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Talented F1 drivers not recognised


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#101 Murl

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 10:30

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 followed Surer in F2 and was sure he would be at the very least a multiple race winner in F1.

 

Some of those ankle injuries must really take a toll.



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#102 UPRC

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 12:41

Olivier Panis. I firmly believe that his accident in 1997 robbed us of what was really going to be a fantastic second half to his career. So many points and opportunities surely lost from that horrible moment for him.



#103 ATM

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 19:42

Agreed. To my knowledge, Williams was considering signing him for 1998, before the Canada accident. 

After that, something got lost, probably psychologically, and never recovered. He was having that momentum which usually ends up putting a driver in the front seat, and it was cut at the worst possible time. Such a shame, really. 

Not that the 1998 Williams was the best of the bunch, but it was still 3rd or 4th fastest car  - and anyway it was still much better than the 1998 Prost. 

 

Another driver, in my opinion, would be Pedro Diniz. Not WDC material, granted, but everybody saw (and still sees) him only as a pay driver, a wallet with legs. I seem to remember him as more than that, and given decent machinery (which could at least finish the bloody race without constantly breaking up) he would have been a very solid midfield driver, 



#104 ensign14

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 20:00

In his entire motor racing career, Pedro Diniz never won a single race of any sort.  That may be unique amongst F1 drivers.  Perhaps Ottorino Volonterio as well.



#105 sopa

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 20:29

Regarding Panis I have a bigger suspicion that early 1997 was a temporary form rather than something which would propel him into greatness. Like we have seen many drivers having a good half-a-year before dropping off. Was Panis considered a top talent in 1994-1996 that every top team would like to sign up? No. Frentzen and Irvine got top team seats instead and Barrichello was at one time rated very highly too. So this makes me think that early 1997 was a blip in combination of the superior Bridgestone tyres and a car which suited Panis very well.

 

Would 1998 Williams had seen Panis enter greatness? IIRC he was about 31 years old at the time already, Villeneuve and next Williams drivers Ralf Schumacher were younger. We remember later in BAR Panis gave a good run for Villeneuve's money, but I think overall he was never the driver around who the future was going to be built. Be it Williams or anywhere else. So 1997 was meant to remain as his glory-day.



#106 scheivlak

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 20:42

In his entire motor racing career, Pedro Diniz never won a single race of any sort.  That may be unique amongst F1 drivers.  Perhaps Ottorino Volonterio as well.

In this nice article http://revistatrip.u...aulo-diniz.html Pedro tells us that he has won a few kart races.

I believe him.


Edited by scheivlak, 09 June 2014 - 20:43.


#107 DarthWillie

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 20:55

Martini only spoke Italian as far as I know so that would have been a negative. He did not make many mistakes in his career at all, had 2 stints though. First time around he looked useless as the car was bad but shone later on. I don't know much about Corrado Fabi but Teo was super quick. What happened to Johnny Servoz Gavin's eyesight? I know he retired abruptly.

while in an open car Gavin got hit in the eye by a branch. It damaged his eyesight.



#108 sopa

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 20:59

To generalize a bit, I think basically any decent driver, whose career doesn't include strong results and who didn't have an exciting personality/flashy driving style, can be included in this thread. Which means Alesi doesn't count, since he had many fans, had an attractive driving style and was very much recognized even if he doesn't have results to back this all up. But there are lots of drivers, who have neither results nor people will bother thinking about them even if they actually were talented. And well, needless to say, many F1 drivers have been talented, to a lesser or greater degree. :p 



#109 rmpugh

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:06

For me, it has to be Jarno Trulli. His one win was probably the best Monaco drive that I have seen, (yes even better than "that" Senna drive), and he unfairly got tagged with the "Trulli Train" moniker because he put his car in a position where it had no right place to be on Saturday. IMHO, Fernando Alonso is the best driver of modern times, and Jarno was beating him (albeit by 1 point) when Flavio sacked him for not wanting to be Flavio's boy any more. If he remained Fernando's team mate, I reckon he could have taken one of his championships.

 

BTW, my youngest Sons name is Jarno, and yes it is after Trulli.


Edited by rmpugh, 09 June 2014 - 21:08.


#110 sopa

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:11

 

BTW, my youngest Sons name is Jarno, and yes it is after Trulli.

 

So looking forward to see third generation of Jarno in F1! As Trulli's parents also happened to be motorsport enthusiasts and named their son after a motorsport hero. :p



#111 27gilles27

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:19

Going back a bit, can't see that Zanardi was not wanted by BMW, he drove for them later in touring cars and neither Button nor Montoya had BMW connections. Agreed about Alesi, he was a top driver and should therefore not be in discussion here. Same for Trulli. But Alesi would have been paired with Patrese at Williams as Mansell was not in the picture at that point, correct. Martini, yes, he dnq'd with Toleman at Monza 84 and was lost in the Minardi in 85 but he obviously went away and learned some lessons because when he came back, he always blitzed his teammates. Front row grid slot in a Minardi was also stunning!

#112 rmpugh

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:24

Indeed, after Jarno Saarinen. I have always said that it is funny that my boy was named after an Italian who was named after a Finn!! :)

 

He is only 4, so don't expect it for some time yet :)



#113 27gilles27

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 21:24

Many potentially great drivers were hampered by injuries which compromised their careers, like Kubica now. They had the talent but were limited physically or psychologically. Surer, Panis, Brundle would have won races, Herbert, if you look at his pre-f1 career I'm convinced he would have been world champ. And many others, but this is a different discussion. What about de la Rosa?

#114 LimerockandtheGlen

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:56

Ronnie Peterson. I know he died way to young but people from that time including Lauda and Hunt swore by the man. That he had speed second to none but made some poor decisions in regard to choosing teams. Anyway i know most know the story but he had pace, plenty. What could have been....


Edited by LimerockandtheGlen, 09 June 2014 - 22:57.


#115 George Costanza

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 22:58

In his entire motor racing career, Pedro Diniz never won a single race of any sort.  That may be unique amongst F1 drivers.  Perhaps Ottorino Volonterio as well.

 

That cannot be true.



#116 George Costanza

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:00

For me, it has to be Jarno Trulli. His one win was probably the best Monaco drive that I have seen, (yes even better than "that" Senna drive), and he unfairly got tagged with the "Trulli Train" moniker because he put his car in a position where it had no right place to be on Saturday. IMHO, Fernando Alonso is the best driver of modern times, and Jarno was beating him (albeit by 1 point) when Flavio sacked him for not wanting to be Flavio's boy any more. If he remained Fernando's team mate, I reckon he could have taken one of his championships.

 

BTW, my youngest Sons name is Jarno, and yes it is after Trulli.

 

Jarno's 2004 win was indeed incredible.... faster than both Ferraris and Williams and BARs.  Yeah he probably had more natural talent than Fred, but I doubt he worked as hard as Fred.



#117 Sheepmachine

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:02

Mika Salo had talent, if he had a raced for a good team for a couple of seasons he could have done some great stuff. When he stood in for Schumacher he showed the some of the potential he had.

#118 George Costanza

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:03

I often think about "what" Alesi could have accomplished had he gone to Williams in '91.  I don't know if you would have been WDC in '91 & '92 because Nige was there, and then Prost in '93, but he certainly would have had a lot more than just 1 GP win.  Alesi's time at Tyrrell was so incredibly fun to watch.  He certainly looked a future WDC back in '89 & '90, didn't he?

 

Would Frank would have hired Nigel there even if Jean was there? and Prost later on?

 

Oddly enough.... If Jean was there winning, would Ayrton go to Williams? Would he be alive today?



#119 George Costanza

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:03

Mika Salo had talent, if he had a raced for a good team for a couple of seasons he could have done some great stuff. When he stood in for Schumacher he showed the some of the potential he had.

 

He did. He was matching Eddie when he was there. He never got the break he needed.



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#120 George Costanza

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:08

My understanding was always that Mansell was lured back to Williams after Alesi chose Ferrari, so Jean's teammate would have been Patrese.

 

Yes. And I don't think Alain or Ayrton would have been at Williams then....



#121 27gilles27

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:17

Ronnie Peterson does not fit into this debate. He was a megastar, better than several crowned champions, I believe. I heard he was in talks with Ferrari after Lauda's accident but he got wind of it and blocked that move - don't know if that's true, he didn't much like Reutemann either. Ronnie had signed for McLaren before his death and McLaren were on a downer. Ronnie struggled in bad cars so I don't know how that would have gone. In a great car no-one could beat him. Salo was excellent, definitely missed the boat.

#122 LimerockandtheGlen

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:22

Ronnie Peterson does not fit into this debate. He was a megastar, better than several crowned champions, I believe. I heard he was in talks with Ferrari after Lauda's accident but he got wind of it and blocked that move - don't know if that's true, he didn't much like Reutemann either. Ronnie had signed for McLaren before his death and McLaren were on a downer. Ronnie struggled in bad cars so I don't know how that would have gone. In a great car no-one could beat him. Salo was excellent, definitely missed the boat.

Ok I can agree with that. I just know a lot of younger fans that are unaware. Unrecognised.



#123 Myrvold

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:27

Regarding Panis I have a bigger suspicion that early 1997 was a temporary form rather than something which would propel him into greatness. Like we have seen many drivers having a good half-a-year before dropping off. Was Panis considered a top talent in 1994-1996 that every top team would like to sign up? No. Frentzen and Irvine got top team seats instead and Barrichello was at one time rated very highly too. So this makes me think that early 1997 was a blip in combination of the superior Bridgestone tyres and a car which suited Panis very well.

 

Would 1998 Williams had seen Panis enter greatness? IIRC he was about 31 years old at the time already, Villeneuve and next Williams drivers Ralf Schumacher were younger. We remember later in BAR Panis gave a good run for Villeneuve's money, but I think overall he was never the driver around who the future was going to be built. Be it Williams or anywhere else. So 1997 was meant to remain as his glory-day.

While I cannot say that you are wrong at all. It sounds very reasonable. I feel some of the reason why Panis stayed at Ligier during that time, and also quite a few years with Prost was for a simple reason. French Team, French Sponsors easily the best available French driver.



#124 27gilles27

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Posted 09 June 2014 - 23:55

Probably true of Panis, something like the Martini scenario. Nice win by Ricciardo yesterday. Is Vergne any good?

#125 MikeV1987

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 00:05

Nick Heidfeld, I always felt he was very underrated. 



#126 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 20:31

Too me this thread is about the drivers who seemingly did not really have what it takes, yet in their subsequent career showed that there were more to them than mediocre results, or drivers who seemed mired in end of the grid cars never getting the chance to show all what they were really all about.

 

So including the drivers I have already mentioned that would be:

 

Roberto Moreno
Bernd Schneider
Marc Surer
Kazuyoshi Hoshino
Raul Boesel
Pier Luigi Martini
Yannick Dalmas
Danny Sullivan

 

And then one we can likely spend a lot of time on....

 

Jean-Louis Schlesser

 

40 years old at the infamous Italian Grand Prix, only ever had 2 F1 races, in lower class formulas and series he did show fairly well, among other sharing the French F3 title with Alain Prost. At age 41 and 42 he won the World Sportscar Championship in 1989 and 1990. FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup from 1998 through 2002, and the Dakar Rally in 1999 and 2000.

 

:cool:



#127 HaydenFan

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 20:41

Kazuki Nakajima? Given only two seasons. Albeit a tough two seasons, but while his junior formula career didn't make many promises (1 win in his rookie year of GP2 is pretty good), his runs in Super Formula/Formula Nippon afterwards has shown that maybe he wasn't the weakest part of the Williams program those two seasons. 



#128 27gilles27

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 20:57

Very good point about Schlesser, too easy to write him off. We tend to take things at face value, by results only but need to see the bigger picture, beyond f1. Look what the likes of Brundle and Warwick achieved in sportscars. And heres another to discuss. Jan Lammers. Maybe another of those f1 drivers who couldn't deliver in a bad car but otherwise was fast. 4th on the grid at Long Beach in 1980 in an ATS! Mega! Also won Le Mans in a Jaguar.

#129 Nemo1965

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 21:59

Pastor Maldonado. A real talent, alas he doesn't see himself as a talent but as an arrivé, an established Grand Prix driver.

 

Pity. With some selfcritique he could have become a great driver.



#130 ensign14

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 06:42

If we look outside F1, then Jacky Ickx' sportscar career is so stellar that it's easy to forget he was nearly an F1 world champ and one of the top three drivers in the world for a couple of years.



#131 sopa

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 07:51

I personally think drivers like Bernd Schneider and Jan Lammers are good additions in this thread and exactly what this thread aimed to be about. Schneider was in a rubbish car for two seasons and it is all too easy to forget he even raced in F1, while the rest of his career has been stellar. How well did F1 suit him?

 

I have read a few snippets here and there that Lammers was actually quite talented, but never really got to show it.

 

I am sure the guys at the Nostalgia Forum could make quite a few additions here.



#132 E.B.

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 08:05

And some deletions!

Peter Arundell was meant to be pretty good before Reims wasn't he?

#133 Zippel

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 12:48

Looking back on things, Zanardi was the kind of driver who won from the fourth or fifth row of the grid in CART. Being able to pass, hustle, and handle a car on cold tyres during restarts is a big skill in Indycar but not very useful in F1. Ralf did not have those skills (reminds me of another German) but put him near the front of the grid and he drove like one of the best.

 

 

I think Zanardi would have been better during a tyre war, not sure how much by.

 

 

1999 Williams wasn't a very good car, compared to even the 1998 Williams. Of the 1990s, the 1999 Williams is by far the worst car they had.

 

The 98 Williams scored 38 points, Ralf scored 35 points by himself the very next year, even almost won a race. Also, Patrick Head disagrees. 

 

 

Going back a bit, can't see that Zanardi was not wanted by BMW, he drove for them later in touring cars and neither Button nor Montoya had BMW connections.

 

There were strong rumours at the end of 99 that BMW were less than impressed with Zanardi's season, ending in his termination. What has BMW connections with drivers got to do with anything? Zanardi was shit that year, and BMW didn't want more shit with a BMW badge slapped on the side. Zanardi's future touring car career has nothing to do with his performance in F1.

 

Montoya was inevitably going to drive a Williams in 2001 and Button got the 2nd Williams in 2000 based on his test performance against Bruno Junqueira.


Edited by Zippel, 11 June 2014 - 12:52.


#134 Disgrace

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 13:10

I would nominate Vitaly Petrov. He had an unusual and less suitable career path to F1. He went from racing Ladas to winning GP2 races and then something of a championship challenge against a lot of contemporary F1 drivers within three or four years.

 

He was fairly wild in his first season but outpaced Kubica perhaps once or twice. He came good with that famous Abu Dhabi performance and of course a dry-weather podium. He then destroyed the illusion that Kovalainen was the only driver who could look good in the early years of Lotus and Marussia and upon giving his underperforming team 10th in the 2012 WCC, they got rid of him.

 

He was a class above pay drivers such as Gutierrez who are in F1 now. No doubt Petrov would be highly competent in the current field.


Edited by Disgrace, 11 June 2014 - 13:39.


#135 27gilles27

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 20:25

Don't agree on the Zanardi comments. He didn't score points for Williams but performed pretty well. I don't know the answers though. Perhaps grooved tyres had something to do with it. Indycar drivers sometimes have trouble adapting, look at Michael Andretti. Both were obviously fabulous drivers but something didn't gel in f1. However, many drivers have been tops in some categories and not strong in others.

#136 27gilles27

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 20:28

Petrov is a good example. Remember Grosjean's first season prior to his comeback and look at him now. Erik Comas? Philippe Streiff? Gabrielle Tarquini?

#137 HaydenFan

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 20:32

How was Zanardi's first F1 stint ('91 replacing Schumacher @ Jordan to the final years of the original Lotus in '94) rated before he returned with Williams?

 

What about Christian Fittipaldi? Had only run a single year of F3 in Britain before taking the F3000 title in '91. Some really good runs in a Minardi and Footworks before coming back to the Americas? 



#138 scheivlak

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 20:42

Don't agree on the Zanardi comments. He didn't score points for Williams but performed pretty well. I don't know the answers though. Perhaps grooved tyres had something to do with it. 

An pretty good review of Zanardi's career in F1, both pre-95 anf post-98: http://www.f1rejects.../biography.html

Zanardi's own conclusion there:  "After three very intense years I am mentally tired, I am spoiled by the habit of having at my disposal an amazing car and, maybe, I do not spend the due effort to start things up properly. I [am happy] to line myself up [with] others' thoughts ... because it is easy and in this way I blow the trust of those men [who] with great determination went to search [for] me in the United States."

"Moreover, I have to give him merit for this, Ralf Schumacher is as fast as he is unpleasant and all the team's enthusiasm around me slowly fades away." 



#139 27gilles27

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 20:53

Interesting reading and unusually honest. But it doesn't seem to fit with the driven man he became after his accident.

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#140 27gilles27

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 21:01

I find it interesting how drivers successes fluctuate. Even Mansell struggled for years but when he got his first win, it just clicked and he immediately won again. Granted, the car took a step forward. Derek Daly is another who seemed to have the goods and when he finally got his hands on a good car in 82, didn't even manage a podium. Brian Henton, dominant in f2, no points for Tyrrell in f1 though he did get a fastest lap. But his teammate was Alboreto and he won a race and regularly scored points. Classic case has to be Dave Walker.Brilliance in f3, straight to f1 in 1972 with the team that won the championship and he was nowhere. If I'm right, his best result was one 9th.

#141 27gilles27

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 21:02

Any comments on Johnny Dumfries?

#142 sopa

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 21:21

Gabrielle Tarquini?

 

I think both Tarquini and Larini are good examples of drivers, who were driving for absolutely rubbish teams, but had certainly talent to do more than that. Sadly it was impossible to stand out or make a mark in F1 as some of these cars didn't enable them to even qualify for races. Larini finally got a temporary 2-race shot at Ferrari, and briefly drove for Sauber in 1997, but that was all too late. Tarquini never got a meaningful chance of any sort.



#143 ensign14

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 21:45

Any comments on Johnny Dumfries?

 

Too much too young.  Getting thrown into F1 as Senna's team-mate was a hiding to nothing.  Benefitted from a slack year of talent in F3, didn't do much in F3000.  Tarquini level.



#144 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 22:39

Here's the weird thing about Zanardi. The perception is he disappointed.

 

But here's the qualifying gaps for Ralf's three teammates 99-01

.493 second advantage(average) over Zanardi

.404 over Button

.290 over Montoya

 

Yet we(rightly) judge the three teammates very very differently. Not even on relative performance(JB being a rookie) but on actual impact. No one would argue Montoya struggled in 2001. Even in the early season he was on it.



#145 Zippel

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 23:39

Don't agree on the Zanardi comments. He didn't score points for Williams but performed pretty well.

 

 

Well... in all my years of reading forum posts I've never seen anyone describe Zanardi in 1999 as 'performed pretty well'. Even the most hardcore of fan typically acknowledges he was disappointing or at worst believe he was sabotaged in a Bernie E conspiracy to discredit Champ cars.

 

Hill's most disappointing year was 1999, with his demotivation, getting hammered by HHF, retiring healthy cars, will-he-won't-he retirement speculation, etc. But at least he can still say he performed better that year than Alex Zanardi.

 

 

Here's the weird thing about Zanardi. The perception is he disappointed.

 

But here's the qualifying gaps for Ralf's three teammates 99-01

.493 second advantage(average) over Zanardi

.404 over Button

.290 over Montoya

 

Yet we(rightly) judge the three teammates very very differently. Not even on relative performance(JB being a rookie) but on actual impact. No one would argue Montoya struggled in 2001. Even in the early season he was on it.

 

Ralf - Alex - 11 points scoring positions to zero. So no shit we all judge their relative performances differently.



#146 Ross Stonefeld

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Posted 11 June 2014 - 23:51

There are all sorts of things that go into race results that the drivers can't influence. Laptime isn't a perfect system but it's the best one we have. And it doesn't get screwed up by the fact not every position pays points. So it's interesting that on pure laptime Zanardi doesn't look so bad, and comparable to people that are rated far higher. 



#147 27gilles27

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 00:01

Thing is, its easy to sit in an armchair and have all the answers. Pretty much everything that could go wrong for Zanardi in 99, did so. He didn't perform well next to Ralf on results but nobody in their right mind can despute that Alex was a superb driver. It just didn't come together in 99. That close to Ralf in qualifying even with his struggles and Monza should have yielded 2nd place without car troubles. Anyway, its only my ten cents worth. I can't base Alex as a driver on what happened in f1 only.

#148 27gilles27

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 00:04

Agreed Ross. Slagging off Zanardi to me is like saying Teo Fabi was useless because he scored no points in 95. But I guess that's what this discussion is all about. Healthy debate and personal opinion!

#149 Zippel

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 00:09

Let me put it another way, if Zanardi didn't have his great record in Indycar behind him, had that been Button's performance in 2000 for example, even though he was very inexperienced and only 20 years old, his motorsport career would have been finished. It's not like Ralf proved to be a superstar either!



#150 27gilles27

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Posted 12 June 2014 - 00:10

Makes me question the way things are sometimes done in f1. When there is so little similarity to other formula's, it can badly affect performance. For example, when grooved tyres were in f1. Some drivers struggled on them, having never experienced anything like them in other formula's. So the opportunity to perform was compromised.