From Formula Rejects Wiki
The 1990 Formula One season was the 41st Formula One World Championship season.
Teams and Drivers
- The Benetton family elected to sell their under-performing team in favour of reverting to conventional sponsorship, entering into a title sponsorship deal with Arrows which saw the Arrows cars run in Benetton livery and the official team name changed to "Benetton Arrows Grand Prix International". Benetton chose to sponsor Arrows due to their Ford works engine status, a deal which was renewed for 1990 and saw the Leafield-based team have exclusive rights to the Ford HB engine. The Benetton team was sold to French Formula 3000 outfit Oreca, who entered the sport with financial backing from the Japanese logistics company Footwork. The new team would be called "Footwork Oreca" and run Ford DFR engines.
- Zakspeed entered financial difficulty over the off-season after main sponsor Imperial Tobacco removed their sponsorship in the form of the West brand of cigarettes. The team elected to withdraw from Formula One to focus on their championship-winning World Touring Car Masters squad.
- The paddock saw another new entrant in the form of Life Racing Engines, the eponymous team of Ernesto Vita, after the eccentric Italian failed to find any customers for his unconventional W12 engines.
- Formula 3000 team Onyx Racing did apply to enter the season but had to cancel their entry plans after running into financial difficulty.
- Another Formula 3000 team, Middlebridge Racing, entered the season under the Brabham name, bringing it back to the sport for the first time since 1986.
- Alain Prost would move from Ferrari to Renault-powered rivals Williams, ending a partnership with the Italian team dating back to 1987. His predecessor at Williams, Nigel Mansell, hence moved to Ferrari to partner world champion Ayrton Senna.
- New sponsors Benetton demanded that Arrows sign a World Champion, so Guillaume Gauthier moved from Lotus to partner Chris Dagnall. Brendon Cassidy would move to Gauthier's old seat at Lotus, marking the first time the British marque had signed an American driver since Mario Andretti.
- Satoru Nakajima moved to March from Tyrrell, taking his supply of Honda engines with him. Thierry Boutsen would also jump to the Bicester-based team from the defunct Benetton outfit.
- Intially, Christian Danner moved from Rial to Oreca. However, the German defaulted on his payments to the team, leading to Oreca signing another Rial driver from 1989 in the form of Stefan Johansson
- Michele Alboreto joined Minardi from fellow Italian midfielders BMS Scuderia Italia
- Bruno Giacomelli and Leonhard von Gottorp would both sign for Life, marking their return to Formula One in a full-time seat for the first time in over 5 years.
- Reigning F3000 champion Erik Comas moved up to Formula One with Oreca, the team with which he took the title. Fellow F3000 frontrunners graduating to F1 included runner-up Fabrizio Giovanardi partnering Jack Christopherson at AGS, Martin Donnelly moving to Tyrrell, Emmanuele Pirro at BMS Scuderia Italia and Mark Blundell at Brabham, while backmarkers Bertrand Gachot, JJ Lehto, Paolo Barilla and Giovanna Amati would also make their F1 debuts, for Osella, Rial and Coloni respectively.
- After making his debut for Zakspeed at the tail end of 1989, David Brabham would start his first full campaign with the team carrying his name, Brabham.
- Ligier handed sportscar racer Michel Ferte his Formula One debut, replacing Larrousse-bound Riccardo Patrese. However, Ferte would also default on payment to the team, leading to Ligier signing Éric Bernard.
- Martin Brundle, left out of a drive at AGS, took on the role of test driver at Williams
- A total of 15 drivers from 1989 would be left without a drive going into 1990 - of these, three (namely Robert Kagan, Harvey Jones and Valentino Nicchi) had chosen to retire from the sport.
- Japan held two Grands Prix for the first time with the addition of the Pacific Grand Prix at the newly constructed Autopolis circuit. The race would take place in the first half of the season.
- The United States Grand Prix would open the season for the first time with the race moving to an early March slot. This was due to the sweltering heat of the mid-June climate in Phoenix.
- The Mexican Grand Prix was moved from the end of the season to replace the United States Grand Prix's June slot.
- To avoid cold weather, the Belgian and Italian Grands Prix were swapped, and both Grands Prix moved a few weeks earlier to late August-early September, displacing the Portuguese Grand Prix which would instead take place on the last weekend of September.
- Following the Restoration of Independence of the Republic of Latvia on 4th May 1990 the future of the Soviet Grand Prix, held at the Bikernieki Circuit in the former Latvian SSR, was placed into doubt. With the new Latvian government not willing to host the race and the Soviet organisers unable to find a suitable replacement venue in time for the race's scheduled date of 12th August, the race was cancelled.