Formula One is a tough sport to get into, there is no doubt about that. It takes years and years of training, dedication and most importantly, talent. On top of that, a certain amount of luck is needed in order to join a team just as they produce a good car. Rubens Barrichello probably thought that Honda would be a good move after his time at Ferrari, the Japanese team doing moderately well in 2006. But 2007 saw the Brazilian’s first point-less year. Some drivers that make it as far as Formula One go on to have great careers at the top of the motor sporting world, and others seem to disappear into obscurity.
Hailing from Argentina, Esteban joined the Minardi team at just 20 years old, considerably young even by today’s standards, but in 1998 it was even more so. He struggled to get a super license and even before he turned a wheel in anger, Tuero was already garnering criticism.
As for Tuero, it would have been scary. I don’t like to see these guys out there with so little experience. Imagine it: even if he didn’t qualify, he’d be getting in the way during qualifying. And if he did qualify, then he’d definitely be being lapped plenty. He’d have really needed to have his wits about him. To be honest, it annoys me, people like that, with zilch credibility. Martin Brundle.
However, Tuero finally completed enough mileage for a license and was sat alongside Shinji Nakano at the 1998 Australian Grand Prix grid. The young driver completed the season, but all was not well. Although Esteban actually did reasonably well in his first season, competing well with others, outpacing his team mate and failing to prove Brundle right, Tuero announced his retirement after just sixteen races.
Many thought Tuero was upset by the ribbing he took in the Argentine press. His local media berated him for his poor performances, even though these reports didn’t really take into account he was driving for an underfunded team. Others felt that his motor sporting family put too much pressure on him, or made Esteban race against his will. A more likely theory is that the accident he suffered at the final race of the year damaged his vertebra, either making it too painful to continue racing in Formula One or caused his confidence to take an irreparable knock.
Either way, Tuero walked into Giancarlo Minardi’s office one afternoon and simply said he couldn’t continue. He swore himself to secrecy regarding his retirement and walked away from Formula One. Tuero still competed in motor sport in one form or another, but never really made any headlines and generally faded away from the limelight.
Ricardo Rosset was born in Sao Paulo in 1968 and had a promising career planned out in Formula One. He ultimately competed in 26 races but his ride wasn’t easy and during his time at Tyrrell even caused the team boss to walk out.
Rosset competed in Formula Three and Formula 3000 en route to Formula One, and successes in lower formulae assured the Brazilian a fair crack at the sports highest category. In 1996 his opportunity came as Footwork showed interest in the driver, and he was duly signed. It was perhaps more to do with the sponsorship Rosset was able to bring to the team than shear talent, but none-the-less Ricardo lined up alongside the experienced Jos Verstappen for the 1996 Australian Grand Prix.
The season went poorly for the Brazilian, having been outpaced by Verstappen all year. It wasn’t all Rosset’s fault, as Tom Walkinshaw bought the team mid-season and stopped development on the ’96 car, instead choosing to concentrate on 1997. And when the end of the season approached, Walkinshaw announced Damon Hill and Pedro Diniz for his newly reformed squad and Rosset looked elsewhere for a drive.
Eric Broadley was attempting to bring the Lola name back to Formula One and formed a new team with substantial backing from Mastercard. However, teamed up with Vincenzo Sospiri, the pair failed to qualify for the first race of the season, being five seconds slower than the next slowest driver. In total, they were thirteen seconds off the pace and failed to meet the 107% limit. Accruing massive debts in such a short time period, Lola closed its doors and didn’t bother travelling to the second race.
In 1998, Tyrrell picked up Rosset and paired him with Toranosuke Takagi. It wasn’t an easy decision though, as team boss Ken Tyrrell had already sorted out the experienced Jos Vertsappen to drive. It was Tyrrell’s final year of competing having already been bought out by BAR, and with money being a bit tight Tyrrell was forced to drop Verstappen in favour of Rosset; it all came down to money and Jos just didn’t bring in as much as Ricardo. Ken Tyrrell walked out of his own team before the end of the year, so disgusted he was at the lack of respect shown.
Rosset struggled all season, even finding himself following the Minardi of Esteban Tuero at times. Rosset even spun at Monaco – something quite common in itself – but in trying to correct his car he drove straight into the armco barrier, leading commentators Martin Brundle and Murray Walker to discuss his performance.
Walker: A lot of people here are really debating whether Ricardo Rosset is Formula One material.
Brundle: Well, it’s a fairly short debate, Murray.
Martin Brundle & Murray Walker.
Further accidents at Hockenheim and and a spectacular incident at Belgium led him to be overlooked for the 1999 season. Following his forced retirement from Formula One Ricardo apparently received offers to race in America, but Rosset declined saying the cars were too dangerous.
What actually happened to Ricardo from 1999 onwards is a bit of a mystery. It is thought that he returned to his native Brazil to the family business, a sports wear company with associations with Lycra.