Tarso Marques

Brazilian Tarso Marques spent three years with the Minardi Team but never completed a full season. After some years in karting, the young Marques progressed to Brazilian Formula Chevrolet where he became the youngest driver ever to win a race, also taking the championship at his first attempt. Marques then looked across the Atlantic and started in F3000, winning a race at Estoril and coming in 5th in the 1995 season. At the start of the 1996 Formula 1 season, Marques raced twice for Minardi, in Brazil and Argentina. In Argentina, Marques qualified in a respectable 14th position, well ahead of teammate Pedro Lamy, but crashed into Martin Brundle halfway through the race. Brundle would hold that grudge as a TV commentator many years later. Marques was replaced by Giancarlo Fisichella after two appearances. In 1997, he was given another chance as Italian Jarno Trulli left Minardi for Prost after a spectacular start to the season.

The 1997 season, with the weak Hart engine, was also no real opportunity to shine and Marques also found himself outqualified regularly by Japanese veteran Ukyo Katayama. It seemed the end of the road for Marques and he left Formula 1 at the end of the season, to move across the pond to Champcar, scoring a few points with the Penske and Dale Coyne teams in 1999 and 2000. Unexpectedly, Marques got another call from Faenza at the start of the 2001 season. Paul Stoddart had just bought the team and was looking for a teammate for young Spaniard Fernando Alonso. Marques was hired with the agreement that he would be replaced if Minardi found another driver with deeper pockets. Without having the chance to test the frantically assembled PS01 car, Marques was outqualified by rookie Alonso in the season opener in Melbourne, but the Spaniard did not manage a clean sheet against the Brazilian in the remaining races.

With two 9th places as his best showing, things turned worse when he failed to qualify for the British GP and rumours grew that he would be replaced. A replacement was eventually found in Malaysian Alex Yoong who brought a large amount of much-needed corporate backing. Marques returned to U.S. open-wheel racing, once again with Dale Coyne, but only competed in a handful of races in 2004 and 2005. His career took a very different turn after that, as he fully concentrated on his design and customisation business founded in 1999. Under the Tarso Marques Concept brand, he customises cars, motorbikes and even yachts and aircrafts for Brazil's better-off. He also went into the jungle for Brazil's celebrity version of "survivor", AmazĂ´nia, and won the contest. His customisation business is also the subject of a reality show on Brazilian TV.