The Onyx team had had a real rollercoaster of a debut season, which had ended up with a respectable tenth in the table but turmoil behind the scenes as the eccentric money man Jean-Pierre van Rossem alienated drivers, management and suppliers alike, culminating in the designation of team founders Mike Earle, Jo Chamberlain and Greg Field. During 1989, van Rossem had loudly proclaimed his intention to walk away if his proposed deal for Porsche engines fell through, and when it did he was as good as his word, leaving Alan Jenkins in charge but almost no money. A Swiss buyout was put together by vintage car enthusiast Peter Monteverdi buying 50%, Karl Foitek 25% and Brune Frei the remaining 25%. With Karl Foitek having to pay for last year’s tyres before Goodyear would agree to supply the team again, Earle and Chamberlain were rehired, but Jenkins was soon fired for refusing to work with them, only for Earle and Chamberlain to walk out again on news that Monteverdi wanted to relocate the team to Switzerland, and took most of the team’s experienced staff with them…
35. Stefan Johansson
The Swede had had a memorable year with the Onyx team, scoring all six of their points but also failing to pre-qualify for half the races. His experience had been an asset to the fledging team and he was rewarded with a renewed contract for 1990, but all was not well at Onyx and he would hope that it didn’t affect the performance on the track too much.
36. JJ Lehto
The young Finn had turned heads in his four races at the end of the season despite only qualifying twice – his undoubted pace had shone through the limitations of the car, and many thought he would be a star of the future. For now, though, he will be looking forward to commencing his first full season with the team that gave him his break.