JULY 8, 1996

Forti - times are hard

THERE have been rumors in recent days that the Italian Forti team may not be seen at the British GP this weekend because of a lack of money. At the French GP both Fortis retired from the race with "engine problems," but there were rumors before the race that this would happen because the engines in the cars had reached their maximum mileage. The word in the paddock was that one car would stop in the first couple of laps and the other at half distance - which is exactly what happened.

Forti's cash crisis is odd in that the team only recently announced what seemed to be a major sponsorship deal with the mysterious Shannon Racing Team company. At the time this seemed like a strange arrangement, as at the launch of the Shannon/Forti deal neither Guido Forti nor anyone from Shannon was present. The announcement was made by AaronÊColombo, the boss of carbonfiber company Belco-Avia, which builds all the Forti chassis. The only logical explanation for this is that Colombo had organized the deal, against the wishes of Forti, to ensure that Belco-Avia was paid for the chassis it had constructed for the team.

Whatever the case, there is no doubt that Forti is short of cash and that will be frustrating engineer George Ryton, who was hoping to introduce major changes to the Forti cars at Silverstone.