The Brabham team had had a fraught off-season with questions over ownership and finance. Joachim Luhti had eventually sold the team off to the Japanese engineering concern Middlebridge, who retained Herbie Blash as team manager. The team would begin the season with 1989’s BT58 chassis for the flyaway races, with a new car planned for the European season. The team would continue with Judd engines and the talented Stefano Modena, but with Martin Brundle off back to sportscar racing a new driver was needed. Well-backed Swiss Gregor Foitek was signed up, but shortly before the season Foitek’s father made a major investment in the Onyx team and signed Gregor as a driver. Gregor agreed to drive the flyaway races for Brabham while they made arrangements for a replacement.
7. Gregor Foitek
Foitek had been little in evidence in the paddock in 1989, the unfortunate driver saddled with the dreadful EuroBrun chassis and failing to pre-qualify at every attempt before quitting. He was then signed up by the Rial team, but walked away in disgust at the amateurish team after his rear wing fell off and pitched him into a potentially serious accident. Although bound for Onyx after the first two races of the season, he’ll still be keen to prove himself as a good driver, not just one with a rich father.
8. Stefano Modena
Like the Brabham team itself, Modena (another ex-EuroBrun driver, as it happens) had peaked early in the season with his fairytale podium in Monaco. He usually qualified well, starting in the top ten in 50% of his races but dogged by unreliability. Most still rated Modena highly and he would hope that 1990 would see better fortunes.