Drivers who should have won a world championship

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    Lucas Wilson

    A couple of years ago (as i’m sure you all know), little ol’ Rubinho left F1. And I think that he should have had at least 1 WCC to his name; perhaps he deserved the ’09 title more than JB…


    Given they both had the same car Barrichello is the one driver we can definitively say did not deserve the 2009 title more than Button.


    I’m not sure whether he deserved a World Championship, but Barrichello achieved far, far more in his career than most F1 drivers ever will, no question.

    I think the most obvious one to think of is Sir Stirling Moss. I know it’s cliche to call him the greatest driver never to have won the World Championship, but the fact is, it’s true.


    Barrichello had title winning cars for 6 seasons. I know he was fighting a losing battle against Schumacher but he didn’t even finish 2nd in all those years. Good but not great. As for others the ones who stand out are Gilles Villeneuve and Ronnie Peterson. And JPM had a really good chance in 2003.


    In the modern era, many people say Coulthard was unlucky not to have won one. Someone unlucky not to, but wouldnt have deserved it if he had (if that makes sense) is Irvine in 99. Had the weight of Ferrari behind his charge and even had Schumi moving over for him but some mistakes meant he wasnt able to capitalise on that. But it was only really because of the Ferrari assistance that he was in contention in the first place.


    If Irvine had won the title Mika Hakkinen would have had no-one to blame but himself. Spun off in the lead at Imola and at Monza, that’s twenty points down the drain.

    Coulthard is similar to Barrichello, when he had the best car he didn’t get the most out of it. Pretty hard to argue he deserved a title when his teammate won two in the same car. And then you consider that Michael Schumacher missed half the season in one of those years. In 95 Coulthard was outstanding in qualifying but very inconsistent in the races, and then in 98 and 99 Hakkinen outperformed him.

    Also, I don’t know if he deserved a championship but if Jean Alesi had gone to Williams instead of Ferrari for 91 perhaps he would have been a multiple champion through the 90’s.


    Certainly the following drivers:
    1. Stirling Moss
    2. Gilles Villeneuve
    3. Ronnie Peterson

    Drivers that didn’t have the opportunity to race in F1: Nuvolari, Rosemeyer, Caracciola, Varzi…

    Other names: Cevert, Bellof, Reutemann, Gurney, Ickx, Froilan, Von Trips and Behra


    Some off the top of my head other than those already mentioned above:

    1. Carlos Reutemann – He could’ve and should’ve won in 1981, but Alan Jones wasn’t interested to help.
    2. Felipe Massa – That 2008 title finish is still very painful.
    3. Wolfgang von Trips – A cruel reminder that motor racing is dangerous.


    Stirling Moss, Wolfgang von Trips, Gilles Villeneuve, Ronnie Peterson, Jackie Ickx are some names of the olden days that spring to mind. I’d probably throw Stefan Bellof in there as well, since he was a mighty quick driver.

    Of more recent years, I’d say Massa was very unlucky to lose out on the 2008 title, Mark Webber was my favorite for the 2010 title, while there’s also a bunch of drivers who were very unlucky in their career paths, Barrichello, Fisichella, Trulli, Frentzen, Coulthard, Alesi, Berger, who all could have been contenders at the very least.


    Heinz-Harald Frentzen probably would have deserved to win the title for Jordan in 1999. As far as I remember, he was very consistent and made his world champion team mate look like an amateur. Frentzen couldn’t keep pace with Villeneuve in 1997 but his performance in the 1999 season should remind us that no driver should be written off before the end of his career.


    Gerhard Berger is the one I always put at the top of this list. A talented driver who could out race no lesser men than Piquet, Mansell, Senna and Prost on his day.

    Jean Alesi should also be here. I wonder if he has sleepless nights when he thinks about his decision to join Ferrari in 1991 instead of Williams.


    I would mention Peter Collins.


    @girts Frentzen is a strange one. Everyone was touting him as the next big thing when he was at Sauber and then he inexplicably was nowhere during 97. I remember his victory at Magny Cours where the weather was horrendous, and he was really excellent all season. To be fair though I think anyone would have made Damon Hill look amateur that season, his heart was completely gone and he was just going through the motions right from the first race practically. If I remember rightly he even retired a healthy car one race.


    @debaser91 True, Hill’s performance probably wasn’t a good reference point in that year. Still, Frentzen kept his championship hope alive until the penultimate race and most probably would have been in the hunt until the very end, if his car hadn’t broken down during the crazy European GP. Jordan obviously couldn’t invest so much in the car as McLaren and Ferrari did so it was a small wonder that they had gotten that far. I think Autocourse rightly named Frentzen the driver of the year.


    Frentzen is probably one of the guys who never really lived up to his potential, but I don’t think he should be classed as someone who should have won a championship.

    I was genuinely excited to see him at Williams in 97 even though it meant Hill would be leaving the team, but he just didn’t perform to anything like the level of Schumacher or Villenueve. The record books show 1 win, 6 other podiums and second in the championship which would be a decent season in most people’s minds, but in reality he was nowhere.

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