DECEMBER 1, 1997
The expansion at Faenza - although there are continuing rumors which suggest that the entire operation might be moved the 70 miles from its current headquarters to a new facility alongside the Fondmetal Technologies windtunnel at Casumaro, near Ferrara - is evidence of the dominant role now being played in the team by Fondmetal boss Gabriele Rumi, who is the majority shareholder in the team's holding company. This was confirmed last week when Flavio Briatore told Italian pressmen that he had sold his shareholding in the team after Rumi and Minardi rejected his plans for a deal involving Minardi and British American Tobacco.
Rumi has long harbored the ambition of owning his own successful F1 team. He has been involved in F1 as a sponsor since the early 1980s but in 1989 bought the Osella team and two years later changed its name to Fondmetal. The chassis were built in England and the team looked to be on the verge of establishing itself in the midfield when the money ran out and Rumi was forced to shut down the team at the end of 1992.