1972 Tecno PA 123 F1
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Tecno founded in 1962 by Luciano & Gianfranco Pederzani,the company quickly grew out from a go-kart manufacturer to a leading Formula 2 contender before the decade's end. With their chassis, an in-house modified Cosworth BDA engine and talented drivers like Clay Regazzoni and Francois Cevert the Italians were quite competitive in the fiercely fought over F2 championship. After Regazzoni had taken the driver's championship in 1970, it was time to step up to the highest level for Tecno; Formula 1.
At that time the easiest way to enter F1 was to build a chassis ready to accept the Ford Cosworth DFV engine, which was competitive and readily available. Tecno tried it the hard way and set out to design both a new chassis and a new engine. Following a trend set by fellow Italians Mauro Forghieri and Carlo Chiti a flat 12 layout was chosen and like the Ferrari and Alfa Romeo units the Tecno was of a 180 degree V12 design. In the summer of 1971 the engine was tested on the bench and developed a decent 460 bhp at 11,000 rpm.
In good Ferrari tradition the chassis was made up of a spaceframe covered in aluminium. The engine and Hewland gearbox were directly bolted on the chassis' bulkhead and served as a fully stressed member. The new racer was intended to debut late in 1971, but various delays postponed the prototype's introduction to the fifth race of the 1972 season. In the mean time Martini was contracted as main sponsor making available some additional development funds. At the very disappointing Belgian debut it was clear these funds were could be put to good use.
A second car, bearing the same chassis number PA123/2, was built. It was driven to a promising third place in a non championship race at Vallelunga. Driver Derek Bell was seconds off the pace in the practice and qualifying sessions at the car's Grand Prix debut in France and withdrew from the race. Nino Galli took over from Bell for the British Grand Prix and managed to qualify 17th out of 26 entrants. He was forced to retire after an incident packed first lap. In the remainder of the season Bell and Galli shared the Tecno, but rarely started a race were never qualified.
For 1973 the highly experienced and very fast Chris Amon was hired as the works driver. A new monocoque chassis was designed by Alan McCall, which was somewhat of an improvement. Persuaded by Amon, Martini hired Goral's Gordon Fowell to design an alternative for the McCall designed Tecno. Again it took a lot of time to prepare the now monocque PA123 for the season. At the car's debut Amon drove it to a sixth place to score Tecno's first and last point in F1. All he could add in the remainder of the season where three retirements. Amon left before the end of the season and Tecno withdrew from racing.