The Benetton squad had had a great 1990 with two back-to-back wins at the end of the season and six other podium visits through the season taking the team to third in the standings, ahead of Williams. The team have benefited from being the Ford “works” team, an arrangement that continues into 1991 as the team drop the red from their livery to emphasise new sponsor Camel’s yellow. Nelson Piquet remains with the team with Roberto Moreno retained from the end of 1990. Even the news from Sandro Nannini is positive as his arm is healing more quickly than expected and he hopes to be back in action soon. The team begin the season with an updated 1990 chassis, and are planning to introduce the 1991 car at San Marino.
19. Roberto Moreno (left)
Few F1 careers have turned round as quickly as Moreno’s – slogging through most of 1990 to no avail in the execrable EuroBrun, he’d just lost his job when the team folded, when who should call but Benetton, needing a replacement for Nannini. And Moreno grabbed the chance with both hands to take a fine second place on his team debut. He owes his place in the team to his friendship with Nelson Piquet but keeping it will be his own business – he drove well in Australia too but now needs to prove it wasn’t a fluke.
20. Nelson Piquet (right)
The three-times champion looked reinvigorated at Benetton in 1991 after two dispiriting years at Lotus and whether it was his pay-per-points contract or just the joy of having a competitive car once more, he certainly regained his mojo – it was good to see the irrepressible Rio native smiling again. Can he retain his momentum? Win more races in 1991? Even mount an outside title tilt? Anything is possible, if the car is right and he’s in the right frame of mind.