Former F1 driver Franco Forini is turning 53 today! Little-known when he arrived in F1, he was largely invisible during his all-too-brief stint at the top-flight, and he’s almost virtually disappeared in the wake of his three races with the Osella outfit in the 1987 season.
Despite being born in Italy, Forini raced under the Swiss flag during his motorsport career. After starting out in karts and racing Alfasuds, Forini switched to Formula 3 power in 1981, competing in both the Italian and European championships.
By 1985, Forini had won the Italian title and finished second at the Monaco Grand Prix support race. A jump to Formula 3000 proved to be less successful, and it seemed that his motorsport career had stagnated.
But the Osella team was offering a second race seat alongside regular driver Alex Caffi for the odd race in 1987, and Forini stumped up enough cash to get the nod for the Italian, Portuguese and Spanish rounds.
But any expectations that Forini would perform close to Caffi’s standards fell well short of the mark. Despite having beaten Caffi on many occasions during their F3 days, Forini was always a few seconds off Caffi’s pace in qualifying.
He retired from the Italian race with a spectacular turbo failure, and a wheel-bearing failure took him out at Portugal. Neither Osella made the grid at Spain, and Forini’s brief F1 venture was over.
So it was back to Formula 3 competition in the late 1980s, ut he completely failed to reignite any of his past glories and disappeared from the scene for many years, eventually reappearing on the celebrity Master Kart series, which featured a host of former F1 drivers.
[Images via F1 Nostalgia and F1 Rejects]