One of just three Grand Prix drivers who race under the Monaco flag, Olivier Beretta is turning 42 years old today!
A strong Formula 3000 season in 1993 – winning at Donington for Forti Corse – and a good helping of sponsorship dollars saw the 24-year-old Beretta join the financially struggling Larrousse team for the 1994 F1 season, partnering Érik Comas.
With the LH94 powered by the ancient Ford EB V8 engine, Beretta was never going to be a competitive prospect in his maiden season, and did well to get the car off the last couple of rows of the grid in his ten outings for the team. Beretta’s best race finish was a seventh placed effort at the crash-affected German Grand Prix, which was also the race at which Larrousse scored its final championship point (Comas finished sixth).
Sadly for Olivier, the team’s desperate financial position saw him cast aside after just one more race, where it brought on a host of other pay drivers to have a go before the outfit collapsed at the end of the season.
Olivier made a brief return to the F1 scene some ten years after he left it, acting as Williams’ pre-season test driver.
Meanwhile, he has gone on to achieve great success in the American sports car scene with Viper and Corvette, achieving six class wins in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.