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Marc Surer


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#1 angst

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 14:40

I was reviewing the 1980 formula one season, through various sources, and was reminded how well Marc Surer did in his first season in F1. He came back from some pretty bad injuries early on in the season to qualify the ATS 11th at Ricard, and then just drove extremely well throughout the season. Then there was his fourth place the following year at Rio, in the Ensign, on Avon tyres (iirc?). He and Prost were, IMO, revelations in 1980, and it was perhaps Prost's presence that somewhat overshadowed Surer's performances that year. I have to say that I think Marc Surer is probably the most under-rated driver of that era, and could have done tremendous things given the opportunity. Your thoughts, please.

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#2 David M. Kane

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 14:56

:clap:

I had a long chat with him at the 1st Detroit GP and he was without doubt the nicest F1 driver I have ever met. If he had a problem, perhaps it was because he was too nice. For example, at the same GP, I found Pironi to be a real self-centered plotting little politican, Prost simply just arrogant, i.e. he told me basically that his car crashed itself at Monaco that year!

At the time, IMO, F1 Managers were looking for ruthless bastards who would do anything to win, ANYTHING! :evil:

He definitely had the talent.

#3 f1steveuk

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 15:04

Marc used to work with us in "Bakersville" at Grand Prix, reporting I think for DFS. None of the philistines that also worked in there knew any of what he had done. When I remember how many accidents he had, BIG ONES, I was amazed he could walk at all, let alone as well as he does. The terrible burns he suffered were very visible, and it really only hit home when we had the odd kart challenges between broadcasters. I pride myself on the championships I won, then I'd watch Marc struggle to lower himself into a kart, and then just dissapear into the distance race after race!! He was quicker than Piquet in the first tests of the BT49T and BT50, and adapted much much quicker to the lag etc. How good he was, I wouldn't like to say, maybe not a champion, but bloody good!

#4 MonzaDriver

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 16:01

Angst:
my tought is: A champion defeated only by bad luck.
If I am not wrong in his second accident at Kyalami, he has the plates and the screws in the legs
in order to recover from the previous incident...............terrible even to think about it.
But everytime he come back, and like David underline, a nice person, I've never noticed in his rare interviews a change in his attitude, and his accidents were more than enough to change the character of a person.
Then he goes to the rallies, and also here very fast very good rallyman, until that other terrible shunt. Like F1steveuk put in evidence, he was really fast, with everything.
He really has some credits with lady luck.
A lot of admiration to him. I dont know how many drivers could substain his adversities.
MonzaDriver.

#5 ensign14

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 16:09

I always thought he was underrated. His only big chance came as team-mate to Piquet at Brabham to replace the appalling and freaked-out Hesnault; he was scoring points in it quicker than Piquet did, but his best chance of victory (at Brands 85) ended with a BMW flameout when he was lying 2nd. But he was certainly better as a team-mate to Nelson than the Fabis, let alone Rebaque et al. And he out-raced Alan Jones when they were together for the one race in '83.

#6 Frank de Jong

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 18:50

I think Surer was quite a decent driver but not a super talent IMHO - he spent quite a few years in FV, F3, turing cars and F2 before getting a chance in F1.
Surer had quite a bit of help from BMW during his career, which helped him to the F2 title in 1979 in a horrible car. His 1977 season in the BMW junior team was pretty wild, he was even suspended for dangerous driving.

The 1980 ATS was quite a good car (remember Lammers' 4th on the grid at Long Beach), but often clumsy prepared.

#7 angst

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 19:03

Originally posted by Frank de Jong
I think Surer was quite a decent driver but not a super talent IMHO - he spent quite a few years in FV, F3, turing cars and F2 before getting a chance in F1.
Surer had quite a bit of help from BMW during his career, which helped him to the F2 title in 1979 in a horrible car. His 1977 season in the BMW junior team was pretty wild, he was even suspended for dangerous driving.

The 1980 ATS was quite a good car (remember Lammers' 4th on the grid at Long Beach), but often clumsy prepared.


He spent many years in the lower formulae and touring cars because he didn't have any massive sponsors behind him. You said yourself that the car he won the '79 F2 Championship with was awful, yet he won with it at the Nurburgring - quite early in it's development.

I remember looking forward to '84 because it looked like he might get a decent car at last, with BMW power - and the A6 had looked pretty decent. As soon as I saw the A7.... well, what can you say.

I'd say his comebacks from the injuries he suffered, his sometimes incredible performances, marked him out as something pretty special.One of those times when you wonder whether the F1 team bosses actually knew what they were watching,or if they had a clue.

#8 MCS

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 21:32

Good bloke, good driver. Undoubtedly.

A "true" number one Grand Prix driver in a top team? No.

But close, certainly (IMHO).

#9 Zawed

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 21:35

His best years were scuppered by the Arrows cars unfortunately. And what about his efforts with Brabham, very much 2nd favorite to Nelson, but one of the better teammates the Brazilian had at Brabham while he was the number 1. But winners make their own luck I guess.

#10 FLB

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Posted 05 November 2005 - 22:05

He's a guy I'd LOVE to see in GP Masters... :( To me, Brands Hatch 1985 was as much about him as it was about Mansell's first win. How many times were Piquet's teammates competitive? Patrese was in 1982 (and suffered appalling reliability in 1983) and Fabi was at Monza 1984, but Surer's drive that day was amazing.

#11 Fiorentina 1

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Posted 07 November 2005 - 05:48

Marc Surer was very good! He was on the gas! Too bad he had so many bad crashes. I think if he would have gotten a chance in a decent car, he would have won a GP. Talent wise, he was as good as Berger or Boutsen, and they won races in good cars. Remember was he did in the Ensign at Brazil in 81? Ya, and who could forget Brands Hatch in 85. I have a tape of that race and saw it again a year or so ago, and it was pretty spectacular.

#12 Melco Hairpin

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Posted 08 November 2005 - 15:15

4 pics of the great Marc :up:

Posted Image

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Posted Image

Posted Image

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#13 Melco Hairpin

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Posted 09 November 2005 - 15:38

One more

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#14 Zawed

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 00:18

I think I have the rear wing end plate from that Arrows - it's an A4 isn't it? My one only has the No 29, no Nordica or any other stickers on it. Because of that, I suspect it may have only been used in testing rather than in a GP. Bought it on eBay last year.

#15 angst

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 14:00

I'm glad so many remember Brands '85. I thought he was fantastic in that race, and given the unfavoured treatment normally given to Piquet's team-mates at Brabham it was all the more impressive. A real case of 'if only(s)'.

As has been said here before, there aren't too many drivers who come back from the injuries he received seemingly undimmed by the experience. Again, he's one of those drivers I always had the impression was a 'good guy', and that seems to have been confirmed by those that have met him. I'd love to have seen what he could have achieved with a competitive car over a decent period of time.

#16 SEdward

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Posted 10 November 2005 - 15:02

I was always impressed by Marc Surer. He stood out from the rest in F2 and occasionally shone in F1.

In any case, he was certainly far more talented than many of the donkeys that we have had to tolerate in F1 over the last 20 years or so (where Bourdais?).

Edward

#17 petefenelon

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Posted 11 November 2005 - 21:41

Marc seems to be linked to the two-seater "F1" race accompanying the GP Masters down at Kyalami this weekend. Missed opportunity? He was always "on it" in F1 and seems to still enjoy driving, he'd be a great asset to the Masters proper.

#18 KWSN - DSM

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:15

I always liked him, and despised Warwick for punting hif of a certain podium in Monaco (1983 - 1984??). Likely the Heidfeld of his era.

:cool:

#19 angst

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 12:41

Originally posted by KWSN - DSM
I always liked him, and despised Warwick for punting hif of a certain podium in Monaco (1983 - 1984??). Likely the Heidfeld of his era.

:cool:


That's probably a very good comparison. Totally under-rated and over-looked.

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#20 Kpy

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Posted 19 November 2005 - 13:17

Originally posted by SEdward
I was always impressed by Marc Surer. He stood out from the rest in F2 and occasionally shone in F1.

In any case, he was certainly far more talented than many of the donkeys that we have had to tolerate in F1 over the last 20 years or so (where Bourdais?).

Edward

Agree about Bourdais. But where are the donkeys? - depends on what they are driving.

I remember a conversation between a hack who'd arrived late at Brands Hatch for a practice, and DSJ many years ago:
Hack: "Who's quick?"
DSJ: "They all are."

As for Surer, he was disqualified for punting a rival off at the Nurburgring in F2. He was adamant that he had not done so. Confronted with video evidence, he replied "I didn't know the event was televised."

Nice guy all the same.

#21 Charlieman

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 17:11

Brazil GP practice is on TV and it's very wet. A bit like 1981 when Marc Surer scored his fourth place for Ensign. There was an anecdote way back that Ensign attended the race with six wheels, four of which were on the car. How much truth is there in the story?

#22 Formula Once

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Posted 17 October 2009 - 20:00

Nice man and one of those many good drivers in his era who never really made it. Did himself no favour when accepting an offer to drive, as an F1-rookie, an Ensign in the final races of 1979, an offer one A. Prost wisely refused. One rarely gets a second chance to make a first impression and this was just one of many examples of how in this sport it is not just about talent but as much about making the right choices. BMW all but got him into F1 and then often helped in keeping him there. The Brabham-drive was well deserved and he did well against a by then clearly demotivated Piquet, but still, in 1985 he had already run out of time and chances. That he survived that horrific crash in the Hessen Rally a year later was a miracle. What saved his life (his codriver was killed) was that one brave bystander dragged him out of what was left of the burning RS200 and then threw him in a nearby ditch to kill the flames. I once read Marc's recollections of his slow recovery in hospital, when heavy medications played tricks with his mind. He was at one point convinced that his doctors were terrorists that tried to mess with his brain and he believed his girlfriend was part of their little group. He admitted that it took him a long time before he trusted her again after that. Given what he has been through, I reckon he is just happy to still be alive.