One lap wonders

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Markus Winkelhock led on his F1 debut last year, his only start to date
Markus Winkelhock led on his F1 debut last year, his only start to date

Markus Winkelhock recently told the German press that he doesn’t expect to get the chance to add to the single race start he made at the Nurburgring for Spyker last year.

Winkelhock famously led his debut race after a rain storm in the opening laps and a cunning early switch to wet-weather tyres.

But some poor drivers didn’t even get that far: in fact eight drivers in F1 history started a Grand Prix but didn’t comlete more than single lap. Here are the eight one lap wonders.

Josef Peters

1952 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring Nordschleife

Peters qualified 20th of the 32 entrant for the 1952 German Grand Prix, hiw home event, in a privately-entered BMW-powered Veritas. He failed to complete the first lap.

Ernst Loof

1953 German Grand Prix, Nurburgring Nordschleife

The German Grand Prix often attracted many one-off home entrants, and Loof, aged 46 at the time of his debut, was another of these. Loof, like Peters, drove a Veritas, and qualified 31st of 34 with a time of 12’16.8, two minutes and 18 seconds slower than pole sitter Ascari around the 22.81km track.

His fuel pump broke on the first lap and that was the end of his career in the top flight. Loof died of a brain tumour three years later.

Bob Said

1959 United States Grand Prix, Sebring

Only seven of the 19 drivers who started the 1959 title-decider at Sebring finished the race. Bob Said, who qualified 13th, was eliminated in an accident on the first lap of his home event. Said had previously won the non-championship 1953 Grand Prix of Rouen.

Bob passed away in 2002 aged 69, but son Boris now races in NASCAR.

Arthur Owen

1960 Italian Grand Prix, Monza

Londoner Owen entered his own Cooper-Climax in the Italian Grand Prix in 1960. Having qualified 11th of 16 he retired with suspension failure on the first lap. Owen went on to win the British Hill Climb Championship in 1962.

Massimo Natili

1961 British Grand Prix, Aintree

There was a big grid for the 1961 British Grand Prix and Natili, 28th, wasn’t even on the back row. Natili had previously entered the non-championship Syracuse and Naples Grands Prix. At Aintree he got no further than the first lap when his gearbox broke, and although he did make one return to F1, he failed to qualify, at Monza.

Graham McRae

1973 British Grand Prix, Silverstone

McRae was from Auckland, New Zealand, and not related to the Jimmy/Colin/Alastair rallying dynasty. His only race came in the British Grand Prix in 1973, which was famous for a huge crash at the end of lap one which eliminated several cars. McRae didn’t even make it to the crash however – his Iso-Marlboro’s throttle failing on the first tour.

McRae went on to enjoy success elsewhere, winning the Tasman series three times and five Formula 5000 championships.

Miguel Angel Guerra

1981 San Marino Grand Prix, Imola

Guerra started the 1981 season for Osella but failed to qualify for the first three rounds at Long Beach, Jacarepagua and Buenos Aires. He made a breakthrough of sorts in the San Marino round at Imola however, taking 22nd on the grid. But he crashed on the first lap, breaking a wrist and ankle and was replaced by Osella mainstay Piercarlo Ghinzani. Guerra still races in the Argentine Touring Car Championship.

Marco Apicella

1993 Italian Grand Prix, Monza

Apicella was hotly tipped to become an F1 driver while in Formula 3000 but his career lost momentum and he spent five seasons in the feeder series. In a bid to get noticed by the F1 fraternity he switched to the Japanese F3000 series.

However late in the 1993 season Eddie Jordan lost driver Thierry Boutsen to retirement and found himself needing a fill-in at short notice. Test driver Emanuele Naspetti hesitated, unsure if he had the funds to back up the switch, and Apicella pounced.

In testing at Monza Apicella impressed the team with his forthright assessment of the troublesome Jordan 193: “the wheelbase is too short.” He made an impression of team mate Rubens Barrichello too, who started paying rather more attention to his team mate’s lap times than he did when Boutsen was around.

But on race day Apicella was swiped by a rival at the first corner and was eliminated on the spot. At the next round Jordan turned up with Barrichello and Naspetti – the latter’s sponsors having paid up. They also brought a long-wheelbase car…

Apicella later tested the Dome F105 prototype Formula 1 car which never raced.

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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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17 comments on “One lap wonders”

  1. Althougt they are one lap wonders, we should remeber they were a part of an exciting race.

  2. i expected a lot more one lappers to come from the mighty Nordschliefe.

  3. I love these kinds of lists, especially when they come with a little background. To me, only the name Marco Apicella rings a bell, though, having started watching F1 some time in 1990.

  4. this car looks pretty similar to the ferrari car of today :-/

  5. Yes, Shahriar, the Spyker paint job did get confused with Ferrari’s on a regular basis when it was racing.

  6. I remember that Graham McRae managed to win a F1 race (extra champ of course) driving a F5000! That maybe a unique record.

  7. Alianora, wasn’t the spyker really really bright orange at the start of the 2007 season?, which confused the commentators.

  8. Anyone remember Andrea DeCesaris ? He used to drive for Alfa Romeo in the late 70-s/early-80s. I remember he retired due to gearbox failures all to often.

    On a different note, perhaps Keith can tell us which drivers will be on fresh engines in Hungaroring ?

  9. @ F1Fan – Raikkonen, Heidfeld, Rosberg, Nakajima, Webber, Coulthard, Barrichello, Sutil, Hamilton and Kovalainen – these already raced 2 races on their previous engines.

  10. when talking about very short F1 careers, there are also sad stories of guys like Riccardo Paletti or Roland Ratzenberger …

  11. Sush: Yes, the commentators somehow thought bright orange was the same as bright red…

  12. Good call Milos.

    F1 Fan, de Cesaris is slightly better known for smashing up chassis than gearboxes. When McLaren brought out their first carbon chassis the old guard started a campaign to get it banned on safety grounds. Fortunately McLaren had deCrasheris in the car and in a 16 race season he had 18 huge accidents and walked away from all of them. It was hard to argue that the McLaren was unsafe when everyone knew that half of those accidents would have killed him in any other car on the grid.

    Marlboro were happy to write cheques for all those repairs because daddy deCrasheris was the biggest tobacco distributor in Italy.

    I love the list Keith. I am surprised Graham McRae is on it as I was always under the impression he had done quite a few GPs but I guess they must have been non-championship or some of the combined F1/F5000 races mentioned.

    I didn’t know Boris Said’s father was a driver either. Guerra and Apicella were certainly good enough to have had decent F1 careers but didn’t get the breaks.

  13. On Autosport’s excellent website I found another interresting titbit of news on Graham ‘Cassius’
    McRae: It turns out he was once hospitalised after a being arrested in a police raid following an armed siege at his business premises. He had to receive treatment for dog bites sustained when police stormed the building, where he was barricaded after an incident in which a neighbour claimed he was threatened with a crossbow. McRae must undergo psychiatric evaluation before the police decide whether to press charges.

    It is not, however, mentioned the outcome of the psychiatric evaluation :-)

  14. Milos,

    thanks for the engine data.

    With or without a fresh engine, I think Lewis is going to walk the Hungaroring. And of course, Internet will tell us again that Massa will have a chance to win the race, just like Hockenheim.

  15. Another tire disaster at Indy. F1 you have company now. Goodyear is the culprit this time.

  16. Funny, Steve, it’s now twice in 2 years that this has happened to NASCAR. I think the other was at Lowe’s last year.

  17. Guerra is not racing anymore :) but he was quite succesful when he did it…

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