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CooCoothenoo

General Motor Sport Discussion

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This way the F1 and NASCAR threads can be kept for just that and anything else can be put in here.

Think I posted this a while ago, but it is a good read - http://auto-racing.speedtv.com/article/indycar-marshall-pruett-the-worst-indycar-driver-of-all-time/

Robin Miller is one of my favourite journos, always telling it as he sees it and not giving a toss who he upsets.

Who is the worst driver in your opinion? F1 has had loads too. Think Jean-Denis Deletraz, Claudio Langes etc...

Milke Duno always seemed a liability in Indycars. Every time I used to tune in the programme seemed to start with a report of her upsetting someone in practice by dawdling round like an OAP going for their pension. Wouldn't kick her out of bed though.

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When I see a driver out of their depth in F1 or Indycars to judge them I tend to go back to the previous series they competed in down the motorsport ladder to get a fair comparison.

Jean Pierre Frey was hopeless in F3000 how he managed even with his Swiss millions to waste I do not understand how he managed to gain a drive in CART when he was consistanty the slowest driver in F3000 about 2 years before never even qualifying once. Claudio Langes was a plodder in F3000 but there were worse during his time there. Deletraz had the distinction of being even slower than gentleman driver Giovanni Levaggi who was so so slow but like Langes there were worse down the ladder.

Its good to see in F1 since the 90's that even the slowest guys are a good standard, proffesional and deserve their chance mainly due to the 107% qualifying rule, the level a driver has to achieve to gain a super licence and less cars on the grid. But every now and then one gets through, Yuji Ide was one such driver though his record in the lower formulas is decent. Luca Badoer's attempts in the Ferrari a couple of seasons back were painful to watch knowing he was a lot better as a younger driver in a Minardi in the mid and late 90's and had been a Championship winner in F3000, if not for that he could have been among the worst. Alex Yoong was also too slow, but competed well enough in the lower formulas.

But speed is not all and I can go back to the mid and late 80's in F1 and some of Rene Arnoux's driving was to be watched behind fingers particularly when being lapped or overtaken for position. Also Andrea De Cesaris. :lol:

I suppose though the driving standard between the best and the slow guys in F1 or other disciplines were wider as you go further back through the years and where there were drivers with more money than talent, but for me until I find worse Jean-Pierre Frey is my choice for worst driver at least within the last 25 years at a top level.

Edited by CityDave

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I totally agree about the '80s. Getting past backmarkers was an art form. I recall Olivier Grouillard wreaking havoc on more than one occasion. I was fortunate enough to spend a whole day with Rene Arnoux a few years ago and we chatted about all sorts of things. He did admit that he would go out of his way to hamper Prost if he saw him coming up to lap him! He definitely hung around too long. In the early '80s he was one of the very best turbo drivers.

It was sad to see Badoer's 'comeback'. I've always liked the guy (remember him crying when his Minardi retired from a points position?) and he was always so loyal to Ferrari. It was a bloody shame.

Re Frey, there used to be a video on Youtube of the race at Phoenix he entered and then trundled around until he was black flagged, but I can't find it now.

There was an Italian driver in the 1950s called Mario Alborghetti who drove in a handful of amateur races before deciding he was ready for F1! Qualified way off the pace for a non-championship race in Pau, bumbled round at the back for a few laps then crashed and killed himself. He also injured quite a lot of spectators.

Edited by CooCoothenoo

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I'll tell you another strange one. There was a driver in the 1930s called Josef Bradzil (not sure of spelling). Anyway, he was a complete rookie but obtained a front running GP car and crashed fatally in his first race. The rumour was that he'd committed suicide. Can't remember the exact details and not got time to look it up just now but it's a story that has always stuck in my mind.

Edited by CooCoothenoo

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Alliot was one of these drivers that could pull of an amazing lap time particularly in quali then stick it in the kitty litter the next, inconsistent yes but he was one of the quickest over one lap see his performances in a Lola/ Larrouse. Had some useful results as well. Was mighty in a Peugeot sportscar.

James Hunt had his favourites didn't he, especially Riccardo Patrese. Mind you Hunt himself must have been stressful to watch for his team boss especially as a young driver making his way up. Maybe he recognised a part of himself in the way Alliot sometimes drove. Alliot had his spats with other drivers but was generally respected, but Hunt's behaviour on and of the track at times by far surpassed the antics of many of the drivers he critisised after his own career finished.

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Since 1983 drivers I thought maybe should have not been issued with a licence for this level

Formula 1

Huub Rothengatter

Pascal Fabre

Jean-Louis Schlesser (Ferrari hero)

Adrian Campos

Oscar Larrauri

Paulo Barilla

Claudio Langes

Naoki Hattori

Perry McCarthy

Giovanna Amati

Jean Marc Gounon (although qualified through results in F3000, he was just rubbish)

Paul Belmondo

Jean Denis Deletraz

Philipe Adams

Taki Inoue

Giovanni Lavaggi

Gaston Mazzacane

Yuji Ide

Many of these failed to win or score podiums in the series below such as the GP2, Euro F3000, Japenese F3000 or win or finish in the top 5 during a season in a national F3 series. But then it might have taken the likes of Kimi, Massa or Hamilton that bit longer to climb the ladder. But these drivers I listed their participation on sheer talent is questionable though I also mentioned 'Pel' who probably was better off not racing an Andrea Moda anyway. I come back later and do some more.

BTW Interesting though that most of these drivers became or were pretty decent sportscar drivers.

Edited by CityDave

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I'm not sure if there were any rules on who could be regarded as competent enough to not only race amongst the best drivers in the world but could handle the beasts that were those F1 cars of that time. It would be regarded as insane now almost like giving a Tornado jet fighter to a Cessna pilot with about 40 hours flying time and told to get on with it in a pressure situation without any form of training.

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I totally agree about the '80s. Getting past backmarkers was an art form. I recall Olivier Grouillard wreaking havoc on more than one occasion. I was fortunate enough to spend a whole day with Rene Arnoux a few years ago and we chatted about all sorts of things. He did admit that he would go out of his way to hamper Prost if he saw him coming up to lap him! He definitely hung around too long. In the early '80s he was one of the very best turbo drivers.

It was sad to see Badoer's 'comeback'. I've always liked the guy (remember him crying when his Minardi retired from a points position?) and he was always so loyal to Ferrari. It was a bloody shame.

Re Frey, there used to be a video on Youtube of the race at Phoenix he entered and then trundled around until he was black flagged, but I can't find it now.

There was an Italian driver in the 1950s called Mario Alborghetti who drove in a handful of amateur races before deciding he was ready for F1! Qualified way off the pace for a non-championship race in Pau, bumbled round at the back for a few laps then crashed and killed himself. He also injured quite a lot of spectators.

I think I would have laughed had I heard Arnoux say that. :D

Arnoux was a driver that spoke his mind and got him into trouble a couple of times such as his what led to his sacking from Ferrari and his criticism of Alfa engines in '87 during an interview. Not a bad thing though, just some people can't handle criticism especially Ferrari under Enzo Ferrari and the mess the team was in during the preceding years after the 'Commentatore' passed away.

I enjoyed it to begin with when Prost was provoked into whinging, which became more frequent as the years went on but then just became tedious.

Maybe also at some point Nigel Mansell had done Grouillard some disservice at some point in the past as it was always 'Our Nige' who had his quick lap spoilt by the Frenchman. I mind Olivier replied in an interview than maybe Nigel should try racing an Osella for a time and then he might be a bit more understanding or words to that effect. Hunt was known to defend Our Nige even when Nigel was very much in the wrong, such as he was made to make a public apology on the BBC before the 87 Monaco GP over blaming Senna for causing a crash with Mansell during the opening laps of the previous race at Spa.

Edited by CityDave

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Surprised that there's no mention of Stanton Barrett in that interesting article. Seeing Larry Foyt get a mention reminded me of this bizarre accident at Darlington...

Edited by Glen Sannox

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Surprised that there's no mention of Stanton Barrett in that interesting article. Seeing Larry Foyt get a mention reminded me of this bizarre accident at Darlington...

Stanton Barrett stuntman, skier, etc :lol:

Nascar must have had a few over the years who could have been classed as a liability.

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Stanton Barrett stuntman, skier, etc :lol:

Nascar must have had a few over the years who could have been classed as a liability.

Indeed, Buckshot Jones for one.

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His widowm went

He did, howeverC

I think I would have laughed had I heard Arnoux say that. :D

Arnoux was a driver that spoke his mind and got him into trouble a couple of times such as his what led to his sacking from Ferrari and his criticism of Alfa engines in '87 during an interview. Not a bad thing though, just some people can't handle criticism especially Ferrari under Enzo Ferrari and the mess the team was in during the preceding years after the 'Commentatore' passed away.

I enjoyed it to begin with when Prost was provoked into whinging, which became more frequent as the years went on but then just became tedious.

Maybe also at some point Nigel Mansell had done Grouillard some disservice at some point in the past as it was always 'Our Nige' who had his quick lap spoilt by the Frenchman. I mind Olivier replied in an interview than maybe Nigel should try racing an Osella for a time and then he might be a bit more understanding or words to that effect. Hunt was known to defend Our Nige even when Nigel was very much in the wrong, such as he was made to make a public apology on the BBC before the 87 Monaco GP over blaming Senna for causing a crash with Mansell during the opening laps of the previous race at Spa.

Rene properly hates Prost, believe me!

The thing that most stuck in my mind from meeting him was his description of accidents. He mentioned one his team-mate Jabouille was in and broke his legs at "about 20 kph", but he was also very good friends with Gilles Villeneuve and Elio De Angelis. He was at the scene of both their fatal accidents and told me about them in much the same way as I'd say, "I popped down to the shops for a loaf of bread." It was so matter of fact I was quite taken aback. Clearly a different era. He did, however, tell me a cracking story about being arrested by the Brazilian police after driving out of the circuit with a spectator on his bonnet and hiding in the hotel kitchen.

I liked James Hunt, but not his obsession with Patrese. In my opinion the layout of the track at Monza caused Ronnie Peterson's accident, forcing the cars into a bottleneck. Ronnie is one of my all time favourites. A guy without any agenda and bloody quick in anything. His missus was stunning. Went on to date John Watson before ultimately committing suicide.

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I just finished the Damon Hill Autosport special from the other week and it's surprising to see how far he got considering his junior formulae record. No wins in F3000 due to a combination of bad cars, bad luck and probably himself, while he managed a few F3 wins. Not exactly stand out stuff yet he got the Williams test driver job (mainly due to his maturity it seems), then the drive and became world champion. Not bad going. Having the Williams obviously played a part but he should have won in an Arrows.

As an aside it really saddens me how unimportant Formula Ford seems to have become in the UK. The last champion to make it to F1 was Jenson Button, who won it in 1998 (I remember seeing him dominate at a soaking Knockhill). Since then none of the champions have come anywhere close to make it. It used to be the essential first step into cars from karting but now it's not - and I think putting wings on the cars for this year is totally wrong.

There are far too many single seater feeder categories this year. Ideally there should be something like Formula Ford to get you started, a slicks and wings category (equivalent to Formula Renault), F3 then GP2 - you could maybe have a series between F3 and GP2 like Renault World Series. That's all you need as in my view there are far too many and it's far too complicated. The people who brought in GP3 and the new F2 a few years back were on some kingdom building ego trips.

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There are far too many single seater feeder categories this year. Ideally there should be something like Formula Ford to get you started, a slicks and wings category (equivalent to Formula Renault), F3 then GP2 - you could maybe have a series between F3 and GP2 like Renault World Series. That's all you need as in my view there are far too many and it's far too complicated. The people who brought in GP3 and the new F2 a few years back were on some kingdom building ego trips.

Agree totally. The ladder to F1 used to be a straightforward affair - karting, generally followed by Formula Ford, F GM Lotus/F Renault, F3, F3000 then F1 - but now it's just a massive clutter. I believe this has a detrimental effect on the driving talent pool as a whole, as competition is naturally diluted and comparisons between youngsters in various formulaes becomes pointless.

Actually, with all this talk about useless drivers, here's a few entire series that should - IMO - never have lined up on the grid:

A1GP/Auto GP/Euro F3000/whatever it's now called

Superleague Formula

GP2 Asia

Formula Palmer Audi

FIA Formula 2 (at least Jonathan Palmer and Audi must have bagged a few quid from those two)

Early 1990s British F3000 (too fast for most UK tracks)

I can't be bothered counting up how many F1/Indy/sportscars/DTM drivers those series have produced between them, but it can't be too many.

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I just finished the Damon Hill Autosport special from the other week and it's surprising to see how far he got considering his junior formulae record. No wins in F3000 due to a combination of bad cars, bad luck and probably himself, while he managed a few F3 wins. Not exactly stand out stuff yet he got the Williams test driver job (mainly due to his maturity it seems), then the drive and became world champion. Not bad going. Having the Williams obviously played a part but he should have won in an Arrows.

As an aside it really saddens me how unimportant Formula Ford seems to have become in the UK. The last champion to make it to F1 was Jenson Button, who won it in 1998 (I remember seeing him dominate at a soaking Knockhill). Since then none of the champions have come anywhere close to make it. It used to be the essential first step into cars from karting but now it's not - and I think putting wings on the cars for this year is totally wrong.

There are far too many single seater feeder categories this year. Ideally there should be something like Formula Ford to get you started, a slicks and wings category (equivalent to Formula Renault), F3 then GP2 - you could maybe have a series between F3 and GP2 like Renault World Series. That's all you need as in my view there are far too many and it's far too complicated. The people who brought in GP3 and the new F2 a few years back were on some kingdom building ego trips.

Good points. I used to love the Formula Ford Festival every year. How many entrants did they used to get? A few hundred? Just fantastic. Now you hardly hear of the festival, it seems to have lost all of its prestige.

Damon Hill sprung to mind when I started this thread, not as one of the worst drivers but I recall him being totally underwhelming in F3000. Like his dad he eventually reached the top through hard work.

Oh for the days when F1 drivers would be at a GP one weekend, racing F2 or F3 the next and then maybe doing a big sports car race the week after. Not forgetting the fantastic Tasman Series or Temporada.

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