LISTEN: 'I had to find jobs just to stay alive, and those jobs were in racing' – Roberto Moreno on chasing his F1 dream
Roberto Moreno was an electrifying talent who had to make incredible sacrifices and endure huge challenges to fulfill his dream and make it to the pinnacle of motorsport. In this week's episode of Beyond The Grid, Moreno talks about the difficulties he faced in making it to F1, and the roller coaster career that followed.
The Brazilian begins with a frank recollection about finding money to keep going in Europe – “I had to find jobs just to stay alive, and those jobs were in racing” – and the difficulties he faced in finding a drive to make ends meet – revealing that Lotus paid him £10,000 just to test their car in the 1980s – before his physically gruelling F1 debut with AGS in Japan in 1987.
He also tells the amazing story of how compatriot Nelson Piquet took him under his wing in Rio de Janeiro, and the advice Piquet gave him to ensure that teams would pay Moreno for his driving rather than take his talent for granted.
Fast-forward to 1991 and Moreno would become the pawn in one of the biggest F1 stories of the era, when Benetton wrestled young German hotshot Michael Schumacher from Jordan's grasp, after his stunning debut at the Belgian GP. Moreno was the driver Benetton jettisoned to make way for Schumacher, and he ended up joining Jordan in an effective swap deal. Listen to what that saga was like from his point of view in the podcast.
Cue happy tears from the Brazilian, however, as he goes on to recall his brief time with the struggling Andrea Moda squad and the heroics he pulled off to qualify for the 1992 Monaco GP – a career highlight that made him feel like a world champion, just for a brief moment.
“I made it, I got there. I had so many downs and ups. But the little ups I had, I had so much pleasure out of it”, surmises Moreno in this podcast rife with emotion – floods of tears – humour, and many an expletive…