Trueba Racing Team
Trueba Racing Team, commonly known as just Trueba, was an Italian racing organisation partly run by Giovanni Roda which ran teams in both the F1RWRS and F2RWRS. Trueba was one of the first driver-run teams to join the series, and despite never winning a race, was an established part of the paddock. Following the 2014 Monaco Grand Prix, Trueba was taken over by the Scuderia Alitalia outfit having run up large debts and a string of very poor results. Alitalia ran as Scuderia Trueba Alitalia for the remainder of the season due to team naming regulations, but the name was the only link to the former team. The Trueba name did, return, in their own right, in the 2015 Trackmania Rejects Rally Championship season, having been run under Scuderia Alitalia's parent company Il Barone Rampante in the 2014 F1RMGP 24 Hour V8 Bathurst Enduro, in which Roda participated.
Born in the town of Postilli, close to the city of Pescara, Trueba Racing Team was formed by Italians Giulio Camorani and Giancarlo Scaglietti in 2001, inspired by former F1 team Andrea Moda, which had also originated on the Italian east coast, and their exploits in the 1992 F1 season. The two Italians quickly built up a reputable organisation that competed in numerous Italian racing series, including Formula Renault 2.0 Italia, Italian Formula 3, and from 2005, Formula Abarth. Giovanni Roda was one of the many Italians that Trueba nurtured through the motorsport ranks and he became a good personal friend of both Camorani and Scaglietti. Following the announcement by John and Frank Zimmer of the creation of the breakaway Formula 1 Rejects World Race Series in mid-2009, and its successful maiden season in 2010, Trueba were one of the first teams to sign up as the series expanded to accommodate more teams and drivers for 2011.
History in the F1RWRS
Having signed up for the 2011 season though, Giulio Camorani became concerned that Trueba would overstretch itself, having only previously competed in Italian national series. Worried that the 15-race calender that would visit Australia, China and the United States as well as many European countries would be too much, Camorani left the team, leaving Giancarlo Scaglietti as the team's sole president. With his partner and friend gone, Scaglietti turned to Giovanni Roda, who'd just finished third for the team in the 2010 Italian F3 season, and offered him the chance to help run the team, with Giovanni becoming the team's vice-president. Starting small, the two Italians secured funding through a local condom and contraception manufacturer, Just Did It, and decided to run just a single car for Roda. The chassis, T701, was a fairly basic design, and with a customer Judd V8 engine supply, it was hardly the best package on the grid. However Trueba performed better than expected, with a best result of second place at the final race of the year, the US Grand Prix, and with numerous other points finishes throughout the season including a 4th place at the Belgian GP, it allowed the one-car team to finish 12th in the constructors' championship, one of the highest placed single car entries.
For 2012, confident that they were secure, Trueba expanded to a two car operation, with Tristan Jung filling the second seat alongside Roda. A new chassis named the T801 was built, and the Judd engine was replaced with an exclusive Piaggio V8 deal with the Italian manufacturer making its first forays into the series. In addition, the promising results last year and new driver Jung and his South Korean origins attracted new sponsors Korean Air and LG to the team.
The season was much less successful though, with the team finishing in the points only twice all year, Jung's 5th place at the season-opening Bavarian Grand Prix the team's best result. Blighted by the lottery of the pre-qualifying system, Trueba had both of its cars start races on only five occasions during the year and relations between Scaglietti and Roda became strained. There were even rumours that suggested Scaglietti would drop Roda from the team in the lead up to the Belgian GP following his driver's poor start to the year.. Following the Belgian race, Jung announced he'd acquired a larger stake in the team, having previously taken a 5% share of the team upon his signing. With his stake having risen to 20%, the team's position was somewhat more secure for the forseeable future. This however increased rumours that Roda, one of the team's founders, was on his way out, but having been knocked out of pre-qualifying yet again at Zandvoort, Roda announced to journalists that despite the recent rumours, "I firmly believe that I will continue to drive for Trueba". This was confirmed by team principle Domiciano Ricci at the British Grand Prix who, following the team's double DNPQ, stated that the team were stable, both on the driver front and financially, and that their participation for 2013 was confirmed.
Following the collapse of Hemogoblin Autowerks and the subsequent purchase of its assets by American Racing Conglomerate, there was speculation that Tristan Jung would sell his stake in Trueba and move across to the new all-American team in time for its first race at the Surfers SuperPrix. This however turned out to be false, and Jung stayed put at Trueba for the remainder of the year, whilst Roda scored the team's second and final points of the year with seventh place at the Australian GP. Scaglietti and Roda were eventually able to put their differences aside by the close of the season but even so, 2012 was a poor year for Trueba, and even with Jung and his share of the team bringing more stability, it would prove to be just the start of the team's decline.
Seeking to greatly improve the team's fortunes for the 2013 season, both Roda and Jung committed themselves to the future of the team. With the new regulations coming into force that would transform the series, Trueba designed and built the brand new T901 chassis which would be powered by customer Ford engines. Piaggio, disillusioned from the poor previous year, had left both Trueba and the series completely, their V8 engine a failure. The Fords though were arguably even more under-powered than the Piaggio units, and many questioned whether Trueba would even be able to match their 2012 performance.
The year was marred by a complicated and protracted battle for ownership of the team, as Tristan Jung attempted to merge Trueba with the American Racing Conglomerate outfit. At the start of 2013, Jung was able to acquire a stake in ARC, along with his existing 20% ownership of Trueba. His influence on the ARC management, specifically team principal Brad Paisley, resulted in ARC making a formal, public proposal to buy Trueba following the US Grand Prix. Neither Roda or Scaglietti made any comments on the proposal during the long break between the US GP and the start of the European season, and following yet another double DNPQ at Monaco, Jung and ARC seized their chance. Convincing Giacomo Rossini, Trueba's sporting director, to part with 50% of the team's shares whilst Scaglietti and Roda were absent at a teams' meeting following main qualifying, ARC had the majority, controlling stake in the team. Roda was quick to act though, calling a press conference during the French GP weekend, following yet another Trueba double DNPQ. The Italian announced a series of measures he'd been working on during his period of silence that would bring a number of new sponsors to the team, and hinted that Jung's future at the team was in serious doubt.
Shortly following the press conference from Roda however, Jung and ARC's takeover of Trueba was thwarted when the American was indicted by the US government over charges of money laundering, with the amount estimated in the region of US$14 million. ARC immediately severed its ties with Jung, whilst Trueba recovered both his and ARC's share of the team, thus returning its ownership back to Scaglietti and Roda. In response, the American then issued a statement protesting the charges against him, claiming the money was "obtained through completely legitimate sources", and he also confirmed what was already obvious, that the merger between Trueba and ARC that would have taken place at the end of the year, was off. The mess that had been caused led to both LG and Korean Air withdrawing their support for Trueba immediately, and Just Did It were only convinced to stay when Trueba agreed to sign an amended race-by-race contract, initially for just the next two races. The team released images of the T901 in a new largely plain black and red livery prior to the British Grand Prix, with Roda announcing his intention to stand by Jung, despite stripping him of his stake in Trueba. The following day however, just 24 hours before pre-qualifying, an arrest warrant was issued for Tristan Jung by a Washington DC court, now accused of receiving finances from music piraters which were then used to fund his attempted merger of Trueba and ARC. Scaglietti had wanted to sack Jung immediately following his indictment whilst in France, and now Roda agreed with him, and the American was dumped from Trueba with mere hours before pre-qualifying.
Roda was able to contact James Davies who'd been out of a drive since Anglo-Manx Racing had released him at the end of the 2012 season, and the Welshman agreed to fill Jung's vacated seat for the rest of the year. It turned out to be a masterstroke for Trueba, who'd been mired in pre-qualifying all year with an under-developed and fundamentally poor car. Davies turned out to be far quicker than Jung, though even a large package of updates to the car for the Portuguese GP failed to bring any improvement. At this point, Just Did It had finally had enough, and after two and a half years of sponsoring the team they departed, leaving it in a precarious financial position with no sponsors. Prior to the next race, the Mediterranean GP, and the final race of the European leg of the season, Trueba were on the brink. With no money, both Scaglietti and Roda were fearing the worst. They had the money to get to Cyprus, but none for the final flyaway races. They published a press release explaining the situation and appealed for help, which fortunately came just in time for the stricken Italian team. The following day, United Parcel Services announced they'd be sponsoring the team for the remainder of the year, after they revealed they had been looking for a new partner since their contract with O'Lauchlan Motorsport ended in 2012. Trueba's immediate future was thus secure, but still results didn't come their way.
Finally though, at the penultimate race of the year, Trueba and Davies started a race, the Japanese Grand Prix. Both cars had cleared pre-qualifying, but Roda was one of the two cars who failed to make the cut in qualifying proper. Davies however qualified and drove a solid race, completing the distance and finishing in 9th place, Trueba's only race start all year. Overall it was a woefully bad year for the team, by far their worst and it was difficult to see how Roda and Scaglietti could turn things around. Very few were expecting them to soldier on into 2014.
With the disruptive and disappointing 2013 season behind them, team president Scaglietti and Roda put in place a number of changes for 2014 which they hoped would bring Trueba greater success. Whilst James Davies moved to the fledgling Mecha Grand Prix outfit, pay driver and fellow Italian Fredo Mestolio was brought in. Scaglietti in particular had been convinced of Fredo's potential, having had lengthy discussions with his manager Chris Dagnall prior to hiring him. Mestolio had spent 2013 mired at the foot of the field in the woeful CR Motorsport car, and consequently hadn't been able to demonstrate his full ability. The all-Italian line up was announced at a pre-season press conference where Scaglietti also took the time to apologise to the team's fans and supporters for the dire previous season. Also revealed was the intention of the team to continue with the previous T901 chassis and Ford engine, under the belief that improvements would reveal the car's potential. In a further release, Roda was also able to confirm rumours that the team would be focusing its efforts primarily on Mestolio in order to give it the best chance possible of securing good results. At Trueba's launch at the first test at Jerez the following week, there was just an updated T901B, though they were able to reveal a raft of new sponsors. These included a partnership with Beta Tools, who were new to the sport and had also completed a major deal with Jones Racing.
Results didn't improve however as the season got underway, although Mestolio managed to qualify and finish in 8th place at Brazil - the team's best result since Roda's 7th place at the 2012 Australian GP. Following the by now commonplace double DNPQ at the US GP, reports appeared in the Italian press detailing a potential takeover of the Trueba team by the recently-formed Scuderia Alitalia outfit, a fellow Italian team backed by airline giant Alitalia. Initially rubbishing the rumours, Trueba under Scaglietti and Roda continued, despite criticism from Mestolio's manager Dagnall who questioned why Trueba weren't utilising their improved finances in improving the car, and suggested that Mestolio would leave the team should the situation remain the same.
Things came to a head following another early exit in pre-qualifying for Trueba at the Monaco Grand Prix. Criticism over the management of the team had come now not only from Chris Dagnall, but from other sources too, including fellow team owners Sammy Jones and Daniel Melrose. Feeling increasingly embarrassed, Roda and Scaglietti together agreed to bring Trueba's tenure as a racing team to a close and sell up. Alitalia were then quick to move, and purchased the team's assets, including the existing chassis and engine deal, moving everything to their own Parma base. Dagnall moved Mestolio ironically to the team that had caused Trueba so many problems in 2013, ARC, whilst Roda retired immediately from motorsport. And with that, Trueba Racing Team's existence came to an end.
The Trueba name however lived on for the remainder of the 2014 season. Forced by TV rights money regulations, Scuderia Alitalia continued to use the name in order to receive the payout at the end of the year, and so for 2014 were known as Scuderia Trueba Alitalia.
History in the F2RWRS - Trueba Junior Team
Despite its precarious financial position during the 2013 F1RWRS season, Trueba decided to expand into the newly created Formula 2 Rejects World Race Series feeder series with its newly established Trueba Junior Team. Initially signing fellow Italian Marco Bizzarri, just prior to the 2014 testing schedule got underway, Roda and Scaglietti announced that Chinese female Du Lei had been signed to partner Bizzarri. Initially Frenchwoman Marie Simon was in the running for the seat having been overlooked at first by MRT, but the Australian team came back and offered her a seat, leaving Trueba to sign Lei.
The 2014 F2RWRS season was only two races old when Scuderia Alitalia took over the senior team, however questions arose to the legality of Alitalia's ownership of Trueba Junior Team. Sammy Jones lodged an official protest with the governing body, stating that as first reserve team on the entry list, he and his Jones Racing Group team should be allowed to take over the vacated slot left by Trueba. The legal battle raged for weeks, and in the meantime the Trueba Junior Team were kept afloat thanks to money supplied by Alitalia, with Bizzarri finishing in the points twice, at France and Germany. These were the highlights of Trueba Junior Team's short-lived existence though, as Lei suffered heavily with retirements, whilst Bizzarri failed to live up to his pre-season form in testing.
Eventually, following the Dutch race where both drivers retired in the wet, Alitalia and Jones reached an agreement. The two parties would share the entry for the remainder of 2014, before Alitalia would take full ownership of it, compensating the Jones Racing team in the process. The team was renamed to Scuderia Jones Italia in time for Belgium, and finally the saga was over, putting team president Giancarlo Scaglietti and Giovanni Roda out of their misery.
Trueba has also competed in Street Racing League, fielding Giovanna Amati, with a car equiped with Pacchia engine in 2012, only for the series to collapse after 3 races. In the same year they also competed in the Lotus Racing League, fielding a car for Roda himself. The team has attempted to enter Gianluca Roda, Giovanni's brother, in the IRDU Rejects Cup, but the series collapsed before they could began. Trueba did not appear at Rejects of LFS either, because by the series was announced to start, it has been sold to Il Barone Rampante, which ran Parma Corse for the series.
A Nissan GT-R was run by Scuderia Alitalia's parent company Il Barone Rampante in the 2014 F1RMGP 24 Hour V8 Bathurst Enduro, driven by Fabrizio Giovanardi, Giovanni Roda himself, and Giovanna Amati (which also drove for their SRL team). Alitalia itself competed with a controversial alliance with Scuderia Andrea Coloni, but the SAAC cars, which is a Holden driven by Gabriele Tarquini, Enrico Bertaggia, and Tony D'Alberto, did not finish.
The Trueba name would be resurrected further in their own right in the 2015 Trackmania Rejects Rally Championship season.
Complete F1RWRS Results
|2011||Trueba T701||Judd V8||BAV||GER||SAX||LUX||BEL||GBR||ENG||KEN||NED||TAS||AUS||NSW||SUR||CHN||USA||28||12th|
|2012||Trueba T801||Piaggio V8||BAV||SAX||GER||LUX||BEL||NED||GBR||KEN||ENG||TAS||SUR||NSW||AUS||CHN||USA||500||6||18th|
|2013||Trueba T901||Ford HB I||TAS||AUS||MEX||USA||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||NED||BEL||POR||MED||MAC||CHN||JPN||BRA||0||=17th|
|2014||Trueba T901B||Ford HB I||TAS||AUS||BRA||MEX||USA||MON||FRA||GBR||GER||BEL||ITA||MED||NED||MAC||CHN||JPN||0||-|
Complete F2RWRS Results
|2014||Lola F2-14||BMW P87||TUR||MON||FRA||GBR||AUT||GER||NED||BEL||HUN||CZE||ITA||POR||ESP||CAN||USA||6||-|
- † Driver did not finish the Grand Prix, but was classified as they completed over 90% of the race distance.
- TRT has high hopes for this year, 16 Feb 2012
- Trueba to drop Roda?, 9 May 2012
- Jung buys larger stake in Trueba, 14 May 2012
- Trueba Releases News Report, Just to Emulate What Everyone Else is Doing!, 6 June 2012
- American Racing Conglomerate Offers to Buy Trueba, 30 April 2013
- American Racing Conglomerate Set to Merge With Trueba at the End of the Season, 19 May 2013
- Roda says "no" to the chance of a loss of authority within the team, 25 May 2013
- Tristan Jung Indicted on Money Laundering Charges, 25 May 2013
- Jung Denies Charges, Calls Off Merger, 28 May 2013
- Trueba British Grand Prix Preview Press Release, 5 June 2013
- Arrest Warrant Issued For Tristan Jung, Three Others, 6 June 2013
- Trueba in financial difficulties, 21 August 2013
- UPS steps in to save Trueba, 22 August 2013
- Trueba’s chairman announces 2014 plans, 27 January 2014
- Unequal treatment for Trueba’s drivers?, 30 January 2014
- Jerez test day: Trueba unveils a new livery, 4 February 2014
- FINANZIARIO: Parti Trueba aumento del 37% tra le voci di acquisizione di Alitalia ostili., 12 May 2014
- Dagnall criticises Trueba, 30 May 2014
- Roda retires and sells the team. Scuderia Alitalia to take-over?, 4 June 2014
- Scuderia Lancia Alitalia S.p.A acquires Trueba Racing S.r.L, 9 June 2014,
- Du Lei to run with Trueba, 28 January 2014