F1 » Six of the Best: Italian Nearlymen

With Monza 2013 on the horizon, Will Saunders reflects on six Latin talents that had the ability to succeed in the top flight, but ultimately came up short.

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September 03, 2013 7:12 PM

Firestorm, Yeah I have a mate that lived in Kiev at the time he tells a similar story.

Pierluigi Martini was quite underrated, 2 4th places in Minardi's and he qualified 2nd at the Phoenix GP 1990, 6 hundredths away from getting pole! Out qualifying Senna, Prost, Piquet and Mansell, great effort at a crap circuit .


September 03, 2013 7:30 PM

Just looking at the qualifying times for Phoenix 1990, Pole was 1min 28 and in pre qualifying Bertrand Gachot set a time of 5 minutes 15 seconds!
And apparently he wasn't on a bicycle it was a Subaru powered Coloni.


September 03, 2013 10:03 PM

I also enjoyed the article and, if it is to make a minor observation, I would say that a photo for every driver might have produced a greater impact.
On the other hand, as I am also living in the former eastern block, I was well aware about F1 and all motor sports in general starting from the late sixties. Maybe because I was not quite in the middle of the block as Firestorm. Nevertheless I have had to wait until early 90-ies for F1 live and more recently motoGP.
Over the years, I have had my heroes as Jim Clark, Jochen Rindt, Jarno Saarinen, Giacomo Agostini, Francois Cevert, Nicky Lauda (from that time) , Alain Prost, Nigel Mansell, Michael Scumacher, Alex Criville.
From those 6 Italians, I was mostly impressed by Michele Alboreto and Ricardo Patrese.


September 04, 2013 11:12 AM

Can't we lose De Crasheris and add Ivan Capelli? After all he did actually get to drive for Ferrari from 1992 to, er, later on in 1992, but he did have some success with March then Leyton House. Led the 1988 Japanese GP with a Judd V8!!!


September 04, 2013 1:47 PM

in reality, there are numerous Italian drivers who made a name for themselves in f1, and who were quite handy. the six picked for the article, do not accurately reflect much of the talent, that was stymied by lack of being in a good car.
just as today, where some potentially good drivers get stuck in cars well down the field. but at the end of the day, nationality should have nothing to do with getting a drive, or succeeding. real cream will always rise to the top.


September 05, 2013 11:27 PM

Nice article Crash. More like this please! Was privileged, many years ago to meet Elio do Angelis at Brands Hatch and found him every bit as charming as his reputation.

Both Patrese and his career I think, suffered more damage than was generally understood as a result of the shabby treatment he received as a result of Ronnie Peterson's accident.

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