1981 had been a trying year for the little Italian Osella team, between troubles with the car and the tragic death of mechanic Giovanni Amedeo at Zolder and rarely qualified before finding their feet a little with the acquisition of Jean-Pierre Jarier who arrived at Silverstone and qualified more often than not, finishing most of the time into the bargain. For 1982 Osella managed to retain the services of Jarier and a new car, the FA1D was under development and expected some time during the early European rounds. Joining Jarier with the backing of sponsors Pioneer was young F2 prodigy Riccardo Paletti.
Jarier had found himself at Osella after being dropped by Ligier following Jean-Pierre Jabouille’s return from injury, and soon carved out a niche for himself at the team, instantly improving on the performances of any of the team’s other drivers and earning himself not only a full-time drive for 1982 but undisputed number 1 status.
Young Riccardo Paletti was a junior karate champion at age 13, and later made the Alpine Skiing youth team, but by 19 he had fixed on motor racing and entered nine races in the 1978 Formula Super Ford series and led his first race for 18 laps. A full season in Formula Three followed and despite disappointing results he was picked by Mike Earle to join his new Onyx Formula Two team in 1981. Earle’s faith was well placed and Paletti finished second in his first race, and at one stage was tying for second overall with Stefan Johansson before results fell away and he finished 10th. Electronics company Pioneer wanted to sponsor Paletti into Formula One in 1982, but he was reluctant, preferring to stay in F2. However, deciding not to miss his chance after all, he took the plunge with the Osella team.