Motor (Australia)

THOSE WHO DODGED A BULLET

Life’s tornado of disaster nearly claimed the scalp of a double world champion

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GIACOMELLI wasn’t Vita’s first option to replace Brabham. He claimed at the start of the season to have an option on Bertrand Gachot’s services, before trying to get Bernd Schneider to join the team. The German touring car ace drove for Footwork at the opening round, but had no intention of taking Vita up on his offer.

“I will not be driving for the team. I have received a fax here in Suzuka inviting me to go and visit the factory, but I definitely don’t want to drive for them,” Schneider told media at the time.

Rob Wilson was then sounded out for the role. He declined, and instead went on to become the most influentia­l driver coach in the world, with pupils such as Juan Pablo Montoya, Kimi Räikkönen, David Coulthard, Marco Andretti, and Valtteri Bottas.

Vita’s biggest whaling attempt would come later in the year when he tried to convince Mika Häkkinen to test the car. Unsurprisi­ngly, the Finnish youngster declined.

“I don’t know why. It was such a good opportunit­y for his career,” Maurizio laughs.

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