You can’t imagine it now though there were years in the Formula One there were plenty of test drivers per team. Or teams tested in between races to test new aerodynamics or new engines. Or just to cash extra money by letting unknown drivers, who will never arrive, experience the Formula 1.
As many of these drivers are long forgotten, and there isn’t a real overview of the test drivers, its all bits and pieces. It though well why not? Here are the drivers who tested with a F1 car in 1990.
Scuderia Ferrari was on its way back to the Formula One, however they still had a long way to go back in 1990. A few drivers took place behind the wheel of the Ferrari that year.
Jean Alesi: Alesi tested with the Ferrari F641 in late 1990 as he would race for the team.
Gerhard Berger: Berger tested with the F641 a couple of times during the season.
Gianni Morbidelli: Gianni Tested with the Ferrari F640.
Alain Prost: Alain Prost tested with the Ferrari F640 adapted with some features for the F641. Later in the season he tested a couple of time with the Ferrari F641.
Tyrrell Racing Organisation – Ford
In 1990 it seems Tyrrell was on its way back to the top as well the teams designed some smooth nrw cars in these days. As well came they close to sign the deal with Rothmans as title sponsor. The following drivers tested for the team in 1990;
Satoru Nakajima: Tested both with the Tyrrell 018 with upgrades which would be used on the 019. As well tested with the Tyrrell 019.
Jean Alesi: Tested both with the Tyrrell 018 with upgrades which would be used on the 019. As well tested with the Tyrrell 019.
Stefano Modena: Tested with the Tyrrell 019 a couple of times in late season as he would become one of Tyrrell’s drivers in 1991.
Canon Williams Team – Renault
Williams was on it’s way to become the new world champion and the dominating team in the Formula 1. For 1990 the team appeared with the FW13B powered by Renault.
Thierry Boutsen: Tested with the Williams FW13B.
Riccardo Patrese: Tested with the Williams FW13B.
James Hunt: James Hunt tested with the Williams FW12, it was said for an eventual comeback in the Formula 1. How serious this was i don’t know.
Mark Blundell: Tested a couple of times with the Williams FW13B
Nigel Mansell: Mansell was one of Ferrari’s drivers in 1990, however he would race in 1991 for Williams. He tested a couple of times with the Williams FW13, known for the white engine cover.
Motor Racing Developments (Brabham) – Judd
In 1990 the financial situation for Brabham was far from reliable. While the team had a good lineup in 1989 for 1990 the team had to use pay drivers. Several drivers tested with Brabham during the season.
Gregor Foitek: Tested with the Brabham BT58 before he would race two races for the team.
David Brabham: Tested with the Brabham BT58 and the Brabham BT59.
Stefano Modena: Tested with the Brabham BT58 and the Brabham BT59.
Martin Brundle: Tested with the Brabham BT59
Mark Blundell: Tested with the Brabham BT59
Footwork Arrows Racing – Ford
Footwork was one of the teams that scored every now and then some points, though had always financial instabilities 1990 wasn’t any difference from other seasons. A couple of drivers tested during the season for the team.
Michele Alboreto: Tested with the Arrows A11 in pre-season testing and with the Arrows A11B.
Bernd Schneider: Tested with the Arrows A11.
Alex Caffi: Tested with the Arrows A11 in pre-season testing and with the Arrows A11B.
Camel Team Lotus – Lamborghini
1990 was the last time the team would have a big main sponsor and a more or less reliable financial situation. A couple of drivers tested with Lotus during the season.
Derek Warwick: Tested with the Lotus 102 at Silverstone.
Martin Donnelly: Tested with the Lotus 102
Johnny Herbert: Tested with the Lotus 102 and with the Lotus 102B late in the season.
Mika Häkkinen: Tested at the end of the season with the Lotus 102B at Silverstone, already without Camel sponsorship. In 1991 he would be one of the drivers for the team.
Osella Squadra Corse – Ford
Osella was one of the small teams that debuted in the 1980s. 1990 was the last season for the team with an car that was an evolution of their from 1988. The results were poor. At the end of the season Osella would merge with Fondmetal.
Olivier Grouillard: Tested with the Osella FA1M and the slightly updated Osella FA1ME.
Paul Belmondo: It is unsure if Paul Belmondo really tested for Osella. Photos are there of Paul sitting in Grouillard’s Osella.
Leyton House Racing (March) – Judd
One of the teams on the grid in the midfield that was able to score some decent results during a Grand Prix weekend. In 1990 the team appeared with the CG901 from Adrian Newey.
Maurício Gugelmin: Tested with the Leyton House CG901.
Ivan Capelli: Tested with the Leyton House CG901.
Andy Wallace: Tested with the Leyton House CG901 at Silverstone.
Bruno Giacomelli: Tested with the Leyton House CG901 at Jerez.
Automobiles Gongaronnaises Sportives (AGS) – Ford
Another small team in the Formula One that arrived after the Turbo engines were banned. Most interesting is that the team still exists today with historic racing. In 1990 the team appeared with the JH24 and the JH25.
Gabriele Tarquini: Tested with the AGS JH24 with the famous ? on the engine cover. Tested as well during the season with the AGS JH25.
Yannick Dalmas: Tested only with the AGS JH25, though some data says as well with the JH24.
Andrea de Cesaris: Some data says that Cesaris tested with AGS as well.
Benetton Formula Ltd – Ford
Benetton was one of the coming teams in 1990 and for some reason a lot of drivers tested with Benetton in 1990. It is unsure why this was the case. In 1990 the team appeared with the B189B and the B190.
Alessandro Nannini: Tested in pre-season with the Benetton B189B, later in the season with the B190 at Silverstone.
Roberto Moreno: Tested with the Benetton B190 before he replaced Alessandro Nannini for the last two races of the season.
Nelson Piquet: Tested in pre-season with the Benetton B189B and later in the season with the B190.
Johnny Dumfries: Tested with the Benetton B190 at Estoril.
Mika Häkkinen: Tested with the Benetton B189 at Silverstone in January. Tested with the Benetton B190 at Estoril.
King Hussein of Jordan: Tested with the Benetton B190 at Silverstone.
Johnny Herbert: Tested with the Benetton B190.
King Constatine of Greece: Tested with the Benetton B190 at Silverstone.
Paul Stewart: Tested with the Benetton B190.
BMS Scuderia Italia – Ford
The team is also branded as the Dallara F1 Team as the company provided the F190 chassis the team was racing with. The team was a reliable team that scored its points and even podiums.
Gianni Morbidelli: Tested with the Dallara F190.
Emanuele Pirro: Tested with the Dallara F190.
JJ Lehto: Tested with the interim Dallara 189 fitted with the Judd V10 at Vallelunga in January 1990. Participated in the 1990 Formula one Indoor Trophy better known as the Bologona Sprint. With the F190.
Andrea Montermini: Tested with the Dallara F190.
SCM Minardi Team – Ford
1990 was the year Minardi came to the front and started to score some decent results in qualification as in the races. In 1990 Minardi started with a slightly updated M189. Later the team came with the M190.
Pierluigi Martini: Tested with the slightly updated Minardi M189, tested also with the Minardi M190.
Paolo Barilla: Tested with the slightly updated Minardi M189, tested also with the Minardi M190.
Gianni Morbidelli: Tested with the Minardi M190 before he drove the last two races of the season.
Marco Apicella: Tested with the Minardi M190 at San Marino.
Luis Sala Perez: Tested with the Minardi M190.
Equipe Ligier Gitanes – Ford
Ligier was on its way back on the grid in 1990. The late 80s were not a good period for the team, having years not scoring a single point. The team came with the JS33B.
Nicola Larini: Tested with the JS33B.
Philippe Alliot: Tested with the JS33B.
Érik Comas: Tested with the Ligier JS33B ar Magny-Cours.
Thierry Boutsen: Tested with the Ligier JS33B at Paul Ricard.
Emmanuel Collard: Tested with the JS33B.
Honda Marlboro McLaren
McLaren was the team to beat during the mid-80s and the early 90s. In 1990 with Ayrton Senna and Gerhard Berger they still were. The team came with the MP4/5B.
Ayrton Senna: Tested with the McLaren MP4/5B.
Gerhard Berger: Tested with the McLaren MP4/5B.
David Coulthard: Tested with the McLaren MP4/5B at Silverstone for his Mclaren Prize.
Allan McNish: Tested with the McLaren MP4/5B at Silverstone.
Jonathan Palmer: Tested with the McLaren MP4/5B at Silverstone.
Gareth Rees: Tested with the McLaren MP4/5B.
ESPO Larrousse F1 – Lamborghini
Larrousse was one of the team that appeared at the end of the 1980s when the Formula One ditched the Turbo engines. In 1990 Larrousse was powered by the Lamborghini V12 engine. The team appeared with the LC89B and the successor LC90.
Éric Bernard: Tested with the LC89B and the LC90.
Aguri Suzuki: Tested with the LC89B and the LC90.
Subaru Coloni Racing – Subaru
In 1990 Coloni came with the somewhat interesting news that they would be powered by the Subaru 1235 engine. Better known as the Boxer V12. However, the engine was just batched. The origins of the engine came from Motori Moderni from Carlo Chiti. The Coloni – Subaru C3B was only used for the first 8th races. After that they moved back to the reliable Ford engine.
Bertrand Gachot: Tested with the Coloni C3B a couple of times.
Antonio Tamburini: Tested the Coloni C3B at Imola.
Fulvio Maria Ballabio: Some data say that Fulvio tested with the C3B as well.
Coloni Racing – Ford
The Coloni team realised that the Subaru engine would not bring them any advantage and made the decision to replace the Subaru, or Motori Moderni, engine with the Ford engine for the German Grand Prix on.
Bertrand Gachot: Tested in between with the C3C.
Pedro Chaves: Tested with the C3C at Estoril. Participated in the 1990 Formula one Indoor Trophy better known as the Bologna Sprint as well.
Paolo Coloni: Was to participate during the Bologna Sprint as well with the C3C, however the car failed to arrive.
EuroBrun Racing – Judd
EuroBrun Racing is one of the teams in the history of Formula one that nearly failed all the races to qualify at least one car during their years on the grid. The team disappeared from the grid after the Grand Prix of Spain as they could not afford the money to travel to Japan. The team came with the ER189 and the ER189B.
Roberto Moreno: Tested with the ER189 and the ER189B
Claudio Langes: Tested with the ER189 and the ER189B. Read his story here!
Domenico Schiattarella: Participated in the 1990 Formula one Indoor Trophy better known as the Bologona Sprint. With the ER189.
Andrea Montermini: As Schiattarella he was to take part of the Bologna Sprint, however his car failed and did not arrive on time.
Monteverdi Onyx Formula One – Ford
Monteverdi better known as Onyx used to be the team from the Belgium Jean-Pierre Van Rossem. Who made his money with a pyramid game. The team had enough money first and scored some decent results. After van Rossem disappeared from the team and the bills were not paid the team had serious financial problems. In 1990 the team had new owners. After the Belgium Grand Prix the team disappeared from the grid. The team came with the ORE-1 and ORE-1B
Stefan Johansson: Tested with the ORE-1.
Gregor Foitek: Tested with the ORE-1 and the ORE-1B.
JJ Lehto: Tested with the ORE-1 and the ORE-1B.
Life Racing Engines – Life W12
In 1990 a new team appeared on the grid with a very interesting engine the W12. Their own engine. The engine was underpowered and the Chassis was nothing more than the upgraded Life F189 which did not made it through the crash test. The car was tested a couple of times. As well the team attempted to qualify the car.
Gary B.: For the known reason we call him Gary B. Tested with the Life 190 powered by the Life W12 at Vallelunga. Read his story here!
Bruno Giacomelli: Tested both with the Life 190 fitted with the W12 and the Judd engine at Imola.
Franco Scapini: Tested both with the Life 190 fitted with the W12 and the Judd engine at Imola.
Life Racing Engines – Judd
After the team found out that their W12 engine would not bring them any advantage they decided to move towards the Judd engine. The results were slightly better though not enough to qualify the car.
Bruno Giacomelli: Tested with the Life 190 powered by Judd.
West Zakspeed Racing – Yamaha
While Zakspeed already had announced their retirement from Formula one in late ’89, the team appeared on the circuit during the winter testing. The Zakspeed – Yamaha 891B appeared at Estoril were the Pirelli teams were testing. As well at Paul Ricard at the end of January Zakspeed appeared showing again decent results. Story can be read here!
Bernd Schneider: Tested the Zakspeed 891B at Estoril and Paul Ricard.
Jordan Grand Prix – Ford
When Jordan Grand Prix was announced as one of the teams to enter in 1991, the team appeared with the Jordan 911 during the first testing and the teams presentation. Eventually the car was rebranded 191. The story goes that Eddie Jordan went on visit to the Porsche fabric and got a Porsche because he rebranded his Grand Prix car!
John Watson: Tested with the Jordan 911 in December 1990 at Silverstone.
Reynard Mugen / Bridgestone test car
Little is known about this test car from Reynard. It is said that the car was used to test the newly Honda-Mugen test car. As well, Bridgestone used the car the same time to test their tyres. At that time they were already planning to debut in the Formula One.
Brabham Yamaha BT58Y
One of the stories many forgot about. Back in 1990 the Brabham team got the opportunity to test the new Yamaha OX99 engine. The team used one of their BT58s cars which had to be modified for the Yamaha engines. As the car was originally designed for the Judd V8 engine. Read the story here!
David Brabham: Tested with the car at Silverstone.
Ukyo Katayama: Tested with the car intensively at Sugo, Fuji and the Yamaha test track.
Glas was the Mexican Project to bring in an all Mexican Formula 1 Team. However, the owner Fernando González Luna, disappeared with a lot of money. The Glas 001 was already build and tested. Eventually Lamborghini took over the project and the 921 would appear in 1991 on the track. Read the story here!
Mauro Baldi:Tested the Glas 001 at Imola.
Giovanni Aloi: Signed a contract with the Glas team, though never tested with the car.
Marco Apicella: Tested with the Glas 001 at Imola.
Nicola Larini: Tested with the Glas 001.
Eric van de Poele: Tested with the Glas 001.