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Talented F1 drivers not recognised


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#1 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:06

I was reading an older thread about top drivers who never quite made it and many names came to mind that were very talented but achieved very little, for one reason or another. Let's not be hyper critical here, because none of us really understand the challenges of driving in F1. Jean-Pierre Jarier was super fast but had some rotten luck, unfotunately some of his own making. But when out in front he could be flawless. Car breakages took away several wins. Of course Ronnie Peterson was world champion material but lacked on technical ability. Carlos Reutemann got better through his career and should have been a champion. And, of course, Gilles Villeneuve who was brilliant but couldn't bring himself to be a points gatherer. His philsophy, win every race then you'll be champion anyway. Comments?

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#2 Risil

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:18

Stephane Sarrazin. I like his name.


Edited by Risil, 06 June 2014 - 22:19.


#3 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:25

Interesting you say that. He looked brilliant early on then inexplicably faded in formula 3000. An enigma? A bit like Sebastian Bourdais who was stunning in Indycar, superb every where else but lost in f1!

#4 Risil

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:27

Actually his second stint in Indycar's been a bit like that.



#5 jonpollak

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:39

Chris Amon.
He took my breath away.
Jp

#6 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:40

True. He raced with Newman Haas before, I think. Was it 3 or 4 Cart titles in a row. He's now a bit obscure again. Interesting how these guys can get on a roll and nothing goes wrong, but when the rythm is lost, they find it almost impossible to recover.

#7 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:49

Chris Amon was brilliant, sadly made too many wrong career moves. He could beat anyone. Biggest mistake was building the Amon F1 car in my opinion. He had to be in the running for a Tyrrell or McLaren drive in 1974, but for that. And look what he did in the Ensign in 1976 I have no doubt he would have been world champ at either McLaren or Tyrrell.

#8 garoidb

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:54

Chris Amon was brilliant, sadly made too many wrong career moves. He could beat anyone. Biggest mistake was building the Amon F1 car in my opinion. He had to be in the running for a Tyrrell or McLaren drive in 1974, but for that. And look what he did in the Ensign in 1976 I have no doubt he would have been world champ at either McLaren or Tyrrell.

 

Didn't he do a race or two for Tyrrell in 1973 or thereabouts? Did he have the chance to drive there in 74, given that Ken needed new drivers that year?



#9 PayasYouRace

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 22:59

A lot of the same names always come up in threads like this. But I'm going to suggest Roberto Moreno.

 

After winning the F3000 championship, he seemed to spend most of his career in the absolute worst F1 cars, but when he got the chance in the Benetton after Nannini's accident he did a pretty good job. OK a bit lucky to be on the podium in Japan when both McLarens and Ferraris went out, but still a solid job.

 

Then he spent years being a super-sub in CART, and when he finally got a permanent seat, he was 3rd in the championship and got a couple of wins.



#10 George Costanza

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:05

Jean Alesi anyone?

His 1995 season for Ferrari was wonderful.

Always wrong car at the wrong time.

 

Had Jean gone to Williams in 1991-1992-1993? 3 time WDC in those cars?


Edited by George Costanza, 06 June 2014 - 23:06.


#11 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:07

A lot of the same names always come up in threads like this. But I'm going to suggest Roberto Moreno.

 

After winning the F3000 championship, he seemed to spend most of his career in the absolute worst F1 cars, but when he got the chance in the Benetton after Nannini's accident he did a pretty good job. OK a bit lucky to be on the podium in Japan when both McLarens and Ferraris went out, but still a solid job.

 

Then he spent years being a super-sub in CART, and when he finally got a permanent seat, he was 3rd in the championship and got a couple of wins.

 

Good call.

 

Roberto would be the type of driver I expected the thread to be about, but then the OP goes for the usual suspects neither of whom I would term 'not recognized'.

 

:cool:



#12 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:11

The thread title is Talented Drivers Not Recognised so I'm not sure the likes of Alesi will qualify  :lol:



#13 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:15

Purely my opinion but with Amon intended to be in a 3rd Tyrrell until Cevert's death when the team withdrew from the race, I'd say he had to be in line for a Tyrrell for 1974. Did he turn it down because he had his own car in the pipeline? Can't say.

#14 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:20

Yes, this was supposed to be about the more obscure drivers and I totally agree about Roberto Moreno, I was always a big fan. But Briatore was ruthless with drivers. Alesi was a top driver who made emotional decisons, I think. Williams would have changed his career. Manfred Winkelhock anyone? Roberto Guerrero? Marc Surer? Any opinions on Jarier?

#15 Jimisgod

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:22

The top 12 guys who never got a win but should have, in roughly chronological order...

Jean Behra
Chris Amon
Mike Parkes
Ricardo Rodriguez
Mike Hailwood
Tom Pryce
Eddie Cheever
Teo Fabi
Derek Warwick
Stefan Johansen
Ivan Capelli
Martin Brundle
Nick Heidfeld

#16 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:29

I think most of these were recognised as great drivers and all deserved a win. But take someone like Surer. Fastest lap and 4th place Brazil 1981 in an Ensign. He was almost 2nd at Brands in 1985 deputising in the 2nd Brabham. Otherwise never had a top drive. And that was after breaking his ankles twice in 3 years in South Africa!

#17 fisssssi

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:54

Giancarlo Fisi... nevermind :(



#18 27gilles27

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Posted 06 June 2014 - 23:56

Fisi was awesome. I think he was just psyched out by Alonso.

#19 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:00

Nicola Larini was 2nd for Ferrari at Imola 1994, filling in for Alesi who was injured. But nobody noticed because of the fatal crashes...

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#20 Kingshark

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:00

Fisi was brilliant in bottom team cars, it's a shame he couldn't deliver when he had two championship winning cars.

 

Keke Rosberg was pretty spectacular and fast as a driver, yet people only seem to remember his supposed "lucky" WDC.



#21 noikeee

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:01

Pierluigi Martini and Stefano Modena.



#22 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:05

Ian Scheckter, Jody's brother, was superfast too but when he joined March, who were winners the previous year, they were rotten. He almost drove an Arrows at the South African gp and Patrese led the race in the other Arrows. Unfortunately Stommelen rocked up with his big sponsor and wasted the car for the rest of the year. There were no more breaks for Ian Scheckter.

#23 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:15

I think Fisi was quite a sensitive bloke, I so much wanted him to deliver the goods in the Renault. If he was team leader with a supportive no.2 I think he would have developed into a champion. I cannot stand the attitude that you should not be champion if you don't win most races. Rosberg deserved the championship because he squeezed the most out of a car which was far from the best. That's a real champion. It was Ferrari's year but they lost both their drivers and Rosberg used consistency to win. He fought hard. Nobody begrudges Surtees title after the demise of Von Trips, or Prost who beat the superior Williams in 1986. Rosberg is a deserving champion.

#24 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:19

Yeah, sad that we couldn't see Pierluigi Martini in a top car. He blew his teammates away in the Minardi. Modena had his moments but I don't know. Alex Caffi looked good, who's got an opinion on Andrea de Cesaris?

#25 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:23

I think most of these were recognised as great drivers and all deserved a win. But take someone like Surer. Fastest lap and 4th place Brazil 1981 in an Ensign. He was almost 2nd at Brands in 1985 deputising in the 2nd Brabham. Otherwise never had a top drive. And that was after breaking his ankles twice in 3 years in South Africa!

 

I always had a soft spot for Surer, and disliked Derek Warwick from the second he took Suerer out at the 1983 Monaco Grand Prix, while Surer was running 3rd.

 

:cool:



#26 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:28

Forgot about that. Actually, I preferred Warwick to Mansell back then. Any opinions on Mika Salo? He got a big break but did he use it well enough? I think he was much better than he was able to show. Irvine was the focus once Schuey was sidelined but Salo was often faster. I think Mika was too hasty signing that Sauber contract. He might have ended up in a Williams instead of Button?

#27 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:32

Salo went for the Sauber seat, and then Toyota when they were supposed to be the next great thing, since 'they had won everything they ever did'. Both of those moves did not pan out, I agree Salo was at least an Irvine talent.

 

:cool:



#28 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:35

What about Bernd Schneider?

 

German Kart Champion

European Kart Champion

German F3 Champion

5 times DTM (or similar) Champion

 

Entered in 34 Grand Epereuves, qualified for 9 of them.

 

:cool:



#29 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:43

I think Salo was way better than Irvine. Sometimes Irvine was just plain slow in the Ferrari in 1999. I don't think he was world champion calibre. Bernd Schneider, perhaps the best German driver of that time. Stefan Bellof was exceptional, though. Talking of Germans, Hans Stuck was pretty good.

#30 ardbeg

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 00:57

I always believed that Toyota went off track when they dropped Alan McNish. Maybe he was not the fastest, but then on the other hand, maybe he was. I think he have an amazing feeling for cars.



#31 Atreiu

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:05

Jean Alesi anyone?

His 1995 season for Ferrari was wonderful.

Always wrong car at the wrong time.

 

Had Jean gone to Williams in 1991-1992-1993? 3 time WDC in those cars?

 

 

If I had to guess, one title in 1992. Senna first and then Hill would have won the others.

 

Too bad Nanini had to retire, I think he was very good and had more wins in him.



#32 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 01:12

That's interesting. I don't know much about McNish's talent, Salo was stronger at Toyota. Maybe if they both had more time, we could've found out. For Toyota, changing drivers was not the solution. Will they come back to F1?

#33 Jimmy

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 02:04

Fisi was a bit like HHF. It's a different kind of pressure to be in a WDC winning car and until you see a highly rated driver in that position, the jury is still out on what they can ultimately achieve.



#34 Alexandros

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 02:06

Trulli.-



#35 senna da silva

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:18

My sentimental favourite was always Jo Siffert. Great story.



#36 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:22

Sure, I really liked him too. But he was a heck of a good racer and twice a winner in f1. Also other forms of racing.

#37 teejay

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:25

In F1 terms, Zanardi - woeful car first time, screwed by Williams the second. 

 

In terms of raw pace he was pretty damn good.



#38 eronrules

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:43

nick heidfeld

 

fisichella



#39 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 03:52

Alex Zanardi was fabulous. What happened in '99, how did Williams screw him? Just couldn't fugure how he could do what he did in Cart then it went all wrong in F1.

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#40 George Costanza

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:10

Had Alex remained in F1, I am sure he would have gotten a top drive (first time around, not his 1999 mess of a season). The car was a terrible as well, always slow.

 

If Alex was in the 1997 Williams, you could say its a completely different stroy, obviously and he could have been champion.


Edited by George Costanza, 07 June 2014 - 04:12.


#41 teejay

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:15

Alex Zanardi was fabulous. What happened in '99, how did Williams screw him? Just couldn't fugure how he could do what he did in Cart then it went all wrong in F1.

 

Centred their efforts around Ralph, didnt get him what he wanted, in particular with brakes. 

 

There is a quote somewhere where he turned up to the track to see parts he had not seen before - when he asked what they were, he was told nothing to worry about - ended up they were parts for Ralph only. 



#42 George Costanza

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:17

Ralf, was quite good that year in 1999. But other than that, Alex had more talent than Ralf ever had.

 

I find it funny that they focused on Ralf, he sure wasn't his brother like that.



#43 27gilles27

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 04:34

You know what, wasn't Ralf managed by Michael's manager at that time, Willi Weber? If so, you can be sure Ralf's contract insisted he got the preferential stuff. That's my opinion though. Otherwise was it because Williams were cash strapped? It just doesn't seem typical of Williams to do that. I agree, Alex had loads more talent than Ralf. But I'd love to know what happened at that late December meeting with Alex and Williams. Despite the bad season it seemed Alex was staying at Williams till that meeting, then suddenly it all changed.

#44 Paul Parker

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:13

Actually his second stint in Indycar's been a bit like that.

 

Eyesight?



#45 Massa_f1

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:20

Jean Alesi anyone?

His 1995 season for Ferrari was wonderful.

Always wrong car at the wrong time.

 

Had Jean gone to Williams in 1991-1992-1993? 3 time WDC in those cars?

 

Alesi should of had more wins to his name for sure. Probably even a title. The 90's would of been even better had he been up the front fighting for regular wins. He was better than both Hill and Villeneuve in my opinion.



#46 Blanchimont2002

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 11:27

Jean Alesi anyone?

His 1995 season for Ferrari was wonderful.
Always wrong car at the wrong time.

Had Jean gone to Williams in 1991-1992-1993? 3 time WDC in those cars?

He definitely would have had more wins, not sure he could've got 3 titles. Maybe one, I'm just not sure he would've been consistent enough. Who knows!

Some great suggestions on this thread. Martin Brundle is the one i thought of initially, excellent racer. Alex Wurz is another that sprung to mind, underrated in my opinion. Olivier Panis was another, super quick. Especially in 97 until his accident in Canada

Edited by Blanchimont2002, 07 June 2014 - 11:32.


#47 Risil

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 12:03

Eyesight?

 

Interesting idea. I wasn't being too serious, 2014 is his first full-time season of anything since 2008 so it would be unrealistic for him to be performing at a Pagenaud standard. But it's odd to see a driver with such a good record in the midfield quite often and not posting good results even when he is running in the top five. But it reminds me a bit of his time in F1, where it always felt like he was on the verge of delivering but nothing came to fruition.



#48 Risil

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 12:06

Olivier Panis was another, super quick. Especially in 97 until his accident in Canada

 

Perhaps it was because he was the only Bridgestone runner in a halfway decent car who wasn't a joke of a paydriver.

 

When Trulli replaced Panis midseason he put in similar performances. Not that being as quick as Jarno Trulli is in any way a denigration.



#49 mzvztag

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 12:11

Didn't he do a race or two for Tyrrell in 1973 or thereabouts? Did he have the chance to drive there in 74, given that Ken needed new drivers that year?

Amon said that he was not invited to drive for Tyrrell in 1974.

#50 ensign14

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Posted 07 June 2014 - 12:13

A lot of the same names always come up in threads like this. But I'm going to suggest Roberto Moreno.

 

Lacked the physical strength to cope with F1 - and his weight gave him a half-second advantage in the lower formulae with their lower power-to-weight ratios.

 

It's a bit easy for this to turn into those who could have been champions had it not been for fate (the poster child for this is Tony Brise; a future world champ was his bitch as a team-mate) so maybe it ought to be restricted to those who had lengthy enough careers without really being noticed as being as talented as they deserved.  There are not that many, but we would have heard a lot more of Chris Irwin had it not been for a huge sportscar accident.  His results belie his outright speed. 

 

Another one easily overlooked is Andre Simon who would have had a couple of podia in a bitty GP career barring mechanical fallibility and was rated enough by Maserati half-a-decade later to be signed up alongside Moss.