89ligierDescribing Ligier’s 1988 season as “awful” would be to sugar-coat things. 1989 would mark the tenth anniversary of the team’s first win, and it looked distinctly unlikely to be repeating the feat. Never had both Ligiers failed to qualify – it happened twice in 1988 as the team finished just nine races out of a possible 32. Radical change was required and that was (nearly) what happened. The all new JS33 chassis was drawn by Michel Beaujon and Ricardo Divila, and took clear design cues from the excellent March 881. The similarity wasn’t just superficial with the Ligier team purchasing rights to use the March gearbox too. Out went Judd engines (though they’d served March just fine) and in came the Cosworth DFR. Out went Stefan Johansson, who had failed to qualify six times and in came youngster Olivier Grouillard. They would hope all this would be enough to restore some respect to the blue cars.

89arnoux25. René Arnoux fr

By now the old man of the GP circuit at 41, many believe that Arnoux should have moved over to make way for younger talent years ago. Not only that, but he has also gained something of a reputation as a mobile roadblock, not merely slow but actively obstructing faster cars from lapping him. Although Gerhard Berger was quick to exonerate Arnoux after they collided in Australia, the fact that it was automatically assumed René was at fault says much.Still, if he can mentor young Grouillard through what may be a trying first season in the sport, he will earn his keep. If.


89grouillard26. Olivier Grouillard fr

Born near Toulouse, Olivier started go-karting at the age of 14, competing in Volant Elf in 1981 before progressing to Formula Renault in 1982. Winning the title at the first attempt, he moved up into French Formula 3, coming fourth in his first season with the ORECA team, then winning the 1984 title at a canter.The new F3000 series beckoned in 1985 and he moved with ORECA into the formula. Here things stalled a little as the car struggled in midfield and he left ORECA, returned and left again before finally pitching up with the GBDA Motorsport team and coming second in the 1988 series with two wins. This was enough to bring him to the notice of Guy Ligier, looking for a hard-charging youngster to breathe new life into his team.


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