Esteban Tuero

When Esteban Tuero went to visit the Minardi factory in Faenza, he needed to be picked up from the airport, as he was too young to rent a car. Offspring of a motorsport loving family, Tuero started karting at the tender age of 7, and moved to Formula Renault in 1993. He became Formula Honda champion in 1994 and left Argentina for Europe the next year. He won the Italian Formula 2000 series in 1995 and gained some experience in Formula 3. He was quite successful in F3 and qualified for the front row at Monaco in 1996. His move to F3000 that same year was a less successful one, with Tuero struggling to score any points. He moved sideways to Formula Nippon in 1997 where he scored one point and also was signed up as a Minardi test driver.

Instead of waiting for the 19-year-old Tuero to gain more experience, Minardi signed him for the 1998 season, partnering him with Japanese driver Shinji Nakano. Until this day, Tuero is one of the youngest drivers to ever have entered Formula 1. Tuero was able to silence some critics by qualifying for the season opener at Albert Park in Melbourne in 17th position, well ahead of his teammate. With the exception of the San Marino Grand Prix where he finished 8th, the rest of the season was an underwhelming experience for the young driver. This culminated in an incident at the final race of the season at Suzuka, when Tuero crashed into the Tyrell of Toranosuke Takagi while trying to overtake the Japanese driver in an overly optimistic manoeuvre. The debris from the crash scattered across the track and would pierce the rear tyre of Michael Schumacher's Ferrari, handing the world championship to McLaren's Mika Hakkinen.

Even worse for Tuero, apart from the livid gesturing of Takagi, he had hurt a vertebra in his neck. Though Minardi had counted on him staying with the team in 1999, the Argentine driver walked into a meeting and declared that he would leave Formula 1 and move back to his home country. His taxi had been waiting outside. Back home, Tuero competed in TC2000 touring cars for many seasons. He made a brief comeback on the international scene ten years after his withdrawal from Formula 1, competing in the 2008 FIA GT championship, scoring some points in his Ferrari 550.