Roberto Moreno

In his long racing career, of which he only spent one race with Minardi, Brazilian Roberto Moreno had seen the highs and lows. Coming from a relatively humble middle-class background, he had to set up the cars of some of his competitors to finance drives in junior championships. He became Brazilian karting champion in the 1970s but a heavy accident with a motorbike almost ended his career at that stage. With a shoestring budget, he managed to compete in some British Formula Ford races, scoring some victories. Returning as an official Van Diemen driver for the 1980 season he won eight races and won the Townsend Thoresen title. In 1981, Moreno won a testing contract for Lotus, a deal which gave him enough cash to continue racing in lower Formulae. When British champion Nigel Mansell was injured for the Dutch Grand Prix of 1982, Moreno stepped in to drive the Lotus but failed to qualify.

This failure seriously set back Moreno's career and he had to return to lower racing series, winning the prestigious F3 race at Macau that same year. The coming years saw Moreno become a journeyman in various racing classes, from Formula 2 in Japan to the IMSA GT Championship in the United States and Indy Cars. Moreno got another crack at Formula 1 for two races in 1987 for the AGS team, scoring a his first point at the Australian Grand Prix. Unable to find a drive for the 1988 season, Moreno returned to F3000 and comfortably won the title. He finally got a full drive in 1989 and 1990 but his cars, the Coloni and the Eurobrun were so weak that he usually missed out on race day, failing either in qualifying or pre-qualifying.

A great moment in his career came at the end of the 1990 season, when he got a call from Benetton to replace Alessandro Nannini (also a Minardi alumnus) who had been severely injured in a helicopter crash. Benefiting from a first-corner pile up between championship contenders Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost, Moreno put his Benetton on the second spot, scoring his first and only podium finish. Encouraged by the result, Benetton kept Moreno for the 1991 season but the meteoric rise of Michael Schumacher and the German's spectacular debut with Jordan at the Belgian Grand Prix meant that Moreno had to vacate his seat. Initially taking over Schumacher's Jordan car, Moreno found himself in the Minardi for the 1991 season closer at Adelaide.

Moreno qualified well behind Martini in the Ferrari-powered Minardi but in contrast to the Italian managed to finish the race, one lap down in 16th. The rest of Moreno's F1 career is but a sidenote, as he drove the horribly uncompetitive Andrea Moda in 1992, qualifying for only one race, and the equally underperforming Forti three years later in 1995. Moreno switched to ChampCar in the United States where he enjoyed a decent run, even coming in third in the championship in 2000. He competed in some Indycar races later in his career.