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The 'almost drivers' of the 00's


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#51 TimRTC

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 13:29

Nope, Paffett wasn't/isn't F1 stuff. DTM/F1 doesn't easily cross over it seems. Paffett did some testing with McLaren and was much slower than Hamilton for example.


I am surprised how much there is really - most of the DTM drivers have raced in junior open-wheel cars and obviously di Resta has gone one way (with Susie Wolff soon to follow?) while David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher (with Jenson Button to follow?) have gone the other way.

More drivers seem to come to DTM via open-wheel series than other tin-top series.

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#52 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 08 October 2012 - 13:33

It must also be pointed out that he was 2-3 years older than Hamilton, Kubica and Rosberg the year he beat them in F3.


Your legs don't fall off at that age, I'm not convinced it makes a difference.

#53 Misk

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 11:15

Your legs don't fall off at that age, I'm not convinced it makes a difference.

Sorry, didn't make myself clear. The point I was trying to make that Green's age probably helped him, as I think age and experience counts for a lot at the junior level.

#54 Risil

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:14

Sorry, didn't make myself clear. The point I was trying to make that Green's age probably helped him, as I think age and experience counts for a lot at the junior level.


No more experience than Rosberg and Kubica. All three had a year of Formula 3 behind them, and a bit of time spent in Formula Renault/BMW. Hamilton was in his first full year of F3. I don't think age in itself necessarily makes any difference. It's all about seat- and race-time. You're asking them to drive a car fast, not write a prize-winning novel.

I don't have any particular knowledge, but I suspect Green being a "Mercedes man" wasn't a lot help for a Formula One career in those days. But for whatever reason he never exactly grabbed DTM like he did Formula 3, did he? Accursed chariots with tops that are made of tin.

Edited by Risil, 09 October 2012 - 12:14.


#55 y2cragie

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:23

Dan Wheldon, sucessful lower formula career, almost ended up in F1, but the timing never worked out.

#56 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:31

Almost? He went to America straight after Formula Ford. For a while it looked like he wouldn't even get into Indycar.

#57 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:33

Maybe Junqueira should have been given a chance after winning the F3000 championship in 2000. Bjorn Wirdheim also. Some drivers who are getting on a bit but could still have careers in F1 are Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler - apparently whichever Mercedes driver who won the 2010 DTM would get a FI drive, and for a long time that looked like being Spengler until Di Resta pipped him.

Edit: Esteban Guerrieri is another, he was so quick in FR3.5. Deserved the 2010 title ahead of Aleshin and Ricciardo but lost it because of a ridiculous disqualification requested by Ricciardo's team.

Edited by TFLB, 09 October 2012 - 12:36.


#58 Risil

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:45

Edit: Esteban Guerrieri is another, he was so quick in FR3.5. Deserved the 2010 title ahead of Aleshin and Ricciardo but lost it because of a ridiculous disqualification requested by Ricciardo's team.


Like Ross said about Wheldon, it'd be nice if he could get an Indycar drive.

#59 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:48

Like Ross said about Wheldon, it'd be nice if he could get an Indycar drive.

Why?

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#60 Risil

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:52

Why?


Because without him finding the sort of sponsorship that's evaded him all career, he's not going to be driving in Indycar. And if that's the case, how on earth would he reach Formula One? Like you said though, he's very quick and motor racing would be a bit better if he had a competitive ride.

#61 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 12:59

Because without him finding the sort of sponsorship that's evaded him all career, he's not going to be driving in Indycar. And if that's the case, how on earth would he reach Formula One? Like you said though, he's very quick and motor racing would be a bit better if he had a competitive ride.

I'm not necessarily saying he has a realistic chance of being in F1 - just that I think it's a shame he'll never have the chance (although as far as I remember he was going to drive for Epsilon Euskadi if they got a place in F1).

#62 PayasYouRace

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 13:04

Maybe Junqueira should have been given a chance after winning the F3000 championship in 2000. Bjorn Wirdheim also. Some drivers who are getting on a bit but could still have careers in F1 are Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler - apparently whichever Mercedes driver who won the 2010 DTM would get a FI drive, and for a long time that looked like being Spengler until Di Resta pipped him.

Edit: Esteban Guerrieri is another, he was so quick in FR3.5. Deserved the 2010 title ahead of Aleshin and Ricciardo but lost it because of a ridiculous disqualification requested by Ricciardo's team.


The way I see it, Junqueira and Minnasian were victims of Montoya's success at Ganassi. They were the top 2 in F3000 in 2000, ahead of Webber and Alonso. After Montoya did so well in 1999, Chip probably thought he was on to something. I'm sure wasn't struggling to fill those seats for 2001.

#63 BackmarkerUK

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 13:05

Bruno Spengler - apparently whichever Mercedes driver who won the 2010 DTM would get a FI drive, and for a long time that looked like being Spengler until Di Resta pipped him.


Despite what Haug said, it seems unlikely to me - di Resta had been testing for Force India all season and had only been out of open-wheelers since 2006, whereas Spengler (as far as I can tell) never tested an F1 car and hadn't raced in open-wheelers since 2004 (and he had not been stellar then). If Prodrive had been allowed to enter, maybe then Spengler and Paffett would have made it to F1.


#64 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 13:07

Despite what Haug said, it seems unlikely to me - di Resta had been testing for Force India all season and had only been out of open-wheelers since 2006, whereas Spengler (as far as I can tell) never tested an F1 car and hadn't raced in open-wheelers since 2004 (and he had not been stellar then). If Prodrive had been allowed to enter, maybe then Spengler and Paffett would have made it to F1.

Haug wouldn't have said it if it was all just hot air, because at that stage it looked very likely that Spengler would be champion.

#65 BackmarkerUK

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 13:35

Haug wouldn't have said it if it was all just hot air, because at that stage it looked very likely that Spengler would be champion.


Speaking in Canada to the Canadian press about a Canadian driver?

Journalist: "So, will winning the 2010 championship guarantee a test or an F1 ride for the Canadian?"

Haug: "Yeah, maybe"

So really all Haug said was that if Spengler was able to win the championship that he was leading at the time with 8 rounds left to go, he might get an F1 test. Hardly a solid guarantee. Hot air.

#66 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 13:40

Speaking in Canada to the Canadian press about a Canadian driver?

Journalist: "So, will winning the 2010 championship guarantee a test or an F1 ride for the Canadian?"

Haug: "Yeah, maybe"

So really all Haug said was that if Spengler was able to win the championship that he was leading at the time with 8 rounds left to go, he might get an F1 test. Hardly a solid guarantee. Hot air.

No smoke without fire. I don't think that's the only place the rumour came from.

#67 BackmarkerUK

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 13:43

No smoke without fire. I don't think that's the only place the rumour came from.


If you find another source I'd love to see it. I was only able to find that one.

#68 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 13:55

If you find another source I'd love to see it. I was only able to find that one.

No, I can't. All the sources I can find are Canadian, so probably rubbish. But I don't think it's a far-fetched idea at all.

#69 HP

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 14:16

I am surprised how much there is really - most of the DTM drivers have raced in junior open-wheel cars and obviously di Resta has gone one way (with Susie Wolff soon to follow?) while David Coulthard and Ralf Schumacher (with Jenson Button to follow?) have gone the other way.

More drivers seem to come to DTM via open-wheel series than other tin-top series.

Interestingly today in the Autosport exclusive section there is an article that had a closer look at that topic ( if you have access you can read it yourself at http://plus.autospor...ail-in-the-dtm/ ). So far there only have been 5 F1 drivers going to DTM that won at least on race, As to the other way around, MSC did race in DTM 3 weeks before his F1 debut at Spa. But he has no win in the DTM series.

And Paffett was considered the best shot a DTM driver had to enter F1 after the resurrection of DTM in 2000. So in the end it appears these series are very diffcult to cross over these days, which might also explain Green's no hopping. The best cross over so far has been Bernd Schneider, or let's say it this way, he was better suited to DTM than F1, as he just started in 9 F1 races.

#70 Nycco

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 14:17

Augusto Farfus. That guy lost many years in the WTCC and ruind his career but in go karts and single seater smaller formulas up until F3000 he was a beast. Phenoemanl agressive drive and some kind of Ayrton Senna arrogance on track. It's a real shame he never got to F1. He actually tested a BMW F1 once but it was just PR thing.

#71 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 14:26

Augusto Farfus. That guy lost many years in the WTCC and ruind his career but in go karts and single seater smaller formulas up until F3000 he was a beast. Phenoemanl agressive drive and some kind of Ayrton Senna arrogance on track. It's a real shame he never got to F1. He actually tested a BMW F1 once but it was just PR thing.

Good thing he didn't reach F1 then.

#72 Myrvold

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 15:43

Maybe Junqueira should have been given a chance after winning the F3000 championship in 2000. Bjorn Wirdheim also. Some drivers who are getting on a bit but could still have careers in F1 are Jamie Green and Bruno Spengler - apparently whichever Mercedes driver who won the 2010 DTM would get a FI drive, and for a long time that looked like being Spengler until Di Resta pipped him.


Junqueira lost out in the shoot-out against Button. Wirdheim refused to drive for Jordan I seem to remember the talk being here in the freezing cold north. He felt he was too good to be at the back of the grid. Went for the Jaguar seat. That didn't work out, and he stood there, without a ride.

#73 TFLB

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 16:41

Junqueira lost out in the shoot-out against Button.

That doesn't mean he wasn't good enough for F1.

#74 Risil

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 17:03

That doesn't mean he wasn't good enough for F1.


True but Junqueira never won enough races in CART to be considered for another opportunity. Perhaps he could've secured a drive lower down the grid for 2001 (Jaguar might've taken a punt on him instead of Burti?), but once he'd made the strategic error of joining a struggling frontrunner of a declining series which he was not equipped to dominate, it was over.

While we're talking about Champ Car drivers from the last days of CART, Cristiano da Matta really was a loss for F1. Toyota thought they were hiring an Alonso-equal and a Montoya-equal in 2005, but it really didn't work out that way.

Edited by Risil, 09 October 2012 - 17:03.


#75 BRG

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 21:31

Good thing he didn't reach F1 then.

Agreed. Judging by his first few seasons in WTCC when he was involved in 'incidents' in almost every race, he would have made Maldonado look like Mother Theresa in F1

#76 dav115

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 21:44

Augusto Farfus. That guy lost many years in the WTCC and ruind his career but in go karts and single seater smaller formulas up until F3000 he was a beast. Phenoemanl agressive drive and some kind of Ayrton Senna arrogance on track. It's a real shame he never got to F1. He actually tested a BMW F1 once but it was just PR thing.

Had a long chat with him at one of those BMW F1 pitlane park things once, top top bloke, was in no rush to get away

#77 Spillage

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Posted 09 October 2012 - 22:19

Whatever happened to Bjorn Wirdheim? Probably most famous for this unfortunate Monaco incident, but he was F3000 champion and a regular tester for Jaguar. I seem to remember he popped up in Champ Car a few years later and then vanished without trace.

EDIT: The aforementioned Monaco catastrophe:

Edited by Spillage, 09 October 2012 - 22:19.


#78 Jackmancer

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:13

EDIT: The aforementioned Monaco catastrophe:


Yeah, I still remember that ;p oow boy, that might still haunt him.

Apparently, he became test driver for Jaguar in 2004, doing some Friday testing for the team (having turned down oppertunities from both Jordan and Bar). But later, the team was bought by Red Bull, and he was not part of their plans, thus he went to Champ Cars, where he ended up with HVM, an underfunded team, with poor results, partly due lack of testing. After 11 races, Wirdheim left the team.

He never went back to winning ways, as he went to Nippon but a 2nd place in a race was his best feat. After that, Super GT, which he still does I think.

#79 Mr.Wayne

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 08:24

I actually never felt that Frank Montagny had a proper shot in F1.
His mistake, in my opinion, was to be the test driver of Renault while Briatore was on board and his driver was Fernando. Briatore was never going to promote him to a race seat as long as Alonso was around, so he was always on the sidelines. Even after he moved to Jordan (2006), Briatore called him to test the Renault when Alonso had back pain and couldn't make it. He really rated Montagny above his #2 driver, but certainly he would not have faced Alonso against him.
Then, he had a brief run is the old chassis of Super Aguri (reportedly 8-16 kilos heavier) than the one that was being used by Takuma Sato. Unfortunately for him, once the second light chassis was ready to appear, his tenure on the team finished.
Not sure if he would have burned himself out in another team, or if Alonso would have expossed him to be even slower than Fisichella; but I always felt he never had his fair chance while others (for instance, PDLR) have failed to impress year after year after year yet, somehow, someway, they manage to stay around.

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#80 FredF1

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 09:29

Agreed. Judging by his first few seasons in WTCC when he was involved in 'incidents' in almost every race, he would have made Maldonado look like Mother Theresa in F1


There was some gossip doing the rounds about the time of the Button vs Junqueira test that Button impressed Williams with his 'can do' attitude and manner while Junqueira was moaning about everything in sight and criticising the car.

#81 HoldenRT

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:28

Most of these drivers weren't any good IMO.

But as Massa has showed.. with a good car in F1.. and the team behind you.. anything is possible. Most drivers never get that chance though.. and a lot of those on the list didn't deserve the chance.

#82 HoldenRT

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:29

Someone like Nick Heidfeld is miles ahead of those other drivers.

#83 Risil

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Posted 10 October 2012 - 11:47

Nick Heidfeld spent 10 years in F1. Wouldn't call him an "almost driver" by any stretch of the imagination.