Officine Specializzate Costruzione Automobili
Officine Specializzate Costruzioni Automobili (O.S.C.A.), founded 1947 in Bologna was a team and constructor participating in Formula 1, starting in 1951.
O.S.C.A.'s only Formula One participation in its inaugural season in 1950 was a Maserati-O.S.C.A. entered by privateer Alfred Dattner for his home grand prix at Bremgarten. Dattner only qualified 35th out of 37, and his race was over after a collision on the first lap.
The O.S.C.A. name wouldn't return to F1 before the 1951 Italian Grand Prix, when the works team made its first appearance in Formula One, and entered a car for Jean Behra. Both team and driver were very inexperienced, and the car lacked pace, so they were out of the event after pre-qualifying.
After the poor performance at the Italian Grand Prix, the O.S.C.A. team received only 3 entries for the upcoming 1952 season. Behra was replaced by Felice Bonetto, and a single car was entered for the Belgian, German and Italian Grand Prix, the large grids meaning a better chance of getting into the race. Bonetto managed to qualify the car at Spa-Francorchamps, in 34th position and last on the grid. He retired early in the race due to an engine failure. Things went even better for the team at the Nürburgring, where Bonetto qualified the O.S.C.A. in 29th, and managed to finish the race in 16th position. The following home race was a disappointment again, as Bonetto, just like Behra the year before, failed to pre-qualify.
A massive rule change for the 1953 season meant that all constructors had to build new cars and engines for this year. O.S.C.A. built the O.S.C.A. 53 chassis, which turned out to be a solid lower midfield car, and the 3000V8 engine, which was surprisingly close to the front running constructors. They managed to sell the 3000V8 to Group Ultimate and Maria Teresa de Filippis. The works team entered one car full-season, and one car at selected events. The full-season entry was driven by Piero Taruffi, who replaced Bonetto.
At the first Grand Prix in Monaco, Taruffi failed to qualify. But at the next race in Zandvoort, he qualified and finished the race in 10th position, which was the best result for O.S.C.A. in Formula One so far. Following the good result from Zandvoort, the team decided to enter a second car, driven by André Simon, for the Belgian Grand Prix. Both cars qualified. Taruffi finished even better than at Zandvoort, scoring a 7th place, while Simon also made it to the end of the race and finished 10th. For the French Grand Prix, Simon was driving for the Maserati works team, so John Fitch was driving the second car. Both Taruffi and Fitch managed to qualify for the race, but neither got to the end of the race. Fitch heavily damaged the car in an accident. As a result, O.S.C.A. reverted to a single-car team for the following races. Taruffi retired from the British Grand Prix as well. On the Nürburgring, he scored a 12th place, and at the Swiss Grand Prix at Bremgarten, he scored another top 10 result, finishing 8th. A deal with the Bardahl Oil Company team to rent the chassis for Sebring allowed O.S.C.A. to repair the second chassis in time for the Italian Grand Prix, which was once again driven by Simon. The home GP itself became once again a disappointment for the O.S.C.A. team. Simon failed to qualify, and Taruffi only finished 16th, the lowest finishing position of the season. The chassis then were shipped to Sebring, were they were entered by Bardahl for Sam Hanks and Bill Vukovich. Hanks failed to qualify, while Vukovich failed to finish the race.
For 1954 O.S.C.A. introduced a completely new car, with the F154 chassis and the 156s engine. While the car finally was competetive, the design and building costs for an all-new car were too high for the small constructor. British manufacturer Bentley were in a similar situation before the start of the season, so O.S.C.A. and Bentley formed Scuderia Anglo-Italia to be able to field a competetive racing program. They combined their existing equipment to enter three cars: an OSCA-Bentley, a Bentley-OSCA and a full OSCA package. The drivers were 1953 O.S.C.A. driver Piero Taruffi, Bentley driver Manfred von Brauchitsch and former Jaguar-Aston Martin Racing driver José Froilan Gonzalez.
They decided to enter only one car for Gonzalez in Monaco. Gonzalez exceeded all expectations, qualifying in 5th position. But race day went even better, as Gonzalez led parts of the race and finished second. The results from the French and Belgian Grand Prix weren't as impressive, as the Scuderia Anglo-Italia cars were only lower midfield. Zandvoort started even worse, with Gonzalez and Taruffi barely scraping on the grid. Von Brauchitsch retired early due to an engine failure, while Gonzalez and Taruffi had very different races. Gonzalez did very well trying to recover from the bad qualifying result, kept gaining positions and finished 4th, while Taruffi struggled for the full race, was miles off the pace and ended up ten laps down. At the British GP, the team didn't show much pace, with Gonzalez as the only finisher scoring an 11th place.
Next, the team was heading to Bremgarten, for the Swiss GP. Qualifying was average, maybe a little disappointing. On race day, disaster struck. On lap 6, Gonzalez was fighting for position with Alberto Ascari, when Ascari put Gonzalez heavilyinto the barriers. Gonzalez was later diagnosed with a broken right foot and elbow. But the worst was yet to come. 11 laps later, Geoff Richardson, a british privateer with close links to Scuderia Anglo-Italia, lost control over his car and was sent barrel-rolling into the fields. He was transported to Bern hospital in a critical condition. On lap 29, Piero Taruffi spun out on oil. But unlike Richardson, he didn't end up in the fields, but hit an earth banking and was launched into a line of trees. Taruffi's car was completely destroyed upon impact, and he suffered countless fractures to his bones, a punctured lung, internal bleeding and a severe neck injury. He was sent to Bern hospital in a very critical condition, where he was stabilized, but remained in an induced coma.
Following the Bremgarten disaster, Maria Teresa de Filippis joined Scuderia Anglo-Italia with her own OSCA, while Jacques Swaters took over Gonzalez' repaired car. Stan Jones, who was without a drive following Balkan Eagle's financial crisis, took over a new Bentley funded by Richardson. The hastily restructured team had a disappointing race at the Nürburgring, finishing outside the points with two cars, the other two retiring. Scuderia Anglo-Italia decided to skip the American Grand Prix for logistical and financial reasons. The season-ending Italian Grand Prix went better, as Manfred von Brauchitsch scored a point that secured fifth place in the entrants' championship.
In 1955, the OSCA-Bentley joint venture entered its second year. Following the breakthrough year of 1954, OSCA and Bentley were hoping to make further progress in 1955, maybe even to score a first race win. The 1954 cars were retained for another year. Gonzalez and Swaters stayed as well, while the injured Taruffi and the underperforming Brauchitsch were replaced by the two Brits Peter Whitehead and Stirling Moss.
The early season showed that the old Bentleys and OSCAs underperformed compared to the new Alfa Romeos, Lancias and BCMAs. Lack of pace and reliability plagued the team, and they remained pointless until the fourth race of the season. The cancellation of several grands prix following the Le Mans disaster left them with little opportunity to improve their position. However, a chaotic Scottish Grand Prix allowed Gonzalez to take second place and Moss third, which was the first podium for the young Brit. At the farcical Soviet Grand Prix, Whitehead took another podium for Anglo-Italia, allowing them to finish sixth in the championship. A disappointing year came to an end at the Italian Grand Prix. Once again, their home race brought no luck for OSCA, and all three drivers retired.
Following an the Le Mans disaster and a lack of success, Bentley withdrew before the 1956 season. Most of Bentley's assets were transferred to OSCA as a compensation for the premature end of the partnership. Chassis and engine were both new, but after disappointing testing results, the F156 was heavily revised to become the F156A. The OSCA F156A turned out to be one of the best cars of the year, and enjoyed great popularity among privateers due to its good handling.
Complete Formula One Results
|OSCA 4500G||OSCA 4.5 V12||Jean Behra||DNPQ|
|OSCA 4500G||OSCA 4.5 V12||Felice Bonetto||Ret||16||DNPQ|
|OSCA 53||OSCA 3000V8||Piero Taruffi||DNQ||10||7||Ret||Ret||12||8||16|
| OSCA F154
Bentley Speed 4
| OSCA 156s
|José Froilan Gonzalez||2||11||Ret||4||11||Ret||INJ||INJ||INJ|
|Manfred von Brauchitsch||12||12||Ret||Ret||10||10||6|
|Maria Teresa de Filippis||Ret||7|
|OSCA F154||Bentley 16VL-1||José Froilan Gonzalez||Ret||Ret||Ret||7||2||DNQ||Ret|
|Bentley Speed 4||OSCA 156s||Peter Whitehead||Ret||Ret||Ret||6||Ret||3||Ret|
|1956||Officine Specializzate Costruzioni Automobili||MON||FRA||BEL||GER||GDR||IRL||SCO||GBR||ITA||THA||37*||2nd*|
|OSCA F156A||OSCA 1500S-56||José Froilan Gonzalez||6||6||Ret||3||Ret||5||Ret||Ret||3|
- Scuderia Anglo-Italia was both the O.S.C.A. and the Bentley works team