Lola T97/30

Lola T97/30

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Lola T97/30

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The Lola T97/30 was the car with which the MasterCard Lola Formula One team attempted to compete in the 1997 Formula One season. It was driven by Vincenzo Sospiri, the 1995 Formula 3000 champion, and Ricardo Rosset, who moved from Footwork. However, the team's tenure in F1 was brief. The first Lola chassis to compete in the sport since was originally planned for the season. However, due to pressure from main sponsor MasterCard, the car was rushed into service a year before the initial plan. As development on the car was rushed, this meant there was no time for any testing, either in a wind tunnel or on the track.

Competition history

Lola was the second new team for the season, the other being Stewart Grand Prix. Because of MasterCard's eagerness to get the team running a year earlier than planned, the team hastily built the T97/30 just weeks before the season began. Whilst Stewart (who had announced their entry even before the end of the season) had completed weeks of testing, Lola had barely done any by the season opener.

At Melbourne, the first brief tests showed that both cars were slow in a straight line and also in the corners; the aerodynamics producing too much drag and not enough downforce. This also meant the cars could not get the tyres up to the right temperature. Both drivers never even got near a good enough time to qualify, as they struggled in the difficult-handling cars. In the end neither Sospiri or Rosset managed to qualify, 11 and 13 seconds...
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