Worst driver movements of all time

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    Craig Woollard

    As we are now in Silly Season, I was wondering, what do we all think was the worst ever driver movement? One that springs straight to mind was Alonso back to Renault in 2008, where he ended up with a car (at the start of the season) not even capable of a podium… And 2009 was even worse.

    What do you guys all think? Would like to hear some older ideas. Mansell to McLaren maybe? Lauda to Brabham? Hill to Arrows?

    Prisoner Monkeys

    Alonso didn’t really have a choice then. Most of the teams were expecting him to be off the market for three years with McLaren, and when the contract was terminated after a year, most of the seats had already been taken. And I think that after the way his 2007 season played out, no-one really wanted to have much to do with him.


    Wasn’t Webber offered a drive at Renault in 2005 but he decided to go to Williams instead?
    He could have won many races, I think he would have been better than Fisi. But he probably wouldn’t have ended up at RBR, so in the long run, he made the right call.


    With Alonso returning to Renault, I think the main problem was that the only competitive teams at that moment were Ferrari, McLaren and BMW. Ferrari and BMW were both happy with their line ups and saw no reason to replace either of their drivers. Alonso’s best option was Renault, who were the best of the rest.

    Alonso stayed with Renault hoping they’d build on their good form at the end of 2008, which unfortunately didn’t happen. He could have joined Honda/Brawn, but Honda were poor at the end of 2008 and that is most likely why Alonso join them in 2009. I think Alonso could have joined BMW, with him replacing Heidfeld. However by the end of 2008, Renault were faster and Heidfeld was beating Kubica again, so BMW gave Heidfeld a new contract.

    Giancarlo Fisichella joining Ferrari wasn’t a great move. He and no one else though could have known how difficult it would have been for him however. Yes Badoer couldn’t adapt to the Ferrari, but it Badoer, Fisichella was way more accomplished than him.

    Glock joining Virgin wasn’t great move either. At least Kovalainen and Caterham, they seem to be getting closer to the midfield, but Marussia aren’t showing any signs of getting closer to Toro Rosso. You wouldn’t think after he stood on the podium at Singapore 2009, that halfway into 2012, that would still be his last points finish.


    Massa to Ferrari.

    He thought he was entering into a relationship with the woman of his dreams, but it turned out to be an abusive one. Despite the fact that he almost won a championship with them, the team have also managed to kill off his confidence and, almost, his career at the same time. What sort of ‘team’ does that to a driver?


    I don’t know that it’s strictly true about Massa. When he joined it was effectively as understudy to Schumacher, with the intention being that he would potentially carry forward that level. And in fairness, he pretty much did that, winning races and challenging for the championship.

    There are many factors in the downturn in form for Massa. The accident which put him out of the car left him, and the team, in a bit of turmoil. The change in tyres has meant that the driving style he shared with schumacher which was so successful in the days of grooved Bridgestones, suddenly stopped working for him. And of course, he was comprehensively blown apart by a teammate who is regarded as one of the greatest talents F1 has seen in decades. Yes, this has lead to a situation where Ferrari regard him as a clear number two, but it’s his own lack of performance which has caused that, not the other way round.

    Disasterous moves in F1? Surely the most disasterous has to be Ayrton Senna’s move to Williams.


    Hunt: McLaren->Wolf
    Lauda: Ferrari->Brabham
    D.Hill: Williams->Arrows
    Raikkonen: Ferrari->WRC
    Fittipaldi: McLaren->Fittipaldi
    Glock: Toyota->Virgin


    Alesi turning down Williams for the 1991 season in favour of Ferrari. Of course Ferrari looked better at the time, but we now know how much better of a team Williams would be in years to come…


    Jacques Villeneuve to BAR is the worst one I can think of in the time I’ve watched F1, basically his career at the top was done after 2 years although he stayed at Williams for 98 as well.

    Jean Alesi to Ferrari from Tyrrell as well, considering he had an offer for Williams for 1991 and could have been sat in several championship winning cars in the most dominant team of the 1990’s. Instead he went to Ferrari who rolled out several uncompetitive cars and he only took one win in his career. Actually I’ll go for that one as the worst career move although at the time it didn’t look that stupid given Prost ran Senna close in 1990, but obviously then Adrian Newey and the Williams Renault partnership really got going in the subsequent years!


    @roald – damn, I should have pressed refresh before replying!


    Massa’s move to Ferrari was like him winning the lottery. No one really had much faith in him, Ferrari was and still is a top team and yet he landed the seat, has bagged a load of wins and nearly won a title. It could be debated that Ferrari might not be the best thing for him right now but those first few years were brilliant for him and that isn’t a bad movement, that’s Massa choosing to stay too long if you do take the view that he should skedaddle.


    Jenson Button’s move from Williams to Benneton/Renault at the end of 2000 was quite a bad move. The poor seasons he had there probably made up his mind about going to BAR. If those bad seasons hadn’t have happened he might never have ended up at Brawn and ultimately McLaren


    @duncanmonza – I’m tempted to say that due to Flabbio being his and Renault’s manager, Webber ended up going to RBR smuggled in a crate of Renault engines, so perhaps would have ended up there anyway.

    In hindsight, Alonso to McLaren proved to be a bad move, but then where was there to go? Renault arguably declined after he left, Kimi had the Ferrari seat sewn up and RBR were nowhere with two drivers seemingly past their peak or lost their potential.

    Hill to Arrows was a bit grim, although the situation of a reigning world champion suffering the ignominy of scrabbling around for a drive with a low-level team is relatively unusual.

    Grosjean to Renault in the tail end of 2009 was almost career-ending!


    Villeneuve to BAR was probably the worst career move in recent history.
    Ralf Schumacher to Toyota from Williams was also quite stupid.
    Fisichella moving to Ferrari after Belgium. Why? He could’ve won in Italy had he stayed. But at least his dream was accomplished.


    @kingshark I don’t think Schumacher to Toyota was silly. For the next two seasons, Toyota was better than Williams.

    I’ll add Grosjean to Renault in 2009. He could of stayed in GP2 and won the title and then moved to a good team for an entire season, but instead, he nearly ruined his career.

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