All change at Lotus. The venerable British team had a truly disastrous 1990 season culminating in the horror crashes of Warwick in Italy and Donnelly in Spain, by which time they had already lost chief sponsor Camel and engine supplier Lamborghini. With Donnelly still recovering and a disgusted Warwick off to sporstcar racing, there were no drivers either, and over the winter a power struggle saw former employees Peter Wright and Peter Collins organising a management buyout to stop the Chapman family winding the team up altogether. With no money for a new car, the dreadful 102 has been updated as the 102B, with Judd V8 power, a smart new white and British Racing Green livery applied and new drivers signed in the shape of British Formula 3 Champion Mika Häkkinen and 1989 Tyrrell pilot Julian Bailey. The only way is up – hopefully.
11. Mika Häkkinen
Karting since the age of five, young Mika won his first race two years later and went on to great domestic success before moving into car racing in 1987, purchasing a Reynard Formula Ford car from one JJ Lehto and entering the Formula Ford Festival at Brands Hatch. The following year he placed second in the Formula GM Lotus Euroseries, before winning the Formula Opel Lotus Euroseries the same year. In 1989, he was driving F3 but it wasn’t until a move to West Surrey Racing in 1990 that he took the British F3 title comfortably from fellow Finn and childhood friend Mika Salo. Testing a Benetton in 1989, he lapped faster than Sandro Nannini, and when Lotus were in need of a driver he was able to step up.
12. Julian Bailey
Bailey’s first stint in F1, with the Tyrrell team in 1988, had not been a success, with just six starts and four finishes – he looked rather out of his depth and was distinctly shown up by team-mate Jonathan Palmer. Since then he’d been driving sportscars alongside Martin Donnelly and Mark Blundell and had been part of some successful drivers which had enabled him to raise sponsorship and interest for a second crack at Formula One. He would just have to hope that the 1991 Lotus was a better steed than the 1988 Tyrrell and that two years out hadn’t left him too rusty.