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Who is the worst driver in the history of Formula 1? Difficult choice of 20 candidates

Date: June 19, 2024 Time: 20:48:27

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Claude Langes (1990)

Langes holds the anti-record number of Grand Prix held without a single start. Claudio tried 14 times to pass the classification screen (at that time there was still pre-qualification), but each time without success. Such a dismal achievement could be attributed to an uncompetitive team, but Claudio lost a lot of time not only against his opponents, but also against his EuroBrun teammate Roberto Moreno, who on occasion made it past seed.

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Yuji Ide (2006)

Ide entered Formula 1 only thanks to Super Aguri’s protectionist policy, which had reached the point of absurdity: all the components of the team had to be of Japanese origin. F-1 Yuji’s level objectively did not improve, losing in the qualifications by one and a half seconds to four seconds to his partner Takuma Sato. In the “real races”, a kind of Japanese lasted only four stages. At the start of the race at Imola, he plowed into the Midland of Christian Albers, after which the Dutchman’s car went into gravel. The FIA ​​sanctions were not long in coming: Ide’s super license was annulled. Thus Yuji became the first pilot to leave F-1 by decision of the international federation.

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Jean Denis Deletraz (1994-1995)

In F-1, the Swiss only passed three Grands Prix, but what! In the debut race in Adelaide, Deletraz lost to the leader by 10 laps (lag at retirement: 56 laps out of 81), at the Estoril circuit he lost 12 seconds to the polesitter (this time would only be enough for 22nd place in the Formula 3000 standings), and at the Nürburgring, Jean-Denis demonstrated a new style of aerobatics, including zigzags and a sharp change of trajectory. More in Formula 1 Deletraz did not act.

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Otto Stuppacher (1976)

The Austrian driver participated in the last three Grands Prix of the 1976 season. His best result was 12 seconds behind the polesitter. Naturally, Stuppacher never made it to the start of the race, although he did get that chance. After qualifying at Monza, the times of three drivers (Hunt, Mass and Watson) shown in the Saturday session were annulled. Thus, Otto automatically moved up three lines and into the top 26. Stuppacher had every reason to enter the race, but the disgruntled Austrian had already flown home. Other facts about Stuppacher include the record break set at the United States Grand Prix: Otto lost 27 seconds to qualifying winner James Hunt, still the biggest gap in qualifying to date.

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Philip Adams (1994)

Adams owed much of his introduction to F1 to the Lotus’ plight: the ailing team was willing to hand the car over to anyone who would pay. For $500,000, the British team provided Adams with a car for two stages, a significant amount for such and such a number of Grands Prix. Philippe’s F1 debut came in Belgium. Unfortunately for the home fans, Adams failed to repeat Schumacher’s path. Philip barely made it through qualifying, losing to teammate Johnny Herbert by almost 7 seconds. In the race itself, only 15 laps were enough for the Belgian: exit from the track – abandonment. In Portugal, Adams had an unconvincing qualifying but made it to the finish on Sunday: he closed out the field, losing three laps to Herbert. More in F-1, the Belgian did not speak.


David Walker (1972)

Walker is one of the worst drivers to ever drive for a top tier F1 team. And, interestingly, at the junior level he showed quite decent results: a year before his debut, he won the British F-3 championship. In 1972, the Australian was lucky enough to get on the top Lotus, but he didn’t take the opportunity that fate gave him. As Emerson Fittipaldi raced towards the championship title, his teammate qualified in the top ten and was somewhere in the back of the pack. Walker went down in history as the only driver who did not score points in a season in which his teammate was proclaimed champion. With this, logically, David’s stay in F-1 came to an end.


Ricky von Opel (1973-1974)

The great-grandson of the founder of the automobile concern left a rather large mark in the history of Formula 1 – it was largely thanks to him that the Ensign team appeared in the championship. But it was precisely as a driver that Opel proved to be far from the best. Ricky was never considered a particularly talented driver, but in 1974 he was lucky to break into the top Brabham team who took three wins that season. As for Opel, it was not even close to fighting for the top places: it qualified in the top ten and in Monaco and Dijon it completely surpassed the top 26. Bernie Ecclestone’s patience was enough for only six stages: the failed Liechtensteiner He was replaced by Carlos Pase.

Photo: Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images

Giovanna Amati (1992)

The last woman to date to participate in the Formula 1 Grand Prix as a fighter pilot. Amati’s career in the “Royal Races” was limited to only three stages – the dying “Brabham” was not enough for further leadership. In each of the three heats Giovanna participated in, she surely placed last, beating her most stellar teammate, Eric van de Poole, by 3-4 seconds. Amati never made it to the start of the race, and already in the fourth stage in Barcelona, ​​​​the Italian was replaced by another rookie in F-1, Damon Hill.

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Al Pease (1967-1969)

Pease is the only F1 driver in history to have been disqualified for being too slow. At the end of the 1960s, the Canadian participated three times in his home Grand Prix, albeit without success. In 1967 he could not finish due to mechanical problems, the following year he was prevented from starting due to an engine failure, but the climax of the failure came in 1969. On lap 43 (at the time of the disqualification), the Canadian was 21 laps behind. leading the race, and 11 laps earlier he refused to let Jackie Stewart, who was leading the field, pass. Pease fought back so desperately that he ended up colliding with the Scottish driver: retirement for the future champion. Ken Tyrrell was beside himself with rage, to such an extent that he demanded that the race management disqualify the Canadian. A little later, the protest was satisfied: with the phrase “for driving too slow.”


Giovanni Lavagi (1995-1996)

Lavaggi did not shine in the youth formulas and only reached the “Real Races” at the age of 37. In F-1 he only played ten Grands Prix, but that was enough to enter the list of the worst. For “Pacific” Giovanni dropped four stages, directly losing the intra-team battle to his compatriot Montermini. The following season, Lavaggi played a bit for Minardi; he was even worse: in three of the six classifications, the Italian did not reach the coveted 107%. That was the end of his formulated career.

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John Miles (1969-1970)

In 1969, Miles made his F-1 debut with Lotus, periodically appearing at the start in the third car, and the following year the Briton became a full-fledged driver for Colin Chapman’s team. By 1970, Lotus had built the dominant 72 car, with which Jochen Rindt achieved one victory after another. As for John, the results from him were incomparable. In the championship car, Miles only once finished in the points zone (5th place), never started from the top 5, and twice did not make the qualifying barrier. The British formula’s career ended during a tragic weekend at Monza: after Rindt’s death, Miles left the championship.

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Narain Karthikeyan (2005, 2011-2012)

Karthikeyan is the first Indian driver in F-1 history. Perhaps this is the only reason that Narain can be proud of. Karthikeyan spent three seasons in the Royal Races and was remembered only for collisions with Sebastian Vettel and Nico Rosberg, who both circled ahead of him. In terms of results, the Indian finished fourth at the controversial United States Grand Prix, which was attended by just six cars. And if the season in Jordan was at least brightened up by free points, then the stay in HRT turned out to be rather sad. Karthikeyan seemed much weaker than his most stellar teammates: the retired Liuzzi and the veteran De la Rosa.

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Esteban Tuero (1998)

Before joining Royal Races, Tuero had a very modest and unsuccessful experience: 12 races in the Formula 3000 and Formula Nippon championships. The generous payments forced Minardi to turn a blind eye to the Argentine’s frankly poor prospects: in 1998 he made his F-1 debut. Against the background of his teammate Shinji Nakano, who had been defeated a year earlier by his teammates Prost Trulli and Panis, Esteban looked weak: 6-11 in the qualifying match. In addition to losing to no more eminent partner, Tuero was also remembered for a curious accident at Suzuka, when he mistook the accelerator for the brake, after which he plowed into Takagi’s Tyrrell.

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Alex Young (2001-2002)

Yong is a prime example of a desperate driver-for-hire who, even on the youth team, showed terrible results. Fortunately for Alex, in the early 2000s it was not difficult to get a super license, so at the end of the 2001 season, the wealthy Malaysian made his F-1 debut. In total, Yong participated in 18 Grands Prix, in three of which he failed to qualify. And in those cases where he still managed to overcome Saturday’s barrier, he certainly posted the worst time among the true participants in qualifying (someone suffered technical problems and, in fact, did not participate in the session). Over time, Alex’s flops grew weary of Minardi’s management – it got to the point where Jong was given a sabbatical right in the middle of the season. However, this did not improve the results.

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Pablo Belmondo (1992, 1994)

The son of the legendary actor did not manage to become at least an average runner. Belmondo began his formula career in a not-so-desperate March: team leader Karl Wendlinger regularly qualified in the top 10 and even scored points. But the Frenchman failed to qualify six times in 11 Grands Prix. Two years after being ousted from March, Paul returned to F-1 and joined Simtek. This time, the son of the great actor lost the internal duel against Bertrand Gachot: 2-5 in the standings.

Photo: Paul-Henri Cahier/Getty Images

Taki Inue (1994-1995)

We simply could not not include Inue in this classification, because the Japanese himself proclaimed himself the worst driver in the history of F-1. At the Royal Races, Taki spent a full season with Footwork. Against the background of his teammate Gianni Morbidelli, Inue looked downright weak: the Italian defeated his teammate in the qualifying battle, even scoring points from time to time. Well, the most memorable episode in Inouye’s career was the Hungarian incident. Taki intended to help the bailiffs turn off the engine that had started on his Footwork, but nothing happened: on the way to the fire extinguisher, the Japanese man was hit by a medical car. The main takeaway from this story is that the cyclist was not injured.

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Ricardo Roset (1996-1998)

The Brazilian began his formula career in 1996 with Footwork, losing a dry qualifying battle to teammate Jos Verstappen. Rosset missed the following season, as his new team “Lola” lasted only one Grand Prix. And in 1998, Ricardo joined Tyrrell, who was living his last season; It turned out very badly: five times the Brazilian failed to overcome the qualifying barrier. And the most memorable moment of Rosset’s formulaic career was the episode that took place in Monaco: after a U-turn, he spun the “beetle” with so little success that he finally hit a sidewalk and could no longer go on. moving.

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Sakon Yamamoto (2006-2007, 2010)

In F-1, the Japanese spent three seasons, and not a single one complete: in the second half of the championship he joined Super Aguri, Spiker and Hispania. During those 21 Grand Prix that he had on his account in Formula 1, Yamamoto managed to lose all kinds of duels within the team. In Super Aguri and Spiker, Sakon seemed much weaker than Sato and Sutil, and in Hispania, Yamamoto was already losing to Karun Chandhok and Bruno Senna, far from being the strongest drivers.

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Paolo Barilla (1989-1990)

The Italian won the 24 Hours of Le Mans, but the formula race didn’t quite work out. In the “Royal Races” Barilla drove 15 stages with “Minardi”, which is not the strongest team, in which, nevertheless, from time to time he managed to show decent results. Paolo’s teammate from the 1990 season, Pierluigi Martini, was ranked in the top 10 five times and once even finished second. As for Barilla, in 6 of the 14 Grands Prix of that season he failed to even qualify. With two races left in the championship, Paolo was shown the door. But in the pasta business everything is in order with him.

Photo: Uwe Kraft/Getty Images

Gaston Mazzacane (2000-2001)

Everything is classic here: inadequate results in the “youth team” with the subsequent move to F-1 thanks to generous sponsorship payments. He spent his first season at Minardi, where he lost devastatingly to the more talented Marc Genet. Mazzacane started the following championship with Prost. Against the background of the experienced Alesi, the Argentine seemed very weak. Alain Prost’s patience was not enough for a long time: after the first four stages, Mazzacane was replaced by Luciano Burti, who immediately began to show more acceptable results.

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Puck Henry
Puck Henry
Puck Henry is an editor for ePrimefeed covering all types of news.

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