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The Greatest Ever to never win a WDC


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#51 Frixos

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 12:29

Take Ickx off the list. He achieved so much greatness that a WDC missing from his records is practically goes by unnoticed.

I would hate going into lists but I think Stirling Moss should be the first to jump to mind. Gilles Villeneuve should easily be second but...damn, i said no lists...

If it had to be a list, then it should be a choice for each "era".


And please no Massa's or Montoya's.....I can't even place their name next to the ones above. (personal thing, call it immature or whatever you want).

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#52 RSNS

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 12:42

Moss, certainly. Also Ronnie Peterson: he was amazingly quick, fantastic racer and qualifier. A champion in every way. Villeneuve is another matter. He was probably faster than everybody else, but he raced for the hell of it, and couldn't care less about a championship. That said, being a gentleman, he voluntarily gave his title to Scheckter (spelling?), when he could have taken it. So he deserves to be in the list.

#53 BMW_F1

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 12:50

Originally posted by Frixos
it had to be a list, then it should be a choice for each "era".


And please no Massa's or Montoya's.....I can't even place their name next to the ones above. (personal thing, call it immature or whatever you want).


So in your opinion, from the current era who is the greatest drive without a WDC... ? Heidfled,Button, Webber, Trulli, DC - better than Montoya? ... Give me a break..

#54 Rich

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 15:40

Originally posted by nordschleife
5. Rick Mears

6. A. J. Foyt

8. Mark Donohue

9. Parnelli Jones


Isn't that like listing Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich as the best footie teams never to win the English FA Cup?

#55 john ruston

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 15:57

Yes but Donohue should be on list as was arguably the best Road Race driver the US has produced.It's between him and Gurney.The rest should be digarded

#56 john ruston

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 15:59

Gilles the older and Father Great.JV overachieved-Got there in the end.Sorry about confusion

#57 stevewf1

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 16:01

I'd have to put Carlos Reutemann a lot higher than on some of these lists. However, it almost seemed as if he didn't want to win the championship for some reason. :

#58 sensible

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 16:11

Originally posted by WillG
I wanted to take a little break from all the negative press going around F1 lately. I have been thinking about past Formula1 drivers and started to realize that there are many greats that have never won a championship.

Who do you think is the greatest to never win a WDC? I would probably say David Coulthard or Stirling Moss. Gilles Villeneuve is another, but his career was cut short so we may never know...

Who's your pick?

Surely Coulthard's going to win it next year?

#59 Atreiu

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 16:16

From the guys I watched race and wished had enjoyed more success, I'd go for Heidfeld and Berger.

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#60 BWL

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 17:02

Gilles Villeneuve. Who knows what he would have accomplished had he not died prematurely.

#61 Risil

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 17:23

Originally posted by Rich


Isn't that like listing Real Madrid, Juventus and Bayern Munich as the best footie teams never to win the English FA Cup?


Not really... Racing drivers are free to race where they choose. If anything, it's an example of Formula One's co-opting of motor racing history, to make it appear that its current status as the 'pinnacle of motorsport' has always been the case. If A.J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones had been racing today, choosing not to make a career out of F1 would count against them far more than it did in the '50s and '60s.

From the current era, I'm going to go for Greg Moore. That kid's talent in the Forsythe Reynard was stupifying, and his entrance into Indycar the equal of Hamilton's to Formula One. And of course, he was allegedly lined up for the Mclaren drive in 2002 (although so was Takuma Sato :stoned: )

#62 Rich

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 17:59

Originally posted by Risil


Not really... Racing drivers are free to race where they choose. If anything, it's an example of Formula One's co-opting of motor racing history, to make it appear that its current status as the 'pinnacle of motorsport' has always been the case. If A.J. Foyt or Parnelli Jones had been racing today, choosing not to make a career out of F1 would count against them far more than it did in the '50s and '60s.


I wasn't getting at F1's perceived or self-determined status in motorsports, rather at the concept that polls generally reflect the merits of actual participants rather than potential participants.

As we have seen on many occasions in F1, drivers who arrive in the sport with the greatest credentials don't always match up to expectations. If Juan Pablo Montoya had never raced in F1, there would still be a huge cadre of fans who would insist that Montoya, not Schumacher, would now be the one with 7 WDC titles. As it turns out, we no longer need to speculate on that. But only because Juan did actually get to race in F1.

On the other hand, if Gilles Villeneuve hadn't come to F1 and shown his mettle, would anybody be rating him on this list? A former snowmobile racer and Formula Atlantic champion?

I'm not trying to be snooty about F1 here. I think it would be equally out of whack to list Michael Schumacher as among the greatest drivers never to have won the Daytona 500. I'm sure there are many worthy stock car racers whose failure to win Daytona is more interesting and relevant than Schumacher's complete lack of interest in even participating.

#63 jeze

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 18:23

1, Moss
2, Massa
3, Reutemann
4, Peterson
5, Villeneuve
6, Ickx
7, Kubica
8, Amon
9, Collins
10, Brooks

#64 nordschleife

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 18:36

Fair point up to a point, Rich. At least it's a good talking point. Do they qualify for consideration?

First, let's agree that Mark Donohue is an bonafide F1 driver who in his first GP beat the two factory McLarens in his Penske-entered McLaren at Mosport in the rain. That was 1971; I was in the box above their pit. So his inclusion is certainly legitimate. I see great similarity to Alain Prost in Donohue's approach and results.

The original question specified "F1 drivers" and Rick Mears drove an F1 car at Riverside well enough to elicit an offer from Brabham owner Bernard Ecclestone. How many other "F1 drivers" have impressed that guy? No doubt some readers saw him win at Brands Hatch in a powerful turbocharged single-seater before that became the norm in F1. Whether he is included or not the rationale is parsing a technicality. On the tarmac he did the business. Like a shark or polar bear who's in no rush since the outcome is never in doubt, Rick Mears reminds me of Jackie Stewart.

A.J. Foyt raced in three points-paying races in the World Championship of Drivers. He raced against F1 cars in the 1971 Questor Grand Prix. Over 34 years he raced spaceframe and monocoque chassis (either actually or essentially from the pens of F1 designers), engines in front, engines behind, wings or not, ground effects or not, absolute deathtraps or not, every type of track imaginable, in all conditions. Like Fangio, his career-long success was unmatched, his period of domination unmatched. He gave Clark as good as he got in cars far more challenging than the F1 cars of the day. He raced Mario Andretti on the GP tracks at Riverside, St. Jovite and Mosport (yeah, I saw Foyt win there, too). He won at Silverstone. If you examine who and what Foyt raced and their judgement of his performance in the car his measure is obvious. In making such an assessment, as in the case of Nigel Mansell, we need to appreciate how the driver's abrasive nature was a manifestation of a will that would not be denied. An anorak might question whether he qualifies for this list. No one he raced against would.

Sometimes the evidence is so obvious that adherance to categories prevents understanding. If there is no debate that Stefan Bellof and Tony Brise are as good as GP winners without having done so then Parnelli Jones performed the functions of an "F1 driver" to the highest degree. When he was in the ring with Clark, Gurney, Andretti and Foyt he got his share. Whoa ... that just blew my mind ... Did you read the Parnelli Jones article in Motorsport a few years back? It quoted numerous USAC drivers like Bobby Unser who regarded him as a precociously skilled bastard with a sense of entitlement and all the skill required to back it up. The hardest racer in a very hard crowd. Hmm... where have I heard that description before? Also, as Chapman's crew found to their cost, a very modern sporting code. "Mister, we could use a man like Parnelli Jones again... "

#65 WACKO

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 18:39

Moss, Peterson and Gilles Villeneuve.

#66 Longtimefan

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 19:31

My #1 would be the deeply missed Fran├žois Cevert.

others include:-

Elio de Angelis
Stefan Bellof
Rene Arnoux
Michele Alboreto

#67 Rich

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 19:58

nordschleife, no problems with you raising them and inviting discussion. It's a BB, that's what it's for, and your contributions are a refreshing change from the dross that takes up much of the forum. Still, I just can't see the reasoning for placing a group of (essentially) non-participants above a group who did actually compete and raced well for the title over a period, despite never winning it.

Donohue may have impressed in his first few GP. But so did Jean Alesi, and nobody has listed him yet. Rick Mears might have impressed Bernie, but Michael Andretti probably did too.

You can make compelling arguments in favour of Foyt or Jones, but then why stop at them? There are umpteen bikers, rally drivers, sports car racers and others who showed similarly fierce competitive spirit and ability to dominate in their respective fields. Take Pedro Rodriguez' and Jo Siffert's success in the Porsche 917s of the day, for example, yet neither turned into a dominant F1 driver.

If the poll was "Who were the greatest single-seater racers of all time?", that would be different. But a poll about F1 drivers of the past is, to my mind, about F1 drivers of the past. It's about the talented drivers who bust a gut trying to win the crown and fell just short. Adding in drivers who never competed dilutes that for me.

As I said, I'm sure there are stock car racers who had great talent and tried repeatedly to win Daytona, but just never quite got there. Sweeping their efforts aside to place Michael Schumacher, Alain Prost and Ayrton Senna on the list does them an injustice imo.

#68 ensign14

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 21:26

Originally posted by Rich

Donohue may have impressed in his first few GP. But so did Jean Alesi, and nobody has listed him yet. Rick Mears might have impressed Bernie, but Michael Andretti probably did too.

Bernie's choice of drivers was often eclectic, to say the least. Zunino, Rebaque, Robarts and von Opel...

#69 JtP1

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 21:59

Originally posted by giltkid
Gilles most of all - but also Alboreto, Didier Pironi, Jacques Laffite, Carlos Reutemann, Jean Alesi (in particular)should have been rewarded with much more


Gilles definately, but the rest. All had the chance and blew it, with Reutemann at the top of the list. Alesi in particular from in car footage seemed unable to remember where the track went from lap to lap.

The missing driver? Peter Collins.

#70 WillG

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Posted 08 April 2009 - 23:40

Originally posted by nordschleife
1. Sir Stirling Moss

2. Gilles Villeneuve

3. Ronnie Peterson

4. Dan Gurney

5. Rick Mears

6. A. J. Foyt

7. Juan Pablo Montoya

8. Mark Donohue

9. Parnelli Jones

10. Tony Brooks

11. Chris Amon

12. Tony Brise

13. Stefan Bellof

14. Tom Pryce

15. Francois Cevert

16. Jacky Ickx

17. Carlos Pace

18. Carlos Reutemann


I've put this list together in haste. On any given day I would surely rearrange the order. On the wise counsel of Vegetableman, Broadway and Bluesmoke I've added some names that I inexplicably forgot. Thanks, guys.


Those guys in bold never raced in F1 ;)

#71 nordschleife

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:05

and that's F1's loss. Seriously. :wave:

#72 Bob Nomates

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:57

ok from the old school moss had to be there but johnny herbert was easily the best of the modern drivers and of course senna should have win more

#73 911

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 01:59

Stirling Moss - The Champion w/o the Crown

#74 Zippel

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:20

Originally posted by Bob Nomates
ok from the old school moss had to be there but johnny herbert was easily the best of the modern drivers and of course senna should have win more


Except Herbert was beaten by the following non-WDC teammates:

Frentzen
Alesi
Barrichello
Irvine

Maybe if Herbert had not had his F3000 accident he would have gone onto great things but looking at his career as it stands there is very little to suggest he was the 'The Greatest Ever to never win a WDC'

#75 senna da silva

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:23

Originally posted by nordschleife
Fair point up to a point, Rich. At least it's a good talking point. Do they qualify for consideration?

First, let's agree that Mark Donohue is an bonafide F1 driver who in his first GP beat the two factory McLarens in his Penske-entered McLaren at Mosport in the rain. That was 1971; I was in the box above their pit. So his inclusion is certainly legitimate. I see great similarity to Alain Prost in Donohue's approach and results.

The original question specified "F1 drivers" and Rick Mears drove an F1 car at Riverside well enough to elicit an offer from Brabham owner Bernard Ecclestone. How many other "F1 drivers" have impressed that guy? No doubt some readers saw him win at Brands Hatch in a powerful turbocharged single-seater before that became the norm in F1. Whether he is included or not the rationale is parsing a technicality. On the tarmac he did the business. Like a shark or polar bear who's in no rush since the outcome is never in doubt, Rick Mears reminds me of Jackie Stewart.

A.J. Foyt raced in three points-paying races in the World Championship of Drivers. He raced against F1 cars in the 1971 Questor Grand Prix. Over 34 years he raced spaceframe and monocoque chassis (either actually or essentially from the pens of F1 designers), engines in front, engines behind, wings or not, ground effects or not, absolute deathtraps or not, every type of track imaginable, in all conditions. Like Fangio, his career-long success was unmatched, his period of domination unmatched. He gave Clark as good as he got in cars far more challenging than the F1 cars of the day. He raced Mario Andretti on the GP tracks at Riverside, St. Jovite and Mosport (yeah, I saw Foyt win there, too). He won at Silverstone. If you examine who and what Foyt raced and their judgement of his performance in the car his measure is obvious. In making such an assessment, as in the case of Nigel Mansell, we need to appreciate how the driver's abrasive nature was a manifestation of a will that would not be denied. An anorak might question whether he qualifies for this list. No one he raced against would.

Sometimes the evidence is so obvious that adherance to categories prevents understanding. If there is no debate that Stefan Bellof and Tony Brise are as good as GP winners without having done so then Parnelli Jones performed the functions of an "F1 driver" to the highest degree. When he was in the ring with Clark, Gurney, Andretti and Foyt he got his share. Whoa ... that just blew my mind ... Did you read the Parnelli Jones article in Motorsport a few years back? It quoted numerous USAC drivers like Bobby Unser who regarded him as a precociously skilled bastard with a sense of entitlement and all the skill required to back it up. The hardest racer in a very hard crowd. Hmm... where have I heard that description before? Also, as Chapman's crew found to their cost, a very modern sporting code. "Mister, we could use a man like Parnelli Jones again... "


Top post! :up:

#76 Bob Nomates

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:46

Originally posted by Zippel


Except Herbert was beaten by the following non-WDC teammates:

Frentzen
Alesi
Barrichello
Irvine

Maybe if Herbert had not had his F3000 accident he would have gone onto great things but looking at his career as it stands there is very little to suggest he was the 'The Greatest Ever to never win a WDC'



his accident did bugger things up. if you look at his f3000 career and his first few races in f1 he was worthy.
his feet were hanging off after that accident people forget what he did to get on the grid in time for the first f1 race. he was a right laugh and if things had gone his way he would have defo been a world champ no question.

#77 WillG

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:53

The only reason I didn't consider Johnny Herbert is because he was just too inconsistent throughout most of his career. His best season was in 1995 with Benetton when he finish 4th in the WDC, but he was far off of teammate Schumacher's pace.

#78 Bob Nomates

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 02:58

here's the link for those that don't know him:

n winning the brit gp


#79 Tolyngee

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 03:41

Originally posted by WillG
I would probably say David Coulthard or Stirling Moss. Gilles Villeneuve is another, but his career was cut short so we may never know...


Come on, Coulthard's career was definitely cut short. This year was going to be his year!

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#80 Frixos

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 06:43

Originally posted by BMW_F1


So in your opinion, from the current era who is the greatest drive without a WDC... ? !!!!!Heidfled,Button, Webber, Trulli, DC - better than Montoya!!!!!? ... Give me a break..



No no you misunderstood :) the "Massa's" and the "Montoya's" (the way I put it) ARE all the drivers you mentioned above.

#81 Madras

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 07:06

Olivier Panis was good but too loyal to Ligier/Prost. Apparently he was reluctant to learn English that's why he stayed at the French teams.

#82 ex Rhodie racer

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 11:25

Gilles Villeneuve.

Frans, regarding Jos Verstappen, did he actually race in F1? ;) :lol: :wave:

#83 Bob Nomates

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Posted 09 April 2009 - 11:50

Originally posted by Madras
Olivier Panis was good but too loyal to Ligier/Prost. Apparently he was reluctant to learn English that's why he stayed at the French teams.


Typical frenchman! :down: