Life Racing Engines

Life's 1990 season was the only season in which Life Racing Engines competed. The team competed in 14 of the 16 races that comprised the 1990 Formula One Season. Gary Brabham and Bruno Giacomelli failed to get anywhere near to successfully pre-qualifying and the season was a complete failure.

Key dataEdit

Chassis Life L190
Engines Life F35 3.5 W12 (Rounds 1–12)
Judd CV 3.5 V8 (Rounds 13–14)
Tyres G
Fuel/Oil Agip
Spark plugs Champion
Brakes Brembo
Dampers Koni
Race drivers Australia Gary Brabham (Rounds 1–2)
Italy Bruno Giacomelli (Rounds 3–14)
Test driver Italy Franco Scapini



United States Grand PrixEdit

For the first race of the season, the Life turned up, and along with eight other runners, entered pre-qualifying on Friday morning. While Roberto Moreno managed to set a time of 1:32.292, Gary Brabham was only able to procure a time of 2:07.147 from the four laps he drove before an engine misfire. This was 35 seconds down on the EuroBrun driver, and nearly forty seconds slower than Gerhard Berger's pole time set on Friday afternoon. However, Brabham was not last; Bertrand Gachot posting a time of five and a quarter minutes in the sole Coloni.

Brazilian Grand PrixEdit

For the second race in Brazil, it was much worse. The mechanics went on strike and refused to put oil in the car. As a result, Brabham only managed 400 metres before the car broke down, and with the car not fixed afterwards, no time was set. At this point, Brabham decided to leave the team, not wanting to completely ruin his career.

San Marino Grand PrixEdit

Bruno Giacomelli, 37 years old, out of F1 since 1983 and currently serving as the Leyton House test driver, was drafted in to replace Brabham. While the weekend was better than the previous one, it was barely so; Giacomelli completed a single lap. With this lap being the in lap and the out lap, it meant that Giacomelli set a ridiculous time of 7:16.212, but thanks to the withdrawal of Pierluigi Martini and that AGS' Gabriele Tarquini failed to set a time, Giacomelli was classified seventh in the session. Giacomelli stated during the race weekend that he was scared that he might get hit from behind, considering his slow pace.

Monaco Grand PrixEdit

Monaco was a relative success for the Life team. While pre-qualification was still some way off, Giacomelli completed a total of eight laps. Giacomelli's time was less than two seconds slower than Gachot's Coloni, and thirteen seconds off pre-qualifying, the closest the team would get. The time was also the best in respect to the pole time – 124.4% of pole.

Canadian Grand PrixEdit

Only seven slow laps could be coaxed out of the Life at Montreal as Giacomelli again finished well off the pace, twenty seconds down on Éric Bernard's Lola. Once again though, Giacomelli was not the only slow runner – Gachot was six seconds up, and perennial non-pre-qualifier Claudio Langes was only three seconds faster in his EuroBrun.

Mexican Grand PrixEdit

Spark plugs, as well as fortunes, were changed as Giacomelli managed a sole four-minute-plus lap (double the next-worst time) around the damp Mexico City track in a Life that was not particularly lively.

French Grand PrixEdit

The French GP bought out a worse performance from the Life. Giacomelli was unable to even set a lap time as the car stopped out on track on his out lap.

British Grand PrixEdit

An improvement was seen at Silverstone, as Giacomelli pulled out some laps from his machine, getting within fourteen seconds of pre-qualification at the fast circuit, and within seven seconds of Gachot's Coloni. However, all was not well as the car stopped out on track once again.

German Grand PrixEdit

Giacomelli managed a few laps around the Hockenheimring on Friday morning – but the Life's lack of pace was evident as the Italian could only muster a time 25 seconds off Philippe Alliot's best pre-qualifying time, and over 20 seconds from pre-qualifying. Giacomelli was 40 mph slower than any car in the speed trap.

Hungarian Grand PrixEdit

Hungary offered no respite to the Life team. A few laps were completed as the lack of downforce meant that Giacomelli's best time was 18 seconds off the pace. It was now ten pre-qualifying failures from ten attempts.

Belgian Grand PrixEdit

With Onyx/Monteverdi withdrawing from the World Championship, there were only seven drivers attempting to pre-qualify – but the reduced field did not improve Life's chances, especially as the engine was not firing up. On another fast circuit, the Life struggled. While the four pre-qualifiers managed times under two minutes, Giacomelli's best effort was a 2:19.445, twenty seconds too slow.

Italian Grand PrixEdit

Finally Life reached their home race at the Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The car pulled off its worse serious attempt of the season – a 1:55.244, 20 seconds slower than Langes (1:35.061), 27 seconds off pre-qualifying for qualifying (Yannick Dalmas in a 1:28.132) and nearly 33 seconds behind Ayrton Senna's pole time of 1:22.533.

Portuguese Grand PrixEdit

Fed up with their own engine, a Judd V8 engine was purchased and fitted into the back of the car. The mechanics worked overnight to fit in the new engine; however it was to no avail and the Life somehow managed to go fast enough for the engine cover (which was designed for the W12 engine) to fly off on Giacomelli's first lap, and any potential chance of pre-qualification was quashed.

Spanish Grand PrixEdit

With the engine cover issues sorted, Giacomelli was finally able to show what the Life chassis could do. Not much, as it turned out, as he was still eighteen seconds off pre-qualifying pace, and 26 off Senna's pole.

Japanese Grand Prix and Australian Grand PrixEdit

Like pre-qualification rivals EuroBrun, Life chose to not make the trip east to complete the final two races of the season, effectively ending their season in Spain.


Season statisticsEdit


Points 0
Championship position NC
Points 0
Championship position NC


Rnd Grand Prix Constructor Chassis Engine Tyre Driver Pre-Q Qualy Race
1 United States United States Life Life L190 Life F35 3.5 W12 G Australia Gary Brabham 8th DNPQ
2 Brazil Brazil 9th DNPQ
3 San Marino San Marino Italy Bruno Giacomelli 7th DNPQ
4 Monaco Monaco 9th DNPQ
5 Canada Canada 9th DNPQ
6 Mexico Mexico 9th DNPQ
7 France France 9th DNPQ
8 United Kingdom Great Britain 9th DNPQ
9 West Germany Germany 9th DNPQ
10 Hungary Hungary 9th DNPQ
11 Belgium Belgium 7th DNPQ
12 Italy Monza 7th DNPQ
13 Portugal Portugal Life-Judd Judd CV 3.5 V8 7th DNPQ
14 Spain Spain 7th DNPQ
15 Japan Japan Did not compete
16 Australia Australia


Entries 14
Starts 0
Pole Positions 0
Front Row Starts 0
Race Wins 0
Podiums 0
Fastest laps 0
Points 0
Laps Raced 0
Distance Raced 0 km (0 mi)
Races Led 0
Laps Led 0
Distance Led 0 km (0 mi)


Team Pts
Champion (McLaren-Honda)
NC – Coloni-Ford Cosworth
NC – Life
NC – Coloni-Subaru
NC – Life-Judd
Laps raced and lead
Statistic Laps
All races
Life Maximum
Laps raced
Laps led
Percentage of pole times
Race Percentage
107% (for comparison)
United States
No time
San Marino
No time
Great Britain
No time


External linksEdit

V T E Life logo F1 Life Racing Engines
1990 (Report)
Australia Gary Brabham · Italy Bruno Giacomelli · Italy Franco Scapini (test driver)
Ernesto Vita · Gianni Marelli · Oliver Piazzi
Franco Rocchi · Richard Divila · FIRST Racing
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