Esteban Tuero is a former racing driver from Argentina who had a short international career but spent almost twenty years in national touring car competitions, claiming one championship title in the Turismo Nacional series in 2008.
Tuero recorded 16 starts in Formula One World Championship in 1998, driving for Minardi. Before entering Formula 1, he spent few seasons in other single-seater competitions (Formula Nippon, Formula 3000, Formula 3 or Formula Renault) but without any success.
Esteban Tuero was born in April 1978 in Buenos Aires, near the Oscar Galvez Circuit, a venue that once hosted the Argentinian Grand Prix. Esteban’s father was a huge motorsport fan and racing enthusiast, so boy’s interest in cars was logical. Tuero at the age of seven began to drive karting and over the years had some success.
In 1993 Esteban switched to single-seaters and debuted in Formula Renault Argentina. In his rookie season, Tuero scored a single podium finish before taking the 14th place in the standings. In 1994 he raced in Formula Honda and became a champion. The same year Esteban also appeared in a couple of rounds in the South American Formula 3.
Esteban Tuero began to race karting at the age of 7
Departure to Europe and short spell in Japan
The Argentinian teenager wanted to prove his talent in Europe in order to make his name in the world of racing. In 1995 he went to Italy and won the Italian Formula 2000 National Trophy and later had some notable appearances in the Italian Formula 3 with RC Motorsport.
Tuero caught the eyes of some Formula 1 teams in 1996, particularly of Benetton and Minardi. The latter one signed Esteban as a test driver. His performances in Italian F3 and the FIA Formula 3000 Championship weren’t at the highest level but it was obvious that Esteban has talent and speed.
Esteban Tuero early in a career
After being unable to find a regular drive he left Italy and went to Japan where he raced in Formula Nippon series. Driving for Team Le Mans, Tuero had an awful campaign and was able to pick just one point. What was more important was the fact that Esteban covered mileage required to obtain Super License, required for racing in Formula 1.
Esteban Tuero debuted in Formula 1 in 1998
Minardi announced that Tuero will drive alongside Shinji Nakano in 1998 Formula 1 season but soon after it was revealed that Esteban’s Super License is not completely regular as he failed to meet all requirements. However, FIA granted him a license before the start of the season and at the age of 19, Tuero became the then third youngest ever F1 driver.
Tuero spent only one year in Formula One, driving for Minardi in 1998
The F1 debut arrived probably too early for the Argentinian. Inexperienced and probably a bit frightened, he was often criticized by his more experienced colleagues and media. Driving an uncompetitive car, Tuero was unable to show what he has. Esteban retired from 12 out 16 races with 8th place in San Marino Grand Prix at Imola as his best result.
That year was Tuero’s first and the last in Formula 1. His final race was Grand Prix of Japan at Suzuka where he crashed into other car and vaulted over. Esteban injured his neck but what was best remembered is the fact that Michael Schumacher’s Ferrari had a tire puncture after picking some debris of Tuero’s car and retired from the race, allowing Mika Hakkinen to become a champion.
Return to Argentina
In 1999 Tuero was named as one of Minardi drivers but just before the first pre-season test, he announced retirement from Formula 1. It was a bit shocking decision that surprised many. The reasons why he left the most popular championship are still unknown after Esteban never wanted to talk about that.
Esteban Tuero, Volkswagen Bora, TC2000, Alta Gracia, 2001
He decided to return home and there Esteban continued his racing career, driving in the popular TC2000 touring cars championship. Over the years Tuero raced for various teams, driving cars like Volkswagen, Ford, Honda, Chevrolet, Peugeot, Renault, Citroen, and Fiat. His best results were the 2nd place Turismo Nacional Argentina Clase 3 won in 2006 and 2007 when he was driving Ford Focus, and championship title in the same competition in 2008.
Esteban Tuero retired as a racing driver at the end of 2016
The same year Tuero also drove Escuderia ACA Argentina’s Ferrari 550 Maranello in the FIA GT1 Cup but without too much success as he scored only 7 points out of 6 races, what was enough just for the 18th position.
Esteban Tuero retired from motorsport at the end of 2016.