A traditional racing car producer known for F3 cars, world sports cars and Indy cars was a part of a great fiasco in 1997, trying to return to F1. They designed and ran the Larrousse and Beatrice cars in the eighties, and had a global sponsor, which made the adventure even more credible, non-other than MasterCard. They should have had success starting in 1998. However, the pressure from the PR people laid the foundations for a huge disaster. Originally, the car was supposed to run on a V10 engine developed by Al Melling. Delays on testing and development made it necessary to change to a Ford Zetec V8. Eric Broadley’s team designed the T97/30, with no wind tunnel test done, and only five months available.
It somehow turned out to be a version of an F-Nippon chassis on steroids. Only a short shakedown preceded the real debut in Australia. The driver duo was unproven and unreliable. Vincenzo Sospiri was allegedly, a gifted youngster, while Ricardo Rosset was more known by the personal sponsoring he had. They were denied the chance of being on the grid with their lap times up to 12 seconds higher than allowed. The same happened in Brazil, after which MasterCard decided to pull the plug on the team. Lola went bankrupt within several weeks.