In an attempt to overcome the difficulties of the previous year, for 1997 I decided to race with another Team (Martello Racing). The whole project was very ambitious, the technical staff seamed to be the best having the experienced race engineer (Mick Kouros); the choice fell again towards the Van Diemen chassis powered by Solus Racing Engines, for the year 1997 the Van Diemen factory having built a completely new car and gave their complete support for the on-going development.
Indeed the car turned out to be definitely better than the previous one, and the technical gap compared to Tatuus was significantly reduced. However, the excellent work carried out by the Team highlighted a technical aspect that for me was of considerable importance, our car could only be competitive with a certain set-up that made it particularly understeering.
I could not however benefit from this set-up because my driving style liked a very precise car at the front when entering a corner, so even making a slight change to improve the turning in over the course of the race led to overheating of the rear tires making the car oversteering and too nervous in the rear, inevitably the performance went worse. There wasn’t any way for a compromise.
Regardless I had brought the car to the podium many times and achieved 5th place in the Championship for the overall standings.