After a full season in 1988 and the team's first championship points courtesy of Claudio Langes in 1989, it became apparent that Forti was improving as a competitive force. In 1990, Gianni Morbidelli scored Forti's first victory in an F3000 race, and although no Forti driver won a championship title in this category, the team established itself as a frequent front-runner. From 1993 onwards, Forti concentrated solely on F3000, and ran drivers such as Emanuele Naspetti, Fabrizio Giovanardi, Andrea Montermini (who would later race for the team in F1) and Hideki Noda (who would lose out to Montermini for the F1 seat). This was Forti's most successful season in F3000, with Naspetti finishing third in the Drivers' Championship, only ten points behind champion Christian Fittipaldi. Although the team's form dipped over subsequent years, by 1994 Forti was the most experienced team in the championship, employing Noda and Pedro Diniz as drivers. Forti scored nine wins and five pole positions as an F3000 team.
The FG01 had many influences. Its roots dated back to when former Brabham designer Rinland left the British team before the season ended. Rinland set up Astauto Ltd. in Tolworth, England, hiring several of his former collaborators from Brabham when the team closed its doors. Brabham sold the building and wind tunnel at Chessington to Yamaha, facilities that Astauto rented to develop the new Fondmetal GR02, which was designed and built by June 1992, just six months after it was commissioned by Gabriele Rumi. The Fondmetal GR02 was a natural successor of the Brabham BT60, in concept, as it was conceived by the same design team. Due to Fondmetal's own severe financial troubles, the GR02 was run only in a few races before the team was closed. When in late , Forti bought the remains of the Fondmetal Team, acquiring all the spares of the GR02 in the process, the team then turned to Rinland to purchase the design of what would have been the F1 car design by the Astauto Design Team after the collapse of the Fondmetal team. At that time, Rinland was living and working in California on a new ChampCar project. Forti sent his Chief Designer and former Astauto employee Chris Radage to California to gather all the technical information, data and drawings from Rinland, returning to Italy to design and develop the new Forti FG01. Rinland joined the team in early 1995 for a short period as Technical Director, once he had returned to Europe. Rinland assisted experienced Italian engineers Giorgio Stirano and Giacomo Caliri in designing the car. The car's aerodynamics were completed by former Brabham employee Hans Fouche using wind-tunnels in South Africa, and composite work was done by the Belco Avia company. However, it was rumoured that the FG01 was little more than a re-working of the GR02.
Thus the FG01 did not promise much in terms of performance. It was angular and bulky, with poor aerodynamic performance negatively affecting grip and handling; it had a plump nose, initially no airbox, and was overweight and under-powered, using a small Ford-Cosworth ED V8 customer engine largely financed by Ford do Brasil. It was also the only car to have a manual gearbox in the 1995 F1 season. The car was liveried in a blue-and-yellow colour scheme accompanied by fluorescent green wheel-rims, illustrating the team's Brazilian influence in its first year. Rinland subsequently left the team after a few weeks, after falling out with the team's management over the car's lack of competitiveness.
At the beginning of the season, the cars were embarrassingly slow, despite a healthy amount of testing. Diniz finished 10th in the season-opening Brazilian GP, but was seven laps down on winner Michael Schumacher. In Argentina, this situation became worse, as, although both drivers finished, they were both nine laps down on winner Damon Hill at the end of the race (with Diniz ahead) and neither were classified, as they had failed to complete 90% of the race distance. The drivers' similar fastest laps during the race were over ten seconds slower than Schumacher's fastest race lap, and almost five seconds slower than the next slowest runner's fastest lap (Domenico Schiattarella in the Simtek). Imola was similarly poor, as both drivers finished seven laps down (with Diniz again ahead) and brought up the tail of the field. Forti were already the butt of paddock jokes, and were far slower than the other (and financially poorer) backmarkers: Pacific, Simtek, and Minardi. However, the budget enabled improvements to be made to the car. During the season, its weight was reduced by a significant 60 kilograms (approximately 10% of the F1 minimum weight limit of 595 kg), and a semi-automatic gearbox, an airbox and redesigns of the front wing, sidepods and monocoque were introduced. The personnel count also doubled during the course of the season. This resulted in a gradual improvement in pace throughout the year, and there were no more non-classified finishes.
Indeed, Forti's finishing record was good for rookies at 50% (excluding the non-classifications), helping Diniz to establish a reputation as a steady, dependable driver. Forti were then elevated when Simtek folded after the Monaco GP, and Pacific's lack of finance and development enabled Forti to start matching them from the half-way point of the season. At the German GP, both Fortis outqualified both the Pacifics, and this happened on two further occasions during 1995. Forti's improvement was also aided by Pacific taking on two slow pay-drivers to ensure that the team finished the season, and regular driver Bertrand Gachot being race-rusty on his return for the last two races of the year. At the final race of the season, in Adelaide, Forti seemed to have established a firm base for the season, emphasised by Moreno qualifying within 107% of pole position for the first time - a crucial result, as this percentage of the pole time would be used to determine non-qualifiers in 1996 - and Diniz scoring the team's best result in F1, with a reliable run to seventh place, ahead of Gachot in the Pacific. This was only one position behind the points-scoring placings. Nevertheless, despite not scoring any points, Forti finished a de facto 11th in the Constructors' Championship, ahead of Pacific and Simtek by virtue of better finishes outside of the points.
Post-championship, Forti took part in the 1995 Bologna Motor Show, where three FG01s – driven by Andrea Montermini, Giovanni Lavaggi and Vittorio Zoboli – raced against, and lost to three Minardis in the Formula One Indoor Trophy.
Despite the progress made by Forti during the course of the season, 1995 was still regarded as a failure. The team had spent more money than its immediate rivals in designing, building and developing a fundamentally inefficient car. Diniz and his sponsors were described as \"throwing their money away\", and the Brazilian's reputation as a serious F1 driver was damaged, as it took him several years to prove that he was not just in the sport because of his funding. In addition, Moreno's participation with Forti was lamented by many observers, who felt that the experienced driver did not deserve the ignominy of such an uncompetitive car. The team's lack of pace was demonstrated by calculating all of the 1995 drivers' average qualifying time: both Diniz and Moreno were an average of over seven seconds off the fastest average qualifier, David Coulthard. The only positives were the decent reliability record – with the cars completing 59.1% of the total 1995 race distance – and the fact that Forti would still be funded for two further years by the Diniz family.
Forti produced a new chassis, the FG03, for the next race of the season in Imola. It had been designed by George Ryton, who had become Forti's Technical Director after moving from Ferrari in April, and was also worked on by Chris Radage and Riccardo de Marco. Both drivers judged it a significant improvement over the old car, with increased aerodynamic downforce and directional sensitivity, but there was only one FG03 available, and Montermini failed to qualify in the old car. Badoer, however, qualified last, but comfortably within the 107% cut-off, and only 0.7s behind Ricardo Rosset in the Footwork. Badoer finished 10th and last, but had suffered reliability problems in the new car and was two laps behind Pedro Lamy's Minardi. Both drivers qualified in Monaco, but Montermini crashed in the wet warm-up session and did not start the race, whilst Badoer struggled in the slippery conditions and took out Jacques Villeneuve as he was being lapped by the Williams. He was fined $5000 and received a two-race suspended ban.
After the Monaco GP, there were rumours that Forti would not survive the season without some form of takeover. In the period before the next race, the Spanish GP, Belco Avia boss Arron Colombo announced that a deal had been reached between Guido Forti and an entity known as Shannon Racing, owned by parent company Finfirst, for the latter to buy a 51% share of the team. Shannon Racing was believed to be an Irish-registered section of a Milanese financial group, and had already established teams in various Formula Three championships and in Formula 3000 in 1996. The group was keen to move into Formula One, and Forti provided an opportunity for this to happen. It was believed that Colombo had organised the deal because Belco Avia was owed money by Forti.
For the Spanish GP, the cars therefore appeared in a new green-and-white livery, apparently confirming Shannon Racing's acquisition of 51% of Forti. This financial boost appeared to ensure the team's survival. With all the off-track confusion, both drivers again failed to qualify. Nevertheless, at the Canadian and French Grands Prix, both Fortis made it to the grid, Badoer even outqualifying Rosset in Montréal. However, Forti had lost its good 1995 reliability record, as these starts only resulted in four retirements. By this time, Forti's financial problems, caused by a conflict between Guido Forti and Shannon Racing, were becoming increasingly urgent in nature. Both cars retired with "engine problems" at the French GP, although it was widely rumoured that this was due to the team running out of engine mileage as it went into debt with engine suppliers Cosworth.
However, the Forti F1 cars have since been used for other purposes. At the 2000 Autosport International, two Forti chassis were used as part of an "F1 Driving Experience" programme organised by the Aintree Racing Drivers' School. Examples of the FG03 are also currently being used as part of F1-themed track days in the United Kingdom at motor racing circuits such as Rockingham.
Forti appears in the PlayStation video game Formula 1, the first in a long-running series of Sony games based on the sport. The team is also featured in the Nintendo 64 game F1 Pole Position 64, featuring the white and green Shannon livery. The games were based on the 1995 and 1996 seasons respectively.
|1977||Italian Formula Ford 2000||?||Ford||Teo Fabi|
|1985||Italian Formula Three||Dallara||Alfa Romeo||Franco Forini|
|1987||Italian Formula Three||Dallara||Alfa Romeo||Enrico Bertaggia|
|1988||Italian Formula Three||Dallara||Alfa Romeo||Emanuele Naspetti|
|Macau Grand Prix||Dallara||Alfa Romeo||Enrico Bertaggia|
|Grand Prix de Monaco F3||Dallara||Alfa Romeo||Enrico Bertaggia|
|1989||Italian Formula Three||Dallara||Alfa Romeo||Gianni Morbidelli|
|European Formula Three Cup||Dallara||Alfa Romeo||Gianni Morbidelli|
|1987||Dallara 3087||Cosworth V8||SIL||VAL||SPA||PAU||DON||PER||BH||BIR||IML||BUG||JAR||0||NC|
|1988|| Dallara 3087|
|1989||Lola T89/50||Cosworth V8||SIL||VAL||PAU||JER||PER||BH||BIR||SPA||BUG||DIJ||7||9th|
|1990||Lola T90/50||Cosworth V8||DON||SIL||PAU||JER||MOZ||PER||HOC||BH||BIR||BUG||NOG||20||7th|
|1991|| Lola T91/50|
|1992||Reynard 92D||Cosworth V8||SIL||PAU||CAT||PER||HOC||NÜR||SPA||ALB||NOG||MAG||44||2nd|
|1993||Reynard 93D||Cosworth V8||DON||SIL||PAU||PER||HOC||NÜR||SPA||MAG||NOG||20||5th|
|1994||Reynard 94D||Cosworth V8||SIL||PAU||CAT||PER||HOC||SPA||EST||MAG||9||7th|
|1995||Forti FG01||Ford ED V8||BRA||ARG||SMR||ESP||MON||CAN||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||POR||EUR||PAC||JPN||AUS||0||NC|
|1996|| Forti FG01B|
|Ford Zetec-R V8||AUS||BRA||ARG||EUR||SMR||MON||ESP||CAN||FRA||GBR||GER||HUN||BEL||ITA||POR||JPN||0||NC|