Pacific, Simtek and the -almost- deadly sponsorWritten by 'Αγγελος Φωτσεινός
Translated by Giannis Binas
In 1994, 2 new teams made their appearance in the paddocks: Simtek and Pacific.
Simtek (Simulation Technology) was founded in 1898 by Max Mosley and Nick Wirth, in order to examine the safety of the technology in the Formula 1 single-seaters.
At the same time, she undertook the designing of a single-seater for BMW in 1990, which was ‘baptized’ Andrea-Moda S921 in 1992, while, in the next year, 1993, Simtek had an active role in the Spanish Bravo F1’s venture, which remained ‘on paper’.
Following his election as FIA’s president, Mosley transferred his share to co-owner, Wirth, who decided to enter Formula 1 in 1994.
Drivers for the team, were Roland Ratzenberger and David Brabham, son of the 3-times world champion (1959, 1960, 1966) Sir Jack Brabham.
Pacific was founded in 1984 by Paul Wiggins.
She conquered the title in all supportive series she took part in (British and European Formula Ford, F3000) and in 1993, Wiggins believed it was high time for the next step, Formula 1.
He turned to Reynard for designing the team’s single-seater but, eventully, he did not find the necessary budget to secure a place in the grid.
Finally, next year, Pacific Grabd Prix was a fact.
The Pacific-Ilmor PR01 single-seater, designed by Reynard, would be driven by Bertrand Gachot and Paul Belmondo, who both returned to F1, after a one year absence.
Gachot became co-owner of the team, while Belmondo, son of the famous French actor Jean Paul Belmondo, would pay to race.
Since the first round of that year, it became apparent that the 2 new teams would quarrel for the last places of the grid.
The major cause was lack of resources, which rendered difficult he development of the already non-competitive cars.
In the fourth round of the season, in Imola, there was strong rumor that a tobacco firm would sponsor Pacific.
The said firm was called Death Cigarettes and had the following ‘joyful’ emblem!
According then to what had leaked, the Pacific-Death Cigarettes deal was finalized Saturday morning, and after the qualifying session, the first decals of the sponsor that was to debut at that race, would arrive.
An unexpected development though, is considered to be the cause that deal was never completed.
Although one opinion suggests the deal did not progress due to Death Cigarettes’ lack of credibility, it is the death of Simtek’s driver, Roland Ratzenberger, that caused Wiggins to back off, considering the heavy atmosphere that prevailed in the paddocks.
Unconfirmed rumors also make word about negotiations between Simtek and Death Cigarettes, just prior to Ratzenberger’s death.
Anyway, the tragic irony is that the buzz on Death Cigarettes, confined only in the darkest GP of the 90s, in which the first component of her name appeared twice: death…