A tribute to Grand Prix legend Andrea de Cesaris
In terms of Formula 1 legends, many would consider the late Andrea de Cesaris a mere footnote, having scored a total of five wins across 15 seasons, finished only 31 percent of the races he started, and achieved a career best of eighth in the standings. To many though, the Italian stands as the plucky underdog who just wouldn’t give up.
To this day, de Cesaris holds the record for the most Grand Prix starts without a win (208), but that didn’t stop him taking the green flag for ten different teams in 23 different iterations of car between 1980 and 1994, and making some memorable headlines along the way. In 1989, whilst driving the uncompetitive Dallara F189 for Scuderia Italia, the Italian took a shock podium behind Williams teammates Thierry Boutsen and Ricardo Patrese at the Canadian Grand Prix. At Spa-Francorchamps in 1991, whilst the media waxed lyrical on new teammate Michael Schumacher’s qualifying performance, de Cesaris was hunting leader Aryton Senna’s McLaren down for victory before the Jordan 191’s V8 gave up the ghost. Of course, his end-over-end shunt at the 1985 Austrian Grand Prix would best define the career of Andrea ‘de Crasharis’
And then there was the now famous 1982 Detroit Grand Prix, won by McLaren driver John Watson after starting an amazing 17th on the grid. En-route, the Brit had plenty of mid-fielders to tangle with, including Alfa Romeo’s de Cesaris. And while Wattie made his way through with limited fireworks, McLaren teammate Niki Lauda found passing the Italian more difficult. As ever, Andrea de Cesaris wasn’t about to give up…