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Late blooming careers


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#51 E.B.

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:37

That too supposedly. He isvreputed tobhave said that he would shave his beard andvindeed, it was shaved at some point after The Glen in '69, whether that was coincidence or not, I have no knowledge. I'll see if I can find the quote in the next few days, there's quite a lot of books where it may be though.


I'm pretty sure he shaved it because of Rindt winning, but had never heard of him setting the precedent for Warr's hole in the arse remark.

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#52 milestone 11

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:41

I'm not sure if the shaving thing was ever confirmed as being for that reason. Jenks was apt to wind people up and come across with some very vague responses at times.

#53 garoidb

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:42

To be fair he only finished 4 races. And two of those finishes were podiums. One of which was a win :)

 

True, but it was essentially surrendered by Nelson to maximise his WDC chances. Riccardo wasted two years after that with Alfa Romeo. I wonder was that his own idea, or did Bernie let him go (seems unlikely, since he was brought back).  



#54 E.B.

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 20:51

I'm not sure if the shaving thing was ever confirmed as being for that reason. Jenks was apt to wind people up and come across with some very vague responses at times.


There's much more evidence for the shaving thing than the hole in the arse comment.......

#55 TennisUK

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 21:35

True, but it was essentially surrendered by Nelson to maximise his WDC chances.

True - but he can hardly be called a classic late bloomer as his early career was fantastic; he wasn't far off winning in South Africa in 1978 (broke down 15 laps from the end) and was a strong second in Sweden (and arguably the first legal car home) - both in his first full year. He got another second in Long Beach in 1980 and even got a pole there in 1981, leading until his car failed him. He then picked up a couple of wins plus another pole during his tenure at Brabham. At this point he was a properly hot prospect. Probably a bit too hot for Piquet to handle, hence his time in the wilderness at Euroracing (since at this point it wasn't really Alfa Romeo any more) - where he still got 1 podium - and his return to a greatly diminished Brabham (where he also got a podium).
 
So he wasn't a late bloomer so much as someone on the cusp of greatness for most of his career (except the middle bit) - but never quite reaching the potential he initially showed.

I wonder was that his own idea, or did Bernie let him go (seems unlikely, since he was brought back).


Bernie did indeed let him go. But it was on decent terms, plus Riccardo was always a gent.

Edited by TennisUK, 07 August 2019 - 21:36.


#56 Risil

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 22:20

Adrian Fernandez, he of the Tecate beer livery and CART championship tilt in 2000, won his first race in 1996 aged 33. He spent his twenties knocking around in Formula Ford, Formula V, something called Formula K, and was still in Mexican F3 (at least he won it!) aged 28.

I would like to know more about Adrian Fernandez. I bet he has some stories.

#57 noriaki

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Posted 07 August 2019 - 22:53

Adrian Fernandez, he of the Tecate beer livery and CART championship tilt in 2000, won his first race in 1996 aged 33. He spent his twenties knocking around in Formula Ford, Formula V, something called Formula K, and was still in Mexican F3 (at least he won it!) aged 28.

I would like to know more about Adrian Fernandez. I bet he has some stories.


Arie Luyendyk dabbled with Formula Three and the likes throughout his twenties, crossed the pond at 30 after not achieving much in Europe, had his maiden Indycar win (Indy 500) at 36 and raced on until age 49..

#58 NewMrMe

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 05:18

Roberto Moreno has a bit of a late bloomer record in F1 and CART/IndyCar.

 

F1

1982 - Enters a GP for the first time but fails to qualify.

1987 - Races in a GP for the first time.

1990 - Gets a call up to drive for Benetton after Alessandro Nannini was injured in a helicopter accident and takes his only F1 podium in his first race for the team.

 

CART/IndyCar

1985 - First race.

1996 - First podium

2000  - First win and 3rd in the championship



#59 messy

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 07:27

Felix Rosenqvist - spent years and years in Formula 3, always doing pretty well and building rep as probably the fastest driver out there, but always managing to avoid actually winning the title, getting progressively older and less fashionable. Still racing in F3 in his mid twenties. Won the title, then embarked on Super Formula, Formula E, Indycar, GTs, being successful in all of them. Probably one of the best drivers outside Formula One and still young enough and good enough if an unexpected opportunity were to arise.

Rene Rast - spent years impressing wherever he went, was Audi’s reserve WEC driver and used to appear in their third car a Le Mans, got his big break in the DTM after his 30th birthday and is now probably the best driver in that series as well as impressing in Formula E.

Marcus Gronholm - hard grafting local driver who used to appear in the 1000 Lakes every year and do well, got a sniff of a works drive in the 90s with Toyota but not for long, finally signed with Peugeot and established himself from 1999-2007 as one of the clear top two drivers in WRC alongside Sebastien Loeb. Put Richard Burns, Didier Auriol, Mikko Hirvonen, Markko Martin etc to the sword. Started the 2000 season as Peugeot’s third string driver and ended it as World Champion at his first attempt.

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#60 absinthedude

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 08:33

Jochen Rindt. Was it Jenks that said that he, (Rindt) "Would never win a GP as long as he had a hole in his arse".

 

I don't know about that.....but I do remember Peter Warr at Lotus saying "Nigel Mansell will never win a GP as long as I have a hole in my arse".....and years later Nigel retorting that Warr must, by then, have been very constipated. 

 

One of NIgel's better utterances.



#61 Risil

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 08:41

Roberto Moreno has a bit of a late bloomer record in F1 and CART/IndyCar.

F1
1982 - Enters a GP for the first time but fails to qualify.
1987 - Races in a GP for the first time.
1990 - Gets a call up to drive for Benetton after Alessandro Nannini was injured in a helicopter accident and takes his only F1 podium in his first race for the team.

CART/IndyCar
1985 - First race.
1996 - First podium
2000 - First win and 3rd in the championship

Moreno's an interesting example. In between those stats, he spent the 1980s winning in various junior formulae (Formula Ford, F3, Formula Atlantic, F3000) as well as testing for Lotus and appearing at the front in a few Indycar races (normally before crashing). So I'd expect close followers of motor racing would've known him as a driver to watch for a long time, even before his Benetton stint.

So I dunno, a late bloomer in that he had to push hard and persist before the success came, but equally he wasn't exactly spending the 1980s with his light hidden under a bushel.

#62 E.B.

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 10:58

One of NIgel's better utterances.


I can fully understand Warr doubting Mansell would ever win (he wasn't the only one), but Jenks doubting Rindt always surprised me - just Jenks being Jenks I guess.

#63 Radoye

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 12:01

I was thinking this the other day...

Melbourne 1998 - Mika’s 97th GP
Hungary 2019 - Max’s 93rd GP

It’s funny how Mika felt like an F1 elder when he started his championship season, yet I still see Max as the new kid on the grid 😂

Even in recent races the talk has been the changing of the guard as Lewis and Max fought for the win. Yet 93 races used to be heading towards the end of a driver’s career, not the start.

 

Sir Jackie's entire career fit into 99 World Championship races started.

 

Puts things into perspective, doesn't it?
 



#64 maximilian

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 12:08

Patrick Tambay!

 

He was a virtual unknown who had nothing much to show for his previous races when Ferrari brought him on board to replace the stricken Villeneuve, and he immediately became an amazing front-runner, scoring more points during his time in 1982 than any other driver during the same races.


Edited by maximilian, 08 August 2019 - 13:49.


#65 HeadFirst

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 13:22

I always thought a late bloomer was someone whose talent blossomed late in their career, whatever the sport. This seems to be about drivers who finally found themselves in a good car late in their careers. Max Verstappen was a burgeoning talent as a teenager. Even if he does not get a top drive (and a WDC) until he is 30, I wouldn't consider him a late bloomer.



#66 Sterzo

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 14:38

Who do you think could fall into this category now? The obvious candidates would be The Hulk, Perez and KMag but is there anyone else we think could be the next late bloomer?

Lance Stroll will be World Champion in 2029 when Pink Point (or whatever they're called by then) have the only Mercedes engines, and he's finally calmed his erratic style.



#67 BRG

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 16:56

Another one I could nominate is Alan Jones. In some ways the early part of his career is similar to that of Nico Hulkenberg. Both spent the first few seasons of their career bouncing around a number of midfield teams, not staying in one place for more than a season and despite consistently outperforming their teammates not getting the call from one of the big teams. The midfield team that Jones joined though for 1978 happened to be Williams. In 1979 he stayed with the same team for the first time in his career and that happened to be their breakthrough year.

You can hardly compare Jones with Hulkenberg.  Before he got the Williams drive, Jones had a very good 1977 season with Shadow, taking a win in Austria and a string of other good finishes.  And back in 1976, he took a 2nd place in the non-championship Race of Champions in a Surtees.  By comparison, Hulkenberg continues to dodge the podium after many more races and seasons in F1

 

Yes, I think that is an important distinction. I always wondered whether Colin Chapman could detect what was to come.

Of course he did.  Which was why he took Nigel on, when few thought he had any potential.  I wasn't one of those few either and was bemused by Chapman's decision.  Which is why he built a successful race team and car company, and I didn't.



#68 Bloggsworth

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 17:51

IIRC, Fangio was in his 40s before he started his F1 career, well, 39, but near enough.



#69 garoidb

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 18:01

Of course he did.  Which was why he took Nigel on, when few thought he had any potential.  I wasn't one of those few either and was bemused by Chapman's decision.  Which is why he built a successful race team and car company, and I didn't.

 

He must have forgotten to tell Peter Warr, unfortunately for Nigel (or perhaps fortunately, as things worked out). I have seen reference here to his potentially being dropped for 1984 to accommodate John Watson (another British driver to keep JPS happy). That could have been the end of that. Another question - does anyone think Williams (Frank or Patrick) glimpsed the full potential of Mansell at the time they first signed him, or even half way through that first season? 



#70 garoidb

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 18:17

True - but he can hardly be called a classic late bloomer as his early career was fantastic; he wasn't far off winning in South Africa in 1978 (broke down 15 laps from the end) and was a strong second in Sweden (and arguably the first legal car home) - both in his first full year. He got another second in Long Beach in 1980 and even got a pole there in 1981, leading until his car failed him. He then picked up a couple of wins plus another pole during his tenure at Brabham. At this point he was a properly hot prospect. Probably a bit too hot for Piquet to handle, hence his time in the wilderness at Euroracing (since at this point it wasn't really Alfa Romeo any more) - where he still got 1 podium - and his return to a greatly diminished Brabham (where he also got a podium).
 
So he wasn't a late bloomer so much as someone on the cusp of greatness for most of his career (except the middle bit) - but never quite reaching the potential he initially showed.


Bernie did indeed let him go. But it was on decent terms, plus Riccardo was always a gent.

 

Well, Piquet handled him anyway.

 

As you mention, he then came back to Brabham, replacing Nelson and also replaced him at Williams (after one more race as team-mates in Australia 1987). He ended up at Benetton after Nelson too, albeit after a years gap. Was he the best Italian of that impressive generation who are mostly no longer with us? It is hard to say.



#71 Spillage

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 18:45

Graham Hill didn't even pass his driving test until he was 25. He was world champion eight years later. A late starter but a quick bloomer :p

#72 hogstar

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 18:55

He must have forgotten to tell Peter Warr, unfortunately for Nigel (or perhaps fortunately, as things worked out). I have seen reference here to his potentially being dropped for 1984 to accommodate John Watson (another British driver to keep JPS happy). That could have been the end of that. Another question - does anyone think Williams (Frank or Patrick) glimpsed the full potential of Mansell at the time they first signed him, or even half way through that first season? 

 

Warr refused to pay Mansell salary in '84 as he didn't want him, so Players did as they wanted a British driver as Mansell had a 'cult' following. 

 

Williams had Mansell on their 'radar' as early as 1981, so they obviously saw something 'Williams' about him. However this brings me to question that as far as I am aware has never been answered. 

 

In Keke Rosberg's Autobiography (which was written up to the end of the 1984 season) Keke says that Frank tried to 'trade' him for another driver in 1982 (Probably for '83) This was after the Canadian GP, which had not gone well. Keke then went on the win the WDC. Nobody told Rosberg for 18 months as they did not want to hurt his feelings, so around late 83/early 84, after Keke had re-signed for 84/85. 

 

He said that it would not do his reputation any good to say who the driver was, just to say it was somebody who had 'yet to pick up any results'. He also said it was not for commercial reasons. 

 

Elio de Angelis was a good friend of Keke and gave him the impression that Nigel was no good. Naturally Keke was not happy when Frank signed Mansell for '85, though Keke later admitted he had been completely wrong about Nigel and they got on well. De Angelis had prejudiced Rosberg's opinion. 

 

It got me thinking. Was Mansell the man Williams wanted to swap Keke for? 


Edited by hogstar, 08 August 2019 - 19:02.


#73 garoidb

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 19:11

Warr refused to pay Mansell salary in '84 as he didn't want him, so Players did as they wanted a British driver as Mansell had a 'cult' following. 

 

Williams had Mansell on their 'radar' as early as 1981, so they obviously saw something 'Williams' about him. However this brings me to question that as far as I am aware has never been answered. 

 

In Keke Rosberg's Autobiography (which was written up to the end of the 1984 season) Keke says that Frank tried to 'trade' him for another driver in 1982 (Probably for '83) This was after the Canadian GP, which had not gone well. Keke then went on the win the WDC. Nobody told Rosberg for 18 months as they did not want to hurt his feelings, so around late 83/early 84, after Keke had re-signed for 84/85. 

 

He said that it would not do his reputation any good to say who the driver was, just to say it was somebody who had 'yet to pick up any results'. He also said it was not for commercial reasons. 

 

Elio de Angelis was a good friend of Keke and gave him the impression that Nigel was no good. Naturally Keke was not happy when Frank signed Mansell for '85, though Keke later admitted he had been completely wrong about Nigel and they got on well. De Angelis had prejudiced Rosberg's opinion. 

 

It got me thinking. Was Mansell the man Williams wanted to swap Keke for? 

 

I have that book too, and it is a very interesting question. I'm not convinced the two things are linked - the 1982 doubts about Keke's seat and his attitude to Mansell in 1984. For 1983, Williams signed Laffite for two years but it obviously wasn't him in the frame in 1982. I thought it might be someone who was considered to have potential in 1982 but had floundered by the end of 1984. I came up with Eddie Cheever, driving for Talbot (Ligier) in 1982 but it is just a hunch.


Edited by garoidb, 08 August 2019 - 19:19.


#74 azza200

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 20:46

Damon Hill was a late Bloomer into F1 



#75 Spillage

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 22:23

Would Keke Rosberg count as a late bloomer

 


 

In Keke Rosberg's Autobiography (which was written up to the end of the 1984 season) Keke says that Frank tried to 'trade' him for another driver in 1982 (Probably for '83) This was after the Canadian GP, which had not gone well. Keke then went on the win the WDC. Nobody told Rosberg for 18 months as they did not want to hurt his feelings, so around late 83/early 84, after Keke had re-signed for 84/85. 

 

Perhaps Keke himself counts as a late bloomer? He was 33 when he got his big break at Williams. But it's hard to say as that was the first competitive car he'd driven - he'd been quietly doing well for Fittipaldi for a couple of years beforehand.

 

Perhaps Carlos Reutemann is another? He was 39 when he nearly won the 1981 championship. Not a late bloomer per se as he won his first race in 1974, but maybe a rare case of a driver improving in his late thirties?



#76 noriaki

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Posted 08 August 2019 - 22:40

Perhaps Carlos Reutemann is another? He was 39 when he nearly won the 1981 championship. Not a late bloomer per se as he won his first race in 1974, but maybe a rare case of a driver improving in his late thirties?

Reutemann is certainly a shout as he didn't get to Europe until his thirties. But when you look at his F1 career in isolation, he wasn't really a late bloomer: arguably his performances in F1 remained the same from the early days of his F1 career to the end. No matter where he drove, Reut was always a sensitive driver who would be class of the field some days but entirely stay missing on other days. So when given a decent car, he would always score at least 30 points per season, but never more than 50.

Only the nature of 1981 in that nobody else had a fully consistent year made yet another inconsistent year for him a title shot as well. So I don't think he particularly improved in his thirties.

Edited by noriaki, 08 August 2019 - 22:41.


#77 HerbieMcQueen

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 07:44

It's good seeing all these examples from the past but is there anyone on the current grid you think might be a late bloomer, career wise?

 

Button, Webber and Rosberg all fell into that category in the last 10 years, who might it happen to in the next 10?

 

I sense this might happen to our current crop of British youngsters. With the current set up of Formula 1, I can see Norris, Russell and Albon only getting race wins when there's a fundamental change in how the sport is run money-wise. Which might be a fair few years.



#78 hogstar

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 08:36

I have that book too, and it is a very interesting question. I'm not convinced the two things are linked - the 1982 doubts about Keke's seat and his attitude to Mansell in 1984. For 1983, Williams signed Laffite for two years but it obviously wasn't him in the frame in 1982. I thought it might be someone who was considered to have potential in 1982 but had floundered by the end of 1984. I came up with Eddie Cheever, driving for Talbot (Ligier) in 1982 but it is just a hunch.

 

Cheever would certainly be on what was a very short list. There could only be four drivers fitting Keke's criteria and still racing in 1984:

 

1982

 

Mansell (Lotus)

Cheever (Ligier)

Surer (Arrows)

De Cesaris (Alfa Romeo)

 

The only driver who hadn't achieved a podium was Surer, so would seem the most likely, although had a habit of breaking his legs. 

 

Cheever - 2nd and 3rd in '82, Would he have considered a team that looked like they were struggling? Plus 3 podiums in '83 for Renault. 

De Cesaris - 3 podiums by the end of '83, though Frank & Patrick liked drivers who didn't crash, so highly unlikely. 

Mansell - 4 podiums by the end of '84. 

 

The other possibility - although he was out of a drive for '84 - was Jarier, driver who was rated by Frank. Good on his day, but lost interest too quickly if things got tough. It is much forgotten that he was twice in line for the Williams drive in '82 - first Jones' seat, then Reutemann's, but bad luck and circumstance meant he never got either. 

 

Trading Rosberg for any of these drivers seems even more absurd than it did then, but Williams only seems to rate their drivers in retrospect with the exception of Jones, who to many was Williams!


Edited by hogstar, 09 August 2019 - 08:37.


#79 taran

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 09:27

You have to look at things as they were perceived at the time. Williams was a powerhouse in 1982. They had lured Carlos Reutemann from Lotus and had been championship contenders for the past 3 years in the hands of Jones and Reutemann....In their own minds, they were F1 royalty now and Keke Rosberg just didn't fit the image.

 

While had always been decent at Fittipaldi, that had been a low-rent team and Keke was up against a declining Fittipaldi. He was also too laid back and commercial about his driving to suit Frank who wanted his drivers to live and breathe F1.

 

So before Keke proved a revelation, I can see why Williams wanted a bigger name in the car. It actually might have been Jacques Laffite as the 1982 Ligier was a flop due to it failing technical inspection and him being a big star at the time. He might have wanted out and Ligier might have wanted to allocate Laffite's salary to improving the car. Another option is Jarier indeed as he had starred in a Lotus in 1978 as a replacement driver and showed his class in lesser cars since then.



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#80 hogstar

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 09:43

You have to look at things as they were perceived at the time. Williams was a powerhouse in 1982. They had lured Carlos Reutemann from Lotus and had been championship contenders for the past 3 years in the hands of Jones and Reutemann....In their own minds, they were F1 royalty now and Keke Rosberg just didn't fit the image.

 

While had always been decent at Fittipaldi, that had been a low-rent team and Keke was up against a declining Fittipaldi. He was also too laid back and commercial about his driving to suit Frank who wanted his drivers to live and breathe F1.

 

So before Keke proved a revelation, I can see why Williams wanted a bigger name in the car. It actually might have been Jacques Laffite as the 1982 Ligier was a flop due to it failing technical inspection and him being a big star at the time. He might have wanted out and Ligier might have wanted to allocate Laffite's salary to improving the car. Another option is Jarier indeed as he had starred in a Lotus in 1978 as a replacement driver and showed his class in lesser cars since then.

 

 

It couldn't have been Laffite as Keke was quoted as saying 'It was a driver who has yet to get any results' and Laffite was a proven winner by that stage. 

 

Jarier could have been the one as I previously mentioned, though the thought of Keke being traded to Osella is the stuff of nightmares!

 

The whole irony of this is Keke went on to win the '82 WDC, was regarded as the fastest driver out there (although by his own admission had little finesse) and now regarded as a very Williams driver who didn't take any crap. Least of all from Frank & Patrick. 

 

I don't think the truth will ever come out on this one as whoever it was is clearly not somebody who Keke thought is being anything close to equal. 



#81 garoidb

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 09:55

Cheever would certainly be on what was a very short list. There could only be four drivers fitting Keke's criteria and still racing in 1984:

 

1982

 

Mansell (Lotus)

Cheever (Ligier)

Surer (Arrows)

De Cesaris (Alfa Romeo)

 

The only driver who hadn't achieved a podium was Surer, so would seem the most likely, although had a habit of breaking his legs. 

 

Cheever - 2nd and 3rd in '82, Would he have considered a team that looked like they were struggling? Plus 3 podiums in '83 for Renault. 

De Cesaris - 3 podiums by the end of '83, though Frank & Patrick liked drivers who didn't crash, so highly unlikely. 

Mansell - 4 podiums by the end of '84. 

 

The other possibility - although he was out of a drive for '84 - was Jarier, driver who was rated by Frank. Good on his day, but lost interest too quickly if things got tough. It is much forgotten that he was twice in line for the Williams drive in '82 - first Jones' seat, then Reutemann's, but bad luck and circumstance meant he never got either. 

 

Trading Rosberg for any of these drivers seems even more absurd than it did then, but Williams only seems to rate their drivers in retrospect with the exception of Jones, who to many was Williams!

 

Yes, these are all interesting suggestions.

 

Concerning Mansell, Chapman would still have been alive in mid 1982 so that makes it less plausible in my opinion. Furthermore, it has never been mentioned in any biography or article on Mansell and, unless he didn't know himself, you'd think it would have. On the other hand, Peter Warr was at Lotus and knew Keke from Fittipaldi but didn't rate Mansell. Also, by the time the book was being written, Nigel was about to join the team and, if he still wanted to make the comment, I don't think there would have been a reason not to name him. 

 

Cheever and DeCesaris were on upward trajectories in mid 1982 but in the doldrums by the end of 1984. They did have some achievements but Cheever was badly beaten by Prost in 1983 so his stock would have been considerably lowered. Prost's greatness was not fully established at that stage.

 

Marc Surer is interesting too. He was just back from injury and was doing well. It's plausible.

 

The other question is - why not replace Derek Daly in the first instance? Was Keke's desirability to the second team an important element?

 

Concerning William's standing at that time, ambitious drivers would have been looking towards a teams plans for a Turbo engine at that stage too.



#82 hogstar

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 10:12

Yes, these are all interesting suggestions.

 

Concerning Mansell, Chapman would still have been alive in mid 1982 so that makes it less plausible in my opinion. Furthermore, it has never been mentioned in any biography or article on Mansell and, unless he didn't know himself, you'd think it would have. On the other hand, Peter Warr was at Lotus and knew Keke from Fittipaldi but didn't rate Mansell. Also, by the time the book was being written, Nigel was about to join the team and, if he still wanted to make the comment, I don't think there would have been a reason not to name him. 

 

Cheever and DeCesaris were on upward trajectories in mid 1982 but in the doldrums by the end of 1984. They did have some achievements but Cheever was badly beaten by Prost in 1983 so his stock would have been considerably lowered. Prost's greatness was not fully established at that stage.

 

Marc Surer is interesting too. He was just back from injury and was doing well. It's plausible.

 

The other question is - why not replace Derek Daly in the first instance? Was Keke's desirability to the second team an important element?

 

Concerning William's standing at that time, ambitious drivers would have been looking towards a teams plans for a Turbo engine at that stage too.

 

When James Hunt was at Wolf, albeit briefly, he was always happy how the car was set-up. Whereas when Keke came in, he always wanted changes. 

 

Carlos Reutemann warned Frank when he was looking at Keke the he was High Maintenance and maybe Williams just thought mid season he was not worth the hassle. The thing I respected about Keke the most is that if something needed to be said, he would say it. Not least to Frank and Patrick. 

 

When Williams couldn't get Andretti for the rest of the season when Carlos 'lost interest', from memory it was a choice between Warwick & Daly, but Daly had connections with Crichton-Stuart at the team and got the nod (Warwick later famously turned the team down when they were looking for a driver with turbo experience for '85) Plus he was more experienced. Daly was just happy to be there and was never going to make any waves, so he was safe for the rest of the season - though being constantly stuffed by Rosberg ended his F1 career. 



#83 sopa

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 10:23

Now that Keke Rosberg and Carlos Reutemann have rightfully been thrown in here, whose careers got going only in their 30's, I would add Jean-Pierre Jabouille, who got his F1 break and his victories in only his late 30's. Of course if we start looking around, it was more normal back then to have late blooming careers.



#84 garoidb

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 12:32

When James Hunt was at Wolf, albeit briefly, he was always happy how the car was set-up. Whereas when Keke came in, he always wanted changes. 

 

Carlos Reutemann warned Frank when he was looking at Keke the he was High Maintenance and maybe Williams just thought mid season he was not worth the hassle. The thing I respected about Keke the most is that if something needed to be said, he would say it. Not least to Frank and Patrick. 

 

When Williams couldn't get Andretti for the rest of the season when Carlos 'lost interest', from memory it was a choice between Warwick & Daly, but Daly had connections with Crichton-Stuart at the team and got the nod (Warwick later famously turned the team down when they were looking for a driver with turbo experience for '85) Plus he was more experienced. Daly was just happy to be there and was never going to make any waves, so he was safe for the rest of the season - though being constantly stuffed by Rosberg ended his F1 career. 

 

When Williams gained success, they seem to have developed a penchant for hiring established stars such as Reutemann, Laffite, Piquet, Prost and Senna. Ironically, however, their most iconic successes came from drivers who were never recruited with such expectations (Jones, Rosberg, Mansell and even Hill).

 

Derek Daly may always have been a seat filler until Laffite, a title contender in 1981, could join. 1983 was going to be a transition year anyway, with the Honda engine making it's debut in the last throes of the season, but expectations for Laffite must have been high, particularly if they still had doubts about Rosberg. He was largely anonymous, though. It is fortunate that Keke turned out to be so strong. 



#85 hogstar

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 13:56

When Williams gained success, they seem to have developed a penchant for hiring established stars such as Reutemann, Laffite, Piquet, Prost and Senna. Ironically, however, their most iconic successes came from drivers who were never recruited with such expectations (Jones, Rosberg, Mansell and even Hill).

 

Derek Daly may always have been a seat filler until Laffite, a title contender in 1981, could join. 1983 was going to be a transition year anyway, with the Honda engine making it's debut in the last throes of the season, but expectations for Laffite must have been high, particularly if they still had doubts about Rosberg. He was largely anonymous, though. It is fortunate that Keke turned out to be so strong. 

 

Williams never seemed to appreciate what they had until it was gone...

 

Laffite got his wages reduced for 1984 by Frank as he did so badly against Keke - especially in qualifying. He was a major disappointment. 



#86 Radoye

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 16:01

IIRC, Fangio was in his 40s before he started his F1 career, well, 39, but near enough.

 

Fangio was running in F1 races since 1948, so 37.



#87 chr1s

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 20:22

 

In Keke Rosberg's Autobiography (which was written up to the end of the 1984 season) Keke says that Frank tried to 'trade' him for another driver in 1982 (Probably for '83) This was after the Canadian GP, which had not gone well. Keke then went on the win the WDC. Nobody told Rosberg for 18 months as they did not want to hurt his feelings,

 

I asked this very question over on TNF a few years ago and got no where with it.  Someone who said they were close to Frank Williams dismissed the story out of hand and the general consensus  of opinion was that it was just Keke being paranoid. The point they all missed was that there was a driver in question, even if it was just in Kekes' mind!


Edited by chr1s, 09 August 2019 - 20:26.


#88 masa90

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Posted 09 August 2019 - 21:01

Some drivers that I can think of are Grönholm, Mäkinen and Rovanperä in rally. All were promising, gave some nice performances, but never really got the proper deal untill over 30 years old. Grönholm and Mäkinen won their first full seasons. Really impressive.

 

From F1 Mansell, Häkkinen, Button, Rosbergs, Hill.



#89 hogstar

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 07:23

I asked this very question over on TNF a few years ago and got no where with it.  Someone who said they were close to Frank Williams dismissed the story out of hand and the general consensus  of opinion was that it was just Keke being paranoid. The point they all missed was that there was a driver in question, even if it was just in Kekes' mind!

 

This does seem to be the F1 holy grail. Keke did and does not seem like the paranoid type and I would suggest it was an excuse used by the very few in the know to cover Williams tracks and more importantly, the embarrassment of trading the very soon to be WDC with somebody who clearly was not in the same league. It showed very poor judgment from Frank. Maybe Osella or Arrows got closer to a Number 1 on their cars at the time than we realised!

 

The only way it could have been false is if the person at Williams lied to Keke, which would have made no sense. It is quite possible that the driver did not know as the request got easily dismissed by team x. 

 

It is also quite possible that either if Keke had never had found out, he may have stayed with Williams a little longer. 


Edited by hogstar, 10 August 2019 - 08:40.


#90 PayasYouRace

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 08:43

 

The only way it could have been false is if the person at Williams lied to Keke, which would have made no sense. It is quite possible that the driver did not know as the request got easily dismissed by team x. 

 

 

Not necessarily that someone lied to Keke. It could just be that the company rumour mill led to a case of Chinese Whispers and by the time it got to Keke via his "informant" it was just wrong or exaggerated.



#91 Tim Murray

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 09:41

I asked this very question over on TNF a few years ago and got no where with it. Someone who said they were close to Frank Williams dismissed the story out of hand and the general consensus of opinion was that it was just Keke being paranoid. The point they all missed was that there was a driver in question, even if it was just in Kekes' mind!


Here’s that TNF thread:

Frank Williams trading Keke Rosberg

The suggestions made about who the swap might have been with are pretty similar to those made here, and I couldn’t spot any suggestion that it was just Keke being paranoid.

#92 BiggestBuddyLazierFan

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 14:43

A decade ago Jenson Button and Mark Webber, two drivers who had both been around for almost a decade in mediocre cars, finally got their hands on the kind of equipment that allowed them to deliver on their potential and challenge for the WDC. In both cases they were closer to the end of their careers than their start.

There are quite a few examples from further back in F1 history of this sort of phenomenon - Mika Hakkinen, Mario Andretti and Peter Revson spring to mind.

Who do you think could fall into this category now? The obvious candidates would be The Hulk, Perez and KMag but is there anyone else we think could be the next late bloomer?


Mario Andretti was winning championships in 60s in USAC

F1 was Mario's side carrer

#93 BiggestBuddyLazierFan

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 17:47

This does seem to be the F1 holy grail. Keke did and does not seem like the paranoid type and I would suggest it was an excuse used by the very few in the know to cover Williams tracks and more importantly, the embarrassment of trading the very soon to be WDC with somebody who clearly was not in the same league. It showed very poor judgment from Frank. Maybe Osella or Arrows got closer to a Number 1 on their cars at the time than we realised!

The only way it could have been false is if the person at Williams lied to Keke, which would have made no sense. It is quite possible that the driver did not know as the request got easily dismissed by team x.

It is also quite possible that either if Keke had never had found out, he may have stayed with Williams a little longer.



Your mystery driver is Schlesser

#94 hogstar

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 19:31

Your mystery driver is Schlesser

 

Impossible. He was not even racing in F1 at the time. Had a lousy F2 record, though did ad hoc testing work for Williams. 



#95 messy

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 21:13

Going back to the OP (I think I’m one of several people who didn’t actually read the point of the OP and just listed ‘late blooming’ drivers - still, it’s been a fun topic) I think if anybody out of the current grid is going to get a chance at a top team it’ll probably be an opening at Red Bull.

If Red Bull decide to dump Gasly (highly probable) and deem their current Toro Rosso drivers aren’t up to the promotion (likely, I reckon - they won’t want to put Kvyat back into the RB so Albon will have have to annihilate him to get the nod), then they’ll be looking for an experienced number two driver to partner Max - and surely that’ll come down to Hulkenberg vs Perez.

So one of those two, possibly....

#96 cpbell

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 21:37

 

 

One of NIgel's better utterances.

Not much competition, mind you... :p



#97 EvilPhil II

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 23:00

In Keke Rosberg's Autobiography (which was written up to the end of the 1984 season) Keke says that Frank tried to 'trade' him for another driver in 1982 (Probably for '83) This was after the Canadian GP, which had not gone well. Keke then went on the win the WDC. Nobody told Rosberg for 18 months as they did not want to hurt his feelings, so around late 83/early 84, after Keke had re-signed for 84/85.

It got me thinking. Was Mansell the man Williams wanted to swap Keke for?


It must have been Senna. He had just tested for Williams and ran a lap 1 second quicker than Keke at donington park.

#98 messy

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 00:22

Be surprised if it was Senna in ‘82/‘83

#99 EvilPhil II

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 02:22

Be surprised if it was Senna in ‘82/‘83


He tested the Williams in 1983

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#100 taran

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 06:37

He tested the Williams in 1983

 

Seriously? Senna was doing FF2000 in 1982. There is no way that he would have been on Frank Williams' radar at that point.