Back to that first Grand Prix. He was hot property, tipped as a future champion. The call came from Marlboro, they would put him in a Brabham –BMW for the last race of 1987 in Adelaide.
“I had Patrese’s seat, the overalls of De Cesaris, but Herbie Blash and the mechanics, they helped me so much, but I couldn’t handle the car, so much power, 900 horses, and on a street circuit. I just could not drive the car, so I stopped. Bernie Ecclestone comes to me, he says ‘what is the problem?’ and I say ‘I cannot drive the car’. He says ‘Why not?’ I look at him, I say ‘I have too much power!’ He says ‘OK, reduce the boost to 2.5’, I say ‘Where is it, the button?’ and the mechanic shows me. So out I went and immediately I am five seconds faster because now I can drive, now I can open the throttle, learn the car.
Then in qualifying they want me to go back to 4 bar on the turbo, I say no way, not for me coming suddenly from 400 horsepower to 900. Anyway, I stay with less power, get a new seat, change some springs and qualify 15th which was good. On Sunday I was third in the warm-up, started well, switched the turbo to 4 bar to pass Warwick, went back to 2.5 bar, and was up to seventh behind Fabi when I started to get cramp in my leg. The throttle was so bloody heavy, and the brakes, so it was a big effort. I broke my leg in three places in karting, so I never had enough strength in it, and I had to retire. I was destroyed, and I told the truth, no point in making up something about the car.”