Giancarlo Minardi’s plucky squad had their best year yet in 1989, thanks not least to the fantastic qualifying tyres produced by Pirelli that allowed Pierluigi Martini to place his car further and further up the grid. Nigel Cowperthwaite’s M189 chassis was a neat aerodunamic package, and the team were only prevented by the usual poverty-induced reliability issues from doing even better. Martini certainly seemed to be enjoying his driving but team-mate Sala seemed to struggle, and he was replaced for 1990 by Paolo Barilla, who had driven a substitute race in Japan and brought much-needed sponsorship cash. They begin the season with their old car until a new chassis is ready.
23. Pierluigi Martini
The little Italian had seemed a different driver in 1989 from the error-prone mobile chicane of his first year with Minardi, and it was a real shame that unreliability and badk luck had seen him unable to parlay that performance into points – or at least not as many as he deserved. He will hope to have better luck in 1990.
24. Paolo Barilla
The pasta heir had not had a lot of opportunity to show his quality in 1989, but in his single race for Minardi he had driven solidly if not particularly quickly. It was certainly enough to recommend him to the team who were in search of both new funds and an alternative to the struggling Sala.