The little Osella team had tried hard since their 1981 debut, but success had been limited primarily by their lack of finance, and their association with the Alfa Romeo team had probably been more a hindrance than a help – the FA1F chassis, now entering its third year with the team, was based on the dreadful Alfa 183T, and the free turbo engines were overweight, underpowered, too thirsty and unreliable to boot. But both engine and chassis were all that was available so they soldiered on. Piercarlo Ghinzani returned once again to the team and was joined by Christian Danner – both racing subject to someone else with more money showing up, of course.
The affable Italian continued racing Formula One more or less as a hobby, with his main paycheck coming from his job driving Alfa Romeo sportscars and as a result he provided his services for free to the Osella team. This helped them out no end, and occasionally got him noticed by other teams, such as when he spend the second half of 1985 with Toleman. He was unlikely to be suddenly discovered as a top talent, but was a safe pair of hands and a reliable driver.
Danner had made two appearances for Zakspeed as a substitute driver for Jonathan Palmer, but retired with technical failures both times, so it’s difficult to assess his season. He outqualified the Osella and Minardi cars on both occasions, but this wasn’t exactly saying much, and it wasn’t as if Palmer had had much better luck in his races. Unfortunately, Osella is unlikely to be the team to show him in his best light.