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Roberto Moreno

Full Name:
Roberto Pupo Moreno
11th February 1959 (Age 61)
Rio de Janeiro
Most recent race (in database):

From Grand Prix hopeful at 23 years of age to evergreen Champ Car "Super-Sub" during the 2000s, Roberto Moreno’s career seemingly lasted forever. Successful in other categories, his one season in a top Formula 1 team ended abruptly when a new star arrived.

Early racing career

Moreno grew up karting against Nelson Piquet and others but it was in British Formula Ford 1600 that he established his reputation from 1979. He won the Townsend Thoresen British FF1600 Championship and Formula Ford Festival during his second season.

Reputation enhanced, he graduated to British Formula 3 in 1981 with a Barron Racing Ralt RT3-Toyota – winning races in both the British and European series. Victory in the Formula Pacific Australian GP that winter – in which he beat Piquet and other visiting F1 stars – led to a testing contract with Lotus for 1982.

Formula 1 disappointment and rebuilding his career

When Nigel Mansell broke his arm, Moreno was drafted in for a one-off opportunity in the 1982 Dutch GP. That proved to be a major set-back for Moreno was unable to coax his recalcitrant Lotus 91-Ford into the race.

He spent the next two seasons rebuilding his reputation and returned to Europe in 1984 for the final year of Formula 2. He won twice for the dominant Ralt-Honda team and finished as runner-up behind team-mate Mike Thackwell. 1985 began in the new Formula 3000 series but he switched to Champ Cars and Galles Racing mid-season – fifth his best result in 18 months with the team.

The popular Brazilian had unfinished business in Europe however and he returned to F3000 in 1987 with Ralt-Honda. Often the pacesetter but out of luck on raceday, he won at Enna-Pergusa although third in the championship was not a fair reflection of a talent rediscovered.

Formula 1 return and F3000 title success

However, those performances earned Moreno another F1 chance when replacing Pascal Fabre in the back-of-the-grid AGS JH22-Ford for the final two races of 1987. He qualified for both which was an achievement in itself and finished sixth after a race of attrition in Australia.

Without an F1 opening, Moreno won the 1988 F3000 Championship for Bromley Motorsport and Reynard after taking charge of a tight contest thanks to three successive mid-season victories. He joined Coloni for the 1989 F1 season but the small Italian team was out of its depth. Moreno only qualified four times and when he did, the car broke.

It was a similar story with EuroBrun a year later but Moreno was rescued from obscurity at the 1990 Japanese GP when he deputised for injured Benetton star Alessandro Nannini. It was an emotional race for Moreno – following team leader and long-time friend Piquet in a surprise 1-2 for the team.

Retained for 1991, Moreno struggled to shine but he was fourth at Monaco and Spa-Francorchamps while also setting the fastest lap of the race in Belgium. However, that latter weekend is best remembered for the emergence of Michael Schumacher. Team boss Flavio Briatore recognised a special talent and promptly dropped Moreno to accommodate the German. Moreno saw out the year with Jordan and Minardi before enduring a torrid 1992 with Andrea Moda during which he (remarkably) qualified at Monaco but nowhere else.

He raced in touring cars in Italy and France before making a surprise F1 return in 1995 with the new Forti Corse. At the back of the grid once more, Moreno spent his last season as a GP driver being lapped time and again.

Champ Car "Super-Sub"

He returned to Champ Cars in 1996 with Dale Coyne’s Lola T96/00-Ford and was third in the United States 500 at Michigan. Moreno’s reputation as a trusted substitute began when he replaced the injured Christian Fittipaldi at Newman-Haas Racing in 1997.

A capable understudy for a decade, Moreno twice finished fourth for PacWest in 1999 (when deputising for Mark Blundell) and his Newman-Haas Swift 010c-Ford was second at Laguna Seca later in the year during five races in for Fittipaldi once again.

Those endeavours were rewarded with a fulltime ride in 2000 and 2001 with Patrick Racing and in 2003 for Herdez Competition. A breakthrough victory from pole position at Cleveland was one of seven podium finishes during 2000 as he came third in the championship.

He then won the 2001 Molson Indy Vancouver but Moreno was not retained at the end of the season. Fittingly, he made a one-off appearance in the 2008 Long Beach GP – leading a lap but retiring from the final race in Champ Car history.

Championship seasons

Season Name Starts Poles Podiums Wins Position Points
2008 IRL IndyCar Series
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
2007 IRL IndyCar Series
Chastain Motorsports
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
36th 10
2007 Champ Car World Series
Pacific Coast Motorsports
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
22nd 9
2006 IRL IndyCar Series
Vision Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
30th 12
2003 Bridgestone Champ Car World Series
Herdez Competition
17 0 1 0
0% win rate
13th 67
2001 FedEx Championship Series
Patrick Racing
20 (1) 1 3 1
5% win rate
14th 74
2000 FedEx Championship Series
Patrick Racing
20 1 6 1
5% win rate
3rd 147
1999 Pep Boys Indy Racing League
Truscelli Team Racing
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
29th 38
1999 FedEx Championship Series
PacWest Racing Group
Newman-Haas Racing
13 0 1 0
0% win rate
14th 58
1998 FedEx Championship Series
Newman-Haas Racing
Project Indy
3 0 0 0
0% win rate
1997 PPG CART World Series
Newman-Haas Racing
Bettenhausen Motorsports
Payton-Coyne Racing
9 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 16
1996 PPG Indycar World Series
Payton-Coyne Racing
15 (1) 0 1 0
0% win rate
21st 25
1995 F1 World Championship
Parmalat Forti Ford
17 0 0 0
0% win rate
1992 F1 World Championship
Andrea Moda Formula
1 (9) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1991 F1 World Championship
Camel Benetton Ford
Team 7Up Jordan
Minardi Team
14 0 0 0
0% win rate
10th 8
1990 F1 World Championship
Benetton Formula
EuroBrun Racing
4 (12) 0 1 0
0% win rate
10th 6
1989 F1 World Championship
Coloni Racing
4 (12) 0 0 0
0% win rate
1988 FIA International F3000 Championship
Bromley Motorsport
11 3 4 4
37% win rate
1st 43
1987 F1 World Championship
Team El Charro AGS
2 0 0 0
0% win rate
19th 1
1987 FIA International F3000 Championship
Ralt Cars
11 4 5 1
10% win rate
3rd 30
1987 World Touring Car Championship
Schnitzer Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
1986 FIA International F3000 Championship
Bromley Motorsport
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
1986 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Galles Racing
16 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 30
1985 FIA European F3000 Championship
Barron Racing
4 0 0 0
0% win rate
14th 3
1985 CART/PPG Indycar World Series
Galles Racing
5 0 0 0
0% win rate
28th 10
1984 European F2 Championship
Ralt Racing
11 3 7 2
19% win rate
2nd 44
1984 World Endurance Championship
John Fitzpatrick Racing
1 0 0 0 0
1982 F1 World Championship
John Player Team Lotus
0 (1) 0 0 0 0
1982 European F3 Championship
Ivens Lumar Racing
1 0 0 0
0% win rate
16th 3
1982 New Zealand International Championship 1st -
1981 European F3 Championship
Barron Racing
1 1 1 1
100% win rate
10th 9