Given that the whole reason Zakspeed had gone into F1 to start with was to develop and market their own turbocharged engine, one might wonder what they’re still doing here. It’s not even as if they’ve been successful – in fact 1988 was a distinct retrograde step over 1987, and saw them only qualify half the time and only finish five times with a top spot of 12th. Bernd Schneider has stuck with the team, with Ghinzani moving on and being replaced by Aguri Suzuki – perhaps as much a nod to new engine suppliers Yamaha than anything else. At least, unlike many other teams, the new car should be ready for Rio.

88schneider34. Bernd Schneider de

The West German’s debut season had been something of a baptism of fire, with a combination of inferior machinery and increased competition for grid slots seeing Schneider qualify for only 6 races, and only finish two of those (12th in Germany, 14th in Belgium). And to be perfectly honest, unless Yamaha pulled something pretty special out of the bag with their new engine, and/or Gustav Brunner had drawn a great chassis, he was only going to find it tougher going in 1989.

89Suzuki35. Aguri Suzuki jp

The young Japanese driver had made a good impression in his only race so far, qualifying well and finishing on home territory while deputising for Yannick Dalmas. Having raced at Suzuka he had returned to his F3000 berth and secured the Japanese title, so he was clearly in possession of some talent, but having only driven on a circuit he was very familiar with it was difficult to assess how much – and pessimism suggested that Zakspeed wasn’t going to be the place for him to shine.


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