Herbert struggled for five years to re-establish himself. Victory in the 1991 Le Mans 24 Hours for Mazda – the first for a Japanese manufacturer and a rotary engine – restored some lustre but part-time F1 spells with Tyrrell and then Lotus only allowed glimpses of his talent.
On the ascendency once more
However, with former Benetton Team Manager Peter Collins now in charge at Lotus, Herbert joined on a fulltime basis from mid 1991. He often outpaced team-mate Mika Häkkinen only for poor reliability to restrict him to just two points scores during 1992 and deny him a probable third place finish at Silverstone.
The Finn moved to McLaren but Herbert remained contracted to Lotus for the last two seasons of a once-great marque. However, he was back in demand by the end of 1994 and switched to Ligier and then Benetton when both teams were run by Flavio Briatore.
He stayed with Benetton as team-mate to new world champion Michael Schumacher but remained in the German’s shadow for much of 1995. However, the ever popular and genial Essex driver benefited when Schumacher and rival Damon Hill collided at Silverstone and Monza to score maiden F1 victories and finish fourth in the 1995 World Championship.
A final win for Stewart Grand Prix
That was not enough to retain his drive and Herbert then endured three difficult seasons with Sauber. He finished third at Monaco in 1996 but suffered a huge accident at Ste Devote a year later.