The Benetton team had provided two of the sport’s last three new winners in the shape of Gerhard Berger in 1986 and Sandro Nannini in 1989, and they continued with their ambitions to reach the top of the sport. Nelson Piquet was in, apparently on a pay-per-point deal, and would partner the highly-rated Nannini; also in was designer John Barnard working on the new B190 chassis which would debut later in the season, and Ford continued to supply their top-of-the-range HB engine. The pieces are in place for Benetton to reach the top, if they can wring just a bit more power out of that V8 engine and if Nelson Piquet performs as we know he can.
19. Sandro Nannini
Sandro had broken his winner’s duck in 1989, and although it was inherited after the Prost/Senna collision, there were few who doubted it was deserved and it seems a shame that he has been “demoted” back to number 2 driver status with the arrival of Piquet. There were just a few too many retirements in 1989 to go higher than 6th in the table and he would hope for more consistency and reliability in 1990 as well as having to prove himself against a triple world champion.
20. Nelson Piquet
The Drivers’ Champion of 1981, 83 and 87 had not done his reputation many favours in the 1988 and 1989 seasons, and underlined to many people their perception of him as a driver who faded away when the car was not perfect. He had, nonetheless, maintained his generally sunny disposition and would be looking to draw a line under the Lotus years and relaunch his career.