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Old 12 Nov 2003, 14:30 (Ref:781066)   #1
chunterer
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Unfulfilled talents - those who never achieved potential?

Looking back over last few decades there's quite a few racers who never achieved the greatness that they looked destined to in lower formulae. Some drivers got to F1 and faded, some never made it.
Some of them ran out of money, some of them never got a decent chance and then some of them were injured or lost their lives doing the thing they loved the most.

I've drawn up a list of some of some of the drivers who stood out for me (who incidentally also had bags of talent) some of you will agree others won't and it would be good to get your candidates.

In no particular order here's mine:
Mike Thackwell - Easy going guy who never got good breaks in F1 when needed them, despite usually being miles faster than other F2 drivers.
Jean Marc Gounon - Spectacular driver in F3000 who was perhaps too 'old' compared to his contemporaries and never really had a chance with Simtek.
Johnny Herbert - Legacy of Brands accident doubtlessly cost him vital time 'in the car' around a circuit. Without that hindrance, he would have got the chance with good cars and been a World champion without a doubt.
Alex Zanardi - Real racer who drove the wheels literally off his cars in earlier career. Unlucky in F1 first time round, tried too hard? Stunning in CART but return to F1 one of those mysteries.
Jan Magnussen - Still a mystery, too laid back?
Allan McNish - May still get another F1 drive but largely missed the boat. Should've been in F1 early 90's.
Martin Donnelly - Gritty, natural talent and was on the verge of a strong career before his awful accident. Good to see him bombing around in Radicals though!
Fabrizio Barbazza - Committed driver with plenty of bottle for an Italian driver (bit like Zanardi). Was quick in F3000 and earned a couple of Minardi drives with little money.
JJ Lehto - Has showed in GT and ALMS that he's still extremely quick. Could've achieved more if Benetton gave him time to recover from injured neck.
The late Greg Moore - Super cool and extremely quick. F1 was on horizon (Scott Dixon's style reminds me of him a bit?)
The late Gonzalo Rodriguez - Very aggressive driver who always put on a show overtaking people if had to come back from lower grid slot. Spa '99 display was awesome, miles quicker than anyone else through Eau Rouge!!

Both drivers much missed and would've been great additions to GPs!!

Does anyone have their own recollections of these guys? Looking forward to reading about other's heroes too!

Last edited by chunterer; 28 Sep 2007 at 15:37.
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Old 12 Nov 2003, 16:10 (Ref:781134)   #2
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krt917 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridkrt917 should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
Good list chunterer, no argument there. Except for Barbazza maybe, but I'mnot that familiar with his career so it's probably unfair of me to say.

Names that immediately spring to my mind;
Stuart Lewis-Evans
Stefan Bellof
Manfred Winkelhock
Martin Brundle - if only he'd had more of a chance in a decent car. A guy who fought with Senna in F3 and was absolutely great in real (Group C!) Sportscars.

Actually there are loads. I expect you might end up with quite a few names on this thread.

Goes away to think of some more
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Old 12 Nov 2003, 17:34 (Ref:781219)   #3
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D-Type should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Michael Andretti?
Why didn't he cut the mustard in F1?
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Old 12 Nov 2003, 20:15 (Ref:781362)   #4
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flatlander_48 should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
I would say that Michael's problems were more personal than professional.

Anyway, I would add

Jason Watt
Mika Salo
Wilson Fittipaldi
Ian Scheckter
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Old 12 Nov 2003, 20:29 (Ref:781379)   #5
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BootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridBootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridBootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridBootsOntheSide should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
I'd agree with most of the original list.

Marc Hynes looks unlikely to achieve what we expected following his F3 success in 1999, and even Robbie Kerr may struggle. It's ahrd to get onto the penultimate tier below F1 now, whcih is ironic considering how many drives are on offer.
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Old 12 Nov 2003, 20:41 (Ref:781389)   #6
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gfm should be qualifying in the top 5 on the gridgfm should be qualifying in the top 5 on the grid
That's an interesting point raised by D-Type on Michael Andretti.

From what I recall, the fact was Michael found Europe (mainly), the circuits, the way of life, and the intense competitiveness and politics of F1 to be more daunting than he may of anticipated.

Actually, that leads me on to a favourite thought of mine - we must all have our opinions as to how good Nigel Mansell was. But I tell you, IMHO one of the greatest things he acheived was to go over to the US the year after his WC and win their Champcar series. I did a bit over there myself, and I tell you, to arrive at unknown circuits, different climates and disciplines, with a team new to you, and all the rest and take on the very best they have and win WAS MIGHTY.

Sorry, I digress ...
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Old 12 Nov 2003, 23:48 (Ref:781544)   #7
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Mackmot should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Ian Flux
Kelvin Burt
Andrew Kirkaldy
Gonzalo Rodriguez
Ricardo Van Der Ende
Tomas Scheckter
James Courtney
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 03:00 (Ref:781591)   #8
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David Brabham
Gabriele Tarquini
Stefano Modena
Ivan Capelli
Erik Comas
Eric vanderpoele


the list is endless isnt it ?

Mark Blundell
some might even say david Coulthard
Jordi Gene
Andrea Montermini


certainly some very good names up there and names that bring back plenty of memories


some may agree some may not but I guess in their own rights they all had plenty of talent.
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 10:18 (Ref:781866)   #9
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Redlake27 should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
I agree. The final years of 'open' F3000 in the early 90's threw up some great talents that usually ended up in Simiteks or such like........Gounon, Montermini and co spring to mind.

These three should have been a regular part of F1 IMO:

Eric Van Der Poele - usually quicker than Hill in a Brabham
Jordi Gene - Even Marc Gene reckoned his brother was better
Pedro Lamy - he could beat DC in F3000
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 11:11 (Ref:781899)   #10
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Ryo28 should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
I agree with most of them, but id also add....

Karl Wendlinger - remember his great performances in a year old March in 1992 (4th at Montreal!), and in the Sauber in 1993? His crash at Monaco effectively ended his top line career, as (like Lehto at Benetton) his team put uneccessary pressure on him to perform immediatly after his comeback, rather than giving him time.

Ukyo Katayama - did brilliantly in 1994 with Tyrrell, regularly out-performing team mate Mark Blundell and was offered the Benetton no 2 seat for 1995, but his sponsors Mild Seven advised him to stay at Tyrrell and his career went dramatically downhill.
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 12:12 (Ref:781943)   #11
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JustinDawkins should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Definately Kelvin Burt, he used to be so quick, but also:

Warren Hughes
Dave Coyne
Gary Paffett
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 12:32 (Ref:781961)   #12
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Andrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAndrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAndrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the gridAndrew Kitson should be qualifying in the top 3 on the grid
There are thousands of drivers who fit into this category. With Michael S presently at the top of the pyramid, countless others are or have fought there way up, some higher than others.
Some that spring to mind who I think deserved to go higher are Stephen South, Geoff Lees, Beppi Gabbiani, Kenny Acheson, Tiff Needell, Andy Sutcliffe, Tetsu Ikuzawa, Dave Walker, Tony Trimmer, Alan Rollinson, Alain Ferte.
Many more..
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 13:04 (Ref:782011)   #13
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There are indeed many. Tony Brise and Tom Pryce spring to mind. Both reckoned to be very talented. Pryce has to have had one of the most tragic, and bizarre, fates of any racing driver.
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 13:07 (Ref:782015)   #14
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davemorganfan should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
Jim Crawford. Hugely talented, made his F1 debut after only 25 car races. What a waste.
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Old 13 Nov 2003, 13:15 (Ref:782022)   #15
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Dan Rear should be qualifying in the top 10 on the grid
I think it all depends on what eras we each remember best, as we're forming our views on racing in general, and especially in the lower Formulae. But what consititues "not quite making it" ? Is it not reacing F1, not winning races when there, not scoring points, there are so mnay crtieria. I think a real factor though is that F1 drivers today, even with fairly poor records, seem to stay there for a long time. Naturally this gives less chance to those aspiring. Plus of course there are fewer seats available to those trying to get in.

Anyway, the ones I think should have had a better crack of the whip would be South, Keegan, Thackwell, Lees, many more.

Btw I agree wholeheartedly with John re Mansell. I know he's not perfect, but to win in the US in 93 in his first year there was a fantastic achievement, and not given the credit I think he deserved.
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