1990 Monteverdi Onyx ORE-2
Chassis 007 was built new for 1990, the last of 3 remaining of the seven Onyx built in total
Fascinating British and Swiss team ownership background
Competed in a total of eight Grand Prix’s during the 1990 Formula 1 season
Retained for 29 years within Swiss team owner Peter Monteverdi’s collection until 2019
Completely original with fresh original and period correct Hart Cosworth DFR 3.5 V8
Importantly includes a comprehensive and useable spares package
Retains substantial period memorabilia, team clothing and much more
Practical and economical to run, maintain and drive F1 car with unquestioned provenance, acquired directly from the original F1 team
Full on going support available
Onyx were the only new manufacturer in the recent history of Formula One to enter and achieve a podium result in their first season of competition.
The ORE 1 was conceived by Ex McLaren designer Alan Jenkins and was built and run from the team’s base near Littlehampton in West Sussex. However even with the provenance of Team Founder Mike Earle’s many years in the sport, not least winning the Formula 3000 Championship in 1987 this was no mean achievement, undertaken by a small group of dedicated local people supported by the flamboyant Belgian, Jean-Pierre Van Rossem, the owner of Moneytron, the main sponsor.
At their first Grand Prix in Mexico with Stefan Johansson driving the team overcame the initial hurdle of pre- qualifying with 40 cars competing for 30 grid positions to achieve 23rd. The season continued well with improving results - including a points scoring 5th place at Paul Ricard in France, culminating in a 3rd place podium finish in Portugal elevating the team to a 10th overall in the F1 Constructors World Championship. By any standards this was a truly amazing result.
Mike Earle would leave the team in 1990, when Swiss car collector/manufacturer Peter Monteverdi purchased 50% of the shares, with Karl Foitek, Father of Gregor, who became one of the drivers, buying 25% and Brun Frei, the remaining 25%. Onyx now became a purely Swiss owned and based team.
Under Peter Monteverdi’s ownership the drivers for 1990 were the talented Finn, JJ Lehto, Ex Scandinavian FF1600, British and European FF2000 and F3 Champion and Gregor Foitek, the 1986 Swiss Formula 3 champion and the Son of Karl, 25% stakeholder in Monteverdi Onyx and owner of Foitek Automobile the Swiss based Ferrari and Maserati dealership.
Mike Earle, the founder of Onyx said that his biggest regret in motor racing was that if he had stayed with the team, he had no doubt, they, like Jordan Grand Prix would have become race winners. The cars and team were that good.
Monteverdi Onyx ORE-2, CHASSIS 007
Chassis 007 was the last and therefore the most developed of all the chassis built, competing in a total of eight Grand Prix’s during the 1990 Formula 1 season and driven by both Lehto and Foitek.
The debut of ‘007’ was at the 3rd round of the F1 championship at San Marino, driven by JJ Letho, on 13th May and who set 15th quickest time on the Saturday morning and finished the Grand Prix in a promising 12th place.
Two weeks later, on 27th May, Gregor Foitek, son of part team owner Karl, then took over 007 for the next round at the iconic Monaco GP. Gregor dove superbly, ahead of JJ throughout the weekend, also recording 15th quickest on the Saturday and enjoyed a (no doubt frustrating) race long battle for a 6th place points finish with Eric Bernard in the Lola Lamborghini, until the pair collided just 4 laps from the end, but still resulting in a very creditable 7th place result.
The teams moved to Canada next, for the GP there on 10th June. An engine issue resulted in qualifying in 21st place running up to the GP, in which Gregor was running strongly in the top 10 until lap 54, with an engine issue causing retirement with only 14 laps remaining.
Next the teams headed south to the Mexican GP on 24th June. Gregor recoded a respectable 18th fastest in Friday qualifying, dropping 5 places the next day. Like Patrese, he too suffered a long brake pedal in the race, and finished in 15th place, after a challenging afternoon, also nursing a damaged undertray.
Back to Europe and the French Grand Prix on the 8th July. The first serious disappointment for the team, with a struggle to find grip resulting in a disappointing 29th place, missing out for the 26 car grid for the GP, with JJ recording 27th and also out.
The following week, all the teams were at Silverstone for the British Grand Prix on 15th July. With the relentless constant development in an era of unlimited F1 testing, the team’s lack of budget or development for a second season started to really hurt, with a lack of straight-line speed at the super fast Silverstone circuit resulting in both cars again sadly not making the 26 car grid cut off.
Off to Hockenheim next, for the German GP on 29th July. The week before, Peter Monteverdi announced the dropping of the Onyx name, with the cars becoming Monteverdi ORE1Bs, with him engineering Gregor’s car, who did make the grid this time, after suffering a throttle linkage issue. He was running a therefore creditable 16th in the race until spinning out in the stadium section on lap 19 of 45 laps, with JJ ultimately in 12th place, after pitting with a spark box issue and then with a bent track rod after striking a kerb too hard.
The tight Hungary GP was next, on 12th August. Sadly, by now they team was a shadow of its former self, with incorrect gear ratios fitted to Gregor’s car and no time to change for qualifying and the differential installed incorrectly in JJ’s car, with both cars failing to qualify for the Grand Prix. This was the last straw for Foitek senior and Gregor, who quit the team on that Saturday, which turned out to be the final race for the team.
It was a great shame that a tiny team from Sussex in England promised so much and potentially could have enjoyed a similar success to the arguably similar Eddie Jordan team in probably the final era of a privateer team being able to take on the domination of the manufacturers, who were coming in to F1 in strength after the demise of Group C endurance racing.
The car was then retired and kept by Peter Monteverdi in his private collection and maintained in full running order and used in occasional demonstration runs.
007 was purchased by the previous owner directly from Peter Monteverdi’s Estate complete with all the remaining spares and support equipment from the team. It is completely original including the Hart DFR V8 engine. The engine has recently been fully rebuilt by the original engine builder and converted to modern Motec systems. This means that it is fully ready and eligible to take part in historic F1 demos and track days.
The car is eligible for The Force F1 Legends who take part in classic Formula One demonstrations around the world. Eligible events include Silverstone British Grand Prix, Monza Italian Grand Prix, Zandvoort Historic Grand Prix, Nürburgring Classic and Brands Hatch Festival Italia. Masters are also running an F1 demo, which the car will run in at this year’s Silverstone Classic and it is also eligible and has run with Ignition GP at Donington in 2022 and Peter Auto is also running demonstration runs for Formula One cars from this era in Europe.
This incredible car offers an excellent opportunity to own an easy to run, maintain and drive F1 car with undoubted provenance from an F1 team with a unique Anglo-Swiss background.
The car comes with a comprehensive and useable spares package and documentation. Cars International Service have recently totally rebuilt the car from a bare tub to the absolute highest standards and if required, can offer a tailored preparation, maintenance and engineering package by their highly experienced Ex-F1 personnel who have access and support via Mike Earle to the original drawings and I.P. for the ORE F1 cars.