Rumi transferred the team from Volpiano near Torino to his headquarter in Bergamo and ran it for one and a half years on his own. He initially persevered with Osella's driver, Olivier Grouillard, until he tired of the Frenchman's reckless side and attitude problem, replacing him with Gabriele Tarquini. The new team was no more successful than in the Osella days, sometimes the results being even worse than those of its fellow back row contenders Coloni or AGS.
For the 1991 Formula One season, Osella Squadra corse was gone; the team re-appeared as Fondmetal Corse. Initially, Fondmetal entered the FA1/ME which was a mere carry-over from last year (and in fact from 1989 as Osella had not been able to erect a new car in 1990). Driven by Olivier Grouillard, the blue and grey coloured machine was uncompetitive by any means. In the first two races of the season, Grouillard was slower than anybody. Although Fondmetal was able to use Cosworth engines prepared by Brian Hart from last years Tyrrell team, even Pedro Chaves in his Coloni was ahead of the Bergamo car. In that hostile atmosphere, pre-qualification turned out to be impossible. But Rumi had high hopes for the European season. By the San Marino Grand Prix, a new car appeared, called the FOMET1. It was elaborated by a newly-founded think-tank in the UK called Fomet. The Bicester-based design office was headed by Tino Belli and founded by Rumi who thought that British input was necessary for gaining success. The FOMET 1 featured new aerodynamics , a new suspension and some other improvements, but apart from this, the new car obviously conserving its Osella roots. Finally, things improved a little, but not significantly. With the new car, Grouillard managed to be faster than the Coloni machine, but that does not mean that Fondmetal was able to pass pre-qualifying regularly. Only a handful of race participations were possible, but results were poor. In the end, Grouillard was replaced by former AGS man Gabriele Tarquini who finished twice (from three attempts) but no points were scored.
At the end of 1991, due to some financial troubles, the British FOMET subsidiary where the designers had been working on a new Formula One car since the previous summer found its way into independence. Tino Belli sold the layout of the new car to the French Larrousse Formula One team which left Fondmetal without a new car for the next season. Instead, Gabriele Rumi commissioned Sergio Rinland from Astauto to design a new machine. Naturally, it was not ready for the season opening so for the first few races, last year's car had to do it again. Now dubbed GR01, it had seen few modifications; the major change was the installation of a Ford HB V8 engine (a carry-over from last year's Benetton machine) that came instead of the Lamborghini V12 or the Judd V10 that Rumi had preferred. The engine and the chassis did not go together well. There were some cooling troubles, and reliability was poor. The team appeared with two drivers, one being Tarquini, the other one being the Swiss debutant Andrea Chiesa. Tarquini showed speed, but the car was fragile.
Things should be better in late spring when the new chassis found its way on the circuits. The GR02 had nothing in common with former years´ Osellas and Fondmetals. The roots of its design dated back to late 1991 when Sergio Rinland was working for the Brabham team on the new Brabham BT61 that never saw the light of day. Instead, the basic structures of this design were carried over to the 1992 Fondmetal. Hence, the GR02 had some qualities and indeed was well regarded by its drivers. However, results turned out to be disappointing, with minor problems often stopping the cars after they qualified well. The team had little funds so tests were few and development slow. Finishes were rare. Tarquini often qualified this car surprisingly high up the order, and at the Hungarian Grand Prix put in Fondmetal's best performance to qualify 12th. Chiesa never got going, however, usually failing to qualify, and was replaced by Eric van de Poele for the Hungarian Grand Prix. While he proved competitive, he also collided with Tarquini in Hungary, losing the Italian team's last chance of a points finish. Three races later in September 1992, the team withdrew, feeling the pinch of the worldwide recession and of scoring no results better than a pair of 10th places.
|Year||Team||Driver||# of GPs|
|1992||Fondmetal-Ford||Eric van de Poele||3|