Gianni Morbidelli

The biggest dream for a young Italian driver is to one day win races for Italy's most successful Formula 1 outfit, Ferrari. Gianni Morbidelli, just like Minardi's other Italians Luca Badoer and Giancarlo Fisichella, found out that sometimes dreams are sweeter than reality. After karts, Morbidelli made it into Formula 3 in 1987 but developed an unhealthy relationship with the armco. He finally won the Italian title in 1989 and it led to a test deal with Ferrari. morbidelli's Grand Prix debut wasn't for the Prancing Horse though, nor for Minardi, but for the now defunct Scuderia Italia Dallara. In 1990 he stood in for Emanuele Pirro in Brazil and then concentrated on his F3000 campaign, winning one race. He was back in Formula 1 before season's end, replacing Paolo Barilla at Minardi for the final two races.

morbidelli stayed at Faenza for its "Ferrari year" in 1991. The M191 had a Ferrari V12 which powered Minardi to its best championship finish of seventh. All the points were scored by Pierluigi Martini but Morbidelli had impressed Maranello sufficiently. He was chosen to replace the sacked Alain Prost in monsoon-drenched Adelaide where he won a half-point for sixth in a shortened race. "Super sub" Roberto Moreno had taken Morbidelli's Minardi seat in this farcical GP which saw Martini become one of the many drivers to aquaplane into retirement. Unfortunately, during Minardi's "Ferrari year" Maranello took with one hand what it gave with the other.

Minardi's lucrative Pioneer sponsorship was lured away by Ferrari, meaning that 1992 was the team's "Lamborghini year" and one to forget. Morbidelli was no doubt demotivated and certainly out of sponsorship. His Minardi career was pointless (in the literal sense) and he was dropped.Touring Cars in his homeland beckoned before a good return to Grand Prix racing with Footwork Arrows in 1994. He was dropped midway through '95 for financial reasons but returned for he last three races and came home third in Adelaide, the high-water mark of his career. Morbidelli tested for Jordan in 1996 and replaced Nicola Larini at Sauber in 1997 but then broke his arm. It meant the end of an unfulfilled GP career. He continued to race touring cars, taking many victories in the "Superstars" series and winning a race in the 2014 WTCC and the 2015 TCR International Series.