Gabriele Tarquini tests the AGS at Silverstone in 1991.
Photo: Peter Collins
My career started many years ago, in 1974. I was born in 1962, but I did my first racing in karts in 1974. I spent many years in karting, and I won three Italian titles, one European title and one World title in 1984, which was when I started racing cars. I had a few races in Italian Championship Formula Three, and I won the Italian racing federation school series, and as a result got some Italian federation money to start in the 1985 F3000 season. Then I spent three full seasons in F3000…1985, 1986 and 1987 driving for Coloni and for First Racing. Then my first race in Formula One was at the Grand Prix in Imola in 1987, for one Grand Prix and that was with Osella. I qualified 25th in the Osella with the Alfa Romeo engine, but the gearbox broke after about 25 or 26 laps. I think that race was won by Nigel Mansell, who was at Williams when Senna was at Lotus. I didn’t see too much of them in the race!
Then I had a full season in 1988 with Coloni in F1, and the best result was 8th place in Canada. My first race for them was in Brazil and I thought I was lucky to get the Coloni up to 14th from 25th before the suspension failed. It was a struggle to qualify the car, and then it would begin to pick up in places but then something would always go wrong. At least I was there when Senna and Prost were having very hard races with each other! Canada was good because I started 26th and moved all the way up to 8th, just behind Derek Warwick’s Arrows and ahead of DeCesaris in the Rial. There were some strange cars then. There were several times when I couldn’t pre-qualify the Coloni and then there were races where it ran pretty well and was in the top 10 or 12.
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