qualifying and a time of 1m 33.554s. Pole time 1m 23.22s.

May - Subaru buy out Enzo Colonis' remaining 49% share in the team.

Broken oil seal.
8th 1m 39.295s. Pole time 1m 21.314s.

Crashed out.
7th 1m 44.185s. Pole time 1m 20.399s.

Oil leak.
7th 1m 28.805s. Pole time 1m 17.227s.

France - Paul Ricard
Engine failure after 1 lap.
8th 14m 2.465s ;-) Pole time 1m 4.402s

Great Britain - Silverstone
8th 1m 19.23. Pole time 1m7.423s.

There was an interview with Peter Colins of Lotus before the race at Silverstone, with Murray Walker commenting on how many different engine configurations and manufacturers there were. Collins was asked about the new V12 Lamborghini engine fitted in the Lotus. He made some interesting comments on the different configurations, with the Lambo and Ferrari V12 being good for ultimate top end power, the V8 Fords and Judds being very compact allowing the chassis to be designed to the optimum at the sacrifice of some power, and the V10 Honda and Renault being a good compromise between the two. On the Life W12 he kindly commented "interesting concept". It was replaced by a Judd V8 by the end of the year. He mentioned the Subaru at length as it was a 12 cylinder like his own teams Lambo but a flat 12. He said that the idea was to get the centre of gravity low, but this then results in a very wide engine at the detrement to bodywork and aerodynamics. He also pointed out that the engine could not be placed that low (we are talking F1 here remember) as the exhausts had to come out somewhere, necessitating it to then be raised!

July - Subaru retire from F1. The team is sold back to its name sake.

The Coloni continues on unsuccesfully with a Ford Cosworth DFR V8 replacing the flat 12. The chassis is rebuilt with a lengthened wheel base after it is written off in Germany. Further improvements are made in Hungary. It finally pre-qualifies in Italy, Portugal, and Spain, but to no avail as it then fails to qualify for the races. Japan and Australia were a bit different as the other pre-qualifiers failed to turn up so the Coloni had a free pass into the qualifying, but failed as usual to get into the race itself.

Other notes on the season :-
Silverstone was the race where Mansell retired from the race in his Ferrari to then announce his retirement from F1. Eddie Jordan announces he is to embark into F1 in the following year. Italy was the race where Derek Warwick's Lotus was involved in an enormous accident at the exit of the Parabolica on lap 1. Spain was the race where Martin Donnellys racing career as a driver ended in a massive qualifying accident. Japan was the site of the famous 1st bend coming together by Prost and Senna. By this time Mansell had unretired himself with a new contract to drive for Williams.

...and in the same year the Sierra (Saphirre) 4x4 Cosworth is getting rave reviews in all the press....Lancia Delta Integrale takes the World Rally Championship for manufacturers and Carlos Sainz wins the drivers title in a Toyota GT4. Subaru were 4th in the manufacturers championship with the Legacy.

1991 - the following year the Ford Escort Cosworth was released. Colin McRae has his first works drive in a world championship event for Subaru on the RAC.

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Copyright © 1996/7/8/9 Steve Breen