Long-forgotten F1 driver Emmanuele Pirro will again don the white shirt of an FIA steward at this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, replacing the man he coincidentally followed into a Benetton seat in 1989.

While Johnny Herbert filled the honorary position at the season-opening round in Australia, Pirro will take up the role of providing a driver's perspective on events at Sepang, an event that could yet be enlivened by the heavy rain that has been sweeping the circuit in recent days. It will be Pirro's second stint on the panel, having acted as steward at last season's Abu Dhabi finale.

While he graced the F1 scene for two-and-a-bit seasons with Benetton - where he replaced Herbert, who was ailing with the injuries suffered in his 1988 F3000 mega-shunt at Brands Hatch - and Scuderia Italia, the Italian made his name in the junior formulae and, subsequently, as part of Audi's hugely successful sports prototype effort.

Now 49, Pirro achieved success in the Italian Touring Car Championship and N?rburgring 24 Hours endurance race before inking his deal to join Audi's sportscar line-up, where he partnered Frank Biela and Tom Kristensen to three successive Le Mans 24 Hours victories, and added a fourth, alongside Biela and Marco Werner, in 2006. He retired from racing in 2008.



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