Luca Badoer leaves Ferrari after 13 years

2010 F1 season

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Luca Badoer, Ferrari, Bologna Motor Show, 2010

Luca Badoer has made his final public appearance as a Ferrari driver after 13 years with the team.

The long-serving test driver helped develop the cars which won six consecutive constructors’ championship from 1999 to 2004, Michael Schumacher’s five drivers’ titles and other wins for the team and its drivers.

The Italian made two race appearances for Ferrari last year after Felipe Massa was injured in Hungary, but was dropped following some poor performances.

He made his F1 debut for BMS Scuderia Italia in 1993 but the team folded before the end of the season. He returned to racing with Minardi in 1995, then Forti the year after.

Badoer joined Ferrari as a test driver in 1998. The following year he made another F1 comeback for Minardi.

He holds the unfortunate record of starting the most races without scoring a point – 51. He came closest in the 1999 European Grand Prix at the Nurburgring, when he famously burst into tears after his Minardi failed while he was running fourth.

That was his final year in F1 before his 2009 return almost a decade later. Badoer was back at the wheel of a 2009-spec F60 for his final appearance for the team.

Read more: Luca Badoer’s F1 return in pictures

Image © Ferrari spa

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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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36 comments on “Luca Badoer leaves Ferrari after 13 years”

  1. I think he was unfortunate last year, no testing meant he had driven the car I think once(?) before racing it, but it was embarrassing at Spa, Kimi winning and Luca last…

    A top bloke though, Look-How-Bad-You-Are was never a fair nickname!

    1. Never heard of that nick name.. but it is brilliant nonetheless.

  2. definitely the correct decision, in my view. really, with the in-season testing ban since 2009, aside from the odd public appearance, there hasn’t been a lot for luca to do, in regards with ferrari. it’s just a shame the in-season ban came into effect the year he ‘returned’ to active racing.

    i think luca’s done all he wants in formula 1 – been one of the main driving forces of ferrari car development for a decade, and he even got to drive for them on two occasions.

    now he can relax and get on with his uh, non-motorsport life. good luck to him i say – he’s done so much for ferrari over the last number of years, and now he can pretty much retire if he wants to.

    if only his minardi’s transmission hadn’t failed him at the nurburgring. better still, if only ferrari had chose him over salo after schumi broke his leg at silverstone – he could of won a race, if not more than one.

    it’s a shame what happened to him, really. dominating the 1992 international formula 30000 championship, which also included barrichello and coulthard, then finding himself at bms lola for ’93, which effectively killed his career. can you imagine if that was barrichello or coulthard in his shoes? i’d love to of known what other team offers luca got in 1993.

    his talent as a driver really went to waste. we’ll never know how fast of a driver he’d of been, had he got the opportunity to sign for a good team during his prime. even if he wouldn’t of been as fast as some front-runners, his technical expertise with car setup would of helped some. had marc gene not followed luca’s lead at the nurburgring, in changing tyres, whilst almost everyone else was sliding off the track, it’s unlikely minardi would of scored that valuable point in 1999, putting them ahead of bar.

    to think, he dragged that god-awful bms lola to seventh place at san marino in 1993. okay, that race had nine classified finishers, but the bloke kept the car on the track to finish the race, albeit 2 or 3 laps down.

    i think i’ve typed enough, heh.

    1. Yes. Poor him, he never had a chance to demonstrate his skills. Many other drivers haven’t had a chance, but Luca is treated as if his talent was one of a pay-driver, but he wasn’t, so if Ferrari signed him there must be something else in him.

      1. I hope at least he can have success in another series, like Arturo Merzario.

        1. And that in future, after having won some titles with Ferrari, Liuzzi will retire and become a tester like Schumacher in 2007.

      2. yes there was something else: he was italian! Man was he Bad(oer)!

        1. Before, read here to get a view at the unfairness he encountered throughout his career.

    2. Fred Schechter
      8th December 2010, 16:41

      Over the years I’ve been a fan of many many drivers, but only one has stood above the rest, it has been Luca.

      Sad to see him leave the fold of the day to day work for the Scuderia. His legacy will remain being a linchpin for the work for a number of championships, as well as his display work at the winter olympics, and many many promo events for the Scuderia.

      Yayyy Luca!!! You scored points with your fans if not on the track. You logged more F1 Ferrari miles than any person, a record that will always stand (I’m looking at you F1 for curtailing testing).

      No one knows Mugello and Fiorano better.

  3. What’s he up to next? Quitting racing altogether? He can’t be older than 40 – get yourself to Le Mans, Luca!

  4. OH NO!!!!!!!

    what a shame!

  5. Sad to see Luca go. (insert sarcastic laugh here)

    On another note and totally of the topic of Luca (he’s not a very fascinating topic anyway)

    I’m not suggesting any wrong doing from Ferrari, but isn’t it interesting that teams can do demonstrations with a 2009 spec car that may be a bit closer to the 2011 regs than 2010? I mean, the F60 originally had a single diffuser and Kers. Could Mclaren, Ferrari, and the other single diffuser-KERS equipped teams of 2009 benefit from any of this?

    1. Aren’t you forgetting that the front tyres are smaller, the fuel tanks larger, the minimum weight is higher and the cars are now longer, the tyre supplier has changed. Outboard wing mirrors and wheel covers are also banned.

      They aren’t alike…and it’s not like you could get much valuable data from a couple of doughnuts in a crowded carpark.

      1. Like I said, I wasn’t singling out Ferrari or this particular event that involved doughnuts in the car park. I didn’t forget all the things you listed, just didn’t list them because I know they can’t be compared.

        I specifically mentioned the KERS and single diffuser. Now I can probably answer the diffuser thing myself as I’ve given it more thought, the teams were running double diffusers at the end of the year and the new singles for 2011 will probably involve exhaust gases so a comparison would be irrelevant, But testing Kers is a definite possibility. I don’t know, maybe operating temperatures, thresholds, battery specifics, who knows? I’d think Mclaren, Ferrari, and Renault could benefit from this.

  6. Correction- Badoer has started to leave. It’ll be a fair while before he completes his retirement

    1. Is this a shot at him being really slow?
      at everything??

    2. Wonder if he’ll make it out the car park without clattering someone …

    3. harsh, ned. :)

  7. He’s got to be one of the unluckiest guys in the F1 world.

    1. Can’t agree more, many people don’t realixe that all of those 6 WCC that Ferrari won with Schmacher Luca was behind the scene in everyone of them,sad to see him leave like this I don’t think it could have been any better.

    2. But he can be proud of being a great team player with all the development he did to give Ferrari all those titles during his time as a test driver.

  8. Luca Badoer —> Look-how-bad-you-are!!

  9. It’s almost funny that he added two races to his pointless streak; nice one Renzo (Look-how-bad-you-are) but its:

    Look. Ah! Bad? Oh Er!

  10. No! I read the title on the homepage and was shocked. Why?? What’s he going to do now?? It can’t be possible…

  11. Micheal Schumacher was Ferrari’s highly anticipated Felipe Massa replacement in 2009 but Luca Badoer took the spare seat instead. This year, Schumacher showed the world how difficult it really is to make a come back, afterall, the German driver had a full winter test stint under his belt yet he still only managed to average a finishing position of 9th in the 17 times he was classified as finished. Coincidently he finished 9th in the points standings. This was in a car that was 4th best, for most of the majority of the season, and scored podiums too. Schumacher is a proven driver – his record 7 championships speak for themselve – but it was clear to see he struggled in 2010.

    Compare this to Luca Badoer. He was drafted in midway through the season, having shared the status of third choice driver in the winter tests with Marc Gene, so he would have had a very limited number of miles in the F60. The car itself was horrific, at the time when Badoer started racing the Ferrari F60, it was behind the Brawn, Redbull, Toyota, Mclaren and possibly Williams in terms of pace. Add to this the other factors which would limit his potential performance in the F60, for example any updates would be given to Raikkonnen because he would guarentee the team good points if he got the necesary equipment.

    Now he has retired, I would hate Luca Badoer to go out being slated for his poor couple of races for Ferrari, as a driver he was certainly better than last place on the grid twice in 2009, this is shown by all the miles he put in Ferrari formula one cars pre 2007 when in season testing was legal. Badoer was a valuable asset for Ferrari in ensuring the Italian outfit provided Schumacher with Championship dominating cars, and I feel the 2 races he got to drive in for the team was just a way of saying ‘thanks.’

    1. Not to mention how Fisichella went from almost winning in a Force India at Spa (ironically to a Ferrari tho it was piloted by Spa King Raikkonen) to back of the grid in the same F60. I think people were way too harsh On Badoer, he hadn’t raced a GP in what was it… 10 years ??

      Then again, it makes me wonder, if he lacks speed how good of a test driver is he ?

      1. Testing has little to do with lap times.

    2. With a car that Massa, near WDC, and Raikkonen, WDC, failed to score points with in the first 3 races. Badoer in 2 races failed to score points. Fisichella in 5 races failed to score points. Why nobody says Fisichella is bad (at least as Badoer)? Fisichella won 3 races, despite having a car (Renault) that won 2 WDCs with Alonso. The F60 won nothing, and people expected Luca to, what, finish on the podium?

      1. 5 seconds off the pace , not just a few tenths.

  12. Well, he got to drive Ferrari’s for a career, not a bad job, and even drove a couple of races. Shame he looked so bad in 09, but Fisi did no better really. Would have been interesting to see what the (once ) great Schumi could have done in the same circumstances

    1. he got to drive for Ferrari in F1.. people only dream of that!
      he can hold his head high..

  13. Godspeed, Luca.

  14. With the in-season testing so limited/effectively gone, I guess this is perhaps good for Badoer. Would be good to see him racing in something else, maybe Le Mans, or anything at least where he can do actual driving.

    As many have said above already, ’09 was probably not an entirely fair assessment of his ability, and he did do a lot of good work for Ferrari in the Schumacher years, as well as many demo’s in the Ferrari. Another example of a driver that never got into a position in F1 to show his full worth. But he did at least get to spend a lot of time working with Ferrari, unlike Fisichella who also dreamed of that. Still, I feel a bit sad to see him go.

    Good luck to him in the rest of his live.

  15. There are a lot of people rushing in to defend him here. Although Schumacher shown how difficult it is to make a comback, Schuy wasn’t coming in stone cold last in every race, several minutes behind the next runner – in a car that his team mate shown was capable of winning races. Luca wasn’t just poor, he was astoundingly poor, and although he had a successful career in the lower categories he is by no means F1 grade by any definition.

  16. What people need to realize (especially those who have never actually raced cars but preach from their armchairs), is that given the circumstances he didn’t have much of a chance to do well. I cannot imagine how much speed and consistency I would lose if I were to step away from racing for 10 years… and that’s only sports cars we’re talking about; Formula 1 cars, much much worse. Add in the fact that he had virtually no testing time and a car that was generally rubbish. Cut him some slack, we would wipe the floor with most drivers on this earth in a race, regardless of the car (just not against the current practised F1 crop).

    The point is, it’s all too easy to think that someone (not of Schumacher quality) can just jump back in a racecar and be on pace after so long. Unless you’ve been exposed to the competetive motorsport for much of your life, it’s difficult to understand the intricacies of being a front-runner vs and also-ran.

  17. I don’t think he is bad (saying this as a ex race driver) but that car was really something. Kimi could get some pace from it but Fisi couldn’t get the car at speed and he just raced the whole year with a kind of same car. The Kers was a too different device someone must grow with and neither drivers had that done before.

    So he wasn’t the worst driver but just not a good driver (anymore)

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