Jump to content


Photo

Italian underachievers


  • Please log in to reply
45 replies to this topic

#1 Chris Bloom

Chris Bloom
  • Member

  • 635 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 October 2001 - 17:34

I can't help noticing how many Italian Grand prix drivers promise so much yet fail to live up to their promise. There seems to be a large amount of them who show unbelievable speed in unfancied machinary but when they get in a front running their performances are far from spectacular. A few examples:

Michele Alboreto - With Tyrrell in 1982 was often as quick as that years World Champion and fellow DFV front runner, Keke Rosberg. Won the last GP for the DFV at Detroit in 1983 when the turbos had a massive power advantage. His five years at Ferrari provided only three wins in his first two seasons there.

Ricardo Patrese - Showed immense promise with Shadow and Arrows yet he never became a consistant race winner despite having arguably the best car on the grid for at least three of the seasons he raced in F1.

Andrea De Cesaris - When he was good he was very very good, when he was bad (often in the same race) he was very very bad!

Giancarlo Fisichella - Leads German GP in first year with Jordan. Managed to steer his career steadily downhill since then.

Jarno Trulli - Led the Austrain GP in 1997. Rest ditto Giancarlo Fisichella.

Jean Alesi - Okay he might officially be French but he has Italian ancestary. An amazing first year and a half in F1 in the very unfancied Tyrrell. The next seven years he manages one victory despite driving tow of the best cars on the grid.

Others worthy of a mention: Alex Caffi, Alex Zanardi, Stefano Modena, Bruno Giacomelli, Teo Fabi

Please don't take this post as an anti-Italian message. I remember most of the drivers very fondly as they were not only good drivers but wonderful human beings. I just can't help thinking that they could have achieved so much more.

Chris

Advertisement

#2 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 06 October 2001 - 18:05

Chris, there's a nice RC Thread on the subject. :lol: BTW, only first post is of any relevance...;)

#3 Chris Bloom

Chris Bloom
  • Member

  • 635 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 October 2001 - 18:13

Well I wasn't cynical enough to think of that!
;);)

It was quite funny though:lol:

Chris

#4 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,868 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 06 October 2001 - 18:15

I think Ivan Capelli fits the criteria pretty well too.

#5 William Hunt

William Hunt
  • Member

  • 3,390 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 06 October 2001 - 18:23

I've always been a big supporter of Italian drivers. U might want to add Emanuele Pirro , Emmanuele Naspetti & Luca Badoer to your list. Or what about Pierluigi Martini or Paolo Barilla (underestimated driver) ?

#6 Chris Bloom

Chris Bloom
  • Member

  • 635 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 October 2001 - 18:24

Originally posted by Barry Boor
I think Ivan Capelli fits the criteria pretty well too.


Yes, I can't understand why I forgot him!

Chris

#7 William Hunt

William Hunt
  • Member

  • 3,390 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 06 October 2001 - 18:33

I really adored Capelli when he drove that awesome March with Gugelmin. Pitty they didn't win. Ivan came close on a couple of occasions.

#8 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,361 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 06 October 2001 - 21:36

While not wishing to be an "Italian-knocker", I do feel duty-bound to point out that it's actually forty-nine years since an Italian won the WDC ...

I think the problem is actually Ferrari: every red-blooded Italian wants to drive for them, but when they manage it the press and public expectations destroy their chances. Odd that the two most successful Ferrari drivers have been German speakers ...

#9 Wolf

Wolf
  • Member

  • 7,881 posts
  • Joined: June 00

Posted 06 October 2001 - 22:33

Vitesse2, You might be on to something. Both were men with a mission- the thing one might attribute to their nationality (no racial offence is meant to anybody ;)). One is under impression that M$ alone brought spring&autumn to Maranello team with his monomaniacal drive to win.

And there might be the question of perception... Most people (no, no offence is meant here either) want another Italian champion and tend to look at the contenders for that spot with less critical eye. And, as Mr.Bolshewik pointed out with what I tend to agree, it is much easier to show signs of greatnes in underachieving machinery. I belive that Brit (and Brasilian, come to think of it) drivers, through chiefly british motorsport media, get in the same situation which proves perilous for them when they get in more competitive machinery and fail to deliver. As an example I present one Rubens 'Teletubbie' Barrichelo. And look what fuss Brits made about Jenny Buttons, only to see him soundly beaten by Fisichela.

#10 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,868 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 07 October 2001 - 07:03

Thus spake Wolf:
"And look what fuss Brits made about Jenny Buttons, only to see him soundly beaten by Fisichela."

Wolf, you MUST not get British motor sport fans mixed up with the British media. If you lived here you would understand. There is an element in our press corps (and that includes some of the specialist motor sporting mags too) who simply CANNOT look realistically at anything.

The moment they see anything even remotely good, they blow it up out of all proportion and make it into something it isn't.

They are totally and wholly responsible for 'Mansell Mania' and had a fair go with Damon too. Now it's Jenson's turn.

I know this is slightly O.T, but I bet the opinions of British posters on TNF would be much more reserved vis-a-vis young Button than perhaps you would expect.

As for the Italian under-achievers, I actually believe that quite a few of them would have done VERY well had they fetched up in the right team at the right time. There is a very fine line between success and mediocrity; had Senna not died, where would Coulthard be now......?

#11 Zawed

Zawed
  • Member

  • 4,500 posts
  • Joined: February 99

Posted 08 October 2001 - 03:10

Definitely Ivan Capelli, but what about Gianni Morbidelli?

#12 Kuwashima

Kuwashima
  • Member

  • 330 posts
  • Joined: January 00

Posted 08 October 2001 - 07:23

Dare I mention Apicella, Bertaggia, Langes??

#13 Darren Galpin

Darren Galpin
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 08 October 2001 - 07:44

Naspetti? Larini?

#14 Zawed

Zawed
  • Member

  • 4,500 posts
  • Joined: February 99

Posted 08 October 2001 - 08:11

Originally posted by Kuwashima
Dare I mention Apicella, Bertaggia, Langes??


Kuwashima, I refer you to the first post, this is supposed to be a thread about promising but ultimately unfulfilled Italian drivers. Did Langes really show any "promise"? :p

#15 Darren Galpin

Darren Galpin
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 08 October 2001 - 08:22

Perhaps even Vincenzo Sospiri?

#16 Gary Davies

Gary Davies
  • Member

  • 1,984 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 09:31

Originally posted by Vitesse2
... I think the problem is actually Ferrari ... Odd that the two most successful Ferrari drivers have been German speakers ...


Not wishing to get too much OT, I, too, think Vitesse makes a good point. I find it interesting, too, to observe that another significant turnaround for Ferrari when they had got into one of their muddles was in large part driven by another head kicker, albeit not of Germanic origins, John Surtees. This despite the efforts of Dragoni to stay in muddledom!

Vanwall.

#17 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 11:21

Interesting thing is that most of mentioned Italian drivers are well remembered as nice, normal guys, and most other drivers liked them (De Angelis is the best example). And how many really nice guys won a championship in last, let's say 20 years? Not many.
My oppinion is that only two Italian drivers in that period had a real chance to achieve something great (not counting Alesi as an Italian). Michele Alboreto was well on the way to Championship in 1985 - he actually led it with five races to go! But his Ferrari couldn't finish neither of these remaining races (or he had much more common with Trulli than I think:lol: ). Alessandro Nannini was very fast in underpowered Benneton and, shouldn't he want to learn how to fly a helicopter, I was pretty convinced that he should be a championship contender in a right car...

#18 bobbo

bobbo
  • Member

  • 841 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 11:33

. . .And we might add the late Lorenzo Bandini, who was, in my opinion, royally screwed by Ferrari, though he was loyal to his (untimely and tragic) death. Also, How about Lodovico Scarfiotti (spelling suspect:blush:)??

I remember both of these men as outstanding drivers who never had much success with the Prancing Horse.

Sorry if this sounds like Ferrari - bashing, I don't intend it that way:(.

Bobbo

#19 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,361 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 11:55

I'll certainly go along with Bandini - as you say Bobbo, royally screwed by Ferrari, despite his loyalty. He played a loyal number 2 role to Surtees, much like Ginther at BRM in 1962-4 and must have thought his chance had finally come in 1967.

Not so sure about Scarfiotti though. Yes, he won a GP, but it was a Monza slipstreamer at the start and the more fancied front runners had dropped out before half-distance. He had Parkes as a tail-gunner holding Hulme off and was able to win quite easily.
And in fact, just checking his record, I note that he actually announced his retirement from F1 in 1964 after his shunt at Reims.
No dispute about his sports car record though: like Vaccarella he was a man for the long haul, not the short sprint.

Advertisement

#20 Gary Davies

Gary Davies
  • Member

  • 1,984 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 13:34

Originally posted by dmj
... Michele Alboreto was well on the way to Championship in 1985 - he actually led it with five races to go! ...


Can someone put me out of my misery please. I fondly recall Michele's splendid start to that season - 8 podiums (podia?) out of the first ten races including two wins - then it all went to merde at the end.

I have a memory of his coming into the pits at some point with flames emerging from the derriere of the Ferrari, Michele jumping out in disgust whilst it was still moving and stalking off as if to say: "Sticka de car where de sun she dona shine!"

Bizarrely, I remember this as Brands but the British GP was at Silverstone in '85 and Michele finished 2nd!

So you see, I need help here!

Vanwall.:confused: :confused:

#21 LittleChris

LittleChris
  • Member

  • 2,184 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 14:06

Vanwall,

The Brands Race was the European GP and also Mansells first F1 victory.

Chris

#22 Kuwashima

Kuwashima
  • Member

  • 330 posts
  • Joined: January 00

Posted 08 October 2001 - 14:11

Kuwashima, I refer you to the first post, this is supposed to be a thread about promising but ultimately unfulfilled Italian drivers. Did Langes really show any "promise"?

What, beside the promise of money? Hehehe, point taken Zawed :cool:

But good ol' Claudio did come 4th in European F3 in 1984, and scored 15 points in his 35 F3000 races, which aint tooooo bad. Not to mention being Champion in Italian 125cc karts in 1978!! :lol:

#23 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 08 October 2001 - 14:27

Langes wasn't too bad really, but he got screwed in F1 by Walter Brun, who had no money and even less hope. True, he got the drive by paying for it, but ALL the money he paid was directed to Moreno's car, and more often than not Langes had to idle at the pits to make his car available to Moreno as a spare car.

#24 FredF1

FredF1
  • Member

  • 1,980 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 08 October 2001 - 14:39

Re: Alboreto.

Wasn't it Monza where he parked the smoking Ferrari right alongside team position on the Pit wall?

Fred

#25 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 15:05

Can't remember where Michele was so furious about his team... there were way too much occasions when he should be!
But I will never forget his race in Monaco that year, when he spun on oil left after Piquet-Patrese wreckage (while in lead), fell a few places down the grid and... almost win again. He passed both "de"s (Angelis and Cesaris) and almost caught Prost, driving as nobody told him that it is Monaco, where supposedly shouldn't exist any places where you can overtake other car...
I was also fascinated with a story published about same time that he gave a million dollars to an Italian hospital for disabled children. With today's sallaries it shouldn't be so much, but I don't think he earned multi-million cheques in '80s.

#26 bobbo

bobbo
  • Member

  • 841 posts
  • Joined: March 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 21:42

Vitesse2:

About Scarfiotti:

Good Point. Thanks!

Bobbo

#27 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,040 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 08 October 2001 - 22:41

Lorenzo Bandini, who was, in my opinion, royally screwed by Ferrari,



Bobbo, Vitesse, what do you mean by that?

#28 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,361 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 08 October 2001 - 23:15

Ferrari works driver in 1962: driver line-up seems picked out of a hat for most races - no coherent team strategy. Nevertheless picked up a third at Monaco and won at Enna.

Dropped in favour of Mairesse (!!!) for 1963. Rebuilt his career in sports cars and Centro-Sud BRMs. Got his seat back only when Wild Willy crashed and injured himself.

1964-5: loyal number 2 to Surtees, but increasingly unhappy with his lot. Won at Zeltweg 1964.

1966: promoted to team leader when Surtees left. Missed out on two wins because of mechanical failures (France & Italy).

1967: started with a bang with sports car wins at Daytona and Monza, 2nd in Race of Champions. Then came Monaco ...:cry:

#29 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,040 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 09 October 2001 - 05:57

It's strange how people can interpret the same facts differently.

I believe the problem in 62/63 was a conflict of fuel contracts. I'd not heard that Bandini was "increasingly unhappy with his lot in 63/64". I think most would agree that Surtees was the better driver at this time. but it is arguable that Bandini sometimes received preferential tratment over Surtees: I'm sure John would have preferred the Flat-12 earlier in 65 and the V6 at Monaco in 66. Lorenzo certainly raised his game after Surtees left, although we'll never know how well he would have worked in the longer term with Chris Amon. Certainly Chris was full of praise for Bandini in the short time they were team mates.

i still can't see how any interpretation of this justifies the term "royaly screwed" though.

#30 Nustang70

Nustang70
  • Member

  • 2,397 posts
  • Joined: July 01

Posted 09 October 2001 - 07:00

Originally posted by Chris Bloom
Giancarlo Fisichella - Leads German GP in first year with Jordan. Managed to steer his career steadily downhill since then.


Chris


i would say his machinery has steered his career downhill...:rolleyes:

#31 BRG

BRG
  • Member

  • 11,692 posts
  • Joined: September 99

Posted 09 October 2001 - 13:20

This is an interesting thread. It has to be said that since the heady early days of Ascari, the performance of Italian drivers in F1 was not really been commensurate with Italy's deservedly high place in the motorsport pecking order. It is curious that, despite having produced perhaps 25% or more of all F1 drivers, they have produced so few WDCs or race-winners.

A classic case, in my view, was Stefano Modena. He entered F1 with all the right credentials and was widely expected to be a real star (he even had an apt name for a F1 champion!). But then he just faded away without achieving very much at all, except for a well earned reputation for superstition (IIRC he would only get in and out of the car from one side, amongst others).

Wracking my brains, the only top-line drivers from Italy that I can think since 1970 are Alboreto, Nannini and Reggazoni (and he's Swiss, isn't he?).

I know that we should not use national stereotypes, but it is tempting to muse about whether the traditional "Italian temperament" is not conducive to F1 success (or indeed to top-line world rally success, where a similar story exists - the only real Italian rallying superstars that I can think of are Sandro Munari and Miki Biaision)

#32 Vitesse2

Vitesse2
  • Nostalgia Forum Moderator

  • 24,361 posts
  • Joined: April 01

Posted 09 October 2001 - 13:39

Originally posted by Roger Clark
I'd not heard that Bandini was "increasingly unhappy with his lot".


Doug Nye on Bandini in Georgano Encyclopaedia:

"... for 1965 Bandini was again number two to Surtees, although he made it obvious he did not like the arrangement ... the rift between him and Surtees had widened throughout the year ...[1965 again]"

Steve Small:

" [in 1965] ... he was increasingly unhappy with the status quo and relationships with Surtees were becoming a little strained ... the friction in the team continued into 1966 ... the situation could not last ..."

:)

#33 Roger Clark

Roger Clark
  • Member

  • 6,040 posts
  • Joined: February 00

Posted 10 October 2001 - 06:57

Interesting; I hadn't heard this before. I know there was tension in the Ferrari team at this time, but the stories mainly came from Surtees' side and concerned Dragoni favouring Bandini. The only instance I can think of where Bandini deferred to surtees was Mexico 1964, but that was special circmstances. It would be interesting to learn more of Bandini's side to this.

However, I'm sorry to labour the point, but I still don't see how Bandini was "royally screwed" by Ferrari

#34 Jonas A

Jonas A
  • Member

  • 113 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 10 October 2001 - 08:40

I always thought Corrado Fabi would be a real star. Quicker but not as consistent as his teammate Alboreto in the 1979 European F3 championship and F2 champion in 1982. His spell in F1 included a year with Osella followed by a couple of races for Brabham before he quit racing and took over the family business.

#35 Kpy

Kpy
  • Member

  • 1,188 posts
  • Joined: February 01

Posted 10 October 2001 - 11:41

Well, if Alesi counts as Italian, he's gone from F1 now - could have chosen Williams rather than the red cars and maybe won the odd World Championship, but that's what it's all about in F1. Luck plays as big a part as talent.
And if Alesi's Italian, then how about Andretti? - the one with the talent I mean, who was born in Italy (OK or Croatia). Hardly an under-achiever.

Roger Clark - how right you are about Bandini. I don't think he had too many problems chez Ferrari, but, like everyone else including Ferrari, he had problems with Surtees - everyone did. His real problem was the fragility of a '60s F1 car...

#36 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 10 October 2001 - 13:07

And if Alesi's Italian, then how about Andretti? - the one with the talent I mean, who was born in Italy (OK or Croatia). Hardly an under-achiever.


Well, you know, since we never had a F1 driver from our country we must take a chance in this case... Mario is definitely a 100% Italian but he is born in a beautiful small town that is now part of Croatia - enough for me and my compatriopts to be proud of his achievements.:) :) :)

#37 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 10 October 2001 - 20:05

Well, if we include the Italian-born, how about the "original" Undera Cheever...

#38 Barry Boor

Barry Boor
  • Member

  • 10,868 posts
  • Joined: October 00

Posted 10 October 2001 - 22:08

Well, there I was thinking I was the only one who called him that!

For me, Eddie has had that nickname for decades!

"Stands back and awaits flak......." :p

#39 MattFoster

MattFoster
  • Member

  • 4,775 posts
  • Joined: May 00

Posted 11 October 2001 - 03:09

I thought Eddie was US born but Italian raised and Ross was the Cheever brother that was Italian born.

I think it have worked out the reason for all this underachievement. 95% of the guys mentioned so far I have been keen fan of. The link is me! I jinxed them all.

Advertisement

#40 Darren Galpin

Darren Galpin
  • Member

  • 2,140 posts
  • Joined: April 00

Posted 11 October 2001 - 07:14

Matt is correct. Eddie was born in Phoenix, Ross in Rome.

#41 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 11 October 2001 - 10:59

Oops, another case of brainfade... :blush:

But you probably got the picture: Eddie's racing pedigree is Italian, rather than Arizonian...

#42 Rediscoveryx

Rediscoveryx
  • Member

  • 1,464 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 11 October 2001 - 18:24

I don't know if Nicola Larini has been mentioned?

I always thought he had the potential to be something better than testdriver for Ferrari. Remember his great race on that tragic day in may 1994 when he brought his Ferrari home in third place at Imola?

#43 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 12 October 2001 - 08:15

Remember his great race on that tragic day in may 1994 when he brought his Ferrari home in third place at Imola?


He was second.

#44 fines

fines
  • Member

  • 9,647 posts
  • Joined: September 00

Posted 13 October 2001 - 11:40

I think Larini's best drives came in rather unfancied machinery, like the '89 Osella for example. Especially the Canadian Grand Prix that year, where he ran fourth iirc, was really something! He also had some good drives for Ligier and Sauber, until the latter mysteriously fired him...

#45 dmj

dmj
  • Member

  • 1,956 posts
  • Joined: August 01

Posted 15 October 2001 - 15:23

I think Pierluigi Martini could do much better. That guy even qualified Minardi on front row once...

#46 birdie

birdie
  • Member

  • 572 posts
  • Joined: June 01

Posted 15 October 2001 - 18:55

Another possibly tenuous comment on the Italian personality:

maybe they just want to race and aren't as bothered as drivers from other nations about where it is. Hence the Italian domination of kart racing, which takes just as much talent as sports cars (for example) to win in but has bugger-all status in a lot of the motorsport world