Tecno is an Italian kart and former racing car constructor. It started out as a conventional engineering business manufacturing hydraulic pumps. The company eventually became a Formula One constructor and participated in 10 grands prix, entering a total of 11 cars, and scoring one championship point.
In 1961, Tecno started their motor sport business as a constructor of karts in Bologna, run by the Pederzani brothers. By the mid-sixties, the company had moved on up into car racing with Formula 3 (winning several championships in 1968) and Formula 2 chassis, the F2 being good enough to take the 1970 F2 championship in the hands of Clay Regazzoni.
Tecno was the first company to build an offset ('sidewinder') kart chassis to take advantage of the newly developed air-cooled rotary motors produced by Parilla. Tecno's first chassis was named the Kaimano (a play on the Italian word for the Camen crocodile and the source of the logo). The Kaimano's design was based on the American rear-engine karts of the early 1960s. The second chassis, the Piuma ('Feather'), revolutionized karting design, and was so successful that it won the World Championships in 1964, 1965 and 1966.
Tecno was highly successful in junior formulae, and an interested sponsor in the shape of Count Rossi (of Martini & Rossi fame) was prepared to back the brothers in an attempt to build an F1 car and engine.
The car made its first competitive appearance at the 1972 Belgian Grand Prix in the hands of Nanni Galli. The car was unremarkable, the engine a flat-twelve engine very similar to the contemporary Ferrari unit, although apparently considerably less powerful. During that season, Galli shared the car with Derek Bell; neither managed to score points. Both chassis and engine were prone to breaking. Ron Tauranac, freelancing after selling Brabham, made some improvements to the car but performance did not improve significantly.
For 1973, Tecno found itself in the position of having two dissimilar cars, one of them backed by the team's sponsors and the other by the Pederzani brothers. Count Rossi had taken on experienced British racing manager David Yorke and driver Chris Amon (who had been unable to agree terms with March Engineering for the season). Yorke and Rossi commissioned a new chassis from designer Gordon Fowell, while the Pederzanis hired Alan McCall to design a new car for them. McCall left before the car was fully developed, just to add to the chaos. Tecno missed the early-season races and used the McCall car to little effect from the Belgian Grand Prix, although the car did show brief promise in its second outing on the drivers circuit of Monaco where Amon qualified 12th and ran well in the upper midfield for 25 laps giving the sponsors, some decent exposure. By the British Grand Prix both the Fowell "Goral" car and the McCall car were available, but Amon managed only to qualify last with the worn unpowered engine and managed to move up to qualify 23rd for the Dutch GP where he was further disillusioned by the poor safety services which saw Williamson burn to death in his March.
Having two different, underfunded and underdeveloped cars competing for scarce resources meant the team struggled for success, and by mid-season there was disagreement between the Pederzanis and Yorke and Rossi. Amon achieved the team's only point in the McCall car in Belgium. (He had severe difficulty even fitting into the cockpit of the GorAl car, which only ever appeared in practice - although Amon claimed that it had the potential to be one of the best chassis that he had ever raced.)
By the Austrian Grand Prix, he was disgusted with the whole mess and left the team, which subsequently folded - the Martini & Rossi money would go to Brabham in 1974, the Pederzani brothers retired from competition, and Amon finished the season guesting at Tyrrell.
In another manifestation of the poor luck and judgment for which Amon was legendary, he returned as a constructor in his own right in 1974. His designer once more, was Gordon Fowell.
Complete Formula One results
|1972||Tecno PA123||Tecno Series-P
- Small, Steve (1994). The Guinness Complete Grand Prix Who's Who. Guinness. pp. 24, 52 and 147. ISBN 0851127029.