At the end of the 1990s, the Argentines returned to support a compatriot in Formula 1. The recipient of all the encouragement was Esteban Tuero, who at the age of 18 reached the category thanks to the modest Minardi team.
Tuerito, who is currently one of the protagonists of National Tourism, ran the entire 1998 season and at the end of that year he surprised with his decision not to continue in the Maximum. With the Ford-powered M198 he competed in all 16 races on the calendar and only saw the checkered flag in four Grands Prix (8th in San Marino, 15th in Spain, 16th in Germany and 11th in Italy). For a long time the reasons for the decision to get off the F-1 were a mystery. However, it was revealed a few years ago by businessman Eduardo Ramírez, who at that time was his manager. Here is a fragment of an interview I did with Ramírez in 2007 for CORSA and in which he revealed why Tuero got off ...
-Were you surprised by Esteban Tuero's decision to get off the Minardi?
-Yes, totally. He was in Argentina, in Miramar, and he told me that he didn't feel like it, that he didn't want to continue and that he wanted to race here. When I mentioned that to Giancarlo Minardi he asked me to give him one more week of vacation to loosen up. But we traveled to Europe and he quit.
-How did you take it?
-My job is not to convince a pilot to get on or get off, my job is to help the pilot who wants to race in F-1 and also help him when he wants to get off ...
"But did all that come as a surprise to you?"
-I'll tell you because it already "prescribed" ... We were negotiating with Benetton and there was also something with Ferrari, which later happened, and in which Esteban would have remained as a tester. But we were almost guaranteed a jump from Minardi to Benetton. Few know this, but Esteban's contract in Formula Nippon was signed by Flavio Briatore, who was already looking at him at the time.
-Was Esteban aware of these negotiations?
-Yes, but I think Esteban was saturated. People imagine Minardi to be two F-1 cars, Giancarlo Minardi, a toolbox, and a truck to carry the cars. But the Minardi factory has almost a block, at that time 150 people work, he managed a very small budget for the F-1 that is 60 million dollars per year and he could build the entire F-1 car in his plant. Minardi was a sewing machine. For an 18-year-old boy they were pressures that were not easy to handle.