The bottom 10 F1 drivers: Shortlist

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Two weeks ago we began compiling the list of the bottom 10 F1 drivers of all time – the 10 worst F1 drivers.

Here’s how the shortlist stands at the moment along with some of your remarks. Is there anyone missing from it? And who doesn’t belong there?

In alphabetical order…

Philippe Adams
Giovanna Amati
Michael Andretti – “11th in the championship in 1993, in the same equipment that Senna took to second place” Scootin159

Enrico Bertaggia

Andrea de Cesaris – “You can’t say he didn’t have opportunities” D Winn
Pedro Chaves

Jean-Denis Deletraz
Pedro Diniz
Johnny Dumfries

Bernie Ecclestone – “Attended the 1958 Monaco and British rounds but didn’t qualify.” Ratboy

Jean-Marc Gounon

Yuji Ide – “He only lasted three races before the FIA took away his superlicence.” Francois
Taki Inoue

Ukyo Katayama
Rupert Keegan

Claudio Langes
Giovanni Lavaggi – “Would still have been infamously bad in a decent car.” Robert McKay

Perry McCarthy
Tarso Marques – “He was always off pace, he was always in trouble.” Daniel
Fran?�?�ois Migualt

Rikky von Opel

Massimiliano Papis
Al Pease – “Only driver to be black flagged for driving too slow.” Chalky

Hector Rebaque
Ricardo Rosset – “At the Spa 98 mass pileup he drove full speed into the wreck like some kind of computer game.” TommyB

Otto Stuppacher
Esteban Tuero
Alex Yoong
Alex Zanardi

(NB. Chanoch Nissany not included because he was never entered entered for a race)

To get things start I think Diniz, Dumfries, Katayama and Zanardi don’t belong on the list:

Pedro Diniz did a respectable job alongside Damon Hill in 1997. Johnny Dumfries wasn’t hopeless but he was, as Clive James said, in a team “where even the Portaloo was set up for [Ayrton] Senna.” Katayama had his days and some of Zanardi’s drives for Jordan and Lotus in his pre-CART/Williams days showed the raw talent that F1 never tapped into.

Who else would you add, and who else would you take off?

Read the original discussion on the bottom 10 F1 drivers

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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32 comments on “The bottom 10 F1 drivers: Shortlist”

  1. Ralf Shummy
    Juan Pablo Montoya
    Takuma Sato
    Scott Speed

  2. Care to offer any reasons for those choices Fernando?

  3. Ralf Shummy – Just never could get out of his brothers spot light… I love Toyota and all, I own 2 but he just made it seem like as if those Toyo’s were horrible, I mean they are not great but his driving made them horrible.

    Montoya – His driving was fair at best, he was a mistake prone idiot that made McLaren’s look like Super Aguri’s. Now he’s in NASCAR doing OK because, IMO even the best NASCAR drivers would be last place finishers in F1.

    Sato – I think speaks for himself not much explaining to do here.

    Speed – Pretty much the same as Montoya in my eyes goes to NASCAR and does OK.

  4. It seems a bit unfair having Perry McCarthy on the list, he never had the chance to show his F1 credentials in the farce that was Andrea Moda. Had some promising test runs though.

    Montoya? Ok, he had lacklustre days, but he also had days where he was nigh on untouchable. There’s no way he should be on this list.

    Incidently, there’s a well known website that might help add to the list:

  5. Ok maybe Montoya was not as bad I make him out to be, but there was just something about him I didn’t like, and with the machinery he had at his disposal I would think he should of been better. I mean come on 5 RET in 2006 and he only raced half the season.

  6. …which was mentioned in the previous post. I wish you could edit these damn things!

  7. It should go without saying that drivers who’ve won races don’t belong on this list.

    How about Jean-Louis Schlesser? Two participations, one DNF, in the second he was 1.4s slower than his team mate and collided with the leader while being lapped.

    Or Ricardo Zunino? Another of Nelson Piquet’s team mates who probably didn’t belong in F1. At Monaco in 1980 Piquet was fourth on the grid and Zunino didn’t even make it into the race.

  8. Montoya could have been world champion in 03! Saying hes the worst driver in history is a joke

  9. I was about to post asking Diniz to be removed, but I see you beat me to it. Zanardi had a specific problem braking, if I recall correctly, which is hardly the same as being rubbish.

    As for the winner, from recent years I’d look no further than Ide, Im afraid I’m a little young to comment on past atrocities.

  10. Scott speed wasn’t great, but he wasn’t the worst driver out there either, for the most part he and Luizzi has similar lap and qually times…

    I’m by no means a Nascar fan, but just because drivers chose Nascar does not mean they cannot turn right, they just make more money turning left.

    Montoya DNF’ed so much in his final season because he lost interest in F1. He had already had a deal to race in Nascar the following year.

  11. Besides those in the list, the worst driver that I can recall at the moment is Mazzacane.

  12. Zsolt Baumgardtner – Scored a point (lucky guy, due to attriction) but was particulary hopeless and was there because of the money.

  13. Ah yes, Mazzacane:

    Grands Prix started – 21
    Best race classification – 8
    Best grid position – 19

    Qualified last for 13 of the 17 races in 2000. Dropped by Prost four races into 2001.

  14. I think Toranosuke Takagi should be on the list.

    He took out both Minardi’s in separate accidents in the 1999 Italian GP, and managed to continue, before spinning out on his own.

    Other than that, his career never really got going.

  15. Marco Apicella.

    He holds the record for the shortest Formula 1 career, (about 800 metres) and that was his only appearance in F1.

  16. Robert McKay
    30th May 2008, 18:39

    How good/bad/indifferent was Vincenzo Sospiri? The other unfortunate who got the 1997 Lola with Rosset? I genuinely don’t know, any info would be interesting.

  17. Hope this helps Rob

    Vincenzo Sospiri
    Formula One
    races attended 2
    races won 0
    pole positions 0
    points 0

    Dont think he actually qualified due to the 107% rule thay had at that time?

  18. I think Arturo Merzario would deserve a place here… if only to let him win something anyway. But perhaps to put him among the Top Ten noblest and most perseverant of all time would be the right choice

  19. Arturo was so determined to continue racing despite having no results in sight, that he used whatever sponsors were available, even a funeral home :”La Varesina SOFAM”. You can see a photo of his rear wing complete with funeral ad, near the bottom of this brazilian fan’s blog:

  20. wait… Tuero can’t be there…! he’s a very good driver! you can’t judge just because he raced a Minardi only one season!

    Im sure you won’t understand it, but Tuero really is a very good driver…

  21. JP Montoya won 7 GPs while Schumi/Ferrari were at their best.

  22. Jonesracing82
    31st May 2008, 0:25

    r u serious?
    i wished he was still there in these non driver aids cars!
    how the hell can he b on this list? he had worked out how to overtake schumacher! something Damon Hill never worked out!

  23. Perhaps we shouldn’t jump the gun on Vincenzo Sospiri.

    Lola rocked up in 1997 despite originally intending to enter the sport in 1998. The team’s main sponsor, MasterCard, put the pressure on Lola to rush the project and as a result they arrived in Melbourne with a car that hadn’t even seen a wind tunnel. Lola essentially modified their Champcar chassis for F1, and it was over 10 seconds off the pace. It was probably slower than the Lola F3000 car.

    Sospiri was 2 seconds per lap quicker in it than Rosset, so maybe his inclusion here would be unfair.

  24. Damon Hill did learn to overtake Schumacher, its just the part where you pass without both of you crashing that he didn’t master. Sometimes it was his fault, others it wasn’t. But atleast he was a champion!!
    Was Montoya one of the worst drivers, no! Could he have done better, I think so! When the car was good, and he knew it, he was towards the front and fighting. When the car was crap, different story.
    Most drivers are a bit like that, but JPM is talented and doesn’t deserve to be on this list. Ralf Schumacher, well, he suffered due to his name.
    Could you imagine Tiger Woods child playing golf for a living. Everybody would be expecting him to be like his dad, it doesn’t work that way.
    Sato proved, on occasion, that he could cut it. Indianapolis 2004 and Montreal 2007 spring to mind, but he was accident prone, but who isn’t?
    Speed, I don’t know? Probably on the list, about halfway on the list I think. Only two years in F1, not much opportunity.
    Its really the drivers who had plenty of chances, plenty of years to shine and didn’t who deserve to be on the ‘chumpionship’ list. And I think you covered all the bases.

    Oh, I forgot. I am probably going to cheese someone off here, but what about Ralph Firman? Fisichella comfortably saw him off at Jordan. Where is he on this list?

  25. Jonesracing82
    31st May 2008, 8:27

    re: the limit!
    passing without crashing is part of overtaking and Hill didnt manage it! if u take them off it’s not overtaking!
    u said u should have drivers on the list that had plenty of seasons then suggest ralph firman?
    in all seriousness there are heaps of drivers u could put and alot of them didnt even get a full season as they didnt deserve to, some got more than they deserve!

  26. sChUmAcHeRtHeGrEaTeStEvEr
    31st May 2008, 9:20

    firman was pants lets be honest.

    my vote goes to rosset just for the fact his mechanics changed the letters aroun in his name to make TOSSER thats brilliant haha

  27. Your right, maybe suggesting Firman was a bit harsh,
    he didn’t have that long in the sport did he. I knew that last comment of mine would ruffle some feathers, its just that Firman is one driver who stands out in my mind for some reason?

  28. Nothing wrong with suggesting drivers that weren’t in F1 for too long, because if they didn’t do too many races, it was probably for a good reason – they were crap.

  29. theRoswellite
    31st May 2008, 15:08

    A couple of points:

    1) Comparing drivers who are, for the most part, driving less than competitive machinery is very speculative at best.

    2) If you believe, as I do, that F1 is the pinnacle of motor sports, then anyone able to drive at this level should be congratulated.

    3) I would think most of us would be jealous of anyone who was goo

  30. theRoswellite
    31st May 2008, 15:10

    ….to finish.

    …good enough to ever drive any F1 car in any race.

    4) This list seems more demeaning than anything else.

  31. Brar Soler
    1st June 2008, 1:10

    For all my live I had thinked like you. But when the Ricardo “pile up” Rosset phenomenum hapenned I changed my mind. Now I´m also ashamed he was brazilian. That Monaco un-spin manouver was either shamefull…

    He made a statetemend about the Mclaren brakes (that could brake the inside Wheel more then the outer one) that is Phisically impossible.

    (Sorry for my Brazilian English)

  32. Well, I’m going to stick up for Takuma Sato. OK he’s never going to be World Champ, but I think he’s had some half decent drives over the years.

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